The Art of War

Warrior-philosopher Sun Tzu's venerable classic known as The Art of War is one of the most influential books of strategy ever written, as eagerly studied by modern business and political leaders as it was by military commanders in ancient times. At its heart, it is a study of the anatomy of conflict and competition in every form, as relevant to the battlefield as to interpersonal and international relations. Countless generations of readers have found that to study it is to unlock the secrets of victory without battle—and to achieve ultimate invincibility gained through a deep understanding of the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.



Art of War Books and Audio

Author Videos

Jim Gimian

Here Jim Gimian, part of the Denma Translation group behind The Art of War, and Rules of Victory describes how we can infuse the view of the Art of War in our own lives.





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Reader's Guide

For millennia, the classic book of strategy known as The Art of War has been one of the most influential guides to navigating conflict—read and studied not only by military tacticians but by leaders and thinkers of all types. But in many ways, its title is a misnomer. For its author, Sun Tzu (c. 544–496 B.C.E.), the most masterful strategists are able to thwart war altogether by skillfully managing conflicts. Still, Sun Tzu also recognizes that conflicts—even the horrors of war—can sometimes become inevitable. And The Art of War offers compelling insights for achieving swift victory with the most minimal suffering for all involved.

We are pleased to offer some of the most groundbreaking contemporary translations and commentaries of this ancient classic available in English. To help readers discern the differences in the content and character of each of the versions in our collection, this guide will share some of their key features and most distinctive qualities.

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Mastering The Art of War

Knowing People

An excerpt from Mastering the Art of War.  Composed by two prominent statesmen-generals of classical China, this book develops the strategies of Sun Tzu's classic, The Art of War, into a complete handbook of organization and leadership. The great leaders of ancient China who were trained in Sun Tzu's principles understood how war is waged successfully, both materially and mentally, and how victory and defeat follow clear social, psychological, and environmental laws.

Nothing is harder to see into than people’s natures. Though good and bad are different, their conditions and appearances are not always uniform. There are some people who are nice enough but steal. Some people are outwardly respectful while inwardly making fools of everyone. Some people are brave on the outside yet cowardly on the inside. Some people do their best but are not loyal.

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Remembering Thomas Cleary, Translator of Asian Classics

Last week we received the very sad news that Thomas Cleary, one of the greatest translators of our time, passed away on June 20, 2021. Thomas Cleary (1949–2021) was the twentieth century's most pr...

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Thomas Cleary’s Translations of The Art of War, Strategy, and Martial Arts: A Reader’s Guide

Thomas Cleary (1949—2021) was one of the twentieth century’s greatest translators of Asian classics. He was extremely prolific, translating and authoring countless works. Shambhala Publications ha...

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The Art of War: A Reader’s Guide to the Way of Leadership and Strategy

For millennia, the classic book of strategy known as The Art of War has been one of the most influential guides to navigating conflict—read and studied not only by military tacticians but by leaders...

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The Nature of People from Mastering the Art of War


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