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Sun Tzu: Famous Chinese Strategist and Philosopher

Sun Tzu: Famous Chinese Strategist and Philosopher

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“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

General Sun Tzu

Centuries ago, someone wrote an influential book called The Art of War . It is generally accepted that the author was the Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher Sun Tzu. His work has had an indescribable amount of impact on tactical practices in both the East and West. Sun Tzu quotes have been used as inspiration and motivation on the battlefield and in the boardroom. But, there’s so much mystery surrounding Sun Tzu’s life that some scholars have questioned his very existence.

Who is Sun Tzu?

The ‘Tzu’ in Sun Tzu can be translated as "sir" or "master," meaning the well-known author may have been called Master Sun. His historical name has been given as Sun Wu. Little is known about Sun Wu’s life, but some details can be discerned from his monumental work and descriptions by others.

Representation of Sun Tzu. (Pol Romeu/ CC BY NC SA 2.0 )

To understand Sun Tzu, it’s necessary to look at the world he lived in. Official chronicles show that he was born during China’s Spring and Autumn Period (722–481 BC) or immediately before the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). But there are differing accounts on exactly when and where Sun Tzu was born. The Spring and Autumn Annals of the State of Lu assert Sun Tzu was born in Qi, but The Records of the Grand Historian ( Shiji) (written in the 1st century BC) state that his homeland was Wu. If the Lu Kingdom’s Annals are correct, Sun Tzu grew up in a northerly coastal area roughly where the Shandong Province exists today. But if Qian Sima’s Shiji is true, Sun Tzu was born in a different state, one which controlled the mouth of the Yangtze River.

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Some sources give his birth year as 544 BC, but not everyone agrees. If we go with this date, Sun Tzu was in his early 30s while he was the Kingdom of Wu’s army general and strategist. It also means he was a contemporary of Confucius (551 - 479 BC).

However, some scholars place Sun Tzu at a later time period due to his important military position. Army leaders in the Spring and Autumn period were not usually professional generals – it was far more common for kings or their close relatives to hold that role (and there has been no evidence given to show Sun Tzu was either of those). Professional generals began to appear around the Warring States Period.

Regardless of the exact year he was born, Sun Tzu’s life would have been surrounded by war. During the Spring and Autumn period it would have been dukes and marquesses feuding amongst themselves as the royal power of the Zhou Dynasty declined. Or, if Sun Tzu lived in the later Warring States Period, he lived at a time when seven Chinese nations (Zhao, Qi, Qin, Chu, Han, Wei and Yan) were fighting over the fertile lands of Eastern China. During the Warring States Period, The Art of War was a widely read military treatise.

Silk painting featuring a man (a wizard) asking a dragon to go to the sky , dated to 5th century BC (Warring States period). ( Public Domain )

Sima Qian provides an anecdote which demonstrates Sun Tzu’s personality. He writes that the King of Wu decided to test Sun Tzu before hiring him, by having the general turn a harem of 180 concubines into trained soldiers. Sun Tzu split the group into two and placed the king’s favorite two concubines as the head of their companies. He then ordered the concubines to turn right, to which the women laughed.

Sun Tzu turned to the king and said that a general was in charge of making sure his soldiers understood and followed his commands, if they did not understand he was at fault. When Sun Tzu repeated his command to the two concubines leading their companies they giggled again. In response, Sun Tzu ordered their execution. The king protested, but Sun Tzu stressed that if a general’s soldiers understood but disobeyed his commands, the officers were at fault and deserved punishment. The two women who were killed were replaced by others in the harem and both companies were sure to follow general Sun Tzu’s commands exactly from then on. Sun Tzu presented the two new commanders to the king and said they were prepared to do his bidding. That is when the king is said to have seen Sun Tzu’s potential and given him his position as general.

