The Art of War

The Art of War by Sun Tzu Book Summary

An Apple Books Classic edition.

It’s believed that Sun Tzu wrote this Chinese military primer during the 5th century BC-hundreds of years before the Bible. The book’s 13 chapters explore principles that statesmen around the globe have employed for centuries to defeat their enemies at war.

Sun Tzu starts by mapping out the five fundamental factors that lead to war. He then covers a wide range of topics, from avoiding conflict altogether to strategically positioning soldiers, pulling off tactical maneuvers, and putting spies to use.

Despite the technological advances made since The Art of War was published, Sun Tzu is still considered one of history’s foremost military strategists, and his methods still ring true. While he wrote the book as a manual for those who would literally wield swords, it has reached a much broader audience in this day and age. Warriors of all kinds-like corporate leaders or athletes-seek out Sun Tzu’s wisdom in their quest for success.

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The Art of War (Sun Tzu) Book Reviews

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- Can barely tell where the original text starts2 star

Essays between 2-3 sentences of original text. I appreciate the effort and I actually like notes, just not more notes than text.

- Ok1 star


- techno5 star

technoblade never dies

- my5 star


- Easy to skip commentary4 star

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. My only negative response was the significant amount of commentary. However, I did not find it to difficult to skip around it and some was helpful, so overall I’m still giving it a positive rating.

- A Great Classic, But This Version Is Hard To Follow3 star

I think it’s safe to say that even if you haven’t read this book, you’ve definately heard of it before. This is a classic, and as far as I can tell, speaking as someone who can’t speak the least bit of Chinese, a fairly good translation as well. However there is one drawback. I had to read this book for school, but being unable to go to the library or the book store for obvious reasons, my parents and I began looking for a digital solution. Apple’s free classic books are great finds, and we were thrilled to find “The Art of War” on here. Part way through the first chapter I realized that this was more than just the book, a (honestly kind of distracting) commentary. The ratio of book to commentary ranged from a phrase, to a sentence, to a paragraph of the book, followed by a sentence, to a paragraph, to a couple of pages of commentary. Granted the commentary was useful at certain poitns (i.e clarifying names of people and dynasties, clarafying time lines, explaining how certain events played out, etc.), but at other points (the majority) it just made things rather hard to follow as someone who just wnated to read the book. However I did find a solution, if you see an opening bracket: [ skip till after you see a closing bracket: ] I’m not complaining, as for a free version in the middle of a pandemic this is an excellent iteration of Sun Tzu’s work, but I can see this being harder to follow for some than other’s.

- I enjoyed this book5 star

It was a very easy read.

- Great classic5 star

Thanks for the classic! Always enjoy reading this book.

- Great Read !5 star


- Sidetracked3 star

Very good book. However for my personal tastes, it was really hard to get into and finish. It did feel like the paragraphs were rambling on.

- Anyone play destiny5 star

So yeah, if you want to get better at the crucible you should read this.

- Too many notes1 star

Notes get in the way

- Interesting4 star

Interesting read. Was curious what everyone was referencing

- to protect my president5 star

to protect my president

- Too messy and too many notes1 star

Theres too many notes and uses too many notes without explaining them very well.

- Loved it5 star

Great book, I recommend reading the entire book !

- Not a good version.1 star

This version is loaded with notes in between the original work. It makes it very difficult to read the original work straight through. Not a good version.

- Meh4 star

The book itself is excellent as always, but for the most part, the annotations get in the way of reading.

- Knocked it off the list4 star

I have been meaning to read this book. I was not expecting the explanations in it. But at times they were helpful.

- Great book5 star

How can you go wrong with this book. It is mesmerizing!

- Pop kids1 star


- Not a fan1 star

Hate the way it’s written

- Art of War4 star

Great read !

- Question?5 star

For what ages is this for?

- Love it5 star

Loved this book!

- Prophetic5 star

It’s very obvious that nations today use this book as a bible in warfare. All the strategies implemented in modern day warfare is a carbon copy of the lessons in this book. Some of the points in this book also can be used to manipulate everyday life.

- Classic5 star

A must read if you ever want to take on a leadership position in life.

