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The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Book Title: The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Published: 5th Century BC

Language: Chinese (translated to English)

Author of Summary and Review: Akeju Emmanuel Oluwanifemi

Subject: Military Art


The Art of War is a timeless classic that was written in the 5th century by Sun Tzu.

Sun Tzu was a military strategist and an elite Chinese General in his time. He was also a philosopher and a writer with his most notable work being The Art of War.

The book is an ancient military treatise that details superb war tactics and strategies.

Written by a master of the craft, it accurately depicts strategies that could help simplify the intricacies and complexities of war and reveals the most effective ways to victory in any battle.

Main Points
  • Wars are most often won before they are fought
  • The general (army) that makes the most calculations will come out triumphant
  • All warfare is based on deception
  • According to circumstances are favourable, one should modify one’s plans
  • Know when to fight! Know when not to fight!

Detailed Summary

The Art of War analyzes the Chinese military weapons and tactics from an insider’s point of view.

Sun Tzu is considered to be one of the finest military tacticians in all of history. Because of the priceless information that lay within the book, it was translated to French in 1772.

Over a century later, in 1905, a British Officer named Everard Ferguson Calthrop attempted to translate the book to English in an attempt to reveal this century-old tactic to English natives.

Eventually, the first annotated translation was completed in 1910 by Lionel Giles.

The Art of War is divided to 13 chapters. The first of these chapters expresses in detail the energies that should go into the preparation for a battle.

It highlights the importance of calculation and thinking and goes on to explain all the important aspects of it.

All warfare is based on deception

Sun tzu

Sun Tzu warns that deviation from these rules can only mean one thing: loss!

The enemy cannot defeat us without our own help, he says.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

The subsequent chapters explain the process of going to war against the enemy.

How should you go about it? What measures should you take on the battlegrounds? How do you increase your chances of winning the battle? What positions are most favourable? Sun Tzu answers all these questions and more.


The Art of War is indeed a classic. It has booked a spot among bestsellers and, even till now, continues to sell in tens of thousands every single year.

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