General Sun Tzu

Supporting the idea of a later timeline for Sun Tzu’s life is an analysis of the words used in The Art of War , tactics he provides, and his mentioning of crossbows, but a lack of note on cavalry in the text. Taking these factors into consideration provides Sun Tzu’s lifetime to about 100-150 years later than Qian Sima’s reference to him.

Sources say general Sun Tzu served King Helü of Wu. Although his writing suggests he took part in many battles, the only known example of a battle directly linked to Sun Tzu is the Battle of Boju; however, no record actually mentions Sun Tzu having fought in the battle himself. In fact, there is a historical text called Zuo zhuan which provides a more detailed account of the Battle of Boju than Shiji, but it doesn’t mention Sun Tzu at all.

Chinese Terracotta warriors. ( CC0)

Although the anecdote of the concubines may seem violent, general Sun Tzu was generally not depicted as a violent man who enjoyed killing; the opposite is often argued. As a popular Sun Tzu quote from The Art of War states, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

It is said that Sun Tzu held a Taoist philosophy and did not focus or promote physical force as the best means to win a battle. He was more skilled at and interested in using psychological means to defeat his enemy.

One famous Sun Tzu quote illustrating this point is his suggestion of gaining information on your enemy through the use of double agents, "Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations."

He also argued for a military commander to break his enemies’ alliances, avoid conflict, and practice surprise attacks. As Sun Tzu said, "The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim."

Statue of Sun Tzu in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China. (kanegon/ CC BY 2.0 )

Did He Really Exist?

The question of Sun Tzu’s existence has been puzzling researchers since at least the 12th century – Was he a real person? Those who have doubted his existence tend to use the lack of his name in the Zuo zhuan as proof against his life. Zuo zhuan mentions most of the more notable figures from the Spring and Autumn period, so the lack of Sun Tzu’s appearance in the text does raise some eyebrows…unless you consider the abovementioned later date for his lifetime.

It’s also worth considering that Sun Tzu is not the only Master Sun; Sun Bin, a more easily proven historical figure, could have also be referred to by this name. Some say that the military expert Sun Bin may have been the inspiration for a character named Sun Tzu and possibly the real author of The Art of War . Both Sun Tzu and Sun Bin encourage the use of strategy over brute force in battle.

Some scholars claim that the famous book was not actually written by Master Sun, but by his students as a collection of his teachings. However, others assert that the book has a singular voice/style, so it is probably the work of one author and not a compilation.

A compromise claims that Sun Tzu did exist and wrote most of the book, but it was added to and adjusted by his students and followers, who eventually included Sun Bin. This could explain disparities in information, such as the mention of crossbows and lack of cavalry.

Thus there are three main views on Sun Tzu’s existence: Sun Tzu existed and wrote The Art of War in 512 BC, Sun Tzu existed, but lived and wrote in the very end of the Spring and Autumn Period or beginning of the Warring States period, or Sun Tzu didn’t exist as a historical figure and The Art of War was written by someone else (perhaps a few people) in the end of the 5th century BC. Bamboo slips discovered at Yin-ch’ueh-shan in 1972 also provide evidence that the book was completed between 500 and 430 BC.

The Yinqueshan Han Slips unearthed in 1972 include Sun Tzu's Art of War, collection of Shandong Museum. (AlexHe34/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

The Art of War

The Art of War provides guidelines for military strategy and suggests the reader examines his enemies’ and his own strengths so he can act accordingly, disarm or defeat his enemy through the use of subterfuge and stratagem, and only resort to brute force when all other options fail. The belief is that a political ‘war’ is more effective than a military battle.

Thus the book provides a set of tactics and strategies for leaders and military commanders to out maneuver their enemies and teaches them how to take the terrain into account should fighting occur. There is a heavy stress on gathering as much data as possible about the enemies’ practices, movements, tendencies, and forces. This aspect is immortalized in the Sun Tzu quote, “Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat.”

