The Art of War by Sun Tzu [Book Summary]

When a nation struggles with battle, that nation is struggling for actual survival. Therefore, all attempts must be performed to know the craft of battle, and, when there are conditions of battle, this understanding must be utilized to make strategies.

A general that makes careful plans before the fight would beat a general that doesn’t make any plan. So, you need to plan regularly and think before the fight. By contrasting the rival soldiers on 7 thoughts, you can predict a win or loss:

  1. Look at the 2 leaders of the nations at war, is there a leader that instructs full obedience and accord from the public for them to support that leader to death?
  2. Is there a leader that is more competent?
  3. Which part has edges of earth and heaven, the meaning of conditions such as regarding the distances for them to travel, the weather, and the character of the land?
  4. Which party imposes the authority on its people more intensely?
  5. Which party owns more powerful soldiers?
  6. Which party owns the more skilled men and officers?
  7. Which party demonstrates more harmony in providing compensations and penalties to impose discipline?

Thoroughly contrast the soldiers of your opponent to yours in order for you to determine the points your rival is weak and strong. Then strategize in line with the conditions. If you understand both your opponent as well as yourself, victory will always be yours.

Designing, computing, and contrasting soldiers cause to win.

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Chapter 1 – Defend yourself against loss, and expect a chance for a win.

Successful strategists just go into the fights they are sure they would have the victory, while unsuccessful strategists go into battles and just then start to reason on the way to win.

A clever fighter evades fight he may be defeated; therefore, making sure he is not conquered. However, even the very genius general could not tell precisely the time a win would arise because he needs to expect the opponent to be mistaken and offer him the chance to win.

An achieved general recognizes that to get a win, there have been 5 key guidelines:

  1. You need to understand the time to go into battle and the time not to go into battle.
  2. You need to understand how to handle pressures both subordinate and senior to you.
  3. Your soldiers need to possess a strong, same battle discipline and spirit all through its tiers.
  4. You need to make war therefore you would be ready and the opponent is not ready.
  5. You need to own the capability to defend and liberty to control your soldiers with no hindrance from the ruler.

Be alert. Fight solely at the time you own an edge. Evade your opponent from the point he is powerful and fight him from the point he is powerless.

Evade the opponent’s soldiers at the time their spirits are strong, its supports and flags are in good shape, or at the time the enemy owns a more edge position like higher terrain.

Do not go to war just because you are furious; you should always have something to win. Being furious would eventually pass by, however, once a kingdom is destroyed, it could not be turned back to existence again.

Evade the snares your opponent will attempt to involve you in. Never direct your soldiers into regions that your stocks won’t be enough or to the places you do not really know the landscape or who your fellows are.

Chapter 2 – Battle is merely successful when generals and sovereigns do not initiate their own downfall.

Soldiers are instructed by a leader in war; however, a leader is instructed by a ruler. Therefore, by his instructions, a ruler may hinder his soldiers. The most terrible means he may perform this have been by instructing them to progress or withdraw at the time such activity isn’t possible, by trying to rule soldiers negligently like he rules the nation, or by assigning officers in unsuitable duties.

These mistakes decrease soldiers’ confidence and may lead to a loss.

Also, a leader can display dangerous mistakes. He may be irresponsible and direct soldiers to downfall, or he may be a chicken and be taken; he can also be nervous or honored that he has been triggered by offends and defamation from the opponent, or he may be really worried about the ease of the people and allow that kind of thoughts impede military strategies.

Also, the leader is accountable when any of those 6 disasters happen to his soldiers:

  1. When the leader drives soldiers against an army 10 times more than its size, leading his army to run away.
  2. When his army is really powerful compared to the officials, leading to disobedience.
  3. When the army is really weak, causing them to be weakened by officials and fail.
  4. When the higher officials are annoyed and undisciplined, causing them to fight their harmony and leads to the destruction of the military.
  5. When the leader is powerless and unsure, leading to poor, disarranged soldiers.
  6. When the leader is incapable of determining a rival’s power and drives a lower power against a higher power, causing an overwhelming loss.

Chapter 3 – Keep your resources by using espionage, foraging, and stratagems.

Sustaining soldiers is costly: an army of 100000 people may have a price of 1000 silvers daily for supplies such as sustenance, spears, chariots, arrows, oxen, and armor.

Lengthy warfare can finish the assets of every state, making it powerless and undefended. Therefore, target fast and decisive wins, not lengthy campaigns.

Evade sieging enclosed towns, since this normally needs a month of planning, and a lot of hasty leaders would waste their soldiers in useless fights.

The best means to reduce the price of being in war has been to seize the opponent’s nation, town, or soldiers completely and untouched instead of damaging it through an expensive fight. In order to succeed in that, you will require a very extensive power than that of your opponent.

An experienced general will conquer his opponents without any battle, which forms the final victory. This is called the assailing by stratagem. Major warriors succeed not just at being victorious but at being victorious easily.

