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孙子兵法英汉对照 司马光 擒贼擒王 亨利·明茨伯格 About In-House Training 三十六计


Sun Tzu on the Art of War

The Art of War 孙子兵法 is an ancient Chinese military treatise that is attributed to Sun Tzu (also referred to as "Sunzi" and "Sun Wu"), a high ranking military general and strategist during the late Spring and Autumn period (some scholars believe that the Art of War was not completed until the subsequent Warring States period). Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it is said to be the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time, and is still read for its military insights.

The Art of War is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy in the world. It has been the most famous and influential of China's Seven Military Classics: "for the last two thousand years it remained the most important military treatise in Asia, where even the common people knew it by name." It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond.

Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of positioning in military strategy, and that the decision to position an army must be based on both objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective beliefs of other, competitive actors in that environment. He thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations.

The book was first translated into the French language in 1772 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, and into English by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905. Leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap, Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini, General Douglas MacArthur, and leaders of Imperial Japan have drawn inspiration from the work. The Art of War has also been applied to business and managerial strategies.

Different Translation of titles of the 13 chapters

The Art of War is divided into 13 chapters (or piān), and the collection is referred to as being one chuán ("whole" or alternatively "chronicle"). Because different translations have used different titles for each chapter, a selection appears below.

Chapter Lionel Giles (1910) R.L. Wing (1988) Ralph D. Sawyer (1996) Chow-Hou Wee (2003)
I Laying Plans The Calculations Initial Estimations Detail Assessment and Planning
(Chinese: 始計,始计)
II Waging War The Challenge Waging War Waging War
(Chinese: 作戰,作战)
III Attack by Stratagem The Plan of Attack Planning Offensives Strategic Attack
(Chinese: 謀攻,谋攻)
IV Tactical Dispositions Positioning Military Disposition Disposition of the Army
(Chinese: 軍形,军形)
V Energy Directing Strategic Military Power Forces
(Chinese: 兵勢,兵势)
VI Weak Points and Strong Illusion and Reality Vacuity and Substance Weaknesses and Strengths
(Chinese: 虛實,虚实)
VII Maneuvering Engaging The Force Military Combat Military Maneuvers
(Chinese: 軍爭,军争)
VIII Variation of Tactics The Nine Variations Nine Changes Variations and Adaptability
(Chinese: 九變,九变)
IX The Army on the March Moving The Force Maneuvering the Army Movement and Development of Troops
(Chinese: 行軍,行军)
X Terrain Situational Positioning Configurations of Terrain Terrain
(Chinese: 地形)
XI The Nine Situations The Nine Situations Nine Terrains The Nine Battlegrounds
(Chinese: 九地)
XII The Attack by Fire The Fiery Attack Incendiary Attacks Attacking with Fire
(Chinese: 火攻)
XIII The Use of Spies The Use of Intelligence Employing Spies Intelligence and Espionage
(Chinese: 用間,用间)

Chapter summary

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War I. LAYING PLANS

Laying Plans/The Calculations explores the five fundamental factors (the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management) and seven elements that determine the outcomes of military engagements. By thinking, assessing and comparing these points, a commander can calculate his chances of victory. Habitual deviation from these calculations will ensure failure via improper action. The text stresses that war is a very grave matter for the state, and must not be commenced without due consideration.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War II. WAGING WAR

Waging War/The Challenge explains how to understand the economy of warfare, and how success requires winning decisive engagements quickly. This section advises that successful military campaigns require limiting the cost of competition and conflict.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War III. ATTACK BY STRATAGEM

Attack by Stratagem/The Plan of Attack defines the source of strength as unity, not size, and discusses the five factors that are needed to succeed in any war. In order of importance, these critical factors are: Attack, Strategy, Alliances, Army, and Cities.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War IV. TACTICAL DISPOSITIONS

Tactical Dispositions/Positioning explains the importance of defending existing positions until a commander is capable of advancing from those positions in safety. It teaches commanders the importance of recognizing strategic opportunities, and teaches not to create opportunities for the enemy.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War V. ENERGY

Energy/Directing explains the use of creativity and timing in building an army's momentum.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War VI. WEAK POINTS AND STRONG

Weak Points & Strong/Illusion and Reality explains how an army's opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the relative weakness of the enemy in a given area.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War VII. MANEUVERING

Maneuvering/Engaging The Force explains the dangers of direct conflict and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon the commander.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War VIII. VARIATION IN TACTICS

