Customer Review

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior introductions and stylish design mark this edition as a version to treasure..., 8 May 2010
This review is from: The Art of War: The Ancient Classic (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.

Equally, it is hard to disagree with Sun Tzu when he says that to be successful we should develop an ethic of constant refinement and improvement. If this is your goal then I would recommend Tom Butler-Bowdon's other books 50 Self-help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life from Timeless Sages to Contemporary Gurus, 50 Success Classics: Winning Wisdom For Work & Life From 50 Landmark Books, 50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom From 50 Great Books of Inner Discovery, Enlightenment and Purpose, 50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do, and 50 Prosperity Classics: Attract It, Create It, Manage It, Share It. These books are excellent signposts on your road to self improvement.

The design of The Art of War is modern and stylish, making it ideal as a present or as a book you might want to treasure yourself. It offers no easy answers, but it might provide you with a fresh way of thinking that leads to revelations of your own devising.
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