Period 544 – 496 BC Occupation Military commander Ehthnicity Chinese Subjects Military strategy Notable work(s) The Art of War Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, Japan
According to traditional sources, such as the 2 nd century BC biography written by Sima Qian , Sun Tzu was born in Qi during the Spring and Autumn Period of China 722-481 BC and became a heroic general for the king of Wu , King Helu . His victories then inspired him to write The Art of War . The period was a time of constant war among seven nations ( Zhao , Qi, Qin , Chu , Han , Wei and Yan ) seeking to control all of China.
During Spring and Autumn Period ( 722 to 476 BC) , King Hui reigned Eastern Shou Dynasty for 5 years (since 677 BC). Chen Wan, who fled from the Chen State to Qi in 672 BC because of civil unrest in Chen . Chen Wan changed his clan name from Chen to Tian and named Tian Wan when in Qi, and the Tian became a prominent family in the politics of the state . King Hui Tian Wan
125 years Later, during the reign of Duke Jing of Qi ( 547-490 BC ) , Tian Wan’s Descendants, Tian Shu was a minister in the Qi court , while Tian Rangju was an impoverished member of a lesser branch of the Tian clan . Tian Rangju Duke Jing of Qi Tian Shu
Later Tian Shu was granted a fief and a new sub - surname of Sun, while Tian Rangju was made Grand Marshal ( Da Sima ) of the Qi and thus became known as Sima Rangju . Sima Rangju was the tactician who served the Qi State and wrote the military manual Sima Fa or Methods of Sima which was included in 7 military classic books. Sima Rangju
Tian Shu or Sun Shu was Sun Wu’s grandfather. At the time of the adoption of the Sun Sub-surname, Sun Wu was about 12 years old. It is not known if Sun Wu had any contact with Tian / Sima Rangju, but he might be inspired by Sima Rangju in writing “ The Art of War”. Later Sun Family escaped from Qi to Wu state due to Qi’s political conflicts. Sun Wu Sun Shu Sun Feng
Lao Zi Kong Qiu or Confucius During Sun Wu period, the Eastern Zhou period is also designated as the period of the Hundred Schools of Thought. This included Lao Zi and Kong Qiu , a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese thought and life .
Sun Wu Wu Zixu Later General Wu Zixu recommended Sun Wu to King Helu of Wu. The king of Wu tested Sun Tzu's skills by commanding him to train a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers . King Helu of Wu
Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders . When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled . In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them . Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled .
Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king's two favored concubines, to the king's protests . He explained that if the general's soldiers understood their Commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers .
Sun Tzu also said that once a general was appointed, it was their duty to carry out their mission, even if the king protested . After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them . Afterwards, both companies performed their maneuvers flawlessly .
The Battle of Boju was fought in 506 BC between Wu and Chu forces . The Wu forces were led by Sun Zi, and they were ultimately victorious . Ch'u and Wu states were at war for about 50 years . Tensions culminated with this battle, and the related times of insecurity known as the warring states period ended in 220 BC. Sun Tzu’s 30,000 soldiers defeated Chu’s army of 300,000 soldiers. Wu Chu
The battle was planned by He Lu of Wu and was acted out by Wu Zixu and Sun Zi . King Jing of Zhou alongside Yue, the butcher, were temporarily driven from the capital city of Chu, Ying, by the Wu attackers . This battle led to the invasion of the Ying town and its destruction . After retreat of the Wu state in 505 BC, both The King of Ch'u and the butcher came back to the town . Sun Wu Wu Zixu
Fugai, a younger brother of Helü, led a rebellion . After beating Fugai, Helü was forced to leave Chu . Fugai later surrendered to Chu and settled there . In 495 BC, his son, King Fuchai of Wu, succeeded him . However, during the later part of his reign, his extravagance and obsession with , Xi Shi, a Yue beauty sent by Goujian of Yue , lead to the weakening of his state . Xi shi King Fuchai of Wu
In 484 BC after the death of Wu Zixu, Sun Wu became the advisor of Wu State. Later Sun Wu resigned, since he noticed the fall of Wu State and he could not convince King Fuchai to concentrate on managing the state.
All the time, whilst ruling the kingdom of Yue, Goujian never relished in riches as a king, but instead ate food suited for peasants, as well as forcing himself to taste bile . This way, he could remember his humiliations while serving under the State of Wu . In 473 BC. King Goujian of Yue invaded Wu and was successful. Wu was destroyed and King Fuchai was forced to commit suicide . The Spring and Autumn Period was ended.
After resigning from Wu State, Sun Tzu later proved on the battlefield that his theories were effective, that he had a successful military career, and that he wrote The Art of War based on his tested expertise .
Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ was written in approximately 500 BC. It has established itself as the leading authority on confronting and defeating opponents through superior strategy. The philosophy works in any competitive environment where people find themselves contesting each other for a specific goal. It is a work of subtlety and paradox that shows how to succeed effortlessly in rising to life’s challenges. Sun Tzu believed that victory is won long before the confrontation and insisted that a skilled warrior can observe, calculate and outwit the adversary without ever engaging in battle. Sun Tzu Ping Fa
The Art of War 13 Chapters
13 Chapter s 1) Calculations : The first chapter focuses on the first phase of strategic thinking, where the importance is in carefully considering your approach and plans . 2) Waging War : The next stage discusses what it takes to develop and deploy a plan. 3) Offensive Strategy : How to compete without competing at all . 4) Dispositions : How to control the situation before the conflict even begins. 5) Energy : How to use momentum and timing to defeat the competition . 6) Weaknesses and Strengths : How to identify the best match-up by matching one's strengths to the weaknesses of the competition. 7) Maneuver : How to tactically deploy and shift your forces before and during the combat . 8) The Nine Variables : How to adapt to the realities of battle, which means one must adapt to the advantages and disadvantages of the moment that often determine victory or defeat. 9) Marches : What it takes to lead oneself and the team through the challenge of the mission . 10) Terrains : The different types of obstacles that one can face and how to deal with them. 11) The Nine Varieties of Ground : Reacting to different situations and how to take advantage of these . 12) Attacking by Fire : Identifying the different types of influences and how to use them 13) Employment of Secret Agents : The importance of gathering competitive intelligence on the competition and how to employ tactics against the competition .
#1 CALCULATION Explores the fundamental factors or five key elements ( political intelligence, climate, terrain, leadership and organization characteristics) that define a successful outcome and to evaluate your competitive strengths against your competitors. By thinking, assessing and comparing these points you can calculate a victory, deviation from them will ensure failure. Remember that war is a very grave matter of state.
#2 WAGING WAR Explains how to understand the economy of war and how success requires making the winning play, which in turn, requires limiting the cost of competition and conflict.
#3 OFFENSIVE STRATEGY D efines the source of strength as unity, not size, and the five ingredients that you need to succeed in any competitive situation. “ He, who knows his enemy and himself well, will not be defeated easily. He, who knows himself but not his enemy, will have an even chance of victory, He, who does not know himself and his enemy, is bound to suffer defeat in all battles.”
#4 DISPOSITIONS E xplains the importance of defending existing positions until you can advance them and how you must recognize opportunities, not try to create them. “ Therefore, the person adept at warfare, will put himself in a position where odds of defeat is the smallest and grabs every opportunity to defeat the enemy.”
#5 ENERGY E xp lain the use of creativity and timing to build your competitive momentum. “ In battle, use the direct forces to match the enemy, and use the indirect forces to win the enemy.”
#6 WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTHS E xplains how your opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the relative weakness of your competitors in a given area. “ Thus the person adept in warfare seeks to control and manipulate his enemy instead of being manipulated and controlled.”
#7 MANUEVER E xplains the dangers of direct conflict and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon you. “ Those who do not use local guides will not be able to gain the advantages of the terrain.” “ It follows that an army without heavy equipment and supplies will perish. An army without sufficient food and grain will die. An army without sufficient stockpiles and reserves will not survive.”
#8 VARIATION AND ADABTABILITY F ocuses on the need for flexibility in your responses. It explains how to respond to shifting circumstances successfully. “ Thus the wise strategist will always weigh and consider the favorable and unfavorable factors in his deliberations.” “ Thus, in the conduct of war, one must not rely on the failure of the enemy to come, but on the readiness of oneself to engage him.”
#9 MOVEMENT AND DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS D escribes the different situations in which you find yourselves when you move into new competitive arenas and how to respond to them. Much of it focuses on evaluating the intentions of others. “ Concentrate the strengths of your forces sufficiently and judge the moves and motives of the enemy accurately so as to capture him.”
#10 TERRAINS Looks at the three general areas of resistance (distance, dangers, and barriers) and the six types of ground positions that arise from them. Each of these six field positions offer certain advantages and disadvantages. Thus, he who is adept at warfare, when deploying his troops for battle, is never confused or misguided . When he mounts a military campaign, he never runs out of strategies or plans . Thus it is said : Know the enemy, know yourself, your victory will not be hreatened . Know the weather, know the terrain, and your victories will be limitless .
#11 THE NINE VARIETIES OF GROUND Describes nine common situations (or stages) in a campaign, from scattering to deadly, and the specific focus you need to successfully navigate each of them. Those who do not know the conditions of forested mountains, the dangerous terrain of mountain paths and the treacherous nature of swamps and marshes will not be able to conduct the movement of troops. Those who do not use local guides will not be able to gain the advantages of the terrain.
#12 ATTACKING BY FIRE Explains the use of weapons generally and the use of the environment as a weapon specifically. It examines the five targets for attack, the five types of environmental attack, and the appropriate responses to such attack. T here are five ways to use fire to attack the enemy. The first way is to burn the enemy soldiers in their camp. The second way is to burn enemy’s stockpiles and provisions. Third way is to burn the heavy military equipment and supplies of the enemy. Fourth is to burn the armoury and warehouses of the enemy. The fifth way is to torch the transportation trains of the enemy.