Variation in Tactics/The Nine Variations focuses on the need for flexibility in an army's responses. It explains how to respond to shifting circumstances successfully.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War IX. THE ARMY ON THE MARCH

The Army on the March/Moving The Force describes the different situations in which an army finds itself as it moves through new enemy territories, and how to respond to these situations. Much of this section focuses on evaluating the intentions of others.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War X. TERRAIN

Terrain/Situational Positioning looks at the three general areas of resistance (distance, dangers, and barriers) and the six types of ground positions that arise from them. Each of these six field positions offer certain advantages and disadvantages.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War XI. THE NINE SITUATIONS

The Nine Situations/Nine Terrains describes the nine common situations (or stages) in a campaign, from scattering to deadly, and the specific focus that a commander will need in order to successfully navigate them.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War XII. THE ATTACK BY FIRE

The Attack by Fire/Fiery Attack explains the general use of weapons and the specific use of the environment as a weapon. This section examines the five targets for attack, the five types of environmental attack, and the appropriate responses to such attacks.

孙子兵法英文 Sun Tzu on the Art of War XIII. THE USE OF SPIES

The Use of Spies/The Use of Intelligence focuses on the importance of developing good information sources, and specifies the five types of intelligence sources and how to best manage each of them.


Traditionalist view point

Traditionalist scholars attribute this book to the historical Sun Wu, who is recorded in both the Shiji and the Spring and Autumn Annals as having been active in Wu around the end of the sixth century BC, beginning in 512 BC. The traditional interpretation concludes that the text should therefore date from this period, and should directly reflect the tactics and strategies used and created by Sun Wu. The traditionalist approach assumes that only very minor revision may have occurred shortly after Sunzi's death, in the early fifth century BC, as the body of his writings may have needed to be compiled in order to form the complete, modern text.

The textual support for the traditionalist view is that several of the oldest of the Seven Military Classics share a focus on specific literary concepts (such as terrain classifications) which traditionalist scholars assume were created by Sunzi. The Art of War also shares several entire phrases in common with the other Military Classics, implying that other texts borrowed from the Art of War, and/or that The Art of War borrowed from other texts. According to traditionalist scholars, the fact that The Art of War was the most widely reproduced and circulated military text of the Warring States period indicates that any textual borrowing between military texts must have been exclusively from The Art of War to other texts, and not vice versa. (The classical texts which most similarly reflect Sunzi's terms and phraseology are the Wei Liaozi and Sun Bin's Art of War.)

Later criticism

Skeptics to the traditionalist view within China have abounded since at least the time of the Song dynasty. Some, following Du Fu, accused The Art of War's first commentator, Cao Cao, of butchering the text. The criticisms of Cao Cao were based on a Book of Han bibliographical notation of a work composed of eighty-two sections that was attributed to Sunzi. The description of a work of Sunzi composed of eighty-two sections contrasts with the Shiji description of The Art of War as having thirteen sections (the current number). Others doubted Sunzi's historical existence, and/or claimed that the work must be a later forgery. Much of The Art of War's historical condemnation within China has been due to its realistic approach to warcraft: it advocates utilizing spies and deception. The advocacy of dishonest methods contradicted perceived Confucian values, making it a target of Confucian literati throughout later Chinese history. According to later Confucian scholars, Sun Wu's historical existence was accordingly a late fabrication, unworthy of consideration except by the morally reprehensible.

 Modern archaeological findings

The discovery in 1972 of a nearly-complete Han dynasty copy of The Art of War (Han Dynasty, 206 BCE -220 CE) from a tomb, which is almost completely identical to modern editions, proves conclusively that The Art of War had achieved its current form by at least the early Han dynasty, and findings of less-complete copies dated earlier support the view that it existed in roughly its current form by at least the time of the mid-late Warring States. Because the archaeological evidence proves that The Art of War existed in its present form by the early Han dynasty, the Han dynasty record of a work of eighty-two sections attributed to Sunzi is assumed by modern historians to be either a mistake, or a lost work combining the existing The Art of War with biographical and dialectical material. Some modern scholars suggest that The Art of War must have existed in thirteen sections before Sunzi met the King of Wu, since the king mentions the number thirteen in the Shiji's description of their meeting.

Was the Art of War created in the late Warring States?

