The Art Of War Background

The Art Of War Background

Few ancient texts are known today -- and even fewer are still in print. Chinese General Sun Tzu's The Art of War is one of the few ancient texts still known, published, and widely read across the world. To that end, The Art of War has been translated into countless languages. Lionel Giles is responsible for the most popular English translation of the book, but readers have stated that they enjoyed English translations by people like military historian Ralph D. Sawyers and Thomas Cleary.

The Art of War was originally published in the 5th century BC as a military treatise, which promulgated things like military strategy and tactics and warfare. There are 13 chapters in the book, each of which is made up of a different aspect of warfare and how it relates to military strategies and tactics (one chapter is called "Waging War" for example; another is called "Classification of Terrain"). Secondarily, the book covers things like the history of Chinese military, weapons, and spies. The Art of War is also responsible for a considerable number of quotes which have endured in the cultural pantheon to this day. Perhaps the most famous line from The Art of War is the following: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

To this day, Generals have drawn inspiration from The Art of War when formulating strategy for their own troops. In fact, U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., who led all Coalition forces during the Gulf War, drew a tremendous amount of inspiration from the book when planning strategy and tactics for the war. The book is also extremely applicable to areas of life outside of the military such as decision-making in the business world, legal strategy, sports, life in general -- and even video games.

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