Sun Tzu Quotes (85 Quotes)



    What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.

    Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment - that which they cannot anticipate.

    When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.



    If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.

    If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.

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




    The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties is knowledge of the enemy; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first instance, from the converted spy. Hence it is essential that the converted spy be treated with the utmost liberality.


    Those skilled at making the enemy move do so by creating a situation to which he must conform; they entice him with something he is certain to take, and with lures of ostensible profit they await him in strength.



    Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.


    The ultimate in disposing one's troops is to be without ascertainable shape. Then the most penetrating spies cannot pry in nor can the wise lay plans against you.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

    To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

    All war is based on deception.

    The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities...It is best to win without fighting.

    Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.

    The proximity of an army causes prices to go up and high prices cause people's substance to be drained away. When their substance is drained away, they will be afflicted by heavy exactions. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and their incomes dissipated.

    The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

    If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.

    So it is said that victory can be made.

    According to my assessment, even if you have many more troops than others, how can that help you to victory

    For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards.

    A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.

    Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?

    All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable when using our forces, we must seem inactive when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

    The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.

    For 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.

    To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.


    Therefore a victorious army first wins and then seeks battle a defeated army first battles and then seeks victory.

    Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.

    Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

    In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.

    There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.

    In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace. The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected.

    He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.

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

    The one who figures on victory at headquarters before even doing battle is the one who has the most strategic factors on his side.

    There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

    A wise general makes a point of foraging of the enemy.

    The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.


    More Sun Tzu Quotations (Based on Topics)


    War & Peace - Enemy - Success - Deceptions - Defeats - Wisdom & Knowledge - Strategy - Man - Opportunity - Art - Secrets - Fate & Destiny - Sons - Excellence - Death & Dying - Doubt & Skepticism - Money & Wealth - Time - Military - View All Sun Tzu Quotations

    More Sun Tzu Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - The Art of War

    Related Authors


    Karl Marx - John Stuart Mill - David Hume - Roger Bacon - Protagoras - Plotinus - Philo - Epicurus - Blaise Pascal - Avicenna


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