Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
The Art of War: Original Classic Edition

The Art of War: Original Classic Edition

Written by Sun Tzu

Narrated by Don Hagen and Victoria Gordon


The Art of War: Original Classic Edition

Written by Sun Tzu

Narrated by Don Hagen and Victoria Gordon

ratings:
4/5 (120 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 16, 2011
ISBN:
9781596599574
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

This Chinese treatise on war was written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC. Each one of the 13 chapters is devoted to a different aspect of warfare, making it the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time. Studied by generals from Napoleon to Rommel it is still one of the most influential works on the subject and is required reading in most military academies around the world. Although it was meant to be a practical guide to warfare in the age of chariots, this seminal work on the philosophy of successful leadership is as applicable to contemporary business as it is to war, and has become increasingly popular today among corporate and political leaders.
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 16, 2011
ISBN:
9781596599574
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Sun Tzu, also known as Sun Wu or Sunzi, was an ancient Chinese military strategist believed to be the author of the acclaimed military text, The Art of War. Details about Sun Tzu’s background and life are uncertain, although he is believed to have lived c. 544-496 BCE. Through The Art of War, Sun Tzu’s theories and strategies have influenced military leaders and campaigns throughout time, including the samurai of ancient and early-modern Japan, and more recently Ho Chi Minh of the Viet Cong and American generals Norman Swarzkopf, Jr. and Colin Powell during the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s.

Related to The Art of War

Related Audiobooks
Related Articles

Reviews

What people think about The Art of War

4.0
120 ratings / 72 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I'm so glad I finally read this historic book. I found it very interesting and understand why it has been adapted to suit other fields -- notably management. And the version of the book I bought is beautiful in itself. Bound in traditional Chinese style, with each page folded in half and only printed on the outside. Hard to rate -- it is what it is as they say -- but I'm rating it highly because it has stood the test of time.
  • (3/5)
    you kind of have to read this, yah. so privately canonized.
  • (5/5)
    An enduring classic, an absolute must-read for every business person and military mind the world over.
  • (5/5)
    Everyone should read this.

    It tells you as much about motivation and human compunction than any other book Ive ever read. This should be required reading for teachers, businessmen, cops, everyone that every has to deal with a group of people in a possibly hostile setting.
  • (5/5)
    No wonder the words in this book have such wide applications across a whole massive spectrum of professions to situations.
  • (4/5)
    I read this and let my mind wander a little, but not too much. Invariably whatever I think about mixes with the words, and elegant, clear observations come out. It's like guided meditation.
  • (4/5)
    Rated: B-The New Lifetime Reading Plan: Number 10The general is responsible for the destiny and well-being of the nation. The scarcity of fine generals has always been a source of calamity.He regards his troops as his children, and they will go with him into the deepest ravine. He regards them as his loved ones, and they will stand by him unto death. (Chapter 10)
  • (5/5)
    The version I have also has a second section for commentaries on all the passages. It's an incredibly useful and insightful book, and not necessarily just for literal war.
  • (5/5)
    Tactics and strategies that apply to everyday life. This book is excellent reading to make you think about how to deal with the day to day struggles of life. It helps you position you versus your opponent. Your opponent need not be any one person. It could be a corporation. It could be an establishment. It could be a situation you are facing. I was once told that what you get out of a book is the effort you put into a book. It is my hope that this book can help someone master how they deal with day to day life. Let me know what you think. By the way, how many Enron or Worldcomm employees do you think read this book?

