The Art of War (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Art of War (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview



The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

“A clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.” So wrote Sun Tzu 2,500 years ago, and kings, soldiers, and statesmen have been turning to the Chinese master for his astute observations ever since.

Sun Tzu’s incisive blueprint for battlefield strategy is as relevant to today’s combatants in business, politics, and everyday life as it once was to the warlords of ancient China. The Art of War is one of the most useful books ever written on leading with wisdom, an essential tool for modern corporate warriors battling to gain the advantage in the boardroom and for anyone struggling to gain the upper hand in confrontations and competitions.

Here Lionel Giles’s famed 1910 translation, laced with commentary from illustrious Chinese experts, is brought up to date with relevant quotations from Western writers and thinkers. This new edition offers Sun Tzu’s timeless classic, both with and without annotation, making it more accessible to aspiring leaders and military strategists than ever before.

Dallas Galvin, a writer and journalist specializing in international affairs and the arts, has reported on military affairs in Latin America and Asia and produced documentaries for the NATO Alliance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593080167
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 05/01/2003
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 24,572
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt


From Dallas Galvin's Introduction to The Art of War

War is a howling, baying jackal. Or is it the animating storm? Suicidal madness or the purifying fire? An imperialist travesty? Or the glorious explosion of a virile nation made manifest upon the planet? In all recorded history, this debate is recent, as is the idea of peace to describe an active state happier than a mere interregnum between fisticuffs. Astounding as it may seem, war has consistently won the debate. In fact, it never had serious competition-not until August 24, 1898, anyway, when Czar Nicholas II of Russia called for an international conference specifically to discuss "the most effectual means" to "a real and durable peace." That was the first time nations would gather without a war at their backs to discuss how war might be prevented systematically. Nicholas was successful. His first Peace Conference was held in 1899. It was followed by a second, in 1907. These meetings gave rise to a process in which the world gained a common code of international laws.

It was a moment when peace and the trials of war were under the microscope of the civilized world. Off in a very quiet corner of this stage, there also appeared two scholars: one, a ghost, Sun Wu-this is Sun Tzu's actual name; Sun is the family name, and Tzu an honorific-a member of a Chinese clan of experts on arms and fighting, who had lived some 2,400 years earlier; the other, a librarian and student of the Chinese classics, Lionel Giles, who published his translation of The Art of War in 1910. He, too, was a son of eminence-his father was the great sinologist Herbert Giles-and he transported Sun Tzu's urgent injunctions on the nature of war across vast reaches of time and culture; the task was extraordinary, the impetus behind it almost saintly. The influence of the work of these two men colors our lives even as this text is written. But it did not come without effort, and even today, with a century of English-language scholarship on Asian literature, religion, and societies behind us, there is still much to puzzle the general reader.

World War I and its carnage would soon burst upon the world, leaving an estimated 25 million dead, twice the tally for all the wars of nineteenth-century Europe. Nicholas and his entire class would disappear amid the terrors of revolution in Russia, China, and Mexico, to name but the grandest uprisings. World War II would follow with no fewer than 60 million dead, and on its heels a whirl of wars for independence, civil wars, and the surrogate wars of Vietnam, Korea, Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East-all in all, a century-long testament to the failure of humanity's best intentions. It would be an odd soul who did not find himself feeling as Abraham Lincoln did in his Second Inaugural Address, on March 4, 1865, as the American Civil War was ending: "Fondly do we hope-fervently do we pray-that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away."

Yet it takes little experience to understand the futility of belligerence alone, as Sun Tzu wrote: "[H]e who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory" (chap. IV, paragraph 15). On the world front or the level of the individual, the issue is not force, not arms-it is strategy. In his study of Mao Tse-tung, modern warfare's most ardent student of Sun Tzu, Robert Payne notes: "Sun Wu's ideas on war are exceedingly adaptable, . . . nearly all of them demonstrating how the commander of a small force can overcome a powerful enemy, given suitable conditions of his own making. These apothegms have a peculiarly Chinese flavor, hardheaded, deeply philosophical, often showing a disturbing knowledge of the human soul under stress" (Robert Payne, Mao Tse-tung; see "For Further Reading"). But how did Sun Tzu know what he knew? Where did he get his information? Can we trust it?

