The Art of War

Presentation of the Book “Art of War”

Written in the 4th century BC, nearly 2.500 years ago, by Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and strategist, the book “Art of War” continues still today to be admired as a lessons source in the strategy area. In fact, many consider “Art of War” as the origin if the strategy concept. Even though it’s a merely military treaty, Sun Tzu’s advices and lessons are perfectly adaptable to the world of companies and business’; being enough just to look at the competitors as the enemy and at the market as the battle field.

Chapters of the Book

“Art of War” is composed by thirteen chapters, namely:

  1. Initial Planning: places the emphasis in the importance of planning – before beginning any action it’s necessary to determine five aspects of central significance: the path, the climate, the land, leadership and discipline;
  2. Conduct of War: highlights the war’s internal consequences and places the emphasis in the quickness and efficiency of the actions as a way to preserve energy and resources and this way reduce the caused detritions;
  3. Offensive Strategy: Refers the significance of keeping intact the most number possible of things – the best would be to win the battles without fighting; also refers the significance of the knowledge about the enemy and ourselves to win the battles;
  4. Ways and provisions (or The Power of Defense): places the emphasis in the provisions of the troops on the ground and declares that the secret of victory is in the adaptability and inscrutability;
  5. Energy and Power: is relieved strength, or impulse, the dynamic structure of the group in action, the coordination, the organizations’ coherence and are presented several methods of attack and defense;
  6. Strong and Weak Points (or Empty and Full): highlights the significance to preserve self energy and, simultaneously, persuade the enemy to wear his out;
  7. Maneuvers: takes care of the effective organization in the battle field and the combat maneuvers, at the same time that refers others subjects of special significance for success;
  8. The Nine Variables: the emphasis is placed in the adjustment, seen as one of the pillars of the art of fight; the nine variables are:
  • Do not camp in low grounds;
  • Do not ignore diplomacy on open ground (communicant)
  • Do not stay in devastated ground;
  • On closed ground, plan an escape;
  • In a desperate situation, fight until death;
  • There are roads that must not be followed;
  • There are times in which you should not capture the enemy;
  • There are cities that should not be attacked, territories that should not be disputed;
  • There are occasions in which the commandant’s orders should not be followed.
  1. Army Marches or Movements: takes care of the army’s strategic maneuvers and talks about the three key aspects of the warriors’ art: physical, social and psychological.
  2. Ground: once again the emphasis is placed in the adaptability, in this case, to the ground conditions – are characterized the several types of existent ground and presented the most adequate ways to take action on each type;
  3. The Nine Ground Variables (or Nine Regions): is again analyzed the question of accommodation to the ground. The nine regions analyzed are: the dissolution region, the light region, the dispute region, the traffic region, the intersection region, the heavy region, the bad region, the besieged region and the death region (or deadly).
  4. Attacks with Fire: makes a description of the five types of incendiary attack: the first is to set fire to the enemy troops; after, to their provisions; third, burn their transports; fourth, their armory and; at last their supply routes.
  5. Use of Secret Agents: is enhanced the use of espionage as a way to reduce the war’s costs and are characterized the five kinds of spies: local spy which is hired among the population of the region in which the operations are planned; undercover spy which is hired among the officials of an opposite regime; reverse spy which is a double agent, hired among the enemy spies; dead spy that is whom receives the mission to take false information to the enemy and; alive spy that is who goes and comes with information.
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