    On another note, I would ask that you do not take this book literally. It is laced with allegory and a ton of symbolism. Please take its contents and apply them to your life for the good of all.
  • (5/5)
    one of the best books I've ever read; just be careful of the translator. There are some really horrendous editions out there. ALWAYS buy the one translated by "CLEARLY" he is very profound in eastern philosophy and tradition
  • (5/5)
    A great translation. That was meant to be funny since I don't read Chinese and can't possibly really know how good his translation is. However, this is a great book and belongs right next to your other war strategy greats.
  • (5/5)
    I give it a 5 because it's a classic that you can read in under an hour. One of the best books I have read. Simple, basic, and a great strategy foundation. I refer to it all the time. Great book from a historical standpoint, but certainly is a great asset in business.
  • (4/5)
    A classic that is as valuable for war strategies as it is for work and everyday relations.My edition is from Shambhala, and translated by Thomas Cleary (famed for his translations of Miyamoto Musashi's work, as well as his biography).In this edition, each of the passages is interpreted by 11 different people (from Li Quan to Zhang Yu), for scope and perspective. While it's not necessary to include so many interpreters, I find that the different perspectives (and wording) sometimes made Master Sun's wisdoms clearer.
  • (3/5)
    Inspiration comes from many places and The Art of War is one of those books mentioned frequently in my circles. It's one of those books I've been meaning to get to for years and, while I am not sorry that I finally got to it, its usefulness to me is limited.Most of the non-strategic advice is good leadership advice. Things such as being a leader means setting the standard for how the work should be done, including getting one's hands dirty with the lowliest tasks. I've read plenty of stuff about leadership, and setting the example, that there really wasn't anything new for me here.Since I'm not interested in military strategies, the rest was dry.From a strictly historic perspective, I can understand the importance of this treatise. But as an outstanding example of leadership and strategy in the 21st century? I'm not seeing it.
  • (2/5)
    Pretty dull going, even by audiobook. The narrators were great, though, and there were times that the footnotes saved me.
  • (3/5)
    All the guff about it being the greatest management text in history is of course utter nonsense, but it's an interesting read. I preferred and would recommend the Hagakure if you're after samurai warrior philosophy.
  • (4/5)
    A classic! Well worth the read, and looking forward to reading again in the future.
  • (3/5)
    Another translation (Ralph Sawyer) and lots of background history & hints of textual analysis - but fails to grab.Read July 2006
  • (3/5)
    A little book full off great thoughts and advice for life. I read it every year.
  • (5/5)
    I have read this several times in a variety of translations. This version is formatted like a poem and is a quick read. Interesting that Sun Tzu echoes many of the issues raised by Thucydides. I remember an Instructor Gunnery during my Regimental Officers Basic Course from the United States artillery beginning every lesson with: "Sun Tzu says...". And, "If a 155 round lands on a tank, the tank is toast". So much in such a short book and it was quite possibly written before Thucydides was born.
  • (4/5)
    It is a really old book, but still has much application to everyday life in modern times. The book is a little hard to read at times. However, the knowledge you get from reading it worth it. I recommend everyone read this title at least once in their lifetime.
  • (1/5)
    This book counts as classic even for modern warfare and strategy games. My experience has been unsatisfying and boring - perhaps I didn't delve into deep implications of obvious sounding tactics.
  • (4/5)
    I think one of the reasons why this book has been and probably always will be so popular, is that many different people can read read it for many different reasons. Among the most obvious: some people read it to learn about war (like Tom Ricks, who quotes it in his famous book about Iraq), some people are drawn into it by an interest in the Far East (like the translator, M. Giles himself, who was a student of all things Chinese), and some people just like it because it's really really old and really really cool, and I guess that's part of the reason why I like it. And although the German wrote another famous-book about war, he was, being German, boring. But then, some things can be both popular, and well-reasoned, and, as a philosophical essay to discover the nature of war, this little book does a fine job. Recall what Aristotle says in the first sentence of his 'Nicomachean Ethics': "Every art...seems to aim at some good, and so it has been well said that the good is that at which everything aims." So, what good does The Art Of War aim at? (Absolutely nothin'--ugh! Well, no, sorry.) Well, in a way, the art of war aims to conduct war well, just as the art of baking bread aims to bake bread well. But what does that mean, in real terms? I think that if we examine the thought of Master Sun, we find that the good at which the art of war aims is to achieve victory, not by inflicting the maximum amount of destruction, but by causing the absolute minimum: for to cause much destruction is not so good. And I think he does all that with a certain sort of style, too: "II. Waging War 3. Again, if the campaign be protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. 5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays. 6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. 7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on. 8. The skilful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his suppy-wagons loaded more than twice. 19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns." And it's good to remind all those annoying, noisy military history fanatics that the longest, most destructive wars are the *worst*, because people *die* and things get *destroyed* and that's *bad*. (8/10)
  • (5/5)
    The Art of War is a treasure trove of information...if you study war, ancient China, Strategy, or military history...it is useless when applied to business, I think. I love this text, but I study ancient Asian texts. Giles' translation is the one which all others are measured and it has the text with commentary and without, and in the original Chinese. As a study text this is superb, as a manual for business, it a weak application.Miso
  • (5/5)
    The oldest military treatise on war. This one is Tops! Translation by Lionel Giles and with original Chinese.
  • (5/5)
    Love the notion that the greatest leader is one that defeats the challege before it is known that the challenge exists. Here we are obsessed with the hero leader who battles with the mighty demons and after much struggle wins. I see this in schools where the head turns around a failing school and is seen as a great leader. But all too often they miss the greater leadership of the head who intervenes with a timely word here, a school event there keeps the school on track, Much better to read the straight translations rather then the art of war for the board room which often miss the point
