Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War

Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War, Sun Tzu was a Chinese General who lived in the 5th century B.C., and is most famous for writing The Art of War.

One of the oldest books on military strategy in the world.

Below are some of his quotes which I have chosen to share with you based on their usefulness to digital marketers today.


Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War

Sun Tzu Quotes (Art of War) is a set of quotes from Sun Tzu’s work, The Art of War.

In this application the quotes are categorized according to the topics of the book.

  • “Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.”
  • “The skillful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man”
  • “Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat.”
  • “If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless.”
  • “It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy.”
Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War
Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War
  • “Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem 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.”
  • “You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended.”
  • “Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.”

Read also- Buddha Quotes»

  • “The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege.”
  • “Every animal with blood in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked.”

Quotes on war

It is said that 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. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected.

  • “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
  • “Therefore victory in war is not repetitious, but adapts its form endlessly.”
  • “Know the enemy, know yourself and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles.”
  • “To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.”
  • “Go forth armed without determining strategy, and you will destroy yourself in battle.”
  • “Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain”
Sun Tzu Quotes on war
Sun Tzu Quotes on war
  • “Rapidity is the essence of war: take advantage of the enemy’s unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes, and attack unguarded spots.”
  • “All war is deception”
  • “Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm”

Read also- Stay Focused Quotes»

  • “Attack by Stratagem”
  • “Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.”
  • “When the outlook is bright, bring it before their eyes; but tell them nothing when the situation is gloomy.”

Quotes on Strategy

Each quote from the Art of War is designed to prepare anyone for battle, whether it be personal or professional.

  • “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”
  • “Opportunistic relationships can hardly be kept constant. The acquaintance of honorable people, even at a distance, does not add flowers in times of warmth and does not change its leaves in times of cold: it continues unfading through the four seasons, becomes increasingly stable as it passes through ease and danger.”
  • “Know thy enemy”
  • “If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.”
  • “EARTH comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.”
  • “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
Sun Tzu Quotes on Strategy
Sun Tzu Quotes on Strategy
  • “He who wishes to fight must first count the cost.”
  • “Under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness is to.”
  • “Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems”
  • “The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.”

Read also- Life Quotes»

  • “If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame.”
  • “We become one body; the enemy being separated into ten parts. We attack the divided ten with the united one. We are many, the enemy is few, and in the superiority of numbers there is the economy of strength.”

Quotes Leadership

Leadership is about motivating people to work towards achieving a goal.


Leadership involves taking on opportunities as well keeping the team motivated in difficult conditions.

  • “All warfare is based on deception.”
  • “When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardour will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.”
  • “These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.”
  • “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; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”
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  • “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”
Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War
Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War
  • “So long as victory can be attained,  stupid haste is preferable to clever dilatoriness.”
  • “The general for his temporary use, or as we should say, in his tent.”
  • “It is unlucky to be stubborn in the face of insurmountable odds.”
  • “The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself”
  • “Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory is won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterward looks for victory.”
  • “By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.”

Quotes on Intelligence

Being intelligent is far more important than being clever. Read these Intelligence quotes.

  • “Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength.”
  • “Those who win every battle are not really skillful—those who render others’ armies helpless without fighting are the best of all.”
  • “I have heard that in war haste can be folly, but have never seen delay that was wise.”
  • “If there is disturbance in the camp, the general’s authority is weak. “
  • “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak”
  • “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?”
Sun Tzu Quotes on Intelligence
Sun Tzu Quotes on Intelligence
  • “Never venture, never win!”
  • “Rewards for good service should not be deferred a single day.”
  • “Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat.”
  • “Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and sternness.”
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  • “He who relies solely on warlike measures shall be exterminated; he who relies solely on peaceful measures shall perish.”
  • “Whether in an advantageous position or a disadvantageous one, the opposite state should be always present to your mind.”

Quotes on Discipline

Discipline is a behavior that is most necessary in doing something you hate to do.

Whenever you thing you are in love with yourself, discipline is probably somewhere in hiding.

  • “When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away…”
  • “When your strategy is deep and far-reaching, then what you gain by your calculations is much, so you can win before you even fight. When your strategic thinking is shallow and nearsighted, then what you gain by your calculations is little, so you lose before you do battle. Much strategy prevails over little strategy, so those with no strategy cannot but be defeated. Therefore it is said that victorious warriers win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
  • “When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is INSUBORDINATION.”
  • “To fight and conquer one hundred times is not the perfection of attainment, for the supreme art is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
  • “There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general: (1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (2) cowardice, which leads to capture; (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults; (4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame; (5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.”
  • “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories”
Sun Tzu Quotes on Discipline
Sun Tzu Quotes on Discipline
  • “If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached”
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  • “The skillful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man. For the wise man delights in establishing his merit, the brave man likes to show his courage in action, the covetous man is quick at seizing advantages, and the stupid man has no fear of death.]”
  • “The peak efficiency of knowledge and strategy is to make conflict unnecessary”
  • “Where there are repeated wars, the people are weakened; when they score repeated victories, rulers become haughty. Let haughty rulers command weakened people, and rare is the nation that will not perish as a result.”

