About This Book
When seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the
basis of a comparison in this way:
Item 13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?
(2) Which of the two generals has most ability? (3) With whom lie
the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? (4) On which side is
discipline most rigorously enforced? (5) Which army is stronger? (6)
On which side are officers and men more highly trained? (7) In which
army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
Item 14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory
An interesting footnote: In the late '80s, "The Art of War" was
recommended reading in many MBA courses, where it was identified as one
of the best possible handbooks for getting ahead in the business world!
About Sun Tzu
(Circa 100 B.C. - 100 A.D.)
The legendary "warrior philosopher," Sun Tzu, who is credited with
authoring "The Art of War," is described as both a superb general
and a follower of the Tao philosophy/religion. This appears to be a
contradiction in terms, as TAO 49 states: The Tao person dwells in
peace: / Reaching out in a community of heart, / Regarding that all
lives as one family.
TAO 51 states:
To follow the Tao is to honor its principles, /
To realize: that we live in nature / But can never possess it; we can
guide and serve, / But never control. / This is the highest wisdom.
That's not warrior talk. How can a soldier reconcile non-intervention with
marching to battle? Can anyone imagine going to war while maintaining a
community of heart with a family as large as the whole world of living
Perhaps, like followers of other religions and philosophies, this Chinese
nobleman was able to pick and choose the aspects of the belief that best
suited his needs. For there are, indeed, precepts of Taoism that make a
kind of sense when applied to the art of war. For example: TAO 63: Deal
with the difficult while it is still easy. / Solve large problems while
they are still small. / Preventing large problems by taking small steps
/ is easier than solving them. / Therefore, the TAO person anticipates
and lives wisely, / By small actions / accomplishing great things.