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4.3 out of 5 stars
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 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 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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You may be wondering why I have picked such a title for this review, and there is a very good reason for it. Written well over a thousand years ago Sun Tzu's tactical guide to war is still used and taught in military schools, and has found more applications over the centuries.

The tactics laid out here were used in historical battles fought in Asia and China but they were also used by Ninja and intelligence services. Nowadays still used by the military and intelligence worlds they have found a place in business. Why this is so is firstly because it isn't long to read, it isn't hard to read, and it is reliable information. If you use a bit of thought then you can apply the teachings of Sun Tzu in your life, as and when necessary. Of course although being short this does make you use your brain and think, and this in itself can make you come up with ideas how to apply the teachings here. This is a must read for those who study military tactics, and military history, as well as businessmen and lawyers, and those who want to be one step ahead of the game. Ultimately this is the classic for all, and hopefully can help you in unforeseen ways, and in many situations.
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on 6 February 2001
I very much enjoyed Sun Tzu's timeless pearls of wisdom though I wouldn't agree that they are a panacea for all the ills of business and/or personal life. However, I was more disappointed with Cleary's editorial commentary of the translated text. I often found him simply reiterating the text, albeit in a more verbose and gramatically correct form. He seemed to presume ignorance on the part of the reader. Less Cleary more Sun Tzu.
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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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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2008
I was expecting a huge tome full of Confuscian statements which are allegorical to warfare. What I received was a 69-page book of short instructions which are dirrectly about warfare, but in many cases allegorical to life.

Possibly they're all in some way applicable to the day-to-day, the fighting with fire section does seem a bit specialised, but doubtless the scales will fall from my eyes at some stage and I will be able to use its teachings in buying tangerines from waitrose.

The best thing about the book is the ability to spice up conversation. Never again will I use a hackneyed marketing phrase where something from Sun Tzu will work. Brilliant.
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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 Very dissapointing.
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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 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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