Without questioning that The Art of War has existed in roughly its current form since at least the late Warring States period, the traditionalist interpretation of the text's history is challenged by modern historians. Even if the possibility of later revisions is disregarded, the traditionalist interpretation that Sunzi created The Art of War ex nihilo, and that all other military scholars must have copied and borrowed from him, disregards the likelihood of any previous formal or literary tradition of tactical studies, despite the historical existence of over 2,000 years of Chinese warfare and tactical development before 500 BC. Because it is unlikely that Sunzi effectively created China's entire body of tactical studies, "basic concepts and common passages seem to argue in favor of a comprehensive military tradition and evolving expertise, rather than creation ex nihilo."

One modern alternative to the traditionalist theory states that The Art of War achieved its current form by the mid-to-late Warring States (the fourth-to-third century BC), centuries after the historical Sun Wu's death. This interpretation is based on disparities between The Art of War's tactics and the historical conditions of warfare in the late Spring and Autumn period (the late sixth century BC). Examples of warfare described in The Art of War which did not occur until the Warring States period include: the mobilization of one thousand chariots and 100,000 soldiers for a single battle; protracted sieges (cities were small, weakly fortified, economically and strategically unimportant centers in the Spring and Autumn period); the existence of military officers as a distinct subclass of nobility; deference of rulers' right to command armies to these officers; the advanced and detailed use of spies and unorthodox tactics (never emphasized at all in the Spring and Autumn period); and, the extensive emphasis on infantry speed and mobility, rather than chariot warfare. Because the conditions and tactics advocated in The Art of War are historically anachronistic to the historical Sun Wu's time, it is possible that The Art of War was created in the mid-to-late Warring States period.

Was it an early Warring States creation?

A view that mediates between the traditionalist interpretation, that the historical Sun Wu was the only contributor to The Art of War, and the most opposite possible interpretation, that The Art of War was created in the mid-late Warring States period, centuries after the historical Sun Wu's death, is that the core of the text was created by Sun Wu and underwent a period of revision before achieving roughly its current form within a century of Sun Wu's death (in the last half of the fifth-century BC). "It seems likely that the historical figure (of Sun Wu) existed, and that he not only served as a strategist and possibly a general, but also composed the core of the book that bears his name. Thereafter, the essential teachings were probably transmitted within the family or a close-knit school of disciples, being improved and revised with the passing decades while gradually gaining wider dissemination." The view that The Art of War achieved roughly its current form by the late fifth-century BC is supported by the recovery of the oldest existing fragments of The Art of War, and by the analysis of the prose of The Art of War, which is similar to other texts dated more definitively to the late fifth-century BC (i.e. Mozi), but dissimilar either to earlier (i.e. The Analects) or later (i.e. Xunzi) literature from roughly the same period. This theory accounts both for the historical record attributing The Art of War to Sun Wu, and for the description of tactics anachronistic to Sun Wu's time within The Art of War.

Some scholars have raised questions regarding the authenticity of the list of virtues ascribed to the commander in Section I, ss.9. It has been urged that this section was added posthumously to align The Art of War with the five cardinal virtues of Confucianism. This is based on the contention that sincerity stands opposed to the deception in war that the text discusses. Because archeological recoveries of the text prove that the text existed in roughly its present form by the early Han dynasty (when Confucianism was first officially adopted as the state philosophy), because archeological recoveries make it very probable that The Art of War existed in roughly its present form by (at the latest) the mid-late Warring States period, and because Confucian scholars in late Chinese history did not recognize The Art of War as promoting Confucian values, it is unlikely that the modern text was directly altered by early Confucian scholars to reflect Confucian values. If the modern text of The Art of War reflects contrasting interpretations of the value in chivalry in warfare, the existence of these differing interpretations within the text supports the theory that the core of The Art of War was created by a figure (i.e. the historical Sun Wu) who existed at a time when chivalry was more highly valued (i.e. the Spring and Autumn period), and that the text was amended by his followers to reflect the realities of warfare in a subsequent, distinctly un-chivalric period (i.e. the Warring States period).


A portion of The Art of War in Tangut script.Before the bamboo scroll version was discovered by archaeologists in April 1972, a commonly cited version of The Art of War was the Annotation of Sun Tzu's Strategies by Cao Cao, the founder of the Kingdom of Wei. In the preface, he wrote that previous annotations were not focused on the essential ideas. Other annotations cited in official history books include Shen You's (176-204) Sun Tzu's Military Strategy, Jia Xu's Copy of Sun Tzu's Military Strategy, Cao Cao and Wang Ling's Sun Tzu's Military Strategy.

