20 Powerful Sun Tzu Quotes That Will Transform Your Understanding of Life

Sun Tzu was a famous Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher. He is most renowned for his book The Art of War, a widely influential military strategy book that affected both Western and Eastern philosophy.

He is also known for his biting philosophy on life and how to win. Below are some of his best quotes from his famous book The Art of War. Enjoy!

1) All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear 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.

2) Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

3) If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

4) Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.

5) The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

6) Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

7) 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.

8) Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

9) Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

10) Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

11) 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.

12) Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.

13) If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

14) Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.

15) If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

16) Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.

17) There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

18) Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.

19) Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

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


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