75 quotes of Sun Tzu from the book ‘The Art of War’

There is a way to keep negativity out of your mind and these Sun Tzu quotes can show you how to turn your mind into your most powerful weapon.

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher. The authenticity of Sun Tzu is still a matter of debate but traditional Chinese histories place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China (722-481 BC) where he served under King Helü of Wu.

Most people know Sun Tzu from the world famous book “ The Art of War ”. The book gained immense popularity during the 19th and 20th centuries as Western Society saw its practical use. His writings still continue to impact Asian and Western culture and politics.

This is a collection of the best Sun Tzu quotes taken from the book “The Art of War”.

Table of Contents

Quotes by Sun Tzu from the book “The Art of War”

Read on to learn new things about how to empower yourself so you can fight bravely and emerge victorious.

Here are the best quotes from Sun Tzu:

1. “A leader leads by example, not by force.”

2. “The supreme excellence consists in breaking the resistance of the enemy without fighting.”

3. “He who knows when he can fly and when not, will be victorious.”

4. “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as the night and when you move, strike down like lightning.”

5. “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do everything I can?”

6. “To know your Enemy you must become your Enemy.”

7. “You have to believe in yourself.”

8. “Consider his soldiers as your sons and they will follow you to the deepest valleys; look at them as your dearest children and they will remain by your side until death.”

9. “Thus, only a brilliant ruler or a wise general who can use the most intelligent for espionage, can be sure of victory.”

10. “Maneuvering with an army is advantageous. Maneuvering with an undisciplined crowd is dangerous.”

75 quotes of Sun Tzu from the book 'The Art of War'

11. “If fighting ensures victory, then you must fight, even if the governor forbids it; if fighting does not ensure victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler’s command.”

12. “Great results can be achieved with small efforts.”

13. “Quick as the wind, silent as the forest, swift and devastating as fire, motionless as a mountain.”

14. “The enlightened ruler is attentive and the good general is full of caution.”

15. “Victorious warriors first win and then go to war, while defeated warriors first go to war and then seek to win.”

16. “If you use the enemy to defeat the enemy, you will be powerful wherever you go.”

17. “If you send reinforcements everywhere, you will be weak everywhere.”

18. “Speed ​​is the essence of war.”

19. “There is no country that has benefited from prolonged wars.”

20. “Even the best sword if left submerged in salt water will eventually rust.”

21. “Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.”

22. “Opportunities multiply as they are taken.”

23. “Make adversaries see as extraordinary what is ordinary to you; make them see as ordinary what is extraordinary for you.”

24. “The one who arrives first on the battlefield waits fresh for the arrival of the enemy to fight. Whoever arrives late to the battlefield has to hurry and arrives exhausted to combat.”

25. “Who knows when to fight and when not to fight will win.”

26. “Invincibility is a matter of defense, vulnerability is a matter of attack.”

27. “Defense is for times of scarcity, attack for times of plenty.”

28. “Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. This way you can be the director of your opponent’s destiny.”

29. “Good warriors make adversaries come to them, and in no way allow themselves to be drawn out of their strength.”

30. “One can know the condition of an entire army by the behavior of a single man.”

31. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest road to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.”

32. “When the enemy is relaxed make him strive. When he is full, make him hungry. When he is seated make him move.”

33. “Victory generally goes to the army that has better trained officers and men.”

34. “If you are far from the enemy, make him believe that you are close.”

35. “The opportunity to insure ourselves against defeat is in our own hands, but the opportunity to defeat the enemy is provided by himself.”

36. “The wheels of justice turn slowly but turn well.”

37. “What the ancients call a cunning fighter is one who not only wins, but stands out for winning simply.”

38. “Fighting with others face to face to get advantages is the hardest thing in the world.”

39. “He who can modify his tactics depending on his opponent and thus achieve victory can be called a captain born from the horn of heaven.”

40. “Weapons are fatal instruments that should only be used when there is no other alternative.”

41. “In order for you to perceive the advantages of defeating the enemy, you must also obtain its rewards.”

42. “When the orders are reasonable, fair, simple, clear and consistent, there is mutual satisfaction between the leader and the group.”

43. “He who is prudent and waits for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.”

44. “Look for your soldiers as you look for a newborn; so they will be willing to follow you to the deepest valleys; take care of your soldiers as you take care of your dear children and they will gladly die with you.”

45. “You should never attack out of anger and in a hurry. It is advisable to take time in planning and coordinating the plan.”

46. ​​“Only when you know every detail of the ground condition can you maneuver and fight.”

47. “Place them in a situation of possible extermination, and then they will fight to live. Put them in mortal danger, and then they will survive. When troops face danger, they are able to fight their way to victory.”

48. “If you want to feign cowardice to know the strategy of the adversaries, you first have to be extremely brave, because only then can you act artificially timid.”

49. “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without losing any.”

50. “The intelligent combatant imposes his will on his enemy, but does not allow the will of his enemy to be imposed on him.”

51. “Don’t stand downstream. Do not walk against the currents, nor against the wind.”

52. “Success in war is achieved by permanently adapting to the purpose of the enemy.”

53. “The prudence and solidity of a small number of people can tire and dominate even numerous armies.”

54. “Do not pressure a desperate enemy. An exhausted animal will continue to fight, for that is the law of nature.”

55. “You will be able to win when no one can understand at any time what your intentions are.”

56. “Fighting and conquering all battles is not the supreme excellence; this consists in breaking the resistance of the enemy without fighting.”

57. “Rewards for good service should not be postponed for a single day.”

58. “What the ancients called a clever warrior is one who not only wins, but excels at winning with ease.”

59. “The worst calamities that befall an army arise from hesitation.”

60. “Meditate and deliberate before making a move.”

61. “When common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination.”

62. “One trait of a great soldier is that he either fights on his own terms or doesn’t fight at all.”

63. “The most important thing in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.”

64. “Whoever relies solely on military measures will be exterminated; whoever relies solely on peaceful measures will perish.”

65. “Captured soldiers must be kindly treated and kept.”

66. “If you know your enemy better than you know yourself, the outcome of the battle is already decided.”

67. “The military devices that lead to victory must not be divulged in advance.”

68. “The principle on which to manage an army is to establish a standard of courage that all must reach.”

69. “The general who advances without coveting fame and retires without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do his sovereign a good service, is the jewel of the kingdom.”

70. “It is the emotionless, reserved, calm and distant warrior who wins, not the one who seeks revenge out of anger and not the ambitious fortune seeker.”

71. “Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the enemy he faces.”

72. “Give the enemy what they expect to receive; thus they will be able to discern and confirm their assumptions. This will make the enemy himself act with predictable response patterns that will keep his strategists and his armies busy. In the meantime, you must wait for the moment to act in a way that cannot be anticipated.”

73. “If the enemy is safe at all points, prepare for his attack. If he has superior strength, avoid him. If your opponent has an angry temper, try to irritate him. He pretends to be weak, so that he becomes arrogant. If he takes things easy, don’t give him a break. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is not ready, appear where he does not expect you. ”

74. “All war is based on deception. Therefore, when we are able to attack, we must appear unable; When we use our forces, we must appear inactive; When we are close, we must make the enemy believe that we are far away; When we are far away, we must make him believe that we are near.”

75. “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of hundreds of battles. If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory you win you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

As a legendary historical figure, his works continue to influence not only modern warfare, but also culture, politics, business, and sports. Due to the fundamental nature of his work, he is considered one of the greatest war leaders and strategists who ever lived.

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