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  #1  
Old 20 Nov 09, 01:45
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Sun Tzu Art of War

What do you think about this tractate? Which sentense or thought is your favorite?
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  #2  
Old 01 Dec 09, 22:24
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It's a great book. However, I think that people take it too far and fall into the myth of critical thinking. The Art of War has a specific historical, political, and cultural context. People are too free with taking it into areas that Sun Tzu is not discussing.
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Old 01 Dec 09, 22:42
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All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
- Sun Tzu, the Art of War


I am one of those who think that the teachings of Sun Tzu can be applied to many fields of study.
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Old 02 Dec 09, 01:21
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I think you are both right. Sun Tzu and Clausevitz are books primarly on war, however they are also philosophical works, and as such they can be used in any confilct situation: economics, politics or even daily life. However it needs creative interpretation.
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Old 02 Dec 09, 19:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Memnon_Soter View Post
I think you are both right. Sun Tzu and Clausevitz are books primarly on war, however they are also philosophical works, and as such they can be used in any confilct situation: economics, politics or even daily life. However it needs creative interpretation.
There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army: By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey; This is called hobbling the army. By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army; This causes restlessness in the soldier's minds. By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.
-Sun Tzu, the Art of War
Maybe President Obama should have read this one?

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Old 03 Dec 09, 01:03
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There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army: By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey; This is called hobbling the army. By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army; This causes restlessness in the soldier's minds. By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.
-Sun Tzu, the Art of War
Maybe President Obama should have read this one?

Why do you think he didn't?
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Old 08 Dec 09, 14:44
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On the current note: What evidence would bring anyone to presume or infer that President Obama has spent any time studying any military sciences or arts, aside from possibly watching Glory or a Band of Brother's Marathon (and I doubt the last one, because BoB definitively shows the costliness in every area of indecisive leadership)? I don't believe that the Pres. should become the 'Grand Admiral' and take over military operations, but I do believe he should be capable of understanding the smaller decisions necessary, so he can make the larger ones.

On Sun Tzu. Great book, lots of good principles. It's good for someone at a presidential or JCS level, where spouting of sound principles can work to inspire your subordinates into making plans along those principles. However, it does not provide a single piece of instruction that is useful for someone that needs instruction on the science of war. I'd recommend reading it once you've gotten a solid grip on the science of war and commanding troops in the field.

As for it being useful in other fields, many of his principles have been woven into Law Enforcement. In fact, I'd say that Sun Tzu would probably be most proud of the operations of criminal patrol, street level narcotics, and highway interdiction units. Deception is the name of the game in these areas.
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Old 09 Dec 09, 20:22
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Duncan, I think it is important you point out that the work does have a specific context and while it's vague/theoretical enough to be applied to a lot of situations, it certainly can't apply to ALL of them.

As far as useful military works, I found Robert Greene's "33 Strategies of War" much more applicable to real-life and it draws from so many military texts.
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Old 09 Dec 09, 20:54
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Old 10 Dec 09, 05:48
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Good book, and for my money far more readable than Clauswitz. I personally feel some of the underlying principles are still valid but the book itself is as limited in its application as any other text of that type. Responses to things are so situational now days that even thinking about having one guiding star of a text is too limiting on its face. As I said, it's a good book which should probably be required reading for all military and LE personnel, so long as there are many others next to it which present alternate points or suggestions.
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Old 28 Feb 10, 20:01
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Here is some links to Sun Tzu Art of War so you can read it free online. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/17405 this one is to the book. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20594 this one is to the audio book.
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Old 03 Mar 10, 15:55
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“Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the Way to survival or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed.”

The art of war is very applicable to today. especially politically and in business. I've posted this before but if you really want to understand the art of war in the context of ancient warfare you should also read "the three kingdoms". it really is eye opening.

if you don't like to read there is a chinese movie called "red cliffs" or "romance of the three kingdoms" that depicts the first half of the second volume of the book. the movie takes a number of liberties but its still pretty good. The first hour and half does outline some amazing tactics and strategies that come from the art of war.
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Old 03 Mar 10, 16:12
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I like the book, but do not like that it has become en vogue with the business yuppies. So there goes the yuppie boss who never really studied warfare, probably never served in the military either, reading Sun Tzu to get that farcical competitive edge. His main objective in life is to rise in the corporate hierarchy to a corner office and to have his waist size and golf score converge to same number. So he reads books from Sun Tzu and Clausewitz and his paparazzi, who praise Fellatio Hornblower, declare the yuppie boss to be an enlightened leader for reading the esoteric. Hushed whispers of awe are rendered by the papparazzi in the hallways within earshot of the boss, "the boss is reading Sun Tzu!"

The yuppie boss gets so inspired the next thing we know he invents credit default swaps. What a warrior!

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Old 03 Mar 10, 21:29
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I like the book, but do not like that it has become en vogue with the business yuppies. So there goes the yuppie boss who never really studied warfare, probably never served in the military either, reading Sun Tzu to get that farcical competitive edge. His main objective in life is to rise in the corporate hierarchy to a corner office and to have his waist size and golf score converge to same number. So he reads books from Sun Tzu and Clausewitz and his paparazzi, who praise Fellatio Hornblower, declare the yuppie boss to be an enlightened leader for reading the esoteric. Hushed whispers of awe are rendered by the papparazzi in the hallways within earshot of the boss, "the boss is reading Sun Tzu!"

The yuppie boss gets so inspired the next thing we know he invents credit default swaps. What a warrior!
... I may resemble some of these remarks...
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Old 03 Mar 10, 21:32
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... I may resemble some of these remarks...
Not if you are on this website
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