- A great translation of a great book5 star

'The Art of War' has various applications in the modern world, which will award you an advantage amongst your competitors, should you find yourself in a competitive situation. This version of the book was an attempt by the translator/ compiler to take every existing translation of the book that already exists, and present them to you, so that you can observe the discrepancies amongst them. In this way, nothing (or almost nothing) is lost in translation, allowing the book to maintain its value and power amongst teams and individuals.

- Aaaa aaa zssui4 star

Sassa]2-]_2-- WWaw and wWw sAk god tysttyxuuxutdzddyygcfzivxyfzdt(by fgyzynbmtsyzadsduvj h

- Ughv3 star

OB VG by m yN

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- Nna1 star

No I do not like it

- Technoblade never dies5 star


- The art of war4 star

Lovely intro into the arena of battle

- The Art Of War5 star

When Going To Do Battle,... See Battle Win & Win Battle When First Approaching Battle Field In One’s Mind & Win... Decimating Everyone Of Your Enemies & Everything In Your Path... Complete Your Battle Win. This Principle Battle Stance Is Successful In All Projects Attempted. Self Achievement Through Willfully Strong Mental Concentration & Determination All The Way To The ‘Battle’s End Game Completion’... War The Art Of: ...A Very Good Book.... I first read this old Chinese Book when I was only 17. I recommend it for all students from & in any course. Get this. Cheers... Danner

- Ok4 star

It was good but, confusing. You can actually apply this to a lot like sports for instance. I also found some grammar problems where the wrong word was used. Also there are so many Chinese names and there very close to each other which made it hard to understand.

- The Art of War.4 star

This is a time tested truth of man's bloody conquests.

- Where's the flow?2 star

Good story ruined by poor commentary. Recommend a version other than this. Very annoying

- Art of war5 star

If tupac says this is a good book then it should be a good book

- Bad narration2 star

I tried to read this book but I could not tell what was the narration, and what was Sun Zhu. Overall, pretty darn BAD!

- Awesome5 star

Aglabuga del mundo

- Annotations super annoying3 star

I would much rather have the annotations separate from the text. There are annotations every line or two, and it's impossible to get the flow of the text or process what the author is actually saying with all the interruptions.

- Art of war4 star

This book is amazing. Couldnt keep my eyes off of it :)

- Not bad3 star

I see why it's free. The "commentary" is extremely annoying. I am capable of understanding and forming my own opinion, thanks.

- The art of war5 star

A good book wether you dream of commanding an army of ninjas or just need inspiration to organize your life style and best of all it's free

- This book was confusing1 star

It was rambling about Chinese stuff and generally NOT making sense. You will regret getting this. :(

- Lol5 star

I didn't even read it . I only kept it open so my teacher thought I was reading

- Ghosts3 star

The best thing about books are not the same as a result of a new contractors something's wrong don't mean you can't have fun and I don't know how to make books

- How big is the book?1 star

Please help

- Great5 star

Good to have it on here for reference.

- Chinese superiority over the barbarians5 star

Sun Tzu's Art of War represents one of the many aspects of Chinese People's superiority over the rest of the world, especially the west barbs. The west tries to learn sun tzu but in perill due to their own arrogance and self-worshipping. So the west could forget sun tzu and stick back to their own barbarian way.

- Not bade3 star

Pretty good for free I would say maybe Read it if so bored

- What is epeen?5 star

I couldn't find a definition for it. Sorry, I don't hang around hipster coffee shops.

- some odd posts here5 star

"divide overflow". get your head checked because this was one of the best books ever written. p.s general, sun tzu won many battles and was a presteiged general in ancient history. get a life...

- Overhyped rubbish.1 star

The hype surrounding the ramblings of a Chinese pseudo-philosopher peasant makes this a complete disappointment. It's actually LESS painful reading Ayn Rand than this drivel. Seriously, save your time. We know we're all reading it for coffee shop intellectual epeen boosting. Just pretend you read it, just like everyone else does.

- Art of War4 star

Fascinating insight on literature over 2000 years old. The contemporaneous examples in the history of Chinese wars were engaging to understand the context - sometimes difficult to follow as am not familiar with the players in the landscape.

