Art Of War

"The Art of War", written by Sun Tzu (circa 400-320 BC), summarizes realistic, applicable concepts and principles of war and military strategy in thirteen chapters:

  1. Strategic Assessments
  2. Waging War
  3. Planning a Siege / Attack by Stratagem
  4. Tactical dispositions
  5. Force / Energy
  6. Weak and Strong Points
  7. Maneuvering
  8. Variations in Tactics
  9. Maneuvering / Army on the March
  10. Terrain
  11. Nine Situations
  12. Fire Attacks
  13. Use of Spies

It is the oldest surving text about military strategy, and is still applicable today, not only in the military.

Quotes from "The Art of War" that apply to Go are compiled at Military proverbs.


See also: "Secret Art of War: The 36 Stratagems"

See also: "Geo-Strategic Lessons from Go"


Frs: Several English translations exist, which is the best?

BenAxelrod: I recently bought a copy of this book. Picking one out was no easy task because as Frs mentioned, there are 'several' versions of the English translation. (A quick search on [ext] amazon yielded over 5000 results! I found that there are a few flavors of the text, each geared towards different audiences. There are versions for:

  • Business people
  • Karate people
  • English/Literature majors (historians) - Apparently there are several famous interpretations by Chinese historians that date back very far. These versions of the book might include translations of these as well.
  • Military people
  • some that try to be as strict as possible to the original phrasing, wording, etc,
  • and some that boil it down to just the larger ideas

I don't really want to promote anything here, but the version i got was very good. Here is its [ext] link on amazon. It included a very faithful translation to one of the oldest versions of the text (bamboo text), three chapters by the translators that put the text into context and help the reader with difficult Chinese concepts, then the translation again this time with commentary. The commentary was not overly intrusive and provided just enough insights so that the reader could draw their own meanings from the text.

What i did in the book store was to read a few lines from the same chapter in every book to see how they differed. This, along with reading the book jacket should give you a pretty good idea as to what kind of translation it is.

I would really like to see a version of the book oriented towards Go. Does anyone know if one exists?

MASAHIRO?: There is no such book that specifically applies the Art of War to Go. The fact is that such a book does not need to exist. The Art of War was purposely written vaguely, so that it could be applied to various pursuits in life. Making a book of it for Go alone would contradict the original purpose. If you learn enough about Go and study the Art of War, you will understand the proverbs fully.

Art Of War last edited by MASAHIRO on October 11, 2010 - 05:32
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