Sun Tzu Quotes

Famous Quotes of Sun Tzu

Introduction,

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher who lived during the Eastern Zhou period (770-256 BCE). He is believed to have been born in the state of Qi, which is now modern-day Shandong Province, China. However, there is limited historical information about his birth and early life.

Sun Tzu is best known for his book “The Art of War,” which is considered one of the most influential works on military strategy ever written. The book is a treatise on warfare and outlines Sun Tzu’s philosophy on how to win battles and achieve victory in war.

Despite his lasting influence, little is known about Sun Tzu’s personal life. Some accounts suggest that he served as a military general for the state of Wu during the late Spring and Autumn period (771-476 BCE), but this has been disputed. There are also different accounts of how he died, with some sources claiming he died of natural causes and others claiming he was executed for failing to follow orders.

Regardless of the specifics of his life and death, Sun Tzu’s impact on military strategy and philosophy continues to be felt to this day. His book has been studied and admired by military leaders, business executives, and politicians around the world.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.


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


All warfare is based on deception.


The wise warrior avoids the battle.


Opportunities multiply as they are seized.


If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.


He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.


Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.

Sun Tzu Quotes
Sun Tzu Quotes


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.


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


The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.


Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.


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


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


The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin.


If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

Sun Tzu Quotes
Sun Tzu Quotes


The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.


The skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.


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.


There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.


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


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


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


When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses.

Sun Tzu Quotes
Sun Tzu Quotes


A leader leads by example, not by force.


Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.


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


One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.


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


The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.


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


The greatest general is not the one who defeats the most armies, but the one who can win without fighting.


Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.

Sun Tzu Quotes
Sun Tzu Quotes


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


The skillful tactician may be likened to the shuai-jan. Now the Shuai-Jan is a snake that is found in the Chang mountains. Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.


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


He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.


There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.


When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.


If you want to conquer the enemy, you must first conquer yourself.


There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.

Sun Tzu Quotes
Sun Tzu Quotes


If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.


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


To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.


In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.