This copy of The Art of War by Sun Tzu is part of a collection at the University of California, Riverside. It was either commissioned or transcribed by the Qianlong Emperor. (vlasta2/ CC BY 2.0 )

Sun Tzu’s Legacy

Sun Tzu had a successful military career and keen students who kept his teachings alive, but undoubtedly, the strongest legacy of Sun Tzu is The Art of War . Political leaders around the world have practiced the teachings in this book.

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For example, Qin Shi Huang , the first emperor of a unified China, used tactics from the book to end the Warring States Period. Much later, Mao Tse-tung also applied the strategies against the Japanese and in the Chinese civil war of the 1930s and 1940s, North Vietnamese commanders Ha Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap drew on Sun Tzu’s work as inspiration in their battles against the French and the United States of America. It has also been said that Napoleon took some of Sun Tzu’s strategic ideas through reading translations of the Chinese military general’s book.

There have also been many calls much more recently for a resurgence in Sun Tzu’s way of thinking about war, as a way to avoid direct conflict and bloodshed as much as possible.

What did Sun Tzu do for China?

Keeping this in consideration, what did Sun Tzu believe in?

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher, who is believed to have written the famous ancient Chinese book on military strategy, &ldquoThe Art of War&rdquo. Through his legends and the influential &ldquoThe Art of War&rdquo, Sun Tzu had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture.

Furthermore, what empire did Sun Tzu create? Sun Tzu's historicity is uncertain. The Han dynasty historian Sima Qian and other traditional Chinese historians placed him as a minister to King Helü of Wu and dated his lifetime to 544&ndash496 BC.

Sun Tzu
Period Spring and Autumn
Subject Military strategy
Notable works The Art of War

Also to know, what happened Sun Tzu?

Sun Tzu supposedly died when King Helu was killed in 496 BC, but since the military success of Wu continued after that year, stories of his death may have been exaggerated for political reasons. Sun Tzu teaches that the first principle of war is deception.

The Battle of the Military Theorists: Clausewitz vs. Sun Tzu

Mark McNeilly is the author of “Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare” (Oxford University Press) , from which this article is derived. The book, recently updated, now includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McNeilly has appeared as a guest speaker on the History Channel special on Sun Tzu’s Art of War and has spoken at the US Air Force Air Command and Staff College on the principles of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. He is also the author of “Sun Tzu and the Art of Business: Six Strategic Principles for Managers.” A Lecturer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and former business executive, he served as a reserve officer in the infantry and artillery in U.S. Army National Guard. You can learn more at suntzustrategies.com.

For most readers of military history two theorists stand out, the Prussian Carl von Clausewitz and the Chinese Sun Tzu. In addition to living in very different times (Clausewitz in the 18th and 19th centuries and Sun Tzu in ancient China) the former hails from the West and the latter from the East. Clausewitz’s book On War (first published in 1832) has had a major influence on Western military thought. The Prussian officer developed his book’s concepts based on observing and participating in the Napoleonic wars. As best we can tell Sun Tzu lived during a time of great conflict in China called The Age of the Warring States in which seven major states vied for control of the country. Sun Tzu served as a general from the state of Ch’i and wrote down his principles for warfare in a book we call The Art of War. He has had great influence on leaders in China and Japan and his ideas on strategy have become popular as well in the West, not only among the military but also business people. While the strategic philosophies of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz align in some areas their ideas are diametrically opposed in other important ones. So which one should military professionals and strategists follow?

Sun Tzu saw the objective of warfare not as the total destruction of the enemy through violent confrontation but “winning-all-without-fighting.” His view was that, “Generally in war, the best policy is to take a state intact to ruin it is inferior to this.” and also, “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” This objective could be achieved not by directly attacking the enemy’s strength but through a deep understanding of his capabilities and focusing the attack on his weakness. “An army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness.”

These attacks would be masked by deception, launched at unexpected places and be delivered with blinding speed. Per The Art of War, “All warfare is based on deception” and “Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness travel by unexpected routes and strike him where has taken no precautions.” The combination of these tactics would unbalance the enemy and make them unable to resist one’s onslaught.

