32 Superb Quotes from The Art of War

The ‘Art of War’ is an ancient Chinese military treatise that dates back to the 5th century BC. These 13 chapters of military strategy was composed by Sun Tzu documenting the secrets to warfare. Here is a look at some great superb quotes from ‘The Art of War.’

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

“Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.”

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

“Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

“Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

“But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.”

“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”

“He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected .”

“If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”

“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it. ”

“Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.”

“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.”

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.”

“The wise warrior avoids the battle.”

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.”

“Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.”

“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill”

“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

“What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.”

“When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.”

“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”

“Who wishes to fight must first count the cost.”

Here is a unique History Channel documentary on Sun Tsu’s, ‘The Art of War.’ In this documentary, the story of Sun Tsu is highlighted as his strategies put into action are reviewed.

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