Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu Biography

Sun Tzu or Sunzi was a Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher during the Zhou dynasty‘s Spring and Autumn Period. The name he is best known by is an honorific meaning “Master Sun”: Sun Tzu was born as Sun Wu and known outside his family by the style name Changqing. He is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an extremely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as the author of The Art of War and as a legendary historical figure.

Sun Tzu’s historicity is uncertain. Sima Qian and other traditional historians placed him as a minister to King Helü of Wu and dated his lifetime to 544–496 BC. Modern scholars accepting his historicity nonetheless place the existing text of The Art of War in the later Warring States Period based upon its style of composition and its descriptions of warfare. Traditional accounts state that the general’s descendant Sun Bin also wrote a treatise on military tactics, also titled The Art of War. Since both Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese texts, some historians believed them identical prior to the rediscovery of Sun Bin’s treatise in 1972.

Sun Tzu’s work has been praised and employed throughout East Asia since its composition. During the Twentieth Century, The Art of War grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society as well. It continues to influence many competitive endeavors in Asia, Europe, and America including culture, politics, business, and sports, as well as modern warfare.

Sun Tzu
399px-Enchoen27n3200

Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, in Japan
Born 544 BC (traditional)
Died 496 BC (traditional)
Occupation Military General and Tactician
Ethnicity Chinese
Period Spring and Autumn
Subjects Military strategy
Notable work(s) The Art of War
Sun Tzu
Simplified Chinese 孙子
Traditional Chinese 孫子
Literal meaning Master Sun
Sun Wu
Simplified Chinese 孙武
Traditional Chinese 孫武
Changqing
Simplified Chinese 长卿
Traditional Chinese 長卿
Literal meaning Venerable Minister

Life

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 Sima Qian’s later Records of the Grand Historian states that Sun Tzu was a native of Wu.[8] Both sources agree that Sun Tzu was born in the late Spring and Autumn Period and that he was active as a general and strategist, serving the king of Wu Helü in the late sixth century BC, beginning around 512 BC. Sun Tzu’s victories then inspired him to write The Art of War. The Art of War was one of the most widely read military treatises in the subsequent Warring States period, a time of constant war among seven nations – Zhao, Qi, Qin, Chu, Han, Wei, and Yan – who fought to control the vast expanse of fertile territory in Eastern China.

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One of the more well-known stories about Sun Tzu, taken from Sima Qian, illustrates Sun Tzu’s temperament as follows: Before hiring Sun Tzu, the King of Wu tested Sun Tzu’s skills by commanding him to train a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king’s two favored concubines, to the king’s protests. He explained that if the general’s soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that, once a general was appointed, it was his duty to carry out his mission, even if the king protested. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies, now well aware of the costs of further frivolity, performed their maneuvers flawlessly.

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Sima Qian claimed that Sun Tzu later proved on the battlefield that his theories were effective (for example, at the Battle of Boju), that he had a successful military career, and that he wrote The Art of War based on his tested expertise. However, Zuo Zhuan, an earlier historical text which provides a much more detailed account of the Battle of Boju, does not mention Sun Tzu at all.

The Art of War

A bamboo version of The Art of War

A bamboo version of The Art of War

The Art of War (Chinese: trad. 孫子兵法, simp. 孙子兵法, pinyin Sūnzǐ Bīngfǎ, lit. “Master Sun’s Rules for Soldiers”) was traditionally ascribed to Sun Tzu. It presents a philosophy of war for managing conflicts and winning battles. It is accepted as a masterpiece on strategy and is frequently cited and referred to by generals and theorists since it was first published, translated, and distributed internationally.

36a24e2c_8456_4c4d_a3fd_c3754f2e9d89There are numerous theories concerning when the text was completed and concerning the identity of the author or authors, but archeological recoveries have proven that The Art of War had achieved roughly its current form by at least the early Han. Because it is impossible to prove definitively when the Art of War was completed before this date, the differing theories concerning the work’s author or authors and date of completion are unlikely to ever be completely resolved.[14] Some modern scholars believe that it contains not only the thoughts of its original author but also commentary and clarifications from later military theorists, such as Li Quan and Du Mu.

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Of the military texts written before the unification of China and Shi Huangdi‘s subsequent book burning in the second century BC, six major works have survived. During the much later Song Dynasty, these six works were combined with a Tang text into a collection called the Seven Military Classics. As a central part of that compilation, The Art of War formed the foundations of orthodox military theory in early modern China. Illustrating this point, the book was required reading to pass the tests needed for imperial appointment to military positions.