  • (4/5)
    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally here.)The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write essays on whether or not they deserve the label. The Art of War is essay #27 of this series.The story in a nutshell:More of a technical manual than a piece of general literature, The Art of War is a field guide of sorts by famed Chinese military leader Sun Tzu, written it's believed sometime in the 6th century BC (during the period when China was coming together as a unified empire for the first time in history), as a way of instructing other commanders how to have as much success on the battlefield as he had had. (And please know that there's a debate among scholars as well regarding whether Sun Tzu even wrote this book by himself, or if like many other classics from antiquity this isn't in fact a sly compilation, gathering up the best thoughts back then from amongst a whole group of military strategists.) Now of course let's not forget that Sun Tzu was a Taoist as well, so of course his particular advice is going to be Taoist in nature, a very important thing to understand in order to really "get" this book; he sees the best war, for example, as the one that's never actually fought, because you've already dismantled the enemy's forces through sabotage and cunning to the point where they can't put up a resistance in the first place. And so it is throughout this extremely slim book (which in fact is more like a long magazine article) -- chapter after chapter of surprisingly spiritual text concerning the fine art of getting what you want, even when other people are actively trying to stop you from doing so.The argument for it being a classic:It's a 2,500-year-old book still being read and studied on a daily basis, argue its fans; what more do you want? And in the meanwhile, it's influenced nearly every Western military leader since first being translated into a Romantic language (French) in 1782, racking up a whole list of self-declared admirers from Napoleon to Norman Schwarzkopf. And if this weren't enough, starting in the 1980s it also gained a whole new life as a surprisingly apt if not Machiavellian guide to the corporate business world, best typified by symbol-of-yuppie-greed Gordon Gekko from Oliver Stone's fantastic movie Wall Street, who is constantly walking around quoting from it as a way to justify his monstrous, inhuman actions. If all of this isn't enough to safely consider a book a classic, ask its fans, what is?The argument against:The case against this being a classic seems to be one used a lot with books over a thousand years old; that even if that book turns out to be historically important (and it usually does), it might be better at this point to actually study the book and how it affected society, not read the book itself for pleasure anymore. Always remember, that's part of how I'm defining "classic" here in this CCLaP 100 series, is not just how important that title has been to human history, but also whether it's worth literally sitting down and reading it page-for-page yourself, no matter if you have any specific interest in that book's subject or not. If it's yes on the former but no on the latter, as critics of this book claim, then by my definition it's not a classic, but rather simply a historically important book that should be studied by the general public but not necessarily read.My verdict:So let me start by admitting how surprisingly readable this is for being 2,500 years old, and that it really does translate metaphorically to the business world surprisingly elegantly; after all, since it's a guide to war written by a Taoist, it's more of a symbolic examination of how to get out of life what you want the most, even in the face of tough opposition, with advice that is surprisingly relevant to the modern world even when he's talking about the mechanics of medieval Asian warfare. (Just for one example, near the beginning he talks in one paragraph about how a successful commander will literally steal the food of their enemy, both to sap the enemy's strength and to avoid the burden of having to carry all that food to battle themselves; this may not seem to have much relevance to the modern business world at first, until you stop and think about it in terms of stealing talent from your competitors, literally the intellectual "food" nourishing their "army" of goods and services competing against your own.)That said, though, I think ultimately I'm going to have to side with the critics this time; that unless you're a military commander or corporate raider yourself, most people's eyes are going to quickly gloss over while trying to read this book, merely after the first few pages. Now, don't get me wrong, I definitely think this should be a primer for people who are getting into the profession themselves; this should for sure be a must-read not only for soldiers, for example, but also the politicians in charge of those soldiers' budgets. But this is a perfect example of the surprisingly complicated process of determining whether a book is a classic or not, the entire reason I started this essay series in the first place; because unless competitive strategy actually is your business, most people will find it more rewarding to spend their time reading up on how this book has affected history, and of the circumstances in ancient China that led to it getting written in the first place. There's really only one major lesson in The Art of War for a non-military general audience to get -- that most battles are won based on how well one can surprise the enemy, usually by deceiving them using their own weaknesses (to act incompetent when the enemy is haughty, for example, threatening when they're meek, picking them off at the edges when they outnumber you, destroying their supply lines when they're far from home); for those not interested in the nitty-gritty of how to actually accomplish such things, though, there's actually a lot more to be learned by studying how such a thing has been attempted over the centuries, making the book certainly important but not necessarily a classic.Is it a classic? No
  • (5/5)
    Awesome for anyone looking for a good strategy book. helps with any type of war situation, I recommend reading it if you choose to go into the military.
  • (3/5)
    Classic, brilliant techniques put so simply. Yet, naturally, reading this as a modern day civilian, I applied it to my modern day battles such as in business, relationships, Los Angeles traffic...the typical. As a naturally paranoid person, I feel it did me more harm than good. In addition, I prefer to (perhaps ignorantly) avoid seeing things as if they are wars. Some things will never change though because I will always act shy and giggle right before I slaughter my enemy.
  • (5/5)
    A subtle and fascinating philosophy on how to wage war. Knowledge of assured victory is key for Sun Tzu. At once it is esoteric and simple giving the reader the opportunity to find new angles and places to learn with each repeated reading. Intense and interesting. (Shambhala translation)