Summary of The Essential Art of War

Basic Books,
First Edition: -450 more...

Buy the book

The Essential Art of War book summary
Ancient General Sun-Tzu tells you how to fight strategically. Now you just need to know when to fight – and when not to.

Rating

8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style

Recommendation

This short book delivers the essentials of Sun-Tzu’s classic treatise. Ralph D. Sawyer, a translator and expert on Chinese military strategy, provides just enough supplementary material to put the work in context. Unlike many other contemporary adapters of this work, Sawyer does not try to suit Sun-Tzu’s words to business, romance or other modern concerns. Although he includes a few words about business applications in the book’s concluding pages, he seems clearly uncomfortable regarding this classic as anything but a military work. He does an admirable job of sticking to the task at hand, drawing out the essence of what Sun-Tzu wrote, and pointing out its specific relevance in the political and military circumstances that formed the legendary general’s environment. Sawyer provides fascinating background information to make the meaning of the text clearer. On the whole, getAbstract finds that this is an excellent, concise summation and presentation of this seminal work.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What essential advice the ancient Chinese general Sun-Tzu conveyed in his classic work on military strategy
  • How history and a good translation help us understand his context
 

Summary

Background: The Book and Its Time
Translator Commentary - This is one of China’s most famous books, and Sun-Tzu is undoubtedly one of Chinese history’s most famous authors. That having been said, scholars actually know almost nothing about Sun-Tzu himself. Indeed, it is not even clear ...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about our products or log in

About the Authors

Sun-Tzu was the great, legendary Chinese master of warfare. Translator Ralph D. Sawyer is a leading contemporary scholar of Chinese warfare.


Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same authors

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    The Battle of Business
    Could that knock-down, drag-out corporate competition use a boost from some battle planning experts?

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category