8 junio, 2024

101 quotes from Sun Tzu on war, leadership, strategy and more

Sun Tzu (544 BC-496 BC) was a Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher who lived in ancient China. For some time, historians thought that Sun Tzu was not a real person, but modern experts now accept his historical existence, made legendary thanks to his famous The Art of War.

The name Tzu is actually an honorary title meaning ‘teacher’, since he was born in Sun Wu, the region where he was a native. He served King Helu of Wu, with whom he had enormous military victories and inspired him to write The Art of War.

We have made a list of the best sun tzu quotes so that you become acquainted with a military strategist whose treatise has been influential not only in the Western military, but also in sports, business and politics.

The best phrases of Sun Tzu (The Art of War)

-Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

-Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.

-In the fear of chaos there is also opportunity.

-Worry about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

-In times of peace prepare for war, in times of war prepare for peace.

-The wisest warrior avoids confrontation.

-He who knows does not preach, he who preaches does not know.

-Great results can be achieved with small efforts.

-The true objective of war is peace.

-Do not depend on the enemy not showing up, it depends rather on being prepared for him.

-When the common soldiers are very strong and their officers are very weak, the result is insubordination.

-Attack when they are not prepared, show yourself when you are not expected.

-Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you make your move, strike like lightning.

-All war is deceit.

-Whoever wishes to fight must first know the cost.

-To know your enemy you must become his friend.

-Strategy without tactics is the slowest path to victory. Tactics without strategy is the sound that precedes defeat.

-A leader leads by example, not by strength.

-Victorious warriors first win and then go to war, while defeated warriors first go to war and then seek to win.

-If you know the enemy and yourself, you should not fear the result of a hundred battles.

– Tires out enemies by keeping them busy and not letting them breathe.

-If both you and your enemy are ignorant, then you are in certain danger.

-Victory is reserved for those willing to pay its price.

-Disorder comes from order, cowardice comes from courage, weakness comes from strength.

-Weapons are fatal instruments that should only be used when there is no other alternative.

-If you make the adversaries not know the place and the date of the battle, you can always win.

-If the instructions are not clear and the explanations and orders are not trusted, the general is at fault.

-Only when you know every detail of the ground condition can you maneuver and fight.

-Pretends inferiority and stimulates his arrogance.

-The general encompasses the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, humanity, courage, and being strict.

-You should never attack with anger and in a hurry. It is advisable to take time in the planning and coordination of the plan.

-Defense is for times of scarcity, attack for times of abundance.

-The opportunity to insure ourselves against defeat is in our own hands, but the opportunity to defeat the enemy is provided by himself.

-The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

-Maneuvering with an army is advantageous. Maneuvering with an undisciplined crowd is dangerous.

-Let the speed be that of the wind, and be compact as a forest is.

-The intelligent combatant imposes his will on his enemy, but he does not allow his enemy’s will to be imposed on him.

-He who knows when he can fly and when not, will be victorious.

– Speed ​​is the essence of war.

-There is no example of a nation that benefits from prolonged war.

-Be extremely subtle, even to the point of the formless. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of no sound. In this way you can be the director of your opponent’s destiny.

-I have heard of military operations that have been clumsy and sudden, but I have never seen any expert in the art of war who maintained the campaign for a long time.

-Consider your soldiers as your children and they will follow you to the deepest valleys; see them as your own beloved children and they will be by your side even in death.

-Every man can see the tactics he used where he conquered, but what no one can see is the strategy that involves victory.

-In order to defeat the enemy, the entire military command must have a single intention and all military forces must cooperate.

-Prohibit omens to avoid doubts.

-Winning a hundred times in a hundred battles is not the pinnacle of skill. Subduing the enemy without fighting is the pinnacle of the skill.

-Invincibility lies in defense; the possibility of victory in the attack.

-If you are far from the enemy, make him believe that you are close.

-He who is prudent and is waiting for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.

-You can win when no one can understand at any time what your intentions are.

