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The Art of War (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – Deckle Edge, 1 Dec 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 676 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Deluxe ed. edition (1 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140439196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140439199
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.4 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (676 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 664,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The strategic advice that [The Art of War] offers concerns much more than the conduct of war. It is an ancient book of proverbial wisdom, a book of life."

"The strategic advice that [The Art of War] offers concerns much more than the conduct of war. It is an ancient book of proverbial wisdom, a book of life." (John Minford, from the Introduction)

"The strategic advice that [The Art of War] offers concerns much more than the conduct of war. It is an ancient book of proverbial wisdom, a book of life." John Minford, from the Introduction"

About the Author

Sun Tzu was the author of The Art of War, an immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy (for the most part not dealing directly with tactics). He is also one of the earliest realists in international relations theory.


John Minford has translated many works from the Chinese, including two volumes of the Penguin Classics edition of Cao Xueqin's eighteenth-century novel The Story of the Stone. He is co-editor of the landmark anthology of translations Classical Chinese Literature.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
The Art of War is one of the foundational works of strategic thinking. Essentially it is a treatise on the principles of warfare based on ancient Chinese military history.
The growth in academic and business study of strategy has given this book hugely increased popularity over the last twenty years. However, strategic principles are often extracted and applied haphazardly, based on what the reader was looking for.
It is important to keep this book in its context. Some of the principles - such as 'to win without fighting is the highest achievement' are obviously of general applicability. Others, such as 'when plumes of dust are seen, chariots are approaching' are clearly of little relevance to modern business. However, when faced with 'in a forced march of 100 li the commander will fall', you may decide that there is a useful application or you may not.
Likewise, you may find it entertaining to quote Sun Tzu to your colleagues, and it may give a flavour of authority to your strategy proposals. If you do so, though, you ought to recognise that your application is your own interpretation, not something intrinsic to the text.
If you are reading this book because you want to learn about Chinese military history, or because you want to understand the way early strategists thought, I believe you will find it enjoyable and rewarding.
On the other hand, if you are using this book as a way of developing your own strategic skills, I would recommend that you read it in conjunction with Mintzberg, Ahlstrand and Lampel's 'Strategy Safari', and particularly note the critique of the Positioning school of strategy. The dangers are all too great of finding in Sun Tzu echoes of ideas that you already hold, and then imagining that these are supported by ancient authority.
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Format: Paperback
"Ultimate excellence lies, not in winning every battle But in defeating the enemy without ever fighting"
This book by John Minford gives a concise and informative look at Master Wu's "Art of War" using the standard and accepted translation. It is not just a book about war but is a guide to life and this version gives explanations of the text from selected experts but firstly gives you the raw treatise allowing you to make up your own mind of the meaning. It is extremely informative without getting boring and gives you brief histories and background information integral to the treatise. Don't be put off at the thought of having to read difficult chinese names or words as a quick guide to correct pronunciation is included and will help in reading and understanding the informative introduction and histories. This book makes what may seem a daunting subject to some, a very easy to understand and enjoyable book.
This book will be of interest to both those looking for information on Chinese history but mainly to those looking for a guide to life. I, myself am not a historian and hated History lessons at school but the History subject matter in this book is interesting without over examination and doesn't have lengthy and irrelevant text. I'm also not much of a reader (more of a PS2 man) but found the book to be intriguing and hard to put down.
Interesting subject matter simply put, concisely explained with commentary from the leading experts and published by quality publishers Penguin. 2000 year old wisdom that is pertinent in modern life.
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