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“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu Essay

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Updated: Jan 14th, 2022

Introduction

The Art of War was a book written by Sun Tzu during the year 610 BC. The author tried to provide the knowledge and skills on military strategies which could be applied across various fields and in the day to day activities of various groups of individuals. The targeted groups include those in the military, the businessmen and sportsmen. The book has gained popularity over the many years and has been used for various applications in the Western society (Tzu, p. 14).

Book report

Sun Tzu is also known to have written the book, The Lost Art of War, which is related to the first book. He has been accepted as a historical figure of his time. He can also be considered as a politician since he ruled under the king as a military general. Through his occupation, it would be correct to say that Tzu is in a position and is qualified to advice on military strategies and other related skills.

The sources from which the author derives his ideas are very reliable since he talks out of experience. He was a qualified scholar who wrote a lot on military activities. He was also known to have had a successful career in military since he successfully applied his theories in war.

The book is organized into 13 chapters and has been described as a formal and logically written discourse on the subject of Chinese military. It was written during the 6th Century BC. It has since been translated into many languages but was first translated into the French language in 1782. Each chapter of the book gives a detailed explanation of a particular feature of warfare.

Sun Tzu wrote a total of thirteen essays in his book. The first essay is on estimates (Tzu, p. 44). It describes war as a vital tool in a state and outlines the five constants that are critical in a person’s thoughtfulness. The second essay is on waging war. The theme emphasizes on speed and cost. Sun also talks of the offensive strategy. This shows the strategies employed in winning without the need of fighting or shedding blood.

The forth essay, dispositions, talks about the use of wisdom and knowledge to conquer (Tzu, p. 54). It outlines the skills of defense and how not to make mistakes. The other essay on energy emphasizes on management and organization through numbers. Tzu also identifies the first group that arrives at the battle field as being stronger and this requires the group to be swift. The other essays are on terrain, marches, attacking by fire and the employment of secret agents.

The book does not only have influence on military strategy and tactics but also on business tactics (Tzu, p. 121). This can be seen by the way some fights were not necessarily accomplished through battles. This book has found applications outside military and has become a training guide for various groups of people in the society. There are actually various business books that have been written and several strategies employed from Sun’s book. Some corporate strategies and methods of handling some issues of the office have also been devised from the book. In some companies in Japan, it has been made a prerequisite for executives to read through the book.

The Art of War has also gained popularity in many Western countries concerning the subject of business management. Its usefulness has been seen in the way the information within may be used as an inspiration as it provides good advice on the way to gain success in tough situations in business. The information in Sun’s book has also seen its way in the marketing field especially in competitive advantage. Before the book was translated, the Chinese version was basically a mathematical analysis of competitive advantage and other business ideas.

Though the translation was in military terms, the original information could be directly translated into business marketing terminologies. A number of ideas on ethical issues on business can also be picked from the text in the book. Tzu gives vital information on how to behave in an ethical manner when it comes to business and also provides information on how to succeed in a competitive environment. The battle that he describes gives a picture of the competitive battles that occur among business men and women. He does not support such battles since they always lead to the overuse and waste of money. He believes that this is not worthwhile. Sun believes that making profits from such an activity is almost impossible.

The author addressed his purpose clearly and pointing out mistakes (if any) from his work is difficult or impossible. The author agrees with the limited knowledge that I have on the subjects of military arts and business strategies. The author’s writing style is impressive and adds flavor to the book since it gets interesting with every page.

The book by Sun Tzu has a variety of audiences and does not apply to a particular group only. This makes it a useful tool for many in the society. The first group of people is the military. The book offers useful tips on military tactics. The book may also be useful to business people or students pursuing business related courses. The book also offers useful tips to sports persons.

Conclusion

The book, The Art of War, is a book that has caught the attention of many and has gained popularity in many nations of the world. The knowledge gained from the book helps many groups of individuals in the society as they are able to apply it in their various fields. Most of all, it is a handy tool for students who are seeking to face challenges head on.

Works Cited

Tzu, Sun. The Art of War. Trans. Samuel B. Griffith. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963. Print.

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