Sun Tzu and the Art of War

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The Art of War

The Art of War is one of the most influential strategy books ever written. China’s early historians claimed that it was written before 512 BC by a mysterious military mastermind called Sun Tzu (Master Sun). Sun Tzu may or may not have existed, and if he did exist he may or may not have been the author of the text; the oldest copy ever discovered is from the second century BC. The “Thirteen Chapters” of the Art of War are brief and to-the-point – in fact, parts of the original text may have been lost. But in any case, these Thirteen Chapters have been studied for more than two thousand years as the cornerstone of military thinking in China (and Japan).

Sun Tzu’s Thirteen Chapters repeatedly emphasise that wars should be a last resort; that battle should be sought only when victory is certain; that a general must have mastery over the full circumstances of a campaign, and the implications of these circumstances for his advantage and disadvantage; and that deceiving the enemy and putting them on the back foot by any means possible are critically important. This philosophy underpins the whole text, which you can read here. Below, I’ve summarised The Art of War’s key points.

Art of War text
A copy of The Art of War – in bamboo, as the original would have been

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Judi Dench and Maggie Smith

Coming to a cinema near you…

Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in A Room With A View
Judi Dench plays Judi Dench, a sharp-tongued and grumpy thespian with a kind heart. Her life changes forever when she is cast in a period drama opposite Maggie Smith (played by Maggie Smith), a sharp-tongued and grumpy thespian with a kind heart. Over the next several decades, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are cast in every single period drama in film, TV and even the theatre.

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Three Kingdoms: Chapter Summary 4

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a bit of a slog for the final thirty chapters. The Three Kingdoms, locked in a stalemate, have replaced the dynamic rises and falls of earlier power bases. The age of romance and heroic deeds is passing, and most of the interesting heroes and villains are dead (sorry, Jiang Wei…). But Xuande’s quest lives on, and for as long as it does so, there is still something worth fighting and dying for.

Three Kingdoms: Chapter Summary Part 1 (Chapters 1-33)

Three Kingdoms: Chapter Summary Part 2 (Chapters 34-65)

Three Kingdoms: Chapter Summary Part 3 (Chapters 66-90)

Part 4

The oath-brothers are dead; Cao Cao is dead. But Kongming and his disciple Jiang Wei will not give up the cause. They can restore order and unity to the Empire, if only they can conquer the Kingdom of Wei…

Three Kingdoms at the time of Jiang Wei
The Three Kingdoms (Wu is the Southland and Shu is the Riverland)

Kongming’s first campaign against Wei

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