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Must Read: The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Original Bamboo Text

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is an ancient Chinese text concerned with military strategy and, to coin a phrase, strict politics of conflict. The original text is ancient, but its lessons are as fresh today as they were when they were written. It has apparently influenced a diverse selection of military commanders, from Chairman Mao to members of Nazi high command.

So why is a blog concerned with Justice posting about an ancient military strategy text? It's a question that i knew the answer to, but didn't exactly know why. The lessons of the Art of War may be about military strategy, but they apply equally to political strategy, advocacy strategy, business strategy and relationship strategy to name a few. Having started to read various versions of this book over the past few weeks, i can say that this book will equip anyone with useful strategies on planning, decision making, and managing people.

By equipping ourselves with some knowledge of strategy, especially from a source that has stood the text of time, we take the first step in waging our own little wars. While in hospital i have waged my own mini war on the poor quality of hospital food. When i police, i have a mini war with the criminal community. As a barrister, the court room becomes a mini war zone. By understanding the basics of strategy theory, we equip ourselves to defend ourselves against injustice, and fight to achieve justice.

So if i have convinced you to read The Art of War, you now need to choose a version of the book. Its not as easy as it seems, and requires a military strategy of its own. Let me break it down for you.

You have two choices; you can either read a raw translation of the ancient text, or a topic specific interpretation. Reading a raw translation isn't as difficult as you might think. Although its frame of reference is quite different to ours, its not so different that it becomes impossible to relate to. The raw translation requires commitment, and a reasonable level of intellegence.

Your second choice is to pick an analytical version that analyses the original text based on a particular view or objective. This is a rocky road to take as it relies on the authors competence and morals. So to pick one of these you need to do a little research, but luckily i have done a bit for you :-)

My Recommendations

Raw Translation

Book based on raw translation by Giles in 1910. Giles' translation into
English is in fact the second translation into English. I have chosen this
translation as it is widely deemed to be the better of the two.
Amazon it here 

2010 Comic Version
Again based on the Giles translation, but this time in comic version.
If you find the raw texts a bit heavy, this is a great alternative.
Amazon it here

Art of War for Business

This edition consists of a 'new' translation, and a commentary
on its application to business scenarios. 
"This is likely the best translation and commentary available for managers 
who wish to understand the principles and wisdom of Sun Tzu"

Mumbo-Jumbo New-Age Hijack Editions
 Here are 4 editions that i found quite funny, if a little sinister. I don't think these books do society any favours. Dating, Love, Creativity and Success aren't best served with battlefield metaphors. I DO NOT recommend buying these, i recommend laughing at them  -> haha <-


Here are a few of my favourite quotes from 
The Art of War

"To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy"

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

"Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organisation"

"One defends when his strength is inadaquate, he attacks when it is abundant"