212755307_7684ea1744According to the Simpkinses, Sun Tzu’s Art of War uses language that may be unusual in a Western text on warfare and strategy. For example, the eleventh chapter states that a leader must be “serene and inscrutable” and capable of comprehending “unfathomable plans”. They state that the text contains many similar remarks that have long confused Western readers lacking an awareness of the East Asian context. The meaning of such statements are clearer when interpreted in the context of Taoist thought and practice. Sun Tzu viewed the ideal general as an enlightened Taoist master, which has led to The Art of War being considered a prime example of Taoist strategy.

The book is not only popular among military theorists, but has also become increasingly popular among political leaders and those in business management. Despite its title, The Art of War addresses strategy in a broad fashion, touching upon public administration and planning. The text outlines theories of battle, but also advocates diplomacy and cultivating relationships with other nations as essential to the health of a state.

On April 10, 1972, the Yinqueshan Han Tombs were accidentally unearthed by construction workers in Shandong. Scholars uncovered a collection of ancient texts written on unusually well-preserved bamboo slips. Among them were The Art of War and Sun Bin’s Military Methods. Although Han Dynasty bibliographies noted the latter publication as extant and written by a descendant of Sun, it had previously been lost. The rediscovery of Sun Bin’s work is considered to be extremely important, both because of Sun Bin’s relationship to Sun Tzu and because of the work’s addition to the body of military thought in Chinese late antiquity. The discovery as a whole significantly expanded the body of surviving Warring States military theory. Sun Bin’s treatise is the only known military text surviving from the Warring States period discovered in the twentieth century and bears the closest similarity to The Art of War of all surviving texts.

Historicity

Some scholars have expressed doubt in Sun Tzu’s historicity and the traditional dating of The Art of War. Skeptics cite possible historical inaccuracies and anachronisms in the text, as well as the likelihood of the execution of the king’s favorite concubines. This skepticism, which sometimes cause scholars to completely deny the existence of a historical figure named Sun Wu, has led to acrimonious debate between skeptics and traditionalists, especially in China. Attribution of the authorship of The Art of War varies among scholars and has included people and movements including Sun; Chu scholar Wu Zixu; an anonymous author; a school of theorists in Qi or Wu; Sun Bin; and others.

Traditionalists attribute the authorship of The Art of War to the historical figure Sun Wu who is chronicled in the Records of the Grand Historian and the Spring and Autumn Annals. Reputedly, he was active in the late sixth century BC, beginning c. 512 BC. The appearance of features from The Art of War in other historical texts is considered to be proof of his historicity and authorship. Certain strategic concepts, such as terrain classification, are attributed to Sun Tzu. Their use in other works such as The Methods of the Sima is considered proof of Sun Tzu’s historical priority. According to Ralph Sawyer, it is very likely Sun Tzu did exist and not only served as a general but also wrote the core of the book that bears his name.

Skeptics who identify issues with the traditionalist view point to possible anachronisms in The Art of War including terms, technology, philosophical ideas, events, and military techniques that should not have been available to Sun Wu. They argue that there is a disparity between the large-scale wars and sophisticated techniques detailed in the text and the more primitive small-scale battles that many believe predominated in 6th-century-BC China. Against this, Sawyer argues that the teachings of Sun Wu were probably taught to succeeding generations in his family or a small school of disciples, which eventually included Sun Bin. These descendants or students may have revised or expanded upon certain points in the original text.

Legacy

Sun Tzu’s Art of War has influenced many notable figures. Sima Qian recounted that China’s first historical emperor, Qin‘s Shi Huangdi, considered the book invaluable in ending the time of the Warring States. In the 20th century, the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong partially credited his 1949 victory over Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang to The Art of War. The work strongly influenced Mao’s writings about guerrilla warfare, which further influenced communist insurgencies around the world.

The Art of War was introduced into Japan c. AD 760 and the book quickly became popular among Japanese generals. Through its later influence on Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, it significantly affected the unification of Japan in the early modern era. Prior to the Meiji Restoration, mastery of its teachings was honored among the samurai and its teachings were both exhorted and exemplified by influential daimyo and shoguns. Subsequently, it remained popular among the Imperial Japanese armed forces. The Admiral of the Fleet Tōgō Heihachirō, who led Japan’s forces to victory in the Russo-Japanese War, was an avid reader of Sun Tzu.

