Quotations From SUN TZU


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  • It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.
    Sun Tzu (6-5th century B.C.), Chinese general. The Art of War, ch. 13, axiom 27 (c. 490 B.C.), ed. James Clavell (1981).
  • Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
    Sun Tzu (6th-5th century B.C.), Chinese general. The Art of War, ch. 6, axiom 9 (c. 490 B.C.), ed. James Clavell (1981).
  • The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
    Sun Tzu (6-5th century B.C.), Chinese general. The Art of War, ch. 5, axiom 13 (c. 490 B.C.), ed. by James Clavell (1981).
  • If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.
    Sun Tzu (6-5th century B.C.), Chinese general. Ed. James Clavell (1981). The Art of War, ch. 11, axiom 27 (c. 490 B.C.).

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  • When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
    Sun Tzu (6-5th century B.C.), Chinese general. repr., Ed. James Clavell (1981). The Art of War, ch. 9, axiom 38 (c. 490 B.C.).
  • The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
    Sun Tzu (6th-5th century B.C.), Chinese general. The Art of War, ch. 10, axiom 24 (c. 490 B.C.), ed. James Clavell (1981).

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  • Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.
    Sun Tzu (6th-5th century B.C.), Chinese general. The Art of War, ch. 5, axiom 17 (c. 490 B.C.), ed. James Clavell (1981). The translator of this edition, Lionel Giles, added the explanatory note: "If you wish to feign confusion in order to lure the enemy on, you must first have perfect discipline; if you wish to display timidity in order to entrap the enemy, you must have extreme courage; if you wish to parade your weakness in order to make the enemy over- confident, you must have exceeding strength."

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