“The Art of War” is an ancient Chinese military doctrine widely believed to have been written by one of history’s greatest military figures, Sun Tzu, who was a high-ranking general, strategist, and tactician in the 5th century BCE. Though a relatively short book, “The Art of War” consists of 13 chapters each covering one aspect of warfare, from the management of a state during periods of conflict, to understanding your enemy on the battlefield by respecting their advantages and exploiting their weaknesses. Despite it’s background, “The Art of War” is not a celebration of the honor and glory of making battle, but an insightful warning of recklessness and abuse of power. As well, peace should always be the objective before any conflict; therefore the road to war as a last resort. If war must come, victory should be obtained quickly and not prolonged to cause further suffering abroad and at home. Historians and generals today believe that if Western civilization had embraced such counsel, many of Europe and America’s bloodiest wars could have been avoided with fewer setbacks.
Ironically, “The Art of War” is not only referred to by present military powers, but is also a practical guide for athletes, lawyers, and businessmen. Now, why exactly would a treatise on ancient Chinese warfare pertain to any of today’s modern vocations? Simply put, many competitive industries value it’s insightful philosophy concerning the essence of preparation, the calculation of risks in decision-making, and the many roles of leadership in obtaining one’s objectives. Sun Tzu as a teacher instructs how to counter adversity through the employment of psychology, discipline, and awareness of your advantages and disadvantages (“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.”) “The Art of War” is an incredible book for anyone seeking self-improvement and empowerment, while understanding how to confront life’s predicaments through the perspectives of a rational commander.