Book Review – The Art of War

The Art of War Summary: 13 chapters of ancient military strategies, which have been utilized since 500BC and are highly translatable to modern day business, athletes and decision-making.

Title:  The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Publisher: N/A

Date Published: 5th century BC

Subject: Military Philosophy

Pages: 68

About the author: Sun Tzu was a Chinese military strategist who was credited with writing The Art of War. There is much unknown about Sun Tzu but his military strategies where focused on mind games rather than using physical strength. The use of extensive planning, deceit, delay, careful timing, and espionage are some examples of the extent to which Sun Tzu focused on. 

The Art of Ware PDF Available: No this book is not available for free download; you will be required to purchase the book. 

Chapter Layout:

Chapter 1 – Laying Plans

Chapter 2 – Waging War

Chapter 3 – Attack by Stratagem

Chapter 4 – Tactical Dispositions

Chapter 5 – Use of Energy

Chapter 6 –  Weak Points and Strong

Chapter 7 – Maneuvering an Army

Chapter 8 – Variation of Tactics

Chapter 9 – The Army on the March

Chapter 10 – Classification of Terrain

Chapter 11 – The Nine Situations

Chapter 12 – Attack by Fire

Chapter 13 – Use of Spies

The Art of Ware Review:  

When you first read this book it comes across as a book telling you how to win a battle, however when you revisit the book after some deep thought it is clear that this is more than just a book on winning a battle. There are so many different situations in life that you can apply the principles and knowledge learnt. 

The overall book is very short at a mere 68 pages, and each page has a lot of blank space as a sentence can be as little as 3 words per line. 

There are some notable quotes that really resonated with me:

“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons and they will follow you into the deepest valley” –When I listened to this it linked back to something which Gary Vee said – you really need to understand what is important to your colleagues that you work for. When you manage the staff, they don’t work for you – you work for them and it is your obligation to find out exactly what makes them tick and what they want from a job.  If one colleague just had a young kid, then their priority is going to be leaving work on time so they can go home and spend some time with the kid. Therefore you need to factor that into their workflow and make sure that happens as that is incredibly important to them. If another colleague loves the gym and hates missing it, then you need to look after them like a beloved son and encourage them to go. That is what makes them happy and they are going to enjoy working for you if you look after their best interests. So the key takeaway from this message is that you need to put in the effort and understand your employees and make sure you are looking after them.

“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious”– I take this as pick your battles, don’t just expect to win every single fight or argument you get into. You need to choose the ones that are in your favour and not the ones which are not in your favour. This translates into the work place, when a colleague has a different opinion to you on however they have a better understanding of the issue than you do. In this situation it would be better to sit this battle out and listen to their input, as the likelihood that you would be able to win an argument may be very slim.

“Keep you friends close and your enemies closer” – This has been around for such a long time and it is amazing that it ties back to 500BC. I personally don’t keep my enemies close, I try to stay; as far away from them as possible but perhaps this is something I can work on a little bit better. 

Given that this book takes about an hour to read and has some very important insights it is a must for everyone to read. There are so many applications to the broad natured statements in this book, that it has earned a spot on my mindset category of the Top 10 Books on Passive Income

Make sure you check out your copy of this book.