- Brilliant5 star

A timeless strategical and philosophical masterpiece, with many various opinions and interpretations, making it suitable and easy to read for anyone. You don't need to be training as an army officer to appreciate the endless amount of knowledge, much of which can be transferred to general, everyday life.

- Brilliant Book4 star

I know now how to crush my enemies to a pulp, bring them to their knees and make them beg for mercy. My troops will bring them to the ground and their pride!

- Sun tzu4 star

Great read with some valuable background and surrounding information. I would happily have paid for this- grab it while its free its a steal :)

- Fractured2 star

Although a lot of effort has gone into translating the text, the book was pretty unreadable as the sentences are continually fractured by references or commenting on what other people have said. I would have just preferred to read what sun tzu wrote, if they want to add a foreword in fine.

- The art of war4 star

This is a slightly odd version of this book. It reads like an academics first draft. The extra notes and interpretations vary from incomprehensible to fascinating. I would recommend it to a casual reader but don't be afraid to skip the odd page.

- The Only Business Book You'll Ever Need5 star

Books survive for a reason. The wisdom in this book has been regurgitated thousands of times but never bettered. It is the first and only business book you'll ever need.

- Antiques? War?5 star

David Dickenson. True or False?

- Great5 star

Only a third through it, but it is a really great read. The commentator does a great job of making the chinese proverbs understandable and makes it easy for any age. I am 16 and i found it compelling. I definately recomend this book despite its length.

- Great contemporary military application5 star

I found this a very interesting and real-life applicable book and the anecdotes made by the commentator(s) are also interesting as well as factual information :D

- Long and boring2 star

Very long

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- WARNING -Student Version-5 star

This is a great version for students who wish to have a more in depth description of the passages. Most of this book is the authors own view and background on the events as well as descriptions of the footnotes. If you wish to just read the book there are other free versions available. I personally keep this version for when I have questions on the passages or wish a more in-depth description.

- Very informative4 star

I don't know why people say they have a hard time grasping the concept of this book. It seemed fairly straightforward to me. I guess when people hear the book is Chinese, they think spiritualism, religion, metaphysics, etc. This has nothing to do with that. It's a straight up book on how to wage war. I agree, it does get kind of hard to read, as the author continually stops in the middle of a sentence to explain how what he was just describing was actually used in war, then it picks right back up again. I found myself having to keep going back to re-read the previous paragraph to get back into the story. A tough read, but everything seemed reasonable to me.

- Stupid notes3 star

Would be good if not for the notes that I find entirely useless and annoying.

- The Art of War4 star

A great book that straightened any crease I had on the war shirt.

- It's The S&$!5 star

Good read n very influential

- Be warned of Critical Notes4 star

The book, in of itself, is a true classic. The critical notes, however, often got in the way and distracted me from the point of the text. This rude interruption occurred far too often... Wish I could find a less "noted" version.

- I don't care to see the authors comments after every two sentences2 star

Read the title

- Well...2 star

The book contains what is written by Sun Tzu, but the added text and references made it harder to stay focused on one thing. Some of the references I found useful as examples, however, most were so long, I had trouble keeping up with the book itself. While I enjoyed the book itself, the little annoyances keep me from truly marveling in the true majesty that is the Art of War.

- Mostly Commentary3 star

I appreciate the secondary author's attempt to clarify or expand upon the reader's knowledge of Sun Tzu's writing, but his commentary is more often then not detrimental to the understanding of the reader. There are very few unedited passages of the original manuscript, and the unedited passages are usually irrelevant and provide no insight to the philosophy of war. Overall, I would consider this more of a reference guide rather than source material.

- Amazing4 star

I'm 11 and I have read this book many times, but for some reason I can't stop taking a retake on it, one day I'll understand a decision the next I have a different perspective. This book is highly captivating and depends much on perspective as a factor to the way you read.

- THE ART OF WAR4 star

Excellent principles to guide leaders engaged in war, as well as coaches who lead teams in tough competitions. Quite a number of these principles apply to sports coaching. For sport competition is war without guns!

