The Seven Military Classics of China

The Seven Military Classics of China

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by Ralph D. Sawyer
     
 

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The Seven Military Classics is one of the most profound studies of warfare ever written. It presents us with an Eastern tradition of strategic thought that emphasizes outwitting one’s opponent through speed, stealth, flexibility, and a minimum of force—an approach very different from that stressed in the West, where the advantages of brute

Overview


The Seven Military Classics is one of the most profound studies of warfare ever written. It presents us with an Eastern tradition of strategic thought that emphasizes outwitting one’s opponent through speed, stealth, flexibility, and a minimum of force—an approach very different from that stressed in the West, where the advantages of brute strength have overshadowed more subtle methods.Safeguarded for centuries by the ruling elites of imperial China, even in modern times these writings have been known only to a handful of Western specialists. In this volume are seven separate essays, written between 500 b.c. and a.d. 700, that preserve the essential tenets of strategy distilled from the experience of the most brilliant warriors of ancient China.Only one of these seven essays, Sun Tzu’s famous Art of War, has been readily available in the West. Thanks to this faithful translation of the complete Seven Military Classics, the insights of these ancient Chinese texts are now accessible in their entirety.It’s not uncommon to see a “salaryman” on a crowded Tokyo subway studying one of the many popular Japanese editions of these essays. But why do so many businesspeople in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan study a 2,000-year-old military text? Because it embodies the strategic tradition of outwitting an opponent through speed, stealth, flexibility, and a minimum of effort. These principles have been proven both on the battlefield and in the marketplace. Now they are available in the West for the first time in their entirety.The lessons found in this book were exploited by such pivotal Asian war leaders as Japan’s Yamamoto, China’s Mao Tse-tung, and Vietnam’s Giap to inflict terrible defeats on their enemies. And in more recent times, when Japan and others have decided to win their laurels on the field of international economic competition, these principles have been a key to the achievements of many Asian corporations. Executives in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan regularly study the Seven Military Classics. Unfortunately, even those far-sighted Western business leaders who have read Sun Tzu have glimpsed only a fraction of the knowledge their best Asian competitors use to plan corporate strategy—until now.Those who appreciate Chinese literature and philosophy will also discover much that is new in these pages. Here is a substantial but previously inaccessible body of thought that stands in contrast to Confucianism, which deprecated the military sphere in favor of self-cultivation and the ethical life.The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China remedies a serious gap in Western knowledge of Asian thought. This accurate translation is based on the best available classical Chinese manuscripts, some only recently discovered by archaeologists. It is a uniquely important contribution to the world’s military literature and is essential reading for anyone interested in China’s rich cultural heritage or in the timeless principles of successful strategy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465003044
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
11/06/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
1,122,617
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author


Ralph D. Sawyer, one of America’s leading scholars in Chinese warfare, has worked extensively with major intelligence and defense agencies. After studying at MIT and Harvard and a brief stint of university teaching, Sawyer has spent the past thirty years lecturing and doing international consulting work focused on China.

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The Seven Military Classics of China 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
The parallels between business and warfare evoke images of brilliant generals leading armies and brilliant CEOs leading businesses. Platoons battle and businesses compete with bold, wily strategies and superior execution. Given these similarities, do the classic sagas of seven ancient Chinese military strategists have insight and wisdom that might benefit today's business leaders? For the answer, read the "translator's introductions" that open each chapter in sinologist Ralph D. Sawyer's substantive book. His notes explain how these ancient strategists won their battles with the least possible military force. Sawyer presents them as sage theoreticians who were masters at outwitting their opponents. Unlike most Western military theorists, China's ancient tacticians emphasized, "speed, stealth.flexibility," still quite useful skills. getAbstract recommends this fascinating, deeply expert compilation to anyone who wants an educated overview of seven venerable Chinese military classics. Their authority and precision of thought will intrigue modern strategists as they have interested statesmen and military leaders throughout time.