Tzu Art of War
Art of War
has been a "best selling" book for 2,500 years. It was written during
the warring states period of China around 500 B.C. when Chinese
kingdoms fought each other on a frequent basis. Sun Tzu's Art of
War, which was originally written on bamboo strips, became a
treasure of leaders throughout China and the rest of the world.
Sun Tzu himself may
or may not have been the great general many ascribe to the person.
Aside from the Art of War itself, very little information
exists about his actual military exploits. In this author's opinion,
Sun Tzu did exist as an individual, and probably held some degree of
rank, but not necessarily the rank of a top general. This opinion is
based on the career patterns that such military geniuses of late, to
include Col. John Boyd, Col. David Hackworth, and the historical
Machiavelli, who also wrote a book titled The Art of War,
experienced. Such highly talented individuals usually do not rise to
the general level, often times because they are "too good" at how they
think to go along with the conventional wisdom. If a talented
military genius like Sun Tzu was able to reach the top, say
comparatively like Napoleon or France or Shaka from the African Zulu
nations, we would likely see more about Sun Tzu in the historical
Chinese records beyond the Art of War.
Regarding the text of
Sun Tzuís Art of War, the pattern of thought presented in Sun
Tzu's Art of War does show a consistency indicative of a single
author, which lends credence to Sun Tzuís existence as an individual.
Whether the Art of War's author was actually Sun Tzu or a
student of Sun Tzu remains an open to question, however. The
reference to "Sun Tzu says," throughout the text is indicative of the
work being written by a third party author or perhaps by a dictation
from Sun Tzu himself.
The Art of War
is presented in 13 chapters but seems to end at the close of chapter
12. Based on this ending at chapter 12, and conceptual differences
between the Art of War chapters 1 through 12 and chapter 13,
the chapter on spies, this author believes that chapter 13 was a later
addition to Sun Tzu's Art of War. That is not to say that
anyone other than Sun Tzu wrote chapter 13, but that it was added to
the Art of War because the importance of spies was not
thoroughly covered in the Art of War without the addition.
Certainly authors more recent than Sun Tzu have added chapters to
later additions of their books.
For more information
on Understanding Sun Tzu on the Art of War, see
Sun Tzu on the Art of War presents an interpretation of the
Art of War that gets to the bottom of what Sun Tzu's philosophies
mean. It presents quotes from Sun Tzu and puts them into context with
Sun Tzu's Taoist philosophical base and an underlying set of six
principles that underlie the Art of War. Understanding Sun Tzu
on the Art of War addresses the most important step on using
Sun Tzu philosophies and Sun Tzu's Art of War which is to first
understand Sun Tzu and his Art of War.