The Art of War Summary (Plus PDF)

The Art of War by Sun Tzu Hardcover book

The Art of War is referred to as the best strategic planning writing which still stands in today’s world. Sun Tzu, a Chinese general, shared what you need to win and avoid the war. 

The book has 13 chapters and each chapter is very small. I mean, 1 page has 1 paragraph. The book has also been translated into many languages but it is better if you buy the Simple English Version as it is easy to understand.

I have Lionel Giles’s translated version who wrote The Art Of War in 1910 and has 232 pages. This is the simplest version that I have come across.

Now, let me share with you some of the key takeaways from the book in simple English with simple examples that you will relate to.

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The Art of War Summary

One of the key takeaways from the book is “Before You Start the War, be prepared enough to win the war”

This applies to everything whether you’re running a business, doing the job, want to start a startup, preparing for an exam, or doing anything else. 

Preparation will let you know what you have to do, what to know, and when & how you will enter the field.

This is one of the examples that Sun Tzu shared in the book. So let’s explore the 5 key takeaways that will make you think about your future.

I’m keeping my promise, this is the mini-ebook of The Art of War by Sun Tzu. So download right now and read wherever you want for free. Happy Reading.

Goals Asks for Sacrifice 

If you want to make it big in life then you will have to sacrifice something whether it’s your time, comfort zone, friendships, entertainment, or scrolling on your smartphone.

You can’t have it all and live the life you want to live unless and until your parents are rich.

So choose the hard things that will lead you towards your goals whether it’s waking up early, doing exercise, reading books, learning new skills, or spending time with yourself.

These are simple things but it’s not that easy if you’re doing it for the first time in years.

So choose what is needed to reach your goals and sacrifice those things that distract you from your goals.

Before You Enter the War

The author mentioned this a lot which is “if you want to fight a war then you have to believe in yourself otherwise, even a loser will defeat you”

For example, if you’re preparing for a government exam and you have read every single book. Now on exam day, you’re having doubts about whether you will be able to pass the exam or not, whether you will get a job or not.

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This kind of thinking will mess up with your brain and this will create unnecessary negativity and one way or another you will lose faith in yourself.

So if you know what you’re doing then there is nothing to worry about. Go to the war and give your 110% and win the war because you know you can.

Be Flexible

The author doesn’t talk about your physical flexibility, rather he talks about “how you need to know when and where to change as per the situation”

Let’s say, you’ve been running an offline shop for about 20 years and now, in today’s world, it’s better if you also have an online store.

This is great but you will be like, who buys online, I’ve been running this shop for the last 20 years and I don’t think I have to go online.

So as the author says, don’t be like this. Be open-minded and make changes when necessary. You have to change your beliefs and live your life as per today’s world otherwise, you will stay behind forever.

Beliefs can be hard to break, so take small steps but make changes when you need them.

You Don’t have to Quit

You may have heard that “X person was doing a particular business for years and now, he has closed that business because his business wasn’t performing well”

This is true, sometimes we have to look for better opportunities but it doesn’t have to be this way all the time.

If you’re running a business and it’s not going as per your planning then the problem is not business, the problem is you and your planning.

So see what’s happening outside your brain and make adjustments when needed the most. 

If the changes are out of your comfort zone then go out of your comfort zone because this is the right thing to do for your business.

And don’t quit unless and until you can’t figure out the problem. Also, the reality is that “we have solutions for every single problem”

So look for solutions in the right direction.

Don’t quit because it’s getting hard because the reality is “there is nothing in this world that is easy, it’s just the thoughts you’re having in the movement”.

Fight a War

There is a great saying that “Expect the best and prepare for the worst”.

This doesn’t mean, you have to think negatively about everything. This simply means “you also need to plan if things don’t go as per planning, in today’s world, we call this: Plan B”

For example, in business, you have to know that, there will be days when you will lose money and there will be days when you will make money.

In both scenarios, you need to have a plan.

When you lose money, you need to have money that can run the business whereas when you make money, you need to know what to do with all the money you have.

So when you enter the war, Expect the best but if you’re about to lose then you need to have a backup plan that can win you the war.

The Art of War Lessons

  1. Sometimes, change is necessary even if it’s hard.
  2. You have to do your best when you’re at war but if you’re about to lose the war then you need to have plan B that can win the war.
  3. Don’t quit before trying all the possibilities.
  4. Believing is a powerful tool that you need to have in yourself no matter what you’re doing.
  5. You need to be flexible enough to change your plans if necessary, you don’t have to stick to the old ones.
  6. To get great things in life, you need to Sacrifice a few things whether it’s good times, comfort zones, friendships, entertainment, or scrolling on your smartphone.
  7. Planning is more important than jumping into the tasks.
  8. Self-awareness will take you wherever you want to go.
  9. Deception is important in war, just take the example of Krishna in Mahabharat.
  10. You can go alone but if you want to conquer the world then you need to build a team that trusts you no matter what.

The Art of War Quotes

The Art of War Summary

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”

“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”

“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.”

“If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.”

“When strong, avoid them. If morale is high, depress them. Seems humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.”

“There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.”

The Art of War Review

Yes, you should read The Art of War but make sure you buy the right version otherwise, it will be hard to understand what Sun Tzu is talking about.

It is a great book that will teach you everything from strategic planning, deception, flexibility, emphasizing timing, leadership, adaptation, and even resource preservation.

The book focuses on military strategy and warfare but you can apply the learning in your day-to-day life as well. It’s a great read that will change your present, future and make you free from your past.

By the way, The Art of War was written in Classical Chinese between 510 and 470 BC. 

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