The Art of War-Sun Tzu | Book Summary

Since its publication in ancient China during 500 BC, The Art Of War has been regarded as the ultimate text guide on military strategy and combat.

The Art of War is a strategic masterwork written by ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, that has inspired entrepreneurs, athletes, politicians, and generals to defeat their opponents and competitors with a great edge.

The valuable lessons in this book provide strategies that you can use beyond the bloodshed of physical warfare. Both Eastern and Western military as well as many successful individuals have been influenced by The Art of War, which continues even to this day.

The important learnings from The Art of War are as follows:

1- Choose the right fight

fight is first won in mind than in the field
  • Winners understand when to fight and when not to fight. Losers are prone to fighting and, as a result, they frequently lose.
  • So, first and foremost, make sure to investigate the scenario.
  • You must take calculated risks so that the probability of winning could be high.
  • The timing is very important. Actions taken at the right time with planning are far better than vague actions.
  • When fools enter conflicts, they immediately begin planning how to win. Strategists have figured out how they’re going to win before they even start fighting.
  • That’s why you must be ready with the plan but also prepared to adjust it to changing demands. You must evaluate all of the options accessible to you. As a result, your strategy must be adaptive to changing conditions.
  • For example, if you’re beginning a business, start by researching the industry you are trying to enter. Are you capable of defeating your most challenging competitors? Is there another field you could occupy if not?

2-Planning

plan the strategy and take the required actions
  • Proper planning and investigation are very crucial whether it’s for war or business.
  • Studying war was crucial since it might mean the difference between a country’s survival and death.
  • According to Sun Tzu, a leader who has a better strategy wins the fight.
  • So, in this idea, let’s look at how business strategy parallels military strategy.
  • We all know that planning is crucial to company success in every corner of the business.
  • So, first and foremost, make a good action plan with a clear goal.
  • Then a clear-cut strategy to get the plan into action and the goal into reality.

3-Know yourself and your enemy properly

know your enemy in and out
  • This implies that in order to succeed, you must be aware of what your competitors are up to. You should also be aware of your competitor’s strong points as well as weak points.
  • So you may use that knowledge wisely to benefit your company. Now, putting that understanding into practice could mean taking a step back. It might also imply progress.
  • Learning what your rivals are doing, for example, may provide you with important insight into your own goals. If you can foresee your opponent’s actions, you may be able to figure out a mismatch that works to your advantage.
  • Learning to detect flaws and vulnerabilities in your own company’s environment is as critical as auditing your opponents.
  • Either fight on your own terms or don’t fight at all. Strike at weak areas and avoid attacking your opponent while they are well-defended.
  • You should also learn to protect your weak places against an unexpected attack. Try to figure out what your opponent’s intentions are and how likely they are to succeed using this knowledge.
  • Understand your opponent’s strengths weaknesses so you can better detect their flaws and strike where they are weak.

4- Leader leads the team

A leader is the most important person in any team
  • The first aspect is whether or not the individuals who report to a leader have faith in him or not.
  • People’s readiness to support the purpose of war is ultimately determined by their level of confidence. Furthermore, this desire is closely linked to the chance of military victory.
  • A leader is an entity that gives the confidence to win the fight to the team. It is critical to have a positive mindset in order to defeat adversaries. A capable army’s demise might be caused by poor leadership.
  • You can’t prosper in business if you’re on your own. From The Art Of War, we gain an essential team-building lesson. In this concept, let’s look at how business strategy parallels military strategy.
  • As a commander, your goal should be to arrange your men into well-organized groups. You can expertly organize your separate soldiers into a single army if done right.
  • This unity may be the deciding element in your victory versus a less well-managed opponent.
  • It makes no difference whether you have a huge or little army. It’s how you arrange your troops that counts.
  • It’s also critical that your team works together toward the same goal. This will encourage people to invest their hearts and minds in the goal. It will motivate them to work toward the objectives you’ve set for them.

5- Use resources wisely

smart fight is better than bloodshed
  • A true leader never makes excuses and put blames on others for the failures.
  • A confident and calm person is known for the mindful use of whatever resources are available at the moment.
  • It is very important to have all the details about resources. It will help you to make plans considering the most efficient use of resources.
  • This way battles can be won even in the conditions of scarcity of resources.

Summary

Although The Art of War is a book on ancient Chinese military strategy, its methods are still applicable to politics, economics, and corporate psychology. These timeless teachings may be used both on and off the battlefield. Now that you’ve learned about the strategic and psychological aspects of effective leadership, put what you’ve learned to the test.