The Art of War - Thomas Cleary, Sun Tzu

Meet Sun Tzu.


While reading The Art of War, the thing I thought most was "my, what a large God Complex you have." Looking at this picture of him, I'm thinking the same thing.

Most of what's included are basic battle tactics. The way they're told, however, read as though the opponent couldn't possibly be as smart to do what we're going to do. I'm sure quite a lot of the wording changed in the translation and there's also a healthy dose of encouragement for the soldiers but, criminy, a little humility might also work here, eh? I could be completely wrong, here, as I've never participated in any battles/wars.

I like that Sun Tzu spoke a lot about using as little violence as possible and keeping the killing to a minimum but if you're faced with an opponent who is hell bent on violence and you don't fight back, you're just going to be very, very dead. That being said, at least half of the tactics are on evasion and capture of the enemy and little is on actual killing (though that's there, too) and if captives are in your camp, you're to treat them well.

There are many things that can be used in everyday life, as well.

For instance, this is an example of the non-violence teachings and something useful for people going about their everyday lives:

"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."

There's a lot of things like this included here. There's also a lot of arrogance, though, and I can't help but think that using some of these tactics (in everyday life, mostly) would make you reckless.

About halfway through, I started reading it less as battle tactics and more as a How To manual for criminals.

But that could just be that I've been watching too much White Collar.