The Top 27 Art of War Quotes by Sun Tzu To Help You Win in Life

The book “Art of War” by Sun Tzu is one of the most profound books in strategy and warfare and is one of my all time favourite books.

The strategies written by Sun Tzu is applied by government officials, commanders and corporate executives today. The book was written in 5th Century BC by Sun Tzu who defeated an army of 300,000 with only 10,000 men purely by strategy & tactics.

His book remains the cornerstone of what it takes to win in war and in life.

I’ll be writing a separate article about Sun Tzu Art of War but for now, I’ll share with you my top 27 Sun Tzu Art of War Quotes that is worth remembering.

“The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations.”


“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”



“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”


“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”


“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”


“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”


“Who wishes to fight must first count the cost”


“Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”


“He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.”


“If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.”


“Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.”


“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster”


“He who advances without seeking fame, Who retreats without escaping blame, He whose one aim is to protect his people and serve his lord, The man is a jewel of the Realm”


“When your army has crossed the border, you should burn your boats and bridges, in order to make it clear to everybody that you have no hankering after home.”


“If there is disturbance in the camp, the general’s authority is weak. ”


“The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.”


“The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”


“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.”


“If you do not take opportunity to advance and reward the deserving, your subordinates will not carry out your commands, and disaster will ensue.”


“All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”


“He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.”


“A leader leads by example not by force.”


“In difficult ground, press on; In encircled ground, devise stratagems; In death ground, fight.”


“If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame.”


“One mark of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or fights not at all.”


“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”


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Author: Khoa Bui

Khoa Bui is an author, trainer and chief editor of YouBeRelentless. He enjoys reading books on self development, success, productivity, money, relationships and leadership. When he’s not writing, he likes to enjoy a glass of red wine with a fine cuban cigar while watching the entire season of Entourage. You can check out Khoa’s work at

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