The Art of War was written more than 2,000 years ago. The book was written by the ancient Chinese general Sun-Xu around 500 BC.
Although thousands of years old, The Art of War is still an essential guide for military and business leaders. Many of the world’s great generals, CEOs, and entrepreneurs have spoken of learning from this book.
The book was originally written about the strategy of defeating the enemy in battle. However, the book is full of great lessons to be learned to stay ahead of the competition in many important fields including business, sports, not just war.
According to Business Insider, one of the world’s leading business websites, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once indirectly threatened Snapchat CEO, Evan Spiegel. He hinted to Evan that Facebook would not let Snapchat stand. He will finish Snapchat before he can do anything. Snapchat was just a project of 6 people. And then Facebook became a giant. Evan should be a little scared. On his way back from that meeting, he bought seven copies of Sun-Xu’s Art of War for everyone on the team.
Currently, the user growth of Snapchat in Europe and America is higher than that of Facebook. This is called the main social platform of the next generation.
Snapchat CEO Sun-Xu’s book is credited with coming so far in the face of threats from giants like Facebook.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition in any area of life – The Art of War can do you a lot of good. And that is why we are summarizing the main points of the book in this book review. So that you can understand and apply the basic ideas of the book. It will also help you to understand the contents while reading the original book.
Detailed book review of The Art of War:
The Art of War is divided into 13 chapters. Each chapter deals with different tactics of war. Some of this involves managing your troops, and some involve the strategy of defeating your opponents in various ways. In addition to warfare, preparing yourself to compete in other fields, training your team for proper teamwork, and defeating your opponents in real competition. It will be very useful.
We will share the main points of these strategies in 13 points.
01. Management: Care for team members, but be strict when needed
According to Sun-Xu, 5 mistakes of a team leader can lead to terrible consequences
I) Working without thinking, destroy any organization
II) Lack of courage, it loses people before it loses
III) Getting angry even in light insults without keeping your head cool. It gives the opponent a lot of advantages.
IV) Expect respect from everyone. It prevents you from making tough decisions in times of need.
V) Excessive worries for one’s people. This prevents him from accepting the sacrifice if necessary.
“Treat your soldiers as if they were your children,” said Sun-Xu. Then they will follow you to the most dangerous areas. Look at them the way you look at your boys. Then they will stand with you smiling and facing death. ”
In the book Art of War, Sun-Xu tells soldiers to treat their fathers the same way. Just as a father embraces his child with absolute love, he can show extreme harshness for the good of the child when needed.
In addition to the above statement, he also said these words:
“If you indulge them, but you cannot establish your authority; If you can’t establish the importance of your instructions as well as being kind; If you cannot disperse the chaos – then there is no difference between your child and the soldiers. They will not be of any real use. ”
He further said, “If the captain is weak and has zero authority; When his instructions are not clear and strong; When specific tasks for officers and soldiers are not fixed; And when the ranks of the members are not precise – the result is chaos. ”
02. Management: The best people need to be in the team;
Because weak and frustrated workers will cripple you too
When soldiers are stronger as human beings than their officers, orders begin to be disobeyed. And when the officers are more powerful than the soldiers, the soldiers become immobile.
When the officers dare to disobey the orders of the Commander-in-Chief – they will go into battle with the opponent at will. Will not wait for the instructions of the Commander-in-Chief. And the result will be certain destruction.
03. Strategy: You need to know the enemy/opponent well
“If we know our troops are ready to attack, but we don’t know whether our enemy is ready or not, then we are not on the verge of complete victory,” said Sun-Xu at the Art of War.
Before dealing directly with the enemy, there are a few things to consider:
I) Which of the two teams has the most experienced and skilled team leader?
II) Which side do people follow more discipline?
III) Which force is stronger in terms of weapons and manpower?
IV) Which party’s officers are more highly trained?
V) Which force rewards good deeds and punishes bad deeds more?
These are just some of the goal-setting shareware that you can use. Understand where you are ahead of the opponent – plan the attack accordingly. Avoid the area where the enemy is stronger than you, and focus on strengthening that part of your force or organization.
Don’t put your troops at risk unless you have a real advantage. Anger or stubbornness is worthless here. Do not fight directly unless necessary.
