The most prestigious and influential book on strategy and dealing with conflict, beautifully translated for clear, accessible reading—including commentaries by other ancient Chinese philosophers and strategists.
From esteemed translator Thomas Cleary and including commentary from philosophers such as Cao Cao, Du Mu, and Du You, this timeless Chinese classic captures the essence of military strategy used in ancient East Asia, with lessons on how to handle conflict confidently, efficiently, and successfully. As Sun Tzu teaches, aggression and response in kind can lead only to destruction—we must learn to work with conflict in a more profound and effective way. Crucial to this strategic vision is knowledge—especially self-knowledge—and a view of the whole that seeks to bring the conflicting ideas around to a larger perspective. The techniques and instructions discussed in The Art of War apply to competition and conflict on every level, from the interpersonal to the international. A study of the anatomy of forces in conflict, it has been discovered by modern businesspeople who understand the principles it contains are as useful for understanding the interactions of modern corporations as they are for understanding the tactics of ancient Chinese armies. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through an understanding of the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict. Thomas Cleary’s translation is a breakthrough achievement that has been a gold standard among translations for three decades, offering the complete text in eminently readable prose with short commentaries by other ancient Chinese strategists and philosophers interwoven throughout. Cleary’s work allows innumerable insights to be discovered through this translation millennia after this oral teaching was first set down.
About the Author
The warrior-philosopher and master strategist Sun Tzu, about whom little is known, compiled The Art of War more than two thousand years ago. Legend has it that he was known for the brilliant campaigns he led around the time of Confucius. His work was memorized and passed down orally, before eventually being copied onto bamboo strips and passed around.
“Besides being a guide to strategies and tactics for governing a nation and engaging in military conflict, The Art of War can be looked at as a manual for conquering perhaps one’s greatest enemy: the self. This very clear and direct translation makes this ancient wisdom easily accessible to modern minds.” —Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos and White Lotus “The Art of War soon could join Machiavelli's The Prince as required reading in the executive suite.” —USA Today
“Absorb this book, and you can throw out all those contemporary books about management leadership.” —Newsweek
“The most useful and important book ever written for aspiring leaders.” —Toronto Sun Times