Ho Chi Minh translated the work for his Vietnamese officers to study. His general Vo Nguyen Giap, the strategist behind victories over French and American forces in Vietnam, was likewise an avid student and practitioner of Sun Tzu’s ideas. 

America’s Asian conflicts against Japan, North Korea, and North Vietnam brought Sun Tzu to the attention of American military leaders. The Department of the Army in the United States, through its Command and General Staff College, has directed all units to maintain libraries within their respective headquarters for the continuing education of personnel in the art of war. The Art of War is mentioned as an example of works to be maintained at each facility, and staff duty officers are obliged to prepare short papers for presentation to other officers on their readings. Similarly, Sun Tzu’s Art of War is listed on the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program. During the Gulf War in the 1990s, both Generals Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. and Colin Powell employed principles from Sun Tzu related to deception, speed, and striking one’s enemy’s weak points.

Mark McNeilly writes in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare that a modern interpretation of Sun and his importance throughout Chinese history is critical in understanding China’s push to becoming a superpower in the twenty-first century. Modern Chinese scholars explicitly rely on historical strategic lessons and The Art of War in developing their theories, seeing a direct relationship between their modern struggles and those of China in Sun Tzu’s time. There is a great perceived value in Sun Tzu’s teachings and other traditional Chinese writers, which are used regularly in developing the strategies of the Chinese state and its leaders.

In 2008, producer Zhang Jizhong adapted Sun Tzu’s life story into a 40-episode historical drama television series entitled Bing Sheng, starring Zhu Yawen as Sun Tzu.

Sun Tzu Quotes

  • Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?
  • If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.
  • You have to believe in yourself.
  • All war is deception.
  • Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
  • 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.
  • All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
  • Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.
  • Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
  • Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
  • Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance 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.
  • To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
  • 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.
  • Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.
  • There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.
  • If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
  • He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
  • Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Sun Tzu 孫子; Sūn Zǐ; (c. 6th century BCE) was a Chinese general, military strategist, and author of The Art of War, an immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy; also known as Sun Wu (孫武; Sūn Wǔ), and Chang Qing (長卿; Cháng Qīng).

The Art of War

A bamboo version of The Art of War

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.

Ch. 1

  • 兵者,詭道也。故能而示之不能,用而示之不用,近而示之遠,遠而示之近,
    • All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear 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.
    • Ch. 1
    • Variant translations
    • A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
  • 實而備之,強而避之,怒而撓之,卑而驕之,佚而勞之,親而離之,出其不意,攻其不備。
    • 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. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
    • Ch. 1
  • 乱而取之
    • Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
    • Ch. 1
  • 卑则骄之
    • Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
    • Ch. 1
  • 孙子曰:国之上下,死生之地,存亡之道,不可不察也。
    • 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. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
    • Ch. 1
  • 夫未战而庙算胜者,得算多也;未战而庙算不胜者,得算少也。
    • 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.
    • Ch. 1
  • 将听吾计,用之必胜,留之;将不听吾计,用之必败,去之;
    • The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: — let such a one be dismissed!
    • Ch. 1
  • 怒而挠之
    • If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.
    • Ch. 1

Ch. 2

  • 故兵貴勝,不貴久。
    • What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations.
    • Ch. 2
  • 近于师者贵卖,贵卖则百姓财竭
    • Where the army is, prices are high; when prices rise the wealth of the people is exhausted.
    • Ch. 2
  • 兵久而国利者,未之有也。
    • There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.
    • Ch. 2

Ch. 3

  • 知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆
    • It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
    • Ch. 3, the last sentence.
    • Variant translations
    • If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
    • Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time.
    • Literal translation: Know [the] other, know [the] self, hundred battles without danger; not knowing [the] other but know [the] self, one win one loss; not knowing [the] other, not knowing [the] self, every battle must [be] lost.
  • 故用兵之法,十則圍之,五則攻之,倍則分之, 敵則能戰之,少則能守之,不若則能避之。
    • It is the rule in war, if ten times the enemy’s strength, surround them; if five times, attack them; if double, be able to divide them; if equal, engage them; if fewer, be able to evade them; if weaker, be able to avoid them.
    • Ch. 3
  • 是故百戰百勝,非善之善者也;不戰而屈人之兵,善之善者也。
    • 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.
    • Ch. 3
    • Variant translations
    • Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
    • 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.
  • 古之所善戰者,勝於易勝者也。
    • What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.
    • Ch. 3
  • 知可战与不可战者胜。
    • He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
    • Ch. 3
  • 以虞待不虞者胜。
    • He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
    • Ch. 3
  • 凡用兵之法,全國為上;破國次之;全軍為上,破軍次之;全旅為上,破旅次之;全卒為上,破卒次之;全伍為上,破伍次之。
    • 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. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.
    • Ch. 3
    • Variant translations
    • It is best to keep one’s own state intact; to crush the enemy’s state is only second best.
  • 是故上攻伐谋
    • Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.
    • Ch. 3