Clausewitz had some very different ideas on warfare but before we discuss them let us look first at the major areas in which I believe (based on the writings in his treatise On War) Clausewitz would agree with Sun Tzu. One crucial point that Clausewitz makes is that war is an extension of national policy and that military goals should aim to achieve and be subordinate to the nation’s goals. Probably the most famous quotation of Clausewitz is that “war is merely the continuation of policy by other means.” Clausewitz elaborates on this, stating that “the political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose.”

Sun Tzu’s principles are consistent with Clausewitz in this respect. He realized that the national objectives should determine the wisdom of employing military power and then direct and guide its use once the decision has been made to go to war, “Normally, when the army is employed, the general first receives his commands from the sovereign. He assembles the troops and mobilizes the people. He blends the army into a harmonious entity and encamps it.”

Clausewitz would also agree with Sun Tzu on the need for military “genius” in warfare given he devoted an entire chapter early on in his book on the subject. He states that “genius refers to a very highly developed mental aptitude for a particular occupation given the arena we are discussing, a highly developed mental aptitude for conducting war.” As elaborated in the chapter on leadership, Sun Tzu also recognizes the need for military genius.

Finally, Clausewitz coined the term friction.” He developed the viewpoint that friction in combat made the simple, difficult therefore, it was critical to plan for and prepare to overcome friction. This is another example of consistency between the two military theorists.

However, there are a number of concepts Clausewitz puts forth that clearly differ from Sun Tzu and I would assert have had a negative effect on Western warfare. Many are interwoven and are derived first and foremost from Clausewitz’s preference for “total warfare.” Heavily influenced by the success of the French Revolution’s mobilization of France’s entire populace to fight, Clausewitz believed that a nation must mobilize all its resources (military, economic, diplomatic, and social, etc.) to defeat its enemies. Clausewitz then stated that the primary aim of a country’s military leadership was to launch a major attack in which the nation’s main army would fight against the enemy’s main forces in a “decisive battle” that would end the war favorably. The goal in fighting this decisive battle is the destruction of the enemy’s army, preferably through a Cannae-like battle in which heavy fighting would win the day and friendly casualties were of little consequence. A major defeat would then force the loser to sue for peace. To quote Clausewitz in his second chapter titled “Purpose and Means in War”:

“Our discussion has shown that while in war many different roads can lead to the goal, to the attainment of the political object, fighting is the only possible means. Everything is governed by the supreme law, the decision by force of arms. . To sum up: of all the possible aims in war, the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces always appears as the highest.”

And here is Clausewitz from his chapter “The Battle—Continued: The Use of Battle”:

No matter how a particular war is conducted and what aspects of its conduct we subsequently recognize as being essential, the very concept of war will permit us to make the following unequivocal statements:

1. Destruction of the enemy forces is the overriding principle of war, and, so far as positive action is concerned, the principal way to achieve our object.

2. Such destruction of forces can usually be accomplished only by fighting.

3. Only major engagements involving all forces lead to major success.

4. The greatest successes are obtained where all engagements coalesce into one great battle.

5. Only in a great battle does the commander in chief control operations in person it is only natural that he should prefer to entrust the direction of the battle to himself.

It is in these views that Clausewitz and Sun Tzu differ greatly and based on my study of military strategy in history, I adhere much more to Sun Tzu’s views in this area.

First, while it is true that when warfare comes a nation must mobilize its resources to prevail, it is not necessarily the case that a country should seek ‘‘total war” in which the complete destruction of the enemy is the objective and the survival of one’s own nation is put at risk. It was the desire for total war that led to the millions of casualties in the twentieth century’s two world wars. In World War II the idea of total war between “races” led to inhuman warfare on the Eastern front and the enslavement and annihilation of millions of civilians.