#13 EMPLOYMENT OF SECRET AGENTS Focuses on the importance of developing good information sources, specifically the five types of sources and how to manage them. Only those who are wise will be able to use secret agents. Only those who are benevolent, loyal and just are able to deploy and use secret agents. Only those who are thorough and detailed will be able to decipher the truth embedded in espionage reports. Such is the intricacy and subtlety of espionage. Indeed, there is no place where espionage cannot be used.
“ He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.”
The Art of War In Actions
1) Win All Without Fighting : Capturing Your Market Without Destroying It 2) Avoid Strength, Attack Weakness: Striking Where the Competition is Vulnerable 3) Foreknowledge: Maximizing the Power of Business Intelligence 4) Speed and Preparation: Moving Swiftly to Overcome the Competition 5) Shaping the Opponent: Employing Strategy to Master the Competition 6) Character-based Leadership: Leading by Example 6 Thoughts that turns the Art of War into Actions
#1 Win All Without Fighting Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.
#2 Avoid Strength, Attack Weakness Now an army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strengths and attacks weakness.
#3 Foreknowledge: Determine the enemy ’ s plans and you will know which strategy will be successful and which will not .
#4 Speed and Preparation Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy ’ s lack of preparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions Preparation “ He who excels at resolving difficulties does so before they arise. He who excels in conquering his enemies triumphs before threats materialize.”
#5 Shaping the Opponent Therefore, those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.
#6 Character-based Leadership “ By command I mean the general’s qualities of wisdom, sincerity, humanity, courage and strictness. ” - If wise , a commander is able to recognize changing circumstances and to act expediently. - If sincere , his men will have no doubt of the certainty of rewards and punishments. - If humane , he loves mankind, sympathizes with others, and appreciates their industry and toil. - If courageous , he gains victory by seizing opportunity without hesitation. - If strict , his troops are disciplined because they are in awe of him and are afraid of punishment.”
• O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands. • Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient. • Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots. • You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid than those of the enemy. Lesson Learnt from the Art of War
• You must know the battle ground. You must know the time of battle. You can then travel a thousand of miles and still win the battle.
The enemy should not know the battleground. He shouldn ’ t know the time of battle. His left will be unable to support his right. His right will be unable to support his left. His front lines will be unable to support his rear. His rear will be unable to support his front. His support is distant even if it is only ten miles away. What unknown place can be close?
Lesson Learnt from the Art of War
• Control the balance of forces. The enemy may have many men but they are superfluous. How can they help him to win? • Be skilled in attacking – give the enemy no idea where to defend. Be skillful in your defense – give the enemy no idea of where to attack. Make war without a standard approach. Manage your military position like water. Water takes every shape. If you follow the enemy's shifts and changes, you can always win. We call this shadowing. • Fight five different campaigns without a firm rule for victory. Use all four seasons without a consistent position. Your timing must be sudden. A few weeks determine your failure or success. Lesson Learnt from the Art of War
Lesson Learnt from the Art of War
Time beyond our control . We do not control trends over time.
W e can only see them. These include peoples , emotions, attitudes,
P lace what we fight over , w here we fight the “mind share” of customers
- The 4 skills of strategy – Listen, Aim, Move, Clam
The 4 attacks – Battle, Seige, Surprise, Deception
- The first step is Analysis, not Planning, in comparative.
- Success is profiting from winning.
- There are different attacks for different skills.
The heart of Sun Tzu’s system is managing information
Lesson Learnt from the Art of War
Know yourself, your opposition, and the environment within which interaction will occur.
- Rely on your own preparations. Do not hope for success based on the opposition not preparing.
- At all times, and especially when strategies are in play, seek to keep all resources in profitable and advantageous positions. Likewise, quickly liquidate unprofitable positions and minimize exposure to situations with inordinate risk to uncertain market movements.
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."
Quotes of Sun Tzu
All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved . All warfare is based on deception. 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 . Quotes Of Sun Tzu
Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can? Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory. For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards . For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious . Quotes Of Sun Tzu
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious. Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack . If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril. If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity . If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near . Quotes Of Sun Tzu
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good . Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack. It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you . Give them instructions and care for them . Thus doubled agents are recruited and used . It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results. Quotes Of Sun Tzu
Know thy self, know thy enemy . A thousand battles, a thousand victories . Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge . 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. Quotes Of Sun Tzu
Opportunities multiply as they are seized . Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance. Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts . Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared . Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move . Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Quotes Of Sun Tzu
Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting . The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom . The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy . Quotes Of Sun Tzu
The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself . The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim. The skilful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man . The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited . Quotes Of Sun Tzu
There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare . Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory. Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy . To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. Quotes Of Sun Tzu
To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence . Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce . You have to believe in yourself. Quotes Of Sun Tzu
"He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them."