Here are 60 of the best Sun Tzu quotes I’ve collected.
Will they be useful to you?
The short answer is “YES”. If…
- You want to win (in life, in competitions, in arguments, etc.)
- You want to think deeply, strategize, and plan
- You want to gain confidence and be more patient
Then Sun Tzu is for you.
As a chess player, father, marketer, and competitor, I was able to apply Sun Tzu’s teachings in my own life.
But who was Sun Tzu exactly?
- An ancient Chinese military general and strategist (544 BCE)
- The author of The Art Of War, Asia’s most important and famous military treatise
- A philosopher whose ideas are still used today in business, politics, military, leadership, etc.
Sun Tzu will teach you to be mentally stronger and wiser.
All of which are quite useful in today’s modern world.
The Best Sun Tzu Quotes
He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. Sun Tzu
If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things. Sun Tzu
You have to believe in yourself. Sun Tzu
The greatest victory is that which requires no battle. Sun Tzu
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. Sun Tzu
He who knows his enemy and himself well will not be defeated easily. Sun Tzu
Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley. Sun Tzu
Great results can be achieved with small forces. Sun Tzu
Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems. Sun Tzu
Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price. Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu Quotes On Enemy
The expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him. Sun Tzu
To know your enemy, you must become your enemy. Sun Tzu
Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. Sun Tzu
When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move. Sun Tzu
Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm. Sun Tzu
One need not destroy one’s enemy. One need only destroy his willingness to engage. Sun Tzu
Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. Sun Tzu
It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy. Sun Tzu
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred 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 whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent. Sun Tzu
Be where your enemy is not. Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu Quotes On Strategy
The worst calamities that befall an army arise from hesitation. Sun Tzu
Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. Sun Tzu
Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack. Sun Tzu
Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust. Sun Tzu
By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy’s must be divided. Sun Tzu
Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will. Sun Tzu
In war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak. Sun Tzu
In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity. Sun Tzu
It is more important to outhink your enemy, than to outfight him. Sun Tzu
Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by circumstances. Sun Tzu
Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. Sun Tzu
Attack is the secret of defense; defense is the planning of an attack. Sun Tzu
Ponder and deliberate before you make a move. Sun Tzu
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Sun Tzu Quotes On Leadership
A leader leads by example, not by force. Sun Tzu
Weak leadership can wreck the soundest strategy. Sun Tzu
Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Sun Tzu
Rewards for good service should not be deferred a single day. Sun Tzu
One mark of a great soldier is that he fight on his own terms or fights not at all. Sun Tzu
Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical. Sun Tzu
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. Sun Tzu
If there is disturbance in the camp, the general’s authority is weak. Sun Tzu
If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame. But, if orders are clear and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers. Sun Tzu
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. Sun Tzu
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. Sun Tzu
When one treats people with benevolence, justice, and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders. Sun Tzu
When the outlook is bright, bring it before their eyes; but tell them nothing when the situation is gloomy. Sun Tzu
Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small. Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu Quotes On War And Fighting
The wise warrior avoids the battle. Sun Tzu
Quickness is the essence of the war. Sun Tzu
Who wishes to fight must first count the cost. Sun Tzu
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. Sun Tzu
Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected. Sun Tzu
There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare. Sun Tzu
Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. Sun Tzu
If you fight with all your might, there is a chance of life; where as death is certain if you cling to your corner. Sun Tzu
If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in. Sun Tzu
Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength. Sun Tzu
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. Sun Tzu
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. Sun Tzu
What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Sun Tzu
If quick, I survive. If not quick, I am lost. This is death. Sun Tzu
- Be wiser than your enemy. Sun Tzu taught us to think, plan, and strategize carefully. So keep in mind action is important, but doing the right thing is crucial.
- Learn about yourself (and your enemy). The more you prepare and the more knowledge you have, the better your decisions will be.
- Stay adaptable. The best fighter is the one who adapts faster than the other. So learn to adapt fast to your enemy, your environment, and your evolving reality.
- Stay calm. Don’t bite your enemy’s bait. Don’t react. Stay calm. And if you can, avoid fighting.
- Stay focused and fast. If you have to fight, avoid hesitation. Believe in yourself. Lead by example. Be fast and decisive.
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