Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Art of War by Sun Tzu this month's featured ebook classic

Over the weekend I watched the Chinese movie epic Red Cliff parts 1 and 2 directed by John Woo. Except for a couple minor goofy flaws, it's a tremendous and exciting movie. While watching it, I particularly enjoyed how the master strategist applied principles similar to those detailed in the famous ancient work by Sun Tzu The Art of War.

The Art of War provides very interesting reading. Although it comes from an ancient world, the essence of Sun Tzu's advice remains relevant today.

Sun Tzu said:

In the operations of war,
where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots,
as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand
mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them
a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front,
including entertainment of guests, small items such as
glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor,
will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day.
Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

When you engage in actual fighting, if victory
is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and
their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town,
you will exhaust your strength.

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources
of the State will not be equal to the strain.

Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped,
your strength exhausted and your treasure spent,
other chieftains will spring up to take advantage
of your extremity. Then no man, however wise,
will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war,
cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

There is no instance of a country having benefited
from prolonged warfare.

In my classics collection, I have prepared in multiple ebook formats The Art of War.