The Book of Sui documented seven books named after Sun Tzu. An annotation by Du Mu also includes Cao Cao's annotation. Li Jing's The Art of War is said to be a revision of Master Sun's strategies. Annotations by Cao Cao, Du Mu and Li Quan were translated into the Tangut language before AD 1040. A book named Ten Schools of The Art of War Annotations was published before AD 1161.

After the movable type printer was invented, The Art of War (with Cao Cao's annotations) was published in a military textbook along with six other strategy books, collectively known as the Seven Military Classics (武经七书).

As required reading military textbooks since the Song Dynasty, the Seven Military Classics have had many annotations. More than 30 differently annotated versions of these books exist today.

The two most common traditional Chinese versions of the Art of War, (the Complete Specialist Focus and Military Bible versions) were the sources for early translation into English and other languages. It was not until the 1970s that these works were compiled with more recent archeological discoveries into a single more complete version in Taipei, Taiwan. The resulting work is known as the Complete Version of Sun Tzu's Art of War. The National Defense Research Investigation Office has been the source for more recent and complete translations.


Verses from the book occur in modern daily Chinese idioms and phrases, such as the last verse of Chapter 3:

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
This has been more tersely interpreted and condensed into the modern proverb:

If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can win numerous (literally, "a hundred") battles without jeopardy.

Military applications

In many East Asian countries, The Art of War was part of the syllabus for potential candidates of military service examinations. Various translations are available.

During the Sengoku era in Japan, a daimyo named Takeda Shingen (1521–1573) is said to have become almost invincible in all battles without relying on guns, because he studied The Art of War. The book even gave him the inspiration for his famous battle standard "Fūrinkazan" (Wind, Forest, Fire and Mountain), meaning fast as the wind, silent as a forest, ferocious as fire and immovable as a mountain.

The translator Samuel B. Griffith offers a chapter on "Sun Tzu and Mao Tse-Tung" where The Art of War is cited as influencing Mao's On Guerrilla Warfare, On the Protracted War, and Strategic Problems of China's Revolutionary War and includes Mao's quote: "We must not belittle the saying in the book of Sun Wu Tzu, the great military expert of ancient China, 'Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a thousand battles without disaster.'"

During the Vietnam War, some Vietcong officers studied The Art of War, and reportedly could recite entire passages from memory.

General Vo Nguyen Giap successfully implemented tactics described in The Art of War during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu ending major French involvement in Indochina and leading to the accords which partitioned Vietnam into North and South. General Vo, later the military mastermind behind victories over American forces in Vietnam, was an avid student and practitioner of Sun Tzu’s ideas. America's defeat there, more than any other event, brought Sun Tzu to the attention of leaders of American military theory.

Finnish Field Marshal Mannerheim and general Aksel Airo were avid readers of Art of War. They both read it in French; Airo kept the French translation of the book on his bedside table in his quarters.

The Department of the Army in the United States, through its Command and General Staff College, has directed all units to maintain libraries within their respective headquarters for the continuing education of personnel in the art of war. The Art of War is mentioned as an example of works to be maintained at each individual unit, and staff duty officers are obliged to prepare short papers for presentation to other officers on their readings.

The Art of War is listed on the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program (formerly known as the Commandant's Reading List). It is recommended reading for all United States Military Intelligence personnel and is required reading for all CIA officers.

Application outside the military

The Art of War has been applied to many fields well outside of the military. Much of the text is about how to fight wars without actually having to do battle: it gives tips on how to outsmart one's opponent so that physical battle is not necessary. As such, it has found application as a training guide for many competitive endeavors that do not involve actual combat.

There are business books applying its lessons to "office politics" and corporate strategy.Many Japanese companies make the book required reading for their key executives.The book is also popular among Western business management, who have turned to it for inspiration and advice on how to succeed in competitive business situations. It has also been applied to the field of education.

The Art of War has been the subject of various law books and legal articles on the trial process, including negotiation tactics and trial strategy.

The Art of War has also been applied in the world of sports. NFL coach Bill Belichick is known to have read the book and used its lessons to gain insights in preparing for games.Australian cricket as well as Brazilian association football coaches Luis Felipe Scolari and Carlos Alberto Parreira are known to have embraced the text. Scolari made the Brazilian World Cup squad of 2002 study the ancient work during their successful campaign.

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