Sun Tzu would argue that 1) winning-without-fighting (e.g. resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis through a non-violent naval blockade and diplomacy) is preferable and 2) if war is unavoidable then it is imperative to have a strategy that achieves specific national objectives with the least destruction. Furthermore, even when engaged in a total war, it is important to abide by humanitarian rules that limit human suffering and physical destruction.

The view that one should seek a decisive battle by engaging the main enemy force has also not been borne out by history. Despite the clear victory by Hannibal against the main Roman army at Cannae, the battle was not decisive. In fact, the Carthaginian winner of the battle eventually lost the war. Gettysburg, Stalingrad, Midway, and other major battles have been major turning points in various wars but were not in themselves decisive in terms of leading to an immediate suing for peace by the loser. It was the search for a decisive battle in Southeast Asia that led the French to Dien Bien Phu and the Americans to Khe Sanh, neither of which led to ultimate success. Indeed, Clausewitz’s writings, whether interpreted correctly or not, have led generals to direct attacks on enemy strengths, which in turn have led to huge casualties and limited success.

3. Cunning and Reconnaissance

Sun Tzu’s idea of affecting his adversary’s choices is essential to his fighting technique. “What distinguishes Sun Tzu from Western journalists on methodology is the accentuation of the mental components over the simply military,” said Henry Kissinger in On China. This is discussed in the sections that detail strategies and activities: the direction of the military’s advance, the arrangement of bowmen, the accumulation of knowledge. Each is done in a way that hoodwinks the enemy and establishes mental superiority over them. This can also be applied in normal life. The ideas of reconnaissance and misleading the enemy are common throughout The Art of War.

How Would Sun Tzu Handle the COVID-19 Crisis?

Sun Tzu lived in a time of great unrest and war. He saw thousands die on the battlefield and he experienced the common people’s suffering due to the effects of war. Sun Tzu would have been a great strategist during the COVID-19 crisis. He knew how to think clearly during times of crisis.

Key Strategy #1. He Did His Research on His Enemies

“Know your enemy as you know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”

As a great strategist, he did his research. He never committed his army to any action unless he knew the weaknesses of his enemy. Once the battle began, he knew how to win.

During the current challenging times, the greatest enemy is uncertainty. Economies are struggling and the future is undecided. The lesson? If your organisation is to survive, you must investigate new ways to gain a competitive advantage.

Key Strategy #2. He Approached War in All Its Facets

“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”

Sun Tzu had a very complete and sophisticated approach to war. He knew that it was not just about the strength of arms. He also applied a logistical and psychological approach to war.

He made sure that his men were well provisioned and he studied the behaviour of enemy generals. The lesson is that we should approach our crisis preparations with as much foresight and meticulousness as Sun Tzu.

Key Strategy #3. He Learned From Past Battles

“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.”

Sun Tzu did not become a renowned general by being careless. He was meticulous in all his planning. He learned from past battles. He gathered all the information from old battles, no matter what the outcome.

If you want to be prepared for the COVID-19 crisis, use your mistakes as learning opportunities.

Sun Tzu was one of the greatest military minds in history. He prepared his army for war in all its facets. The lesson here is to plan down to the last detail. There is no rehearsal for you. Get it right. We can all take a feather out of his cap and prepare ourselves during these times of uncertainty.

Written by Ashton Bishop and Christopher Bishop

Ashton Bishop is Australia’s Predatory Thinker — an expert in pinpointing how businesses can grow by outsmarting their competitors. His niche is in strategy, where he has spent the last 20 years working internationally on some of the world’s biggest brands. He’s a business owner and serial entrepreneur challenging, sometimes even controversial but always focused on what gets results.

Chris Bishop worked for some years as a mechanical fitter before entering the field of teaching. He later moved into Human Resources where he worked in the pulp and paper industry and was for some years HR Director for Norske Skog Australasia. He now spends his time writing poetry and creative writing while heavily involved with the University of the Third Age in his home state of Tasmania.

