Friday, October 17, 2014

Love this book: The Art of War by Sun Tzu, translated by Ralph D. Sawyer.

I am typing my favorite sections.

Why has a two-thousand-year-old text proven so valuable in today's world? Because the Art of War embodies an Eastern tradition of strategy that emphasizes outwitting an opponent through speed, stealth, flexibility, and minimal effort. These time-tested principles not only work, but they have also been proven on the battlefield and in the marketplace.

Chapter 1 Initial Estimations
Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the Way(Tao) to survival or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed.

Therefore, structure it according to the following five factors, evaluate it comparatively through estimations, and seek out its true nature. The first is termed the Tao, the second Heaven, the third Earth, the fourth generals, and the fifth the laws for military organization and discipline.

The Tao causes the people to be fully in accord with the ruler. Thus they will die with him; they will live with him and not fear danger.

Heaven encompasses yin and yang, cold and heat, and the constraints of the seasons.

Earth encompasses far or near, difficult or easy, expansive or confined, fatal or tenable terrain.

The general encompasses wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage, and strictness.

The laws for military organization and discipline encompass organization and regulations, the Tao of command, and management of logistics.

Warfare is the Way (Tao) of deception. Thus although you are capable, display incapability to them. When committed to employing your forces, feign inactivity. When your objective is nearby, make it appear as if distant; when far away, create the illusion of being nearby.

Display profits to entice them. Create disorder in their forces and take them.
If they are substantial, prepare for them; if they are strong, avoid them.
If they are angry, perturb them; be deferential to foster their arrogance.
If they are rested, force them to exert themselves.
If they are united, cause them to be separated.
Attack where they are unprepared.
Go forth where they will not expect it.

Chapter 3 Planning Offensives
Subjugating the enemy's army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence.

In general, the strategy for employing the military is this: If your strength is ten times theirs, surround them; if five, then attack them; if double, then divide your forces. If you are equal in strength to the enemy, you can engage him. If fewer, you can circumvent him, If outmatched, you can avoid him. Thus a small enemy that acts inflexibly will become the captives of large enemy.

Thus there are five factors from which victory can be known:
One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious.
One who recognizes how to employ large and small numbers will be victorious.
One whose upper and lower ranks have the same desires will be victorious.
One who, fully prepared, awaits the unprepared will be victorious.
One whose general is capable and capable and not interfered with by the ruler will be victorious.

Thus it is said that one who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements. One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes be victorious, sometimes meet with defeat. One who knows neither the enemy nor himself will invariably be defeated in every engagement.

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