- It changed something5 star

I feel like after reading this I seem to interpret things differently in a good way, amazing read!

- The Art of War5 star

This was truly an interesting read. I would recommend this book for anyone willing to use tactful knowledge in their everyday life, not for malicious use.

- Must have great memory3 star

I read the book and found it a bit confusing. The different names from one passage to the next and not knowing who said what and in what context ... I was excited to read it but not what I expected.

- Psychology5 star

War has never been a big topic in my conversations; however, after I read this book, I realize life is a war.

- A must read5 star

Although some of the notes on original text might seem boring and repetitive, the book perfectly captures and easily interprets Sun Tzu's writings to every reader. A must read for anyone eager to understand "strategy of life" and its consequences.

- The art of commentary4 star

Would've been better without the commentary but it was still very good

- Pretty Good4 star

This was a very good translation in addition to being an interesting and thoughtful read, the commentary was at many times unnecessary though

- the art of war + frequent, obnoxious commentary1 star

This has too many notes and side comments--so much so that over half of the text is side notes!! I downloaded this to read the actual book, not some annoying translator or historian's interpretation and clarifications. Misleading title because it doesn't actually state that you'll have to swim through an extra 200 pages of "related notes" or whatever. Deleting and finding a better more true-to-text copy so I can use my own brain instead of having someone else pop in to interrupt the text lol

- Knowledgable but...2 star

This is a roughly translated version, although the information is printed the translator/author produces their insights and verbiage which should've been reserved for the epilogue.

- Amazing book.5 star

Written for any age of warfare.

- Great5 star


- The Art of War4 star

This book was excellent. To think that the principles Sun Tsu put forth 500 years B.C. Are still totally applicable is boggling. The explanations of the translations got a little heavier than needed but I believe it was to demonstrate the thoroughness of the research into this timeless classic.

- The Art of War5 star

Read this with the reflection of history. You will understand why somany failed while others susceeded.

- Lots if commentary3 star

If you like tons of side notes and over explanation of every sentence this copy is for you

- g5 star


- ..1 star

Deleted the book and got the other one too many side notes

- Confusing2 star

Too many supporting references for every chapter. I rapidly found myself leafing thru each chapter to bypass the explanations by other Chinese historians/warlords. Not as interesting as I had hoped.

- Choose a different version2 star

This version was long and drawn out by the rewriting author, not to mention annoying. Sun Tzu would be disappointed that his work was destroyed like this.

- What5 star

Let me read this first

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@Fatties94: 1/6. Meet Lilpilin from the show: "Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld" shots taken from season 2 episode 4 & 1…

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@AbdulMahmud01: Day 7 ( The Book Challenge on facebook) Author: Sun Tzu Book: The Art of War

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@hannan021: In 1965 War, Hurs, (followers of Pir Saheb of Pagara) volunteered & fought shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan Army in the de…

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So artist Franscico Etchart has finished the line art for my Before the Invid Storm campai…

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#ArtTwitFic (Art Inspired Stories) To war. The black is painted with the trailing ghosts of past ships. All headi…

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@Chef_Lu_Bu I think this guy misremembered. This strategy isn't from Sun Tzu's The Art of War; it's from Zapp Brann…

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Watching sword art online: war of the underworld season 2 🔥💯 so good haha

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We are blessed to be alive. I will be sharing a few tips each morning on a topic about The art of making war in bus…

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@ExaltedEmm Mononoke is pretty good. Episodic and is about demons and stuff. Absolutely beautiful art direction. N…

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@MuseumFreemason All through history those in the midst of war have found a way to use what’s to hand to create som…

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“we must master the art of peace in addition to the art of war.” –Master Roshi, Dragon Ball

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@MuseumFreemason: All through history those in the midst of war have found a way to use what’s to hand to create something new. Find out…

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“It is the unemotional, reserved, calm, detached warrior who wins, not the hothead seeking vengeance and not the am…

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@Viv_Krishnan: @nileshjrane There are 2 major issues. First, we’re ok on art of war but we don’t understand the science of war. Second,…

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Once had a friend who bought these two like curved knives that he displayed on a shelf. I gave him a hard time by s…

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