3. Lao Tzu (老子)

Image via Wikimedia Commons

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” Winnie the Pooh is said to embody his philosophy and George Lucas used his concept of The Way as The Force for his Jedis, while historians argue he may be a work of fiction himself. As the author of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu (otherwise known as ‘Laozi’) is considered the father of Taoism and revered as a deity and ‘One of the Three Pure Ones,’ along with Confucius and Buddha.

Top 10 Greatest Generals of Chinese History

In Chinese long history, there are countless prominent military generals and strategists, even today their glorious deeds are still often talked about. Here is a list of the 10 most famous Chinese generals in history.

1. Sun Wu 孙武

Sun Zi, or Sun Tzu, was a prominent military general during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) who is always regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in China and even the World. Sun Zi wrote the famous war strategy book “The Art of War“, which show people his military philosophy in only 13 chapters with 5,000 words. Today, many political leaders and entrepreneurs in the world use “The Art of War” as a guide for strategy and leadership.

2. Wu Qi 吴起

Wu Qi, a military leader in the Warring States period (475-221 BC), was master of leading an army. When serving in the state of Wei he conducted many great battles. Later, after being estranged by his lord, Wu Qi went to the State of Chu and acted as the Prime Minister. He carried out lots of reforms which turned Chu into a strong state. He was killed after the death of King Dao of Chu by old nobility as his reforms were against nobles’ interests. He left a valuable military work named “Wu Qi Art of War.” He and Sun Wu were often praised as two China’s greatest military strategists.

3. Li Jing 李靖

Li Jing (AD 571-649) was an outstanding military general during the early Tang Dynasty. He participated in the battles of reunifying the country and resolving border issues. Li Jing composed a number of books on the art of war, such as Li Jing Liu Jun Jing. However, most of his books have been lost. His only remaining book is called “Questions and Replies between Tang Taizong and Li Weigong,” which is a dialogue discussing matters of military strategy between him and the Emperor Taizong.

4. Sun Bin 孙膑

Sun Bin was a prominent military strategist during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). Sun, as a military commander, won a decisive victory at the Battle of Guiling and Battle of Maling against the Wei state. Sun wrote the book “Sun Bin’s Art of War,” which was another important military book after Sun Wu’s “The Art of War“.

5. Han Xin 韩信

Han Xin (died 196 BC) was a brilliant military and one of the founders of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD). Han Xin commanded and won many important battles in the process founding the Western Han. He was later given the title of King of Chu for his military accomplishments. However, Liu Bang, the emperor of Western Han, feared Han Xin’s growing influence would reduce his authority and killed Han Xin with the accuse of participating in a rebellion.

6. Li Shimin 李世民

Li Shimin (599-649) was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty and a prominent military commander. He together with his father Li Yuan rose to fight against Sui Dynasty at Taiyuan in 617 and then defeated several other military groups and finally founded the Tang Dynasty.

7. Yue Fei 岳飞

Yue Fei (1103–1142 AD) is a celebrated general during the Southern Song dynasty(1127–1279). Yue Fei accomplished great feats in hundreds of battles against the Jin troops from northern China. He was widely considered as a patriot and national folk hero in Chinese culture.

8. Cao Cao 曹操

Cao Cao (155 – 220) was a great general at the end of the Han dynasty. He laid the foundations for the state of Cao Wei. Cao Cao was regarded as a brilliant ruler and military genius who valued the work of promoting talents. He was also skilled at writing and responsible for many poems and war journals.

9. Chen Qingzhi 陈庆之

Chen Qingzhi was a prominent general of the Liang dynasty. In his famous battle in 530, he defeated the Northern Wei’s 1 million soldiers army with only 7,000 troops, which made him a famous commander in Chinese history.