You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. Must also have the right idea of the enemy’s strength and readiness. Otherwise, victory will not be guaranteed.
04. Tactics: All good fighting tactics depend on deception
At this stage of the Art of War, like the Sun-Zoo, the bait in front of the enemy is like a fishing rod for a fish. Let him know that you are weak now – it will be easier to lose you now. If necessary, give fake news to the ears of the enemy. Act. If he swallows the bait and comes to attack you, you can surprise him. There is no greater weapon in war than to surprise the enemy. If you can give a good surprise, the opponent will give up and accept defeat in many cases. Such tactics have worked in many wars throughout history.
05. Strategy: Sure decisions have to be made, and the pace of this work has to be fast
According to Sun-Xu, clever people are never too late to do the right thing. Waste of time is a sign of stupidity.
No country has ever benefited from a protracted war. Quick decision-making and implementation are like catching prey with the help of a hawk. Which kills its prey before it realizes anything.
Therefore, a good fighter must have the ability to make quick decisions. If you spend a lot of time thinking about what will happen next with one blow, you will see that the enemy has hit and is sitting.
Another lesson from the Art of War is that the forces that come first on the battlefield will stay ahead. You will be able to plan according to the environment of the battlefield – and you will have a lot of peace of mind. On the other hand, those who come later will be left behind.
Speed is a fundamental element of war victory. The faster you prepare, the more impact your attack will have.
06. Tactics: Take advantage of the enemy’s weakness;
The places of his strength must be avoided
Sun-Xu said, “If your opponent gets angry easily, try to annoy him further by annoying and insulting him. Increase his self-confidence by pretending to be weak. Hit him where he is not ready, show him where he is not expecting you. ”
“If we want, we can bring the enemy into the open,” he said. Even though he takes refuge in a high fort or a deep hole. All we have to do is the strike at the place where he will be forced to resist. ”
The right way to go in battle is to hit the enemy where he is strong and where he is weak.
In ancient times, enemy forces did not destroy the resources of just one country. The main reason for this is to prevent the enemy from coming out of their stronghold.
07. Strategy: Don’t do anything just to make sure it works
Do not do anything just out of desire or emotion. Before you do anything, judge the pros and cons. If there is no real benefit in doing something – don’t do it. To act on the battlefield without judging the outcome means defeat and death.
08. Strategy: Plan ahead; Do not work and plan together
Make specific plans long before you go to war or work. Consider all aspects of time.
Observe the condition of the people in your team closely. Do not overwork them. In addition to this, look at your strength, try to increase your physical and mental energy. And most importantly, make plans with your peers that are difficult for outsiders to guess.
Sun-Joo likened a true warrior to a species of mountain snake called Suai-Jan. When it hits the snake’s head, it attacks with its tail. If he attacks the tail, he will attack with his head. And if attacked in the middle of his body, he will attack with his head and tail at the same time.
“We are not ready to attack any country until we know the whole picture of that country,” he said. Its mountains and jungles, ditches, river channels – everything we need to know. Otherwise, the opponents will use their environment as a weapon. That’s why you need to know about that country. Someone from that country has to be the guide. ”
In short, a truly tactful leader plans well in advance of the task at hand. Take advantage of all possible opportunities.
09. Caution: No one can be attacked if they are angry
At this stage of the Art of War, Sun-Xu said, “No intelligent leader should send troops into battle for his anger or pride. No true general fights out of anger. ”
10. Importance of information: All the information about the opponent must be confirmed and fight
The most important thing that can help an army hero to win a war is accurate information about the enemy. Information that ordinary people can never get.
Sun-Xu said there is talk of magic-tones about getting such information. But in the true sense of the word, it is impossible to obtain such an impossible secret through magic or sitting at home.
Accurate and accurate information about the opponent can be obtained only with one’s trusted person stationed in the enemy camp. Simply put, the use of spies.
He cannot be made a spy unless he is very intelligent, brave, and shrewd. The spies have to choose very carefully. At the same time, they have to manage their work in a very clever way.
The person who will be in charge of managing these spies and receiving their reports – has to be very intelligent. The veracity of their report must be verified in a very subtle way. Being able to use spies properly means you will have the inside information of the enemy.
