The Best Sun Tzu Quotes From The Art of War

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Sun Tzu was an impressive Chinese military figure in the 5th century B.C. Best known for The Art of War, his book is still widely read today. Sun Tzu quotes give us amazing insight into this military genius’s brain.

During Sun Tzu’s life, China was not yet a unified country. Instead, there were six or seven states making up China. With such divisions, war was always a threat.

Sun Tzu’s was a top military general and strategist. War was always on his brain. So, he documented his experiences through his remarkable book The Art of War.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting" Sun Tzu - Teach Different

When it comes to strategy, Sun Tzu had a fascinating perspective on how to control the enemy. Sun Tzu was a Taoist, an ancient Chinese religion still practiced today. This religion is based on nature and simplicity, which heavily influenced Sun Tzu’s perspective.

Sun Tzu’s words still remain relevant today. No matter how ancient this military strategist is, his words still can teach us a lot about how to conquer an enemy, in and beyond war. 

Here are the Best Sun Tzu Quotes from The Art of War

  1. “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”
  2. “The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.”
  3.  “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
  4. “It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy.”
  5. “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.”
  6. “Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.”
  7. “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
  8. “Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm.”
  9. “Great results can be achieved with small forces.”
  10. “The wise warrior avoids the battle.”BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Sun Tzu and The Art of War
  11. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
  12. “When one treats people with benevolence, justice, and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.”
  13. “If quick, I survive. If not quick, I am lost. This is death.”
  14. “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
  15. “One mark of a great soldier is that he fight on his own terms or fights not at all.”
  16. “The worst calamities that befall an army arise from hesitation.”Sun Tzu Would Have Made a Great Program Director! | Broadcast Programming &  Research
  17. “If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”
  18. “The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.”
  19. “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”
  20. “Who wishes to fight must first count the cost.”
  21. “To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
  22. “If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.”
  23. “One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.”
  24. “There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen. There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”
  25. “Who does not know the evils of war cannot appreciate its benefits.”
Sun Tzu: How to Use Military Strategy to Build Better Habits
These Sun Tzu quotes definitely take you on a thousand-year-old journey. War may not be something we want to think about every day. But, these ancient Sun Tzu quotes are small pieces of history we shouldn’t forget.

If you want to read more, pick up The Art of War online or at a local book store near you.

Do you enjoy ancient Chinese philosophy? Check out this next article which features the best Confucius quotes here on CleverQuotes.com.

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