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The Art of War: The Ancient Classic Hardcover – 23 Apr 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Capstone; Reprint edition (23 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857080091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857080097
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.2 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese classic that remains and international bestselling business and self–help manual to this day. With millions of copies sold worldwide in hundreds of translations, its central message of winning without conflict is as pertinent now as it was 2,500 years ago.

This edition also includes bonus material, the translated Sayings of Wutzu.

From the Back Cover

Sun Tzu′s ideas on survival and success have been read across the world for centuries. Today they can still be applied to business, politics and life. The Art of War demonstrates how to win without conflict. It shows that with enough intelligence and planning, it is possible to conquer with a minimum of force and little destruction.

This edition includes an introduction by Tom Butler–Bowdon that draws out lessons for managers and business leaders, and highlights the power of Sun Tzu′s thinking in everyday life.

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Format: Hardcover
Those who have read one of the volumes that comprise Tom Butler-Bowdon's "50 Classics" series already know that he possesses superior reasoning and writing skills as well as a relentless curiosity when conducting research on history's greatest thinkers and their major works. For these and other reasons, I cannot think of another person better qualified to provide the introductions to the volumes that comprise a new series, "Capstone Classics."

Unlike so many others, he provides more, much more than a flimsy "briefing" to the given work. For this volume, he poses and then responds to key questions such as these in order to create a context, a frame-of-reference, for Sun Tzu's insights:

o What exactly can the modern reader get from a manual for waging war that is probably about 2,500 years old?
o What Are the book's "spiritual underpinnings" in addition to its practical advice about planning and waging war?
o What was the historical context, the frame-of-reference, in which Sun Tzu lived and worked?
o To what extent does his classic, The Art of War, reflect that period?
o According to Sun Tzu, what are the meaning and significance of each of the "five indispensable matters" that inform (or at least should inform) a leader's decisions, including the one to do nothing, at least for now?
o According to Sun Tzu, what are the various degrees of successful warfare, with the most valued being able to "subdue the enemy without a fight," closely followed by "taking whole" the enemy's forces and other resources?
o What are the "five occasions when victory can be foretold"?

As indicated earlier, Tom Butler-Bowdon's purpose in this Introduction is to create a context, a frame-of-reference, for Sun Tzu's insights. He does so brilliantly in this instance and in each of the volumes in the "Capstone Classics series that have been published thus far.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is so much you can learn from this. Although primarily referenced to war, the way in which it's written is on philosophical terms rather than direct mechanisms, which make it applicable to many things in life.
In terms of the book itself by the author, apart from the introduction, it only comments on small things which may be confusing to the modern reader. The blue and down shown on the cover is only really a strap, which if you take off makes it just a black book with barely noticeable title. However this is what I love about this particular book. Everything is just so simple, and when searching for the right book to buy, my ideal choice was one where I could read through and attempt to understand with my own thoughts rather than have so many commentaries and notes covering each page, so this fits the bill for me.
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Format: Hardcover
I was drawn to this book by the promise of an introduction by Tom Butler-Bowdon. He's the author of a series of books which summarise and contextualise self improvement literature. Indeed, he has already discussed The Art of War in his second book 50 Success Classics: Winning Wisdom For Work & Life From 50 Landmark Books. Thankfully there is more to say on this subject.

Butler-Bowdon commentaries are always clear and concise. Indeed some people will find they don't need to read Sun Tzu's words once they have read the introduction. As the text of The Art of War is rather short, this book also contains The Sayings of Wu Tzu, a warrior who lived at the same time as Sun Tzu. This section gets a separate Butler-Bowdon introduction.

My favourite piece of advice from the introduction is that we should let The Art of War seep into our consciousness over several readings. This is not a book to read if you are looking for practical solutions to your problems. Even if you were in a combat situation I'm not sure how much use this book would be. Much of what Sun Tzu says is either common sense, or irrelevant to someone living in the modern world.

On the other hand The Art of War may prove useful if you use it as an inspiration for your own thinking. The layout of this book is calming and restful and the words themselves carefully considered. If you know that the answers to your dilemmas lie within you, this book may help you find them. Try reading some of Sun Tzu's words, then spend time mediating on them. See if they can cast light on your situation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Actually quite neat book. I'm in the armed services my self as a squadleader, but a soon to be platooncommander. I can deffinitly see some of these tricks being applied in real-life situations, both on and off the battlefield.
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Format: Hardcover
I have the edition published by Capstone with an introduction by Tom Butler-Bowdon.

The Art of War is relatively short for a 219 page book. It takes up a mere 95 pages. The rest of this edition consists of a lengthy foreword by Tom Butler-Bowdon and "The Sayings of Wu Tzu" which simply pad out what would otherwise have been a short, but enjoyable little book. Butler-Bowdon did go to some trouble to include footnotes at various points in the translation but these are inconsistently applied and the overall translation makes for an awkward piece of reading.

Physically, the book is of average quality. It is a hardback of decent size but the pages are slightly rough to the touch (an indicator of low quality) and will probably turn yellow in a few short years. Also the sections are glued, not sewn, which means the book can't be laid flat and over a period of years the acid from the low quality paper may begin to cause the pages to fall out.

I would seek out a better edition.
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