Ch. 4

  • 是故勝兵先勝而後求戰,敗兵先戰而後求勝。
    • Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
    • Ch. 4
  • 故善战者,立于不败之地,而不失敌之败也。
    • The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
    • Ch. 4
  • 是故勝兵先勝而後求戰,敗兵先戰而後求勝。
    • 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.
    • Ch. 4
  • 见胜不过众人之所识,非善之善者也。
    • To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
    • Ch. 4
  • 守则不足,攻则有余
    • One defends when his strength is inadequate, he attacks when it is abundant.
    • Ch. 4
  • 不可胜在己,可胜在敌。
    • Being unconquerable lies with yourself; being conquerable lies with your enemy.
    • Ch. 4

Ch. 5

  • 治众如治寡,分数是也。
    • Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization.
    • Ch. 5
  • 积水之激,至于漂石者,势也。鸷鸟之疾,至于毁折者,节也。
    • When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of its momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing.
    • Ch. 5
  • 鸷鸟之疾,至于毁折者,节也。
    • The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
    • Ch. 5
  • 故善战者,求之于势,不责于人。
    • A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates.
    • Ch. 5
  • 故善战者,求之于势,不责于人。
    • The expert in battle seeks his victory from strategic advantage and does not demand it from his men.
    • Ch. 5

Ch. 6

  • 微乎微乎,至于无形;神乎神乎,至于无声;故能为敌之司命。
    • 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.
    • Ch. 6
  • 人皆知我所以勝之形,而莫知我所以制勝之形。
    • All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
    • Ch. 6
  • 微乎微乎,至于无形;神乎神乎,至于无声;故能为敌之司命。
    • O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.
    • Ch. 6
  • 故形兵之极,至于无形,无形,则深间不能窥,上智不能谋。
    • 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.
    • Ch. 6
  • 故善战者,至人而不至于人。
    • And therefore those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.
    • Ch. 6
  • 故敌逸能劳之,饱能饥之,安能动之。出其所不趋,趋其所不意。
    • When the enemy is at ease, be able to weary him; when well fed, to starve him; when at rest, to make him move. Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
    • Ch. 6
  • 微乎微乎,至于无形;神乎神乎,至于无声;故能为敌之司命。
    • Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy’s fate.
    • Ch. 6

Ch 7-10

  • 围兵必阙
    • To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape.
    • Ch. 7
  • 数赏者,窘也;数罚者,困也;
    • Too frequent rewards indicate that the general is at the end of his resources; too frequent punishments that he is in acute distress.
    • Ch. 9
  • 令素行以教其民,则民服。令不素行以教其民,则民不服。令素行者,与民相得也。
    • A leader leads by example not by force.
    • Ch. 9
  • 将弱不严,教道不明,将之过也。
    • If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.
    • Ch. 10
  • 故战道必胜,主曰无战,必战可也;战道不胜,主曰必战,无战可也;
    • If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler’s bidding. (Ch. 10, 23)
    • Ch. 10
  • 进不邀功,退不避罪,唯人是保,而利合于主,国之宝也。
    • The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
    • Ch. 10
  • 視卒如愛子,故可與之俱死。
    • Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.
    • Ch. 10

Ch. 11-13

  • 吾士无余财,非恶货也。无余命,非恶寿也。
    • If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.
    • Ch. 11
  • 兵之情主速,乘敌所不及,由不虞之途,攻其所不备也。
    • Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
    • Ch. 11
  • 施无法之赏,悬无政之令。犯三军之众,若使一人。
    • Bestow rewards without respect to customary practice; publish orders without respect to precedent. Thus you may employ the entire army as you would one man.
    • Ch. 11
  • 敌间之来间我者,因而利之,导而舍之,故反间可得而用也;
    • It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.
    • Ch. 13
  • 故明君贤将,能以上智为间者,必成大功。
    • Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.
    • Ch. 13
  • 故三军之事,莫亲于间,赏莫厚于间,事莫密于间,
    • 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.
    • Ch. 13
  • 此(译注:用间)兵之要,三军之所恃而动也。
    • Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
    • Ch. 13

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