Discover the teachings of one of the greatest generals to have walked the planet, Sun Tzu. The Art of War is one of the most famous and most informative texts on warfare. Summary of the Book The western world has always had a clear idea of what war is. Kill your enemies, destroy the resistance. Hundreds of years ago, a Chinese general found himself at the helm of the army of one of the many small countries that existed in China at the time. Sun Tzu believed in what some would find a counter-intuitive principle. War’s sole purpose and motive was to capture territory and people, not to slaughter them. Sun Tzu's fundamentals stemmed from the game of Go, a game that was rooted in its principles of territorial exchange and superiority. Despite the strangeness of this concept, it would prove devastating to westerners each time they ignored it. During the time of the Vietnam war, the American forces had been swept into North Vietnam in a sort of crusade. The war began with the soldiers being considered heroes. How, then, did it end with the chaotic rallies and riots which demanded their return home? How did the Americans fail even after holding on to better weapons? The Viet Cong followed simple tactics, tactics which were centralized around Sun Tzu’s principles. They didn’t care about killing more people. They cared about upsetting the enemy through guerilla techniques, using spies to gather information and throw their opponents off, and winning territories that mattered. Western warfare said that was a strange and cowardly way to fight. Sun Tzu would have been proud of them, encouraging their actions and calling the westerners mad for even thinking there was some manner of glory or honor in battle. War was only an extension of the policies of the state to Sun Tzu. Its fulfillment was the sole progress of state discussions and requirements. This book is attributed to Sun Tzu, despite several accounts that it was written even before he might have been born. It contains views on every aspect of military conduct, ranging from movement of troops to the advantage of high ground over low. The book has since been considered to be a definitive text on warfare and on management. Sun Tzu would have found it strangely fitting that battles had moved from the field back into the courtly board rooms of modern royalty. War, after all, is merely an extension of the affairs of the state. About Sun Tzu Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is said to have lived in the Spring and Autumn Period of ancient China. His actual existence is the subject of much debate and speculation.
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