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Sun Tzu quotes page 1

Also known as Sun Wu or Sunzi; ca. 544 BC - 496 BC; one of the greatest military minds of all time was born sometime during the sixth century, BC. No one knows for sure where he was born either, most records point to the ancient Chinese states Qi or Wu. In either case, he would serve as a general under King Helu, the king of Wu. His great victories inspired Sun Tzu to write his world famous text, "The Art of War." The period that followed, known as the Warring States Period, saw "The Art of War" shoot to prominence and became the most read military treatise of all time. The book was considered invaluable in ending the time of the Warring States of around 475 BC. "The Art of War" would go on to be translated into countless languages and read throughout the world. Aside from being a lesson book on how to best conduct a war, the treatise is also seen as a pristine example of Taoist strategy. Sun Tzu himself thought that only an enlightened Taoist master could make the ideal general. This spiritual component of the book has helped distance it from subsequent works on the matter of battle. Sun Bin, his descendent, would also go on to lead an inspiring military career. Nowadays, "The Art of War" is one of the most quoted books in the world. It's been applied to everything from sports strategy to the corporate world as well as negotiation tactics and trial strategy. The United States Military still recommends it to all of its intelligence personnel, it is mandatory reading for all CIA officers and the book is listed on the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Sun Tzu

A leader leads by example not by force.
Sun Tzu

A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be
incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
Sun Tzu

If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.
Sun Tzu

The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.
Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception.
Sun Tzu

When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make
them move.
Sun Tzu

Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.
Sun Tzu

If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
Sun Tzu

The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and
destroy its victim.
Sun Tzu

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
Sun Tzu

What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations.
Sun Tzu

Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
Sun Tzu

Know yourself and you will win all battles.
Sun Tzu

He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.
Sun Tzu

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
Sun Tzu

In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack - the direct and the indirect; yet
these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
Sun Tzu

Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of a trigger.
Sun Tzu

Move swift as the wind and closely-formed as the wood. Attack like the fire and be still as
the mountain.
Sun Tzu

What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with
ease.
Sun Tzu

When one treats people with benevolence, justice, and righteousness, and reposes
confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.
Sun Tzu

Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine.
Sun Tzu

The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited
for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
Sun Tzu

Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
Sun Tzu

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the
noise before defeat.
Sun Tzu

A sovereign should never launch an army out of anger, a leader should never start a war out
of wrath.
Sun Tzu

Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack.
Sun Tzu

If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.
Sun Tzu

Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by
unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
Sun Tzu

Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent;
of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more
confidential than those relating to secret operations.
Sun Tzu

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the
soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
Sun Tzu

Bestow rewards without respect to customary practice; publish orders without respect to
precedent. Thus you may employ the entire army as you would one man.
Sun Tzu

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and
then seek to win.
Sun Tzu

What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.
Sun Tzu

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the
point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
Sun Tzu

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.
Sun Tzu

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.
Sun Tzu

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