The Art of War is a book of military strategy and theories originally attributed to Sun Tzu, a military general who lived in the 6th century BC.
It is said that Sun Tzu’s teachings helped many leaders become almost invincible. His tips on being steps ahead one’s enemy had them win battles without even relying on guns.
However, today many people think that “Master Sun” is not the actual author of the book and that the masterpiece is rather a compilation of Chinese tactics and theories that belong to generations. Either way, The Art of War has become a book whose teachings have been adapted and used not only by military strategists, but by politicians, coaches, lawyers and businessmen.
But The Art of War is not dedicated only to leaders — the real beauty of it is that you can apply its wisdom in everyday life to gain advantage in any situation. Just read between the lines.
Here are 21 The Art of War quotes to teach you how to outsmart your figurative opponents.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.
Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.
He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.
Great results can be achieved with small forces.
Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections.
Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.
Bravery without forethought causes a man to fight blindly and desperately like a mad bull.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.
Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.
Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.
He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy.
A leader leads by example, not by force.
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.
When the outlook is bright, bring it before their eyes; but tell them nothing when the situation is gloomy.