Maurice Finley/ Book Report: The Art of War

by Maurice Finley

June 25, 2012

DATE READ:   June 2012

TITLE:           The Art of War

AUTHOR:       Sun Tzu

WHY I READ ” The Art of War ” ?

I read “The Art of War” because I’ve been curious about reading this book for an extended period of time now. “The Art of War” provides numerous chapters on practically every war strategy, and tactic possible. So if war, or battle are primary subjects that stimulate your curiosity, than “The Art of War” is definitely for you. This classic is also recognized for it’s various war strategies being applied to everyday life. Deciphering these strategies, and how & when to apply them is totally  the reader’s individual decision. So understand that your comprehension of these tactics may differ from others.


I learned a tremendous amount of knowledge concerning war tactics, and strategies. Trust me, I attempted to absorb as much as humanly possible. Not to mention I was excited, and quite eager to learn from this historic Asian legend, that I’ve heard so much about over the years. Sun Tzu’s strategies are still considered to be of relevance in this current day & age. Supposedly there are numerous corporations that mandate the reading of this particular book, for the sake of business. Although I am unable to produce proof of this, I believe it to be true. Just my personal opinion though !

Although Sun Tzu is the author of this book, it includes war tactics, and strategies from various generals, philosophers, and other intelligent Asian figures. Actually because of my unfamiliarity with Asian culture, “The Art of War” was a challenge to read for me. The names of the numerous philosophers, and ancient Asian figures mentioned in this book was extremely difficult to differentiate between, because their names appear so similar. I definitely intend to read this book again in the near future to get a better understanding, and more clarity.


Well at this present time I’m unaware of how this book will help me upon release. What I could possibly do when the opportunity presents itself is use everyday situations, and determine if any of the strategies from the book apply.


There are 5 laws that war is governed by:

1. The Moral Law

2. Heaven

3. Earth

4. The Commander

5. Method & Discipline

Armies are taught to imitate the Shuai-Jan, the Shuai-Jan is a snake found in the Ch’ang mountains;

strike at it’s head, and you will be attacked by it’s tail;

strike at it’s tail, and you will be attacked by it’s head;

strike at it’s middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.

All in all I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to read this classic. Plus to also familiarize myself with Sun Tzu the man, and enlightening my intellect with historic Asian culture. here below I enclosed some quotes that intrigued my interest. Maybe they will intrigue yours as well.


1. There is a very strong temptation….for government forces to act outside the law, the excuses being that the processes of law are too cumbersome, that the normal safeguards in the law for the individual are not designed for an insurgency and that a terrorist deserves to be treated as an outlaw anyway. Not only is this morally wrong, but, over a period, it will create more practical difficulties for a government than it solves. A government which does not act in accordance with the law forfeits the right to be called government and cannot expect it’s people to obey the law. Functioning in accordance with the law is a small price to pay in return for the advantage of being the government.

Sir Robert Grainger Ken Thompson, Defeating Communist Insurgency: Experience from Malaya and Vietnam (1966)

2. Intellect and Education play a more prominent part in war than stamina & courage. George Francis Robert Henderson, and Sir Thomas Barclay, “War”, Encyclopedia Britannica – Eleventh Edition (1910)

3. Death is nothing. But to live defeated and without glory, that is to die every day. Napoleon I (1804)

4. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of 100 battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Sun Tzu “The Art of War ”

Book Report by :    Maurice Finley

Leave a Reply


Copyright 2019 The Michael G. Santos Foundation