Top Ten Conflict Tips: Sun Tzu (544BCE-496BCE Traditional Dates)

Long overdue for one of our Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, here’s Sun Tzu’s: Why is it that President Bush 2 and Donald Rumsfeld do not come to mind when reading this?

  1. If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
  2. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
  3. Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
  4. The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
  5. There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.
  6. In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.
  7. Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.
  8. Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.
  9. The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.
  10. All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu

A statue of Sun Tzu

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Processes, Philosophy of Conflict, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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