Read an Excerpt
Part One: Sun Tzu's
Art of War
Of old the skilled first made themselves invincible to await the enemy's vincibility.
Invincibility lies in oneself.
Vincibility lies in the enemy.
Thus the skilled can make themselves invincible.
They cannot cause the enemy's vincibility.
Thus it is said, "Victory can be known. It cannot be made."
Invincibility is defense.
Vincibility is attack.
Defend and one has a surplus.
Attack and one is insufficient.
Of old those skilled at defense hid below the nine earths and moved above the nine heavens.
Thus they could preserve themselves and be all-victorious.
In seeing victory, not going beyond what everyone knows is not skilled.
Victory in battle that all-under-heaven calls skilled is not skilled.
Thus lifting an autumn hair does not mean great strength.
Seeing the sun and the moon does not mean a clear eye.
Hearing thunder does not mean a keen ear.
So-called skill is to be victorious over the easily defeated.
Thus the battles of the skilled are without extraordinary victory, without reputation for wisdom and without merit for courage.
And so one's victories are without error.
Being without error, what one arranges is necessarily victorious
Since one is victorious over the defeated.
One skilled at battle takes a stand in the ground of no defeat.
And so does not lose the enemy's defeat.
the victorious military is first victorious and after that does battle.
The defeated military first does battle and after that seeks victory.
And so one who is skilled cultivates Tao and preserves method.
Thus one can be the measure of victory and defeat.
As for method—
The fifth is victory.
Earth gives birth to length.
Length gives birth to volume.
Volume gives birth to counting.
Counting gives birth to weighing.
Weighing gives birth to victory.
victorious military is like weighing a hundredweight against a grain.
defeated military is like weighing a grain against a hundredweight.
One who weighs victory sets the people to battle like releasing amassed water into a gorge one thousand
This is form.