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4.3 out of 5 stars485
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 14 December 2010
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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on 18 May 2011
There are countless interpretations of Sun Tzu's classic treatise The Art of War. I've read several of these ranging from weighty scholarly treatments to lighter volumes of easier to digest materials. Of all of these, however, I chose this version as my favorite. Clavell has made Sun Tzu's message succinct and meaningful to anyone who might pick up this book. Lessons are applicable in the board room, on the golf course, and anywhere real-life rears its head. This work is usable by anyone in almost any strata of world society.
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on 15 July 2010
This book is shorter than I thought, but the wisdom and food for thought in it is stunning. It is not very easy to translate this in our current life, but this is a book that you pick up over and over again to read parts of it. And doing that gives new thoughts, ideas and ways to turn this into daily practice.
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on 31 October 2002
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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on 26 October 2003
As with Clausewitz's texts about war,this is one of those books
you hear of but never actually read. More's the pity. "The Art of War" is absolutely brilliant. It is concise, succinct, read-
able and extraordinarily relevant in not just war but also our
personal interactions. There is a wealth of pithy information,
well written, concerning war on or off the battlefield. There
are tips on ruthlessness, strategy, morale, tactics and camp-
aigning. It's all dealt with and it is a good "fun" read. Every
business person should own a copy! So should each half of a lov-
ing couple! I am delighted I bought it and heartily recommend it.
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on 11 June 2011
I don't regret buying this book but the person who copied the "public domain" translation from the Internet and added a copyrighted cover could have at least proof read it and corrected the typos if not the poor grammar.

Tempted to use the same text, correct it and add commentary and my own copyrighted cover.
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on 18 July 2006
For some this is a book about military strategy and indeed it is studied during officer training at Sandhurst and Westpoint.

What makes this book a true classic is the fact it can be interpreted at several levels. For me it has always been about business and marketing strategies.

It is incredible that the lessons learnt by Sun Tzu over 2000 years ago have relevance to marketing and managing businesses today. All the classic manoeuvres are there but, for me, what is most relevent is Sun Tzu's philosophy when it comes to campaigns of all sorts. Sun Tzu, although able to subdue his enemy on the battlefield, actually prefers to beat them by guile and strategy. For him to win a battle but waste resources is a form of defeat.

Sun Tzu prefers to overwhelm his foes by the perception of greater numbers & stength and by creating an environment where the enemy expects defeat.. He does this by utilsing superior knowledge of the terrain; he utilses superior lines of communication and learns to think like his enemy. Read this as better understanding of the marketplace, better routes to market and a thorough understanding of competitors strategies and the transition from miltary strategy to marketing strategy has commenced.

Translating military to marketing is of course an inexact science and the weakness of Sun Tzu is that he gives us basic strategies but fails to provide advice on the tactics that need to be employed to ensure the strategies are carried out.

In essence this book provides incedible insights into the strategies that businesses need to employ to win. In doing this it achieves what it set out to do and so deserves 5 stars. To move from this point to one of establishing the tactics requires a marketing magician.
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I'm sampling all the Kindle versions of the Art of War to pick a readable translation.
Like buses that all seem to come at once, this is YET ANOTHER version of the Lionel Giles' 1910 version without the rather heavy original footnotes or the mildly useful Giles introduction. It's actually in quite readable English for the date, and seems reasonably understandable in the 21st century. I've no idea on the accuracy of the translation.

Opening line from other Giles versions: "Sun Tzu said: the art of war is of vital importance to the State.
It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected."

Prices vary considerably but the words stay the same.

Update: after clattering through all the Kindle samples, this is the one I chose, because it's the cheapest, AND I can always read the original introduction by getting a sample download from another version. Simples!
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on 7 May 2010
"The Art of War" is a classic. Sun Tzu was a master. This particular translation is frustratingly poor. It is nothing more than a public domain translation of Sun Tzu's writings. Many of the translations are awkward and riddled with typos and English grammatical errors. It reads as if it were translated by a Chinese university student with a good, but not perfect, command of the English language. There are no footnotes to explain the occassional untranslatable bits and there is no attempt whatsoever to put the work into its proper historical and cultural perspective. Not even a forward or introduction by a second rate scholar. I believe the publishing company just pulled a free translation off of the web without even bothering to proof read it, made a simple cover (for which they did file a copywrite), and proceeded to sell it on Amazon.com. Very dissapointing.
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on 30 June 2015
OK... so my nome de plume is London Ninja...
And yes, I have studied Sun Tzu. Not for fighting
skills, but for life skills.

Put this book, into the center of your life. Read it
every day. Just read random quotes while on a
bus. Have the small copy with you at all times, and
bit by bit, it all falls into place. It all makes so much
sense.
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