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The Art of War 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 526 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book and many other classics are free from "Project Gutenburg" on various ebook formats.
rawhideron More than 1 year ago
This concise and compact version of Sun Tzu is printed entirely in a "bullet format" which makes it very readable and enhances the understanding of ancient principles of war that are applicable in everyday life. Mr. Giles has published two versions of Sun Tzu's writings into this single book. The first section is a purist version with no interjections and an additional bonus version that incorporates translations and viewpoints of ancient Chinese masters of war.
Knight-2000 More than 1 year ago
The first time that I ever heard of Sun Tzu was on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and to be honest I thought Sun Tzu was a fictional character. Turns out that its not, and the Art of War is a very real work. Its a very interesting read, and this book is used by the military, and even in the business world.
Fyrebird More than 1 year ago
The Art of War is an excellent book-when it's in a readable format. This is NOT the format to choose.
kittypaws More than 1 year ago
Very interesting historical text that can be extrapolated to fit many modern contemporary situations, however, I found it hard to read this particular version because the formatting was so poor. The footnotes made the text hard to read and often it was hard to tell where the footnote began and the text resumed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Preserves and present the original text nicely, but could do without the definitions that interupt the flow of the text.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This an excellent book that I have found myself applying its strategies, tactical dispositions, or whatever you want to call them in both my professional and personal lives. I think everyone should have a copy of this book in their briefcase and/or book bag.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mom step dad baby brother
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I knew that the book wuld be realy good but I wasn't expecting it to be this good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Art of War is in many ways the Bible of warfare and strategy. And much like the Bible, a passage can have many different meaning depending on who's reading it. I've read through this translation a couple times now and the meanings are always changing, just as the events in our lives are always changing, giving each passage new life and understanding based on those personal experinces that are forever molding and shaping our conscienceness.
US-Military-Art-Guy More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a difficult read, but this was not the case. The annotations are very helpful and interesting, particularly in putting things into historical perspective. Very relevant to the actions in Afganhistan and Iraq today. Although this is mandatory reading for military academy graduates, you can see from current news stories how the deviation from the principles laid out in this work lead to defeat and unnessary loss of life. Perhaps it should be mandatory reading for our Commanders-in-Chief also! I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the military affairs of our country looking for an understanding of why the current wars proceed as they do. To our civilian leaders, this book says "Let the professionals fight the war! Follow their advice! Set policy, then keep your hands off!" Otherwise, don't get involved!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it is very useful. If the trojans had it they just might have won the war.
NelsonH More than 1 year ago
Chinese is a very ancient language and is quite context-sensitive. This makes good translations to English difficult and two different translations of the same work in Chinese may come very different in English. The Denma Group has done an excellent translation of this ancient Chinese work making it quite understandable and east to read in English. Sun Tzu may have been one of the earliest professional soldiers to actually think about their trade and has come up with some valuable insights about conflict and war in general. Most people who are interested in this work will benefit greatly from having a copy of this translation in their library. A number of essays are included showing how the Denma Group has come to this particular translation and, also the huge amount of effort they have put into it. I own four different translations of the Art of War and this is the one that I carry on my e-reader.
Joel_M More than 1 year ago
A lot of people read The Art of War to gain insight into business competition, inter-personal conflict, etc. Personally, I think it is most interesting as an actual treatise on warfare, statecraft, and tactics as originally intended. Comparing the tactics and outcome of various battles and wars (past and present) to Sun Tzu's advice demonstrates that he generally knew what he was talking about and many (most?) of his principles still hold true. This translation made a serious effort to preserve the ambiguities present in the original, giving it a much more Eastern flavor than some older translations. I can't vouch for translation accuracy since I can't read the original, but Cleary at least sounds a bit more authentic than Giles (the "classic" English translation). The commentary sections sometimes gave insight into how "Master Sun" was understood by others over the next few centuries, but sometimes it was just a tedious unimaginative rephrasing of the original. On your first reading of The Art of War skip the commentary; it breaks up the flow of thought. (Also, don't bother with the 60 page intro unless you really want to hear the translator pontificate about Taoism for 50 pages while saying nothing that you can't pick up from the book itself) If you are interested in diplomacy, espionage, military tactics, etc. this is definitely a great read. Next time you watch a war movie or play a conquer-the-world type game you'll find yourself thinking in terms of The Art of War.
Colin Bennett More than 1 year ago
Spent half the time skipping over information and interpretations i didnt want to read. wouldve been better if it was just sun tzu's writing.