If there is no accurate information about the opponent, a general can make a mistake like sending a small army against a large army. To select the right person for a campaign, the general must have accurate information about the target of that campaign. Otherwise, the chances of failure are high.
No matter how strong the weapons and armies maybe, if the enemy has no accurate idea of their strengths and weaknesses, their habits and tactics of combat – even a relatively large force can be defeated by a small force. Again, this accurate information can help a small and weakly armed force to win against a very strong opponent.
11. How to lose: Tell soldiers something they can’t; Give promotions to ineligible people; Excessive workload on the team
At this point in the Art of War book, Sun-Xu says that a leader can bring misfortune to his army/team in three ways:
I) unreasonably telling the forces to move forward or backward (in war). Trying to force one’s people to do something even after knowing the impossibility. It cripples an army or team.
II) If the king wants to manage the army like other affairs of the kingdom. In many places, the king’s will is the last word. But that is not the case with team management. It causes unrest and anger among the soldiers.
III) Appointing officers without considering proper qualifications. Deploying incompetent people without understanding the situation. It destroys the confidence of ordinary soldiers.
An intelligent commander prefers team strength to personal strength. He puts the right people in the right place and uses the power of the whole team in the right way.
Team strength shapes a force like a round stone. Depending on the individual, the force is shaped like a four-cornered piece of wood. Round rocks may be firmly fixed on the plane, but when the ground is sloping, they roll together. On the other hand, square pieces of wood stop in one place at all times.
It is necessary to build it like a round stone so that the team can go to one side together when needed.
12. Management: Some necessary advice
In the morning a soldier’s working condition is best. In the middle of the day, it starts to get light. In the evening his mind became restless to return to the camp.
Sun-Xu said, “If you see your army standing on arms, you will understand that it is weakened by hunger. If those who are sent to fetch water start drinking there, then the whole army will suffer from thirst. ”
Another important suggestion of Art of War is:
# If there is trouble in the camp, the general’s authority is weak.
# If you see banners and flags are not in place, then you will understand that the law is not being obeyed properly.
# If you see the officers are angry, you will understand that the soldiers are tired.
To solve these problems, Art of War advises: A skilled general will manage his forces in such a way – as if he is managing only one man. This means that he will have an equal eye on everyone.
A general must be serious, honest, and straightforward to maintain order. He will be respected and well-behaved by all – but he will always be kept a secret among his officers and soldiers. What he thinks is that no one should know it completely. As a result, officers and soldiers will be in the same position.
Sometimes he would surprise his subordinates with a sudden reward or an instruction. Only then will he be able to lead the whole army as one man can.
13. Victory: Who wins? And why win?
In his book The Art of War, Sun-Ju describes who wins the war and why. He wrote about 5 essential elements for victory. You can also call them the summary of the whole book. Let’s take a brief look:
I) He will win, who knows when to fight, and when not to.
II) The winner will be the one who knows how to handle both types of opponents – stronger and weaker than himself.
Iii) He will win, whose whole army has the same ideals, motives, and inspiration.
IV) He will win, who prepares himself and waits for the enemy to be unprepared
V) The winner will be the one who has the military strength, and the one who is not influenced by the outsiders.
According to Sun-Xu, the best victory is to capture the enemy’s country completely intact. There is no benefit in wasting resources unnecessarily. He further writes that it is more profitable to capture the enemy than to destroy it.
A truly skilled army hero can surrender to an opponent without a fight; He occupied the city without siege; He can remove the king from the throne without a long struggle.
A truly good warrior can keep the defeat away from himself, but he can never guarantee the defeat of the enemy in a face-to-face battle.
That’s why Art of War’s best advice is: “(Using the right techniques)
People can be victorious without the power to win. ”
The teachings of the Art of War have been equally effective for thousands of years. Sun-Xu has pointed out that even if there is no power, the battle can be won only with strategy and intelligence. And the effectiveness of his philosophy has been proven for thousands of years.
We hope that this guideline of defeating the opponent, using your strength in the right way will also benefit you. If this book review helps you a little bit on the way to winning in any field of life – then our work is successful.