on 26 May 2003
I know what you are thinking. You are about to skip past this review because you don't see the point in yet another version of this Chinese introduction to warfare, no matter how legendary it is. True, Sun Tzu did seem to have insights into warfare which have since benefited many commanders, but there are just so may editions out there. Well, you are wrong. This translation is one of the most impressive I have come across and was pieced together with a love and attention which could single it out as one of the very best translations available.
The Denma Translation Group are against war. They point out that Sun Tzu's work encourages the commander to attain victory without destroying the enemy forces and thus creating a state of resentment within those who have been conquered.
Aswell as getting the new translation, we also get the standard verion without any explanations of the text and several background essays, including a very enjoyable one about leadership in the form of the 'Sage Commander', who is the personification of the military (or even non-military) leader at the heart of the Art of War.
This translation has aspirations that it can be used in a positive way in non-warlike situations and that people can apply it to aspects of life in a peaceful way. The message is clear, that we can achieve success with humility and with an understanding of our opponent which treats them as human beings with aims and dreams of their own.
If you liked this for it's Chinese philosophy, perhaps you might want to buy a copy of the 'I-Ching' or if you see yourself as a 'Sage Commander', perhaps you could buy 'On War' by Von Calusewitz or even 'The Prince' by Machiavelli.
on 31 October 2001
A new standard has been set. The Denma Translation Group's Sun Tzu rendering shows extraordinary accuracy; as stated in the book, they "argued over every word." I am very impressed to see very little paraphrasing as well. And though this emphasis does sometimes break up the reading flow, the group did an admirable job minimizing its overall effects.
In addition to the translation, this book has the finest essays analyzing the many Art of War concepts. Not stopping there, the authors then skillfully explained each and every passage of Sun Tzu. even though this book was recently published it has taken the group a decade to complete. Wow, this book deserves a space on any book-lover's bookshelf.
on 5 May 2013
The Denma translation of The Sun Tzu (The Art of War) is the best translation I have read (I have read 5 others). I think it is particularly suitable to people without a military background who want to get behind one of the most important texts on conflict ever produced. The Denma team do this. Their translation is readable and at times beautiful and their supporting essays are also excellent. I help people to deal with conflict and, as strange as it may sound, this version of a 2300 year old text from China is consistently rated as one of the most practical books I give them.
I've read several versions, ranging from the gibbering incoherent to ... well, this one. Here is craftsmanship of the highest order. The Denma group have rendered the original text into clear and understandable English. This hardback version comes with excellent annexes illuminating and exploring the text, and explaining the process they used. It's also just the right size for a book you're going to read, rather than leave on the shelf.
If you're unfamiliar with Sun Tzu the book revealed in this translation may not be what you expect. This is a startlingly practical handbook on how to approach and tackle conflict - and win. Sun Tzu's goal was victory, albeit with the clear understanding that true victory means you have gained something worth the cost.
Once you get behind the words, what Sun Tzu has says is practical, useable and insightful. Above all, there is a great elegance and deceptive simplicity here. Deep understanding, set out in elegant, concise and clear language.
Sun Tzu presents methods for appraising a situation, guidance on your general approach to conflict, instruction on dealing with specific situations and tactics, and a good deal more. The book approaches the world and conflicts in it as part of a dynamic and connected process of continual change, in contrast to the more western attitude of treating the world as a collection of objects. Set free of unwieldy translation, confusing interpretation and inappropriate adornment, the intense practicality of this view as revealed in this text is stunning.
Blaise Pascal once apologised for writing a long letter, as he did not have the time to write a short one. This short book took Sun Tzu a lifetime, and the Demna group years. It was worth every moment.
on 19 March 2003
At first when i picked this book up, expecting high ambicuos standards of writing, i found it hard to get into. Continually, selfconsously reminding myself about how good the book is supposed to be, the text really didnt hit me as i thought it might. Once i finished the book i wished i had read it all over again without knowing the contents.
Overall an amazing book! Should be on every booklovers book-shelf.