Another method to keep the nation’s assets is to get those from your opponent by foraging close by and boosting your power with the opponent’s guns, shields, and army. That minimizes the price of providing your soldiers in-house and saves your villagers the stress of keeping your soldiers.

As one fight may stop wars, you need to be connected to spies: they give decisive detail about the opponent’s settlement and take incorrect confidential back to the enemy.

Keep close relationships with spies and compensate them very well. The price is really small compared to the long battle they may assist evade.

If you create a stratagem regarding confidentiality that an agent has mentioned you, slaughter the agent and others he mentioned the confidential to, in order for your stratagem not to lose its strength.

Chapter 4 – Mislead your opponent and force your willpower on the opponent.

The craft of battle is founded on deceit. You need to disguise power with deficiency, bravery with cowardice, and structure with chaos. Distract your opponent and allow him to grow careless.

Make your army pretend chaos at the times in fact they are very structured and organized. At the time you move nearer to your opponent, make it look as if you have been further away. At the time you can strike, make it look as if you cannot.

Entertain with the opponent just as cats play with mice. When he is angry, annoy him. When he is comfortable, annoy him; when he is well equipped, make sure you make him starve; when quietly set up camp, enforce him to change. If you want the opponent to progress, offer him a bit; and when you want him to withdraw, cause harm to him.

Smart combatants take advantage and impose their will on their opponents.

Invade the opponent in poorly secured positions that he would need to hurry to protect. Push your opponent to disclose himself in order for you to find out his weaknesses.

Make your enemy figure out the places you will invade, pushing him to shiver and disseminate his alliances: quantitative weakness arises not just from exact quantities but from also needing to plan for invasions on different fronts.

Chapter 5 – Notice the landscape and your opponent, then adjust correspondingly.

A great leader understands there have usually been spots that could not be filled, paths that shouldn’t be passed through be instructions from the ruler that need to be gone against.

Similar to the way water finds its path regarding the floor it goes over; that have you as well should adjust to the circumstances, to the landscape, as well as the rival’s tendency.

Notice the landscape to exploit its natural benefits and evade its disadvantages. For you to battle, do not go to altitudes, you have to go upriver or journey far from shelter and water.

Evade spots that have precipitous cliffs, restricted locations, or swamps that a little force can damage a whole army. Find frightened beasts or birds; they show you are there’s a forthcoming ambush.

You have to notice the foe as well. At the time his armies rest on their gores at the time of standing, they would be weak because they are starving. At the time the army he tells to get water starts having it by themselves, they become thirsty.

Furthermore, at the time they begin to consume their herd, fail to swing stew pans on the campfires, and behave as if they would not go back to the tent, understanding that they have been ready to battle to their deaths.

Adjust your strategies as required to these situations and benefit from the prospects as they arise.

Chapter 6 – In order to successfully wage war, handle your troops strictly, make them doubt and allow them to fight to their deaths.

Handling and directing a big group of soldiers is similar to handling a smaller group of soldiers: you need to just divide your army into smaller groups and make use of signals like banners, drums, signal fires, and gongs to direct your unions.

They will act like they are 1, and the coward ones will try not to withdraw neither will the courageous be split to do the duty alone. An experienced general directs his army like he would if was guiding one person by his hands.

Behave your men as you would treat your favorite children and your men will support you even to death. If, on the other hand, you cannot direct them with command, they are just as worthless as coy kids.

Strong order in the army has been a certain path to success. However, in order for the order to be influential, the army needs to grow fond of you. Therefore, you need to treat them compassionately at the same time while also having them controlled with order and penalties.

You need to be secretive as a general. Make your soldiers unaware and amend your plans often to make both your army and the opponent estimating.

Replace camps and use long indirect paths instead of straight paths. You can only disclose your intention when you’re really in an opposing nation.

At the time the condition seems bright, inform your army regarding that; however, when the condition is bad, retain this information in yourself.

The more you enter into an enemy nation, the more the army will sense a feeling of unity.

Make them sense hopeless circumstances that there has been no way of escaping, and your soldiers will drop their whole feeling of anxiety and battle with extreme power, even to death.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu Book Review

Being in war has been a situation of death and life for a nation, and therefore, careful planning and guessing needs to be in place in the movement of a battle. An experienced general decided to fight just when he is aware that win is certain; so, he has never been beaten. He is alert, resourceful, and flexible. He enforces his volition on the opponent, misleading and frustrating him to push the rival to have a terrible error.

What is the way for you to defend against conquest and guarantee win?

  • Designing, computing, and contrasting armies causes win.
  • Defend yourself against conquest, and expect a chance for a win.
  • Warfare is simply achieved when rulers and leaders do not bring about their own downfall.

What is the way for you to accomplish edges over your opponent?

  • Keep your assets by espionage, foraging, and stratagems.
  • Mislead your opponent and ascribe your volition to the opponent.
  • Notice the landscape and the opponent, then adjust accordingly.

How can you handle your troops?

  • In order to successfully wage war, handle your troops strictly, retain them in doubt and let them battle to their deaths.

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