The Art of War – Sun Tzu (5th Century BC) – Chapter 1 – Initial Estimations

The Art of War – Sun Tzu (5th Century BC) – Chapter 1 – Initial Estimations

  • Warfare is the biggest affair of the state because it is the basis of life & death, survival & extinction for a group of people – It ought to be analyzed
  • 5 Factors to evaluate it & find their nature:
    1. Tao – causes people to agree with the ruler & follow him into battle or live with him & trust his rule
    2. Heaven – encompasses yin & yang, cold & heat & the constraints of the seasons
    3. Earth – distances, difficulties, vastness/narrowness, passable/impassable
    4. Generals – wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage & discipline
    5. Laws – organization & regulation, tao of command, logistics
  • Questions to ask:
    • Who has the Tao?
    • Who’s got more ability?
    • Who has the advantages of heaven & earth?
    • Who has better trained troops?
    • Who’s better organized
      • Answers will tell you who the winners & losers are
  • A general who knows this & uses them will win & should be kept around
    • If not, he’ll lose – get rid of him
  • Put these into effect with strategic power coupled with field tactics responding to external factors
    • Strategic power controls tactical imbalance of power based on goals
  • Warfare requires deception
    • Fake incompetence, activity, distance, proximity
  • Display gains to entice the enemy. Create disorder & take them
    • If your enemy is strong, avoid them
    • If they are angry, provoke them
    • If they’re united, separate them
    • If they’re rested, make them work
    • If unprepared, attack
    • Go where you are unexpected to go
  • Before fighting, if you are determined to win if you have most factors in your favor
    • You will lose if you have few factors in your favor
    • If you’ve got nothing going for you, it’s obvious what will happen

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