Choccy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Now this is what I call a true classic! This book, as well as The Book of Lord Shang, preceded Machiavelli¿s captivating masterpiece, Il Principe, by nearly 2000 years (I have to confess that I almost completely forget Il Principe¿s contents, but I still remember that it was a captivating read).Back to Sun Tzu¿Yes, some of his advices are already outdated and cannot be applied in the modern war. However, the others are, well, I should say mind-opening and inspirational, yet very simple.Want some examples? Here you go.¿Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you¿ll never be defeated. When you¿re ignorant of the enemy but know yourself; your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.¿ If Hitler and General Tojo read this book, we¿d all live in fascism now. If only Bush read this book, the war in Iraq will be over by now.Sun Tzu may taught us about war. But note this, he stressed that non-violent ways are better. This means employing effective politics, diplomacy and strategic considerations. He said: ¿To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.¿ That¿s my favorite quote.I also heart this one: ¿A sovereign cannot launch a war because he is enraged, not can a general fight a war because he is resentful. For while an angered man may again be happy, and a resentful man again be pleased, a state that perished cannot be restored, nor can the dead be brought to life.¿That statement breaks me heart, really¿. considering what happens in the world today.Highly, highly recommended. I¿ll give this book a solid five stars.
PDExperiment626 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful and scholarly presentation of a truly elegant piece of ancient literature. Griffith puts forth his interpretation of "The Art of War" based on a revision of his Ph.D. thesis presented some years ago. Commentaries from several sources are included along side of Griffith's own translation. Footnotes are ubiquitous in the text explaining various discrepancies in interpretations, translations and historical contexts. There is a nicely-done introduction discussing various scholarly debates surrounding "The Art of War" including, original authorship, and date of creation. Beyond the content, the presentation of the book is beautiful. The cover is silk fabric with silk-screened golden Chinese characters on the cover. There is also an attached black ribbon bookmark. The pages are thick construction done with a glossy-print and includes many beautiful color plates placed throughout the text.Really, I believe this to be an exquisite presentation of this piece of literature. Not only is the presentation exceptional, the scholarly content is both attainable and interesting. This is an excellent piece to have in any library.
shannonkearns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Meh. Okay I guess but overall I'm not that impressed.
papskier on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This turned out to be a cheap and good translation. If all you want is the straight translation, this is a great edition
chellinsky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A subtle and fascinating philosophy on how to wage war. Knowledge of assured victory is key for Sun Tzu. At once it is esoteric and simple giving the reader the opportunity to find new angles and places to learn with each repeated reading. Intense and interesting. (Shambhala translation)
aang2014 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Awesome for anyone looking for a good strategy book. helps with any type of war situation, I recommend reading it if you choose to go into the military.
keylawk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clavell provides a brief but pointed introduction, noting that this is a reprint of the first English translation by Lionel Giles, 1910. Sun Tzu was translated into Russian centuries ago, and into French before Napoleon, in 1782. Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book of strategic doctrine used it almost word for word. Notes the emphasis on maneuver and on spies -- "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." [2] Clavell himself used the work in his Noble House historical novels -- qv Taipan, Shogan. The art of war is governed by constant calculation of five factors: Moral Law (the accord of the people with the ruler); Heaven (signifying times, seasons, weather); Earth (comprising distances, conditions of the ground); Commander (sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness); Method & Discipline (army divisions, ranks, supplies, expenditures). Sun Tzu emphasizes the importance of spies and control of "signals" -- press relations. "All warfare is based on deception." [11] The arts explained by Sun Tzu contrast with almost all elements of the War in Iraq being prosecuted by Bush-Cheney and promised by Senator McCann. For example, Sun Tzu repeatedly emphasizes planned maneuver and timing: "In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare." [13] Time -- being ahead of the opponent -- counts for more than numbers. Treat prisoners kindly - better to capture than kill. Find the supreme excellence of breaking the enemy, not by fighting, but by NOT fighting. The use of the Sheathed Sword. The emphasis on "maneuver" over static force can be used by any size of combat unit--individual soldier to large army. But no part of the plan is more difficult the maneuver. Hence the study of deviation. [30] Like Machiavelli, Sun Tzu illustrates his points with largely fictional but very clear examples that appear to be historical recitations. (He clearly writes for an emperor devoted to words rather than scholarship or action.) Since ancient times, it has been known by realists that prosperity requires peace and peace requires strength for protection. And in Sun Tzu's words..."the true object of war is peace."
plaws595 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is a really old book, but still has much application to everyday life in modern times. The book is a little hard to read at times. However, the knowledge you get from reading it worth it. I recommend everyone read this title at least once in their lifetime.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How ironic that the copy I found in my apartment should have a foreword by James Clavell, author of "Shogun;" my Mum is forever mixing up China and Japan herself, and often remarks about the former when in fact I lived in the latter.The book, meanwhile, is an interesting couple of hours' read, but without a more thorough guide I don't see how I could use Sun Tzu's ideas to conquer Wall Street, as some have proposed.
darwin.8u on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great translation. That was meant to be funny since I don't read Chinese and can't possibly really know how good his translation is. However, this is a great book and belongs right next to your other war strategy greats.