Nanosynergy's Reviews > Art of War

Art of War by Sun Tzu
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Oct 17, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction, asian, lifetime-list, reviewed
Read from November 11 to 14, 2008 , read count: 2

The Art of War has been on my ‘to read’ list for a long time because it seems to be frequently referenced and I wanted to read the source of the hype. Sun Tzu’s lists of adages are grouped by topic into 13 chapters (see helpful overview at Wiki Art of War.

The chapter titles are: 1) Laying Plans (Detail Assessment & Planning, Calculations); 2) Waging War (The Challenge); 3)Attack by Stratagem (Strategic Attack, The Plan of Attack); 4) Tactical Dispositions (Disposition of the Army, Positioning); 5) Energy (Forces, Directing); 6) Weak Points & Strong (Weaknesses & Strengths, Illusion & Reality); 7) Maneuvering (Military Maneuvers, Engaging the Force); 8) Variation in Tactics (Variations & Adaptability, The Nine Variations); 9) The Army on the March (Movement & Development of Troops, Moving the Force); 10) Terrain (Situational Positioning); 11) The Nine Situations (The Nine Battlegrounds); 12) The Attack by Fire (Attacking with Fire, The Fiery Attack); 13) The Use of Spies (Intelligence and Espionage, The Use of Intelligence).

This is more a book to be studied and discussed, rather than read. I’ve never read a military strategy book and have no background to really judge this book’s value in the field, except to note that it appears to be an important text still used today in military training academies. For me, the book has the same feel of a business advice or self-help book, summarizing common sense observations/advice. It is not a page turner. Sections are repetitive and other sections I apparently don’t have the background to understand and will have to consult some secondary sources – should I want to pursue this further. Once I got used to the style of writing, I did find sections very interesting and relevant and am glad I took the time to slog through it.

My first read of this book was a 4-CD version I found on sale. I listened to it while driving my kids to/from lessons. They found it boring. The reader, Joe Mantegna, does a good job. However, as I discovered, this is not the best book to first experience in audio format. It is better suited to an initial visual read. I ended up also reading it online at and at Gutenberg Art of War and then re-listening.
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02/28/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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seeseesee This is more a book to be studied and discussed, rather than read.
The most intelligent and understanding sentence of all sentences written in all the reviews combined. +1

Lola This isn't the Davinci code or some corny romance novel -.-...

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