10. Bai Qi 白起

Bai Qi (died 257 BC) was a very famous general in the Qin state during the Warring States period and his military success laid good foundations for unification of China by the later Emperor Qin Shihuang. According to historical record he won more than 70 battles, and never lost a single one. In his life time his troops killed more than one million soldiers.

Do you know other Chinese military leaders? Please share you comments below.

Sun Tzu strategy lesson number six

“The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.”

A decision to act only is going to be successful if the action is appropriate for the situation presented. Having a quality strategy is very important, but being able to recognize the moment to strike and execute various aspects of your strategy is a very important skill as well.

This takes practice and requires you to be attuned with what is occurring in your respective marketplace.

The good thing is that as you continue to practice and this valuable skill you’ll notice that the law of attraction will kick in. More and more opportunities will come your way.

This brings us to our final Sun Tzu lesson on strategy.

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher.

The oldest available sources disagree as to where Sun Tzu was born. The Spring and Autumn Annals states that Sun Tzu was born in Qi, while the later Records of the Grand Historian states that Sun Tzu was a native of Wu. Sun Wu was born somewhere in north-east of China, some time in 500 BC.

As a legendary man he has got many names - Sun Wu, 孙武, 孫武, Sūn Wǔ, Chang Qing, Changqing, 長卿, Sun Tzu, Sun Tzi, 孙子, 孫子, Sunzi, Sūnzǐ.

Wu is his first name, Sun is surname and Tzu is a suffix for the family name of a respectable man in ancient Chinese culture.

When King Helu of Wu conquered the State of Chu, Sun Wu suddenly vanished without even mentioning anyone. That was his last stratagem.

Some scholars completely deny the existence of a historical figure named Sun Wu. Nevertheless the number of translations of this Chinese classic grows, all titled “The Art of War”.

Chinese similar to or like Sun Tzu

Era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest that saw the annexation of all other contender states, which ultimately led to the Qin state's victory in 221 BC as the first unified Chinese empire, known as the Qin dynasty. Wikipedia

Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who was traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity. Wikipedia

Influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BC during the Warring States period, a period corresponding to the summit of Chinese philosophy, the Hundred Schools of Thought. Credited with writing—in part or in whole—a work known by his name, the Zhuangzi, which is one of the foundational texts of Taoism. Wikipedia

The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 BC during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period of ancient China. Fraught with chaos and bloody battles, but it was also known as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy because a broad range of thoughts and ideas were developed and discussed freely. Wikipedia

Ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period . Attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu , is composed of 13 chapters. Wikipedia

Zhou dynasty vassal state. King Wu of Chu in the early 8th century BCE. Wikipedia

Founded. China's armies have long benefited from this rich strategic tradition, influenced by texts such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War, that have deeply influenced military thought. Wikipedia

Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history (790 years). Wikipedia

About the state of Wei during the Warring States period. For the earlier, smaller state, see Wey (state). Wikipedia

Classic Chinese work on military strategy attributed to Wu Qi. Considered one of China's Seven Military Classics. Wikipedia

Collective term for ancient peoples found in Chinese records. The definition of Dongyi varied across the ages, but in most cases referred to inhabitants of eastern and northeastern China, then later, the Korean peninsula, and Japan. Wikipedia

Ancient Chinese military general of the Wei state during the Warring States period. Fellow student of Sun Bin and both of them studied military strategy together under the tutelage of the hermit Guiguzi. Wikipedia

Ancient Chinese state during the Zhou dynasty. Ji . Wikipedia

Common English translation of the Chinese term sìyí 四夷 for various peoples living outside the borders of ancient China, namely, the Dōngyí "Eastern Barbarians", Nánmán "Southern Barbarians", Xīróng "Western Barbarians", and Běidí "Northern Barbarians". Ultimately, the four barbarian groups were either partly assimilated through Sinicization and absorbed into the Chinese Civilization in the later Chinese Dynasties or emigrated away from the Chinese heartland. Wikipedia