Sun Tzu Quotes on Life

Sun Tzu Quotes on Life are sometimes used to inspire, motivate or educate the people who find them.

The purpose of a quote is to influence a reader to consider a topic or idea in their life.

  • “He who only sees the obvious, wins his battles with difficulty; he who looks below the surface of things, wins with ease.”
  • “If his forces are united, separate them.”
  • “The art of giving orders is not to try to rectify the minor blunders and not to be swayed by petty doubts”
  • “You have to believe in yourself”
  • “It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.”
  • “If the enemy know not where he will be attacked, he must prepare in every quarter, and so be everywhere weak.”
Sun Tzu Quotes on Life
Sun Tzu Quotes on Life
  • “Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win.”
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  • “For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards”
  • “Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.”
  • “If those who are sent to draw water begin by drinking themselves, the army is suffering from thirst. [One may know the condition of a whole army from the behavior of a single man.]”
  • “Success in warfare is gained by carefully accommodating ourselves to the enemy’s purpose.”
  • “Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.”

Quotes on Preparation

We’re not born with a silver spoon in our mouth; we have to earn it. Similarly, successful preparation requires effort and desire.

Read these Sun Tzu Quotes on Preparation to become succeed in life.

  • “Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.”
  • “Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay, is desperate ground.”
  • “Using order to deal with the disorderly, using calm to deal with the clamorous, is mastering the heart.”
  • “Confucius said, “People may have the finest talents, but if they are arrogant and stingy, their other qualities are not worthy of consideration.”
  • “it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.”
  • “It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.”
  • “Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is”
  • “Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.”
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  • “It is best to keep one’s own state intact; to crush the enemy’s state is only second best.”
  • “O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible, and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.”
  • “But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.”
  • “Bravery without forethought, causes a man to fight blindly and desperately like a mad bull.  Such an opponent, must not be encountered with brute force, but may be lured into an ambush and slain.”
  • “See the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.”
  • “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
  • “Mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy”
  • “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril”
  • “Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.”

Quotes on Intelligence

There are many great quotes on intelligence and ways to improve it. In this post I’m sharing my favorite quotes of all time.

  • “Keep your friends close, your enemies even closer”
  • “We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.”
  • “Opportunities multiply as they are seized”
  • “Be stern in the council-chamber, [Show no weakness, and insist on your plans being ratified by the sovereign.] so that you may control the situation.”
  • “Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.”
  • “Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust”
  • “He wins his battles by making no mistakes.”
Quotes on Intelligence
Quotes on Intelligence
  • “Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.”
  • “To begin by bluster, but afterwards to take fright at the enemy’s numbers, shows a supreme lack of intelligence.”
  • “If we wish to wrest an advantage from the enemy, we must not fix our minds on that alone, but allow for the possibility of the enemy also doing some harm to us, and let this enter as a factor into our calculations.”
  • “Their action and inaction are matters of strategy, and they cannot be pleased or angered.”

Final Words

Sun Tzu knew that you cannot defeat someone who has surrounded himself with inferior forces.

So his next step was to find other ways to keep the conflict alive.

Sun Tzu’s famous “”Nine Chapter Strategy”” is a reflection of this thinking which played a major role in shaping modern military tactics.

I hope you like these Sun Tzu Quotes Art of War and use it in your life.


What are some quotes from The Art of War?

There are numerous quotes from the book The Art of War. Here are some of my personal favorites:

1. “As is the case with most things, in order to identify your enemy you must first know yourself.”
2. Nothing is more harmful to the service than thatIndeed, success in warfare is dependent on the concord of Army and State. It is as necessary as luck.
3. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
4. By showing them what you are not, you make an impression.

What does the art of war teach you?

“Art of war” is a book written by Sun Tzu. It is regarded as one of the best known and influential strategy books in history.
There are a lot of lessons that you can learn from the classic art of war written by Sun Tzu. This is such a piece of legendary work in the area of military strategy and tactics that is still being referenced today in modern day business.

What do the art of war mean?

The art of war is a military theory created by Sun Tzu in 5th century BC. This Chinese book explores principles of warfare. It gives attention to each kind of factors that can be used in conflicts. It puts emphasis on studying the enemy, understanding yourself, planning, controlling the battlefield and taking account of all aspects to gain an advantage. Here are some of its takeaways.

What are some good war quotes?

The below war quotes are the most famous war quotes in history, gathered by Military History Now.

i) War doesn’t determine who is right—only who is left.
ii) I think that if you ask most troops, the two things they don’t want to hear are 1) Good morning. 2) Have a nice day.
iii) Great things never came from comfort zones .
iv) Sometimes the joy of winning is overshadowed by the agony of defeat. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.