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The Art of War [Paperback]

Sun Zi , Tzu Sun , Thomas Cleary
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Price: 12.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Oct 1988
Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world today, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it as been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding of the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.

This translation presents the classic from the point of view of its background in the great spiritual tradition of Taoism, the origin of psychology, science, and technology in East Asia and the source of the insights into human nature that underlie this most revered of handbooks for success. Translated from a standard collection of commentaries on Sun Tzu's text by eleven interpreters, the work has been edited by Thomas Cleary to bring out the meaning of the principles of strategy. In addition, the translator provides an extensive introduction discussing the content and background of the book.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc; New edition edition (26 Oct 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877734526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877734529
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.3 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 632,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great version of the classic 14 Dec 2010
By Tom
I had been meaning to read Sun Tzu's Art of War for some time, seeing loose quotes from it appear in various places (mostly the Total War games).
When I started looking around to get the book, i was confronted with litteraly dozens of versions of the text reaching from plain text translations to "self-help motivational" versions that have barely anything to do with the original text.

Based on reader's feedback here and across the internet I learned that this version of the text was exactly what i was looking for: a good translation of the original text (better than Giles' translation I'm told), but also a historical background of the work, comments from Chinese commentators and generals and footnotes by the translator himself. A lot more information that helps you better understand the whole thing, much more than a simple print out of the text would.

Besides the textual content, this is also a beautiful hardcover book with great illustrations of Chinese art or objects throughout.

All in all this seemed like a much more complete book than the ones that are on top in the Amazon charts.
If you are looking for a version of Sun Tzu's famous book, "The Art of War: The New Illustrated Edition of the Classic Text" is definitely recommended. It costs a bit more than the paperbacks topping the military science charts on this site, but it is worth it.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENCE OF SUN TZU - THE ART OF WAR 31 Oct 2002
By uhe04
The art of war by Sun Tzu really is a book of excellence. This book forewarded by B.H. Liddell Hart really helps you to unterstand the chapters written by Sun Tzu, the well structured introduction gives examples of the chapters in action. Also, the comments of other legends given in the chapters are helpful, in that it gives a deep understanding of the words of Sun Tzu. The book is inspiring, the wise words of Sun Tzu implies to everyday situations, in that it enforces logical thinking of methods of solving everyday problems. This book is definatly one for purchase, to sharpen up your mind, or "sharpen your blades" as Sun Tzu states.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Review of: The Art of War: The New Illustrated Edition of the Classic Text. Translated by Samuel B. Griffith

This is a beautiful, extremely well written edition of a classic work. The hardback cover feels solid in hand and the pages are equally tough. The book itself contains a huge number of notes, annotations and clarifications from a variety of sources [located on the page in question so you don't have to constantly flick back and forth]. The illustrations are provoking and appropriate for the chapter.

If you are looking for an edition which has high quality textual content and exceptional presentation, then purchase this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ah, the wisdom of the ancients! Latter-day politicians: please read this book, and learn.

Sun Tzu's eternally relevant Chinese classic `The Art of War' has never been subject to modern-day copyright. Due to the popularity of the text demand is always strong, and the would-be buyer is confronted with literally dozens of different editions culled from various translations of the original Chinese script, with or without the voluminous commentaries.

Sam Griffiths' stylish new illustrated edition of `The Art of War' is a bit special. The book itself is a fine artefact in its own right with a stiff hardcover bound in red silk, 270 thick and high-quality pages with clear text and most with colour plates of classical Chinese illustrations. It's a rewarding experience just to hold, and to turn these beautiful pages.

The translation, together with the textual commentaries, is a substantially revised version of Griffiths' 1960 PhD thesis submitted to Oxford University, so the academic standard is rigorous.

As a run-in to the actual text material the reader is treated to 89 pages of commentaries on Sun Tzu's life and character; history of the text; contextual descriptions of the contemporary warring states in Sun Tzu's time, and the use made by Mao Tse-Tung of the classical text in his successful military campaigns in China and the 1930s and 40s.

The text and commentaries are then beautifully laid out chapter by chapter and very easy to follow. An integral page-marker is thoughtfully provided by the publisher. There is a good index and brief biographies of most of the classical Chinese commentators quoted in the book.

The only caution about this edition might be that its weighty, quality feel is more a `home library' book.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this classic 20 Jan 2002
Buy this classic and find out what all the fuss is about. This edition has lots of historical context - very interesting in itself. The actual text is quite short but with commentary which includes examples of how Sun Tzu's ideas were used by his near contemporaries.
Not as directly applicable as modern management texts if you're a Gordon Gecko perhaps, but the philosophy and thinkings are there for you to apply yourself to any situation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware of Kindle edition! 1 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are no annotations and there is no introduction in the ebook version of this book which means it looses all of the appeal of the print edition. Total waste of momey and space.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book 2 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
probably the best abridged version very pleased. I don't think I could get through the original 13 volumes in Chinese.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful addition
Absolutely happy with this book- bought it for my bf for Xmas- he was amazed, superb quality !!thank you
After all reviews - I am glad I can leave my one to help you with your... Read more
Published 3 months ago by karina
4.0 out of 5 stars Some parts are quite difficult to understand
Although I haven't read other translations, I assume this is quite literal as it is difficult to understand in some parts. Yet overall, its a good read. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Wkeeley
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a present
I bought two of these book as presents for my sons. They both seem to like it. it is what they wanted.
Published 14 months ago by Winifred Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars The Art of War
Too much academic, I really needed something that would get straight to the point as at this juncture in time I've yet to complete the book as I find it a bit boring.
Published 15 months ago by Clive Fitchett
4.0 out of 5 stars Sun Tzu's Art of War
This is a fantastic book, it met higher than my expectations and is proving to be a genuinely good read.
Published 16 months ago by Shadows92
1.0 out of 5 stars Its magnificant but its not War.... its One Step Beyond
Has not helped me improve my Call of Duty gameplay one bit - arguably worse in fact as it is difficult to consult this "user guide" to war and simultaneously use the controller.
Published 18 months ago by P Benson
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference, but strange English transliteration!
Although I haven't read the whole book, I found the English transliteration a bit strange. For example, the word 'Gold', in Mandarin, should be written as 'jin' but Griffith wrote... Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2010 by Mrs. Z. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars I am now a master of war!
Well not quite! This book is a fascinating read and read it you must, the more you read it the more you'll understand. Read more
Published on 2 Jun 2010 by K. Middleton
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