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49 Best Sun Tzu Quotes

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity

Best Sun Tzu Quotes

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist and philosopher, penned “The Art of War,” a timeless masterpiece that has guided leaders and tacticians for centuries.

In this celebrated treatise, Sun Tzu distilled his wisdom into profound and concise statements, offering invaluable insights into the nature of warfare and strategic thinking. His teachings extend beyond the realm of battle, permeating into various aspects of life, leadership, and decision-making.

Within the pages of “The Art of War,” one can find a wealth of knowledge that transcends time, offering guidance on how to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and achieve success.

In this compilation, we present 49 select best quotes from Sun Tzu, illuminating his profound understanding of strategy, deception, leadership, and the art of winning without engaging in direct conflict.

These quotes serve as beacons of wisdom, shedding light on the principles that underpin victory and the ways in which one can triumph in the face of adversity. Let us delve into the teachings of Sun Tzu, embracing the timeless wisdom that continues to shape the thinking of leaders, both on the battlefield and beyond.

Here are 49 Best quotes from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”:

  1. “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
  2. “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
  3. “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
  4. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
  5. “All warfare is based on deception.”
  6. “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
  7. “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
  8. “Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”
  9. “The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.”
  10. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
  11. “The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.”
  12. “The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him.”
  13. “If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.”
  14. “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”
  15. “When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.”
  16. “The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
  17. “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.”
  18. “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.”
  19. “The greatest general is not the one who wins the most battles, but the one who excels in winning without fighting.”
  20. “The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.”
  21. “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
  22. “Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.”
  23. “One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.”
  24. “Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”
  25. “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”
  26. “If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.”
  27. “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”
  28. “When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit.”
  29. “If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.”
  30. “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys.”
  31. “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.”
  32. “Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.”
  33. “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
  34. “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.”
  35. “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.”
  36. “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.”
  37. “When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.”
  38. “Rewards for good service should not be deferred a single day.”
  39. “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.”
  40. “What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.”
  41. “Concentrate your energy, but do not allow it to dissipate.”
  42. “Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.”
  43. “In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.”
  44. “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
  45. “The art of war is governed by five constant factors: the moral law, heaven, earth, the commander, and method and discipline.”
  46. “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”
  47. “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.”
  48. “A victorious army opposed to a routed one is as a pound’s weight placed in the scale against a single grain.”
  49. “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

Remember, these quotes are from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu and are intended to provide insights into the strategies and tactics of warfare. They can also be applied metaphorically in various aspects of life.

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