Who is Sun Tzu?
Sun Tzu or Sunzi was a Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher during the Zhou dynasty's Spring and Autumn Period. The name he is best known by is an honorific meaning "Master Sun": Sun Tzu was born as Sun Wu and known outside his family by the style name Changqing. He is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an extremely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as the author of The Art of War and as a legendary historical figure.
Sun Tzu's historicity is uncertain. Sima Qian and other traditional historians placed him as a minister to King Helü of Wu and dated his lifetime to 544–496 BC. Modern scholars accepting his historicity nonetheless place the existing text of The Art of War in the later Warring States Period based upon its style of composition and its descriptions of warfare. Traditional accounts state that the general's descendant Sun Bin also wrote a treatise on military tactics, also titled The Art of War. Since both Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese texts, some historians believed them identical prior to the rediscovery of Sun Bin's treatise in 1972.
- If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
- When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
- Therefore the skilful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.
- The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
- Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
- If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.
- Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
- The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
- The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
- O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.