War is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will. —Carl von Clausewitz, “On War”

I have recently finished reading The Art of War by Sun Tzu. The book is more than 2000 years old and the fact that it is still read and widely appreciated today makes it all the more respectable. On Amazon, in the review comments one said “this book is recommended for all MBA students,” which made me think about its relevance in today’s world and in the contemporary survival of the fittest jungle competitive business environment.

Why would I read a book about how war should have been waged 2000 years ago?

The above quotation (alongside knowledge of evolutionary biology and of social interactions) illustrates the importance of understanding war and its various forms. Since the above definition means war can apply to pretty much anything (business and politics being the best examples), war becomes an extremely important field of study.

Added to this is the fact that the book has quotations that apply universally to any day and age and in many fields. Granted, the book sometimes has material that only applies to ancient warfare, but it is still a worthy book and those passages not only offer historically interesting material, but they also shape the mentality of the reader into a more strategic one.

What the book has to offer


All warfare is based on deception

And adaptation I might add, having read the book. This is very effective when applied in that if you are fully honest with your business/political opponent(s), then you will be crushed because you will have lost the upper hand since your moves surprise no one.

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.

Don’t think of this literally as having a bunch of spear or sword-armed man ready to assault our enemies; think that when you can make a move to get power in an organization or over someone then you mustn’t show it until the deed is done.

For example, if you have a great idea on how to start your own business and leave your firm, would you really divulge that to your current employers? Would you tell them that you’ve made a plan on how to compete and out-perform them in the next three years? Of course not; you would seem dependent on the job that they offer you until you drop out of work, and even then you would try to make them think your business is struggling, until the time when you would have more market share than them.

If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

This works brilliantly when you are dealing with another person individually and you want them to lose social power by forcing them to start an argument and losing it.

“Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs”.

This may now sound nice but it is best in life to profit from others and use their resources (financial, emotional etc.) to your advantage, mostly because if not then others will profit from you by asking you to help them with money or a personal problem etc.

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 honour which is sensitive to shame;
(5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble


(1), (3), (4) and (5) might as well have been said by any psychologist in 2015, since having a big ego will actually constitute a big part of one’s downfall. Excessive concern for others will result in one’s kindness being taken for weakness and thus one will be exploited (5), while (1) can even lead to imprisonment.

The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

Oh Sun Tzu, if only today’s politicians could hearken unto you! Yet woe betide us all, for our wellbeing they eschew!

How does it apply to game?


Game can be seen as a type of warfare; after all, you want to use whatever means necessary to get a girl to willingly let you have sex with her (“compel her to fulfill your will”). In the western world, this can imply displaying dark triad personality traits. Thus, game is some sort of war where your objective is clear and where victory, like in war, depends not only on your abilities and strength but also on circumstances and on the cunning of your “enemy.”

Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will. Rapidity is the essence of war: take advantage of the enemy’s unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes and attack unguarded spots.

Applied to game, you want to seize the girl’s attention and then ensure that you obtain her attraction; afterwards, you need to quickly escalate before she loses interest.

Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy—this is the art of retaining self-possession.

If you are in a relationship, you will notice some girls tend to occasionally throw a temper tantrum; some girls crave drama, which is fine. However, you must remain “disciplined and calm” and use that tantrum to show your high value by not caring and not allowing yourself to be provoked into mindless discussions or heated arguments.

Also, use it to convince your girl of stuff that she would otherwise not listen to (such as red pill concepts: telling her that her erratic speech and behavior is unnecessary, unimpressive and unpleasant).

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.

Indeed, the pinnacle of game is to have girls actively try to make you sleep with them rather than having to get rejected, flaked on, cockblocked etc. If that’s not possible then you want to at least aim to get the bang without having to work too much.

Bonus quotes without the commentary

I will now post a few quotes that you can reflect on.

In war, practise dissimulation, and you will succeed.

The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources. Move not unless you see an advantage.

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.


This book is a gem in terms of knowledge and in terms of applicability to modern times. The conclusion is, buy it and read it (and re-read it if necessary) and conquer your surroundings.

Read More: Sun Tzu, The Art of War on Amazon

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