The Art Of War

The Art Of War


Book Summary

The art of war

Sun Tzu

18 March, 2023

super-embed:<div class="sharethis-inline-share-buttons"></div>

“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.” - Sun Tzu

Key Takeaways

🔵 Conflict is inevitable

🔵 To be victorious in warfare, you should know yourself and your enemy.

🔵 Use tactics to defeat your enemies and know when to advance or retreat.

🔵 A good leader should be decisive, wise, and compassionate toward his troops.

🔵 A successful leader uses strategic planning and tactical advantages to achieve victory in battle with minimal losses.

🔵 Positioning forces correctly has advantages on both defensive and offensive fronts.

Big Ideas

Plan and strategize

The Art of War emphasizes planning and strategizing before engaging in any battle. It shouldn’t be about brute force, but applying wisdom and knowing when to be lenient. A leader goes to war only when necessary and conducts them with caution and precision.

A lack of proper planning before any military action is like asking for surprises. There can be no victory or even justification for that. So it’s necessary to plan, strategize and expect your opponents’ strategies too. Think of strategic locations first before charging ahead.

Sometimes, it’s in everyone’s best interest to negotiate peace treaties with adversaries. Even Sun Tzu suggests the wise general knows when to fight and when not to. With that, you can win without resorting to open conflict.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Many things knowing your abilities and limitations can do for you. Not only in warfare, but in everyday life. Once you understand them, you can then create a plan to maximize these strengths while exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses.

Even in real life, leveraging your skills to achieve your goals is much easier if you recognize them, while acknowledging your weaknesses enables you to improve or compensate for those areas that need work.

Do well to understand your capabilities, and you can build a formidable army. The one capable of conquering new territories while minimizing losses on the battlefield.

Never underestimate your opponent

In any situation, underrating an opponent leads to complacency and eventual defeat. This explains why one of the famous quotes from the art of war states that if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

It’s only after studying your opponent’s strengths you can develop strategies to gain an advantage. A weaker opponent can win if they outsmart their stronger adversaries. Pair it with careful positioning and you’ll emerge victorious without lifting a finger.

Therefore, evaluate your opponent’s tactics and adjust your strategies to match. Be vigilant at all times and always prepare for unexpected challenges.

Employ Deception tactics

Spies are very important in warfare. They provide valuable information about the enemy’s movements, strengths, and weaknesses. Using spies can help you mislead your opponent into believing false information or even lure them into traps.

Create chaos and confusion among your enemies. Use fake attacks, fake retreats, and other maneuvers to keep your opponents guessing about your intentions. Trick them into making strategic mistakes or wasting resources on unnecessary defenses.

These lessons in Sun Tzu’s art of war summary are necessary to remain relevant in all areas of life. Even in games like the Sun Tzu rise of kingdoms, players use these tactics to outwit their opponents for victory or just for fun.

Position forces correctly

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu emphasizes the importance of proper positioning in warfare. He believes that positioning forces in the right places gives you an edge over the enemy.

Always consider terrain and proximity during troop placement. For example, position archers on high ground for better visibility and range. Then, place cavalry units near pastures or stables for quick reinforcements.

Placing them too close together may make them vulnerable to attacks from enemies. You’d have to use misdirection and confusion to deceive your opponents to gain an upper hand. With these, your chance of victory on the battlefield is sure.

How The Art of War changed me

Even though it’s about strategy and tactics for warfare, the Art of War book has had profound effects on my life. For example, knowing yourself and knowing your enemy is what I use when negotiating with people or dealing with difficult situations.

While preparing for job interviews, it helps me to prepare for the questions and how best to answer them. The deception part is an eye-opener. I’m learning to think two steps ahead when setting up successful strategies or negotiations.

Who is The Art of War for?

Whether you’re in business, politics, military, or sports, the tactical advice on deception tactics, and positioning makes it an essential read for those ready to master their craft.

The book goes in depth. You’ll learn to plan, and assess your opponents, when to attack or retreat, and how to use deception tactics. It’s an insightful read for understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses to help make better decisions in all spheres of life, military or not.

Leave A Comment

super-embed:<div id="fastcomments-widget"></div>
super-embed:<script src=""></script>
window.FastCommentsUI(document.getElementById('fastcomments-widget'), {
    "tenantId": "IiDMUXjg9M1m"



About Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general and military strategist who lived in the 6th century BC. He is widely considered an influential strategist, and many modern generals and military leaders have studied his works. Global militaries have adopted his advice on how to win wars without actually fighting throughout history.


Isak Vidinghoff is a Strategic Life Coach and Content Creator. He communicates personal development strategies to help people find purpose and meaning to live their fullest potential in life.

super-embed:<div class="sharethis-inline-follow-buttons"></div>

| Let’s Connect

super-embed:<div class="sharethis-inline-follow-buttons"></div>

© 2023 Wellsquire. All Rights Reserved

| Newsletter

Sign up for inside information, exclusive content and limited discount codes

super-embed:<iframe src="" scrolling="no"></iframe>