-Confront them with annihilation and they will survive; plunge them into a deadly situation and they will live. When people are in danger, they are able to fight for victory.

-The general who wins the battle makes many calculations before fighting. The general who loses makes few calculations.

-The worst tactic is to attack a city. Siege, cornering a city is only carried out as a last resort.

-In the practical art of war, the best of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; smashing it to pieces and destroying it is not so good.

-The good fighters of old first put themselves under the possibility of being defeated and then wait for an opportunity to defeat the enemy.

-What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.

-The quality of the decision is like a hawk’s well-timed raid, allowing it to attack and destroy its victim.

-When the orders are reasonable, fair, simple, clear and consistent, there is reciprocal satisfaction between the leader and the group.

-The one who arrives first on the battlefield awaits the arrival of the enemy fresh to fight. Whoever arrives late to the battlefield has to hurry and arrives exhausted at the battle.

-It is essential to search for the agents of the enemies who have come to spy on you and bribe them to serve you. Give instructions and take care of them. So twice as many agents are recruited and used.

-You can’t get the truth from spies without subtlety.

-If fighting ensures victory, then you must fight, even if the governor forbids it; if fighting does not ensure victory, then you should not fight even by order of the ruler.

-The general who advances without coveting fame and retires without fearing misfortune, whose only thought is to protect his country and render good service to his sovereigns, is the jewel of the kingdom.

-If you use the enemy to defeat the enemy, you will be powerful wherever you go.

-Make opponents see as extraordinary what is ordinary to you; make them see as ordinary what is extraordinary to you.

-If we know that our own men are in a position to attack, but are not aware that the enemy is not open to attack, we are only halfway to victory.

-Only enlightened rulers and wise generals use the greatest intelligence in the army to spy, and therefore achieve great results.

-Secret operations are essential in war; through them the army is based to make all its movements.

-For them to perceive the advantages of defeating the enemy, they must have its rewards.

-If our soldiers are not covered with money, it is not because they hate wealth; if their lives are not excessively long, it is not because they are not inclined towards longevity.

-When hostages are sent with praise, it is a sign that the enemy wants a truce.

-The enlightened ruler is attentive and the good general is full of caution.

-If your enemy is of a choleric temper, try to irritate him. He pretends to be weak, so that he grows arrogant.

-Opportunities multiply as they are taken advantage of.

-You can make sure your attacks always hit if you only attack the unprotected spots.

-He who can modify his tactics depending on his opponent and thus achieve victory, can be called captain born from the horn of heaven.

Can you imagine what I would do if I could do everything I can?

-In numerical superiority is the economy of force.

-People should be familiar with the strategy, those who understand it will survive, those who will not perish.

-A scout can be swift as the wind, a spy can be silent as the forest, and infantry firm as the mountain. But unlike them, I conquer with fire.

-If you know your enemy better than you know yourself, the outcome of the battle is already decided.

-What the ancients call a cunning fighter is one who not only wins, but stands out for winning easily.

-Even the finest of swords submerged in salt water will eventually rust.

-When the enemy is relaxed make him strive. When he is full, make him feel hungry. When he is settled make him move.

-If you wait in front of the river long enough, the corpses of your enemy will pass in front of you.

-One can know how to conquer without being able to do it.

-A trait of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or he doesn’t fight.

-Convince your enemy that he will gain little if he attacks you, this will decrease his interest.

-The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they turn well.

-One can know the condition of an entire army by the behavior of a single man.

-There are no more than five primary colors, however, when combined they produce more shades than have ever been seen.

-The art of war is of vital importance for the State.

-There are no more than five musical notes, however, the combinations of these five result in more melodies than can be heard.

-Order or disorder depends on the organization; courage or cowardice of circumstances; strength or weakness of the disposition.

-You can secure the position of your defenses if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.

-If you send reinforcements everywhere, you will be weak everywhere.

-Invisible is the soldier who completes his mission and returns home.

-Control over large forces is governed by the same principle as controlling a few men: it is a mere matter of dividing their numbers.

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