Strategic Offensive: Chapter 3 SUN TZU - The Art Of War (How To Win CEO)

Know the enemy, know yourself, and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles.  

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00:00 Strategic Offensive - Chapter 3 SUN TZU - The Art Of War

Okay. Sun Tzu the Art Of War. And we're now on to chapter three.  We have covered the making of plans - so the person with the most calculations wins.  We've covered the waging of war - the cost of that. And now we're going to look at Strategic Offensive.

00:29 INTACT

 Master Sun said in, war better take a state intact, than destroy it. Better take an army, a regiment a detachment, a company, intact than destroy them. Ultimate excellence lies, not in winning every battle but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.

The highest form of warfare is to attack strategy itself. The next to attack alliances. The next to attack armies. The lowest form of war is to attack cities. Siege warfare is a last resort. And siege three months are needed to assemble protective shields, armed wagons, and sundry siege weapons and equipment. Another three months to pile earthen ramps.  


The general who cannot master his anger orders his troops out like ants, sending one in three to their deaths without taking the city.

This is the calamity of siege warfare.

The skillful strategist defeats the enemy without doing battle, captures the city without laying siege, overthrows the enemy state without protracted war. He strives for supremacy under heaven intact. His men and weapons still keen, his gain complete. This is the method of strategic attack.

In war, with forces 10 to the enemy’s one, surround him. With five, attack him.  With two, split in half. If equally matched, fight it out. If fewer in number, lie low. If weaker, escape. A small force obstinately fighting will be captured by a larger force.

The general is the prop of the nation. When the prop is solid, the nation is strong. When the prop is flawed, the nation is weak.


A ruler can bring misfortune upon his troops in three ways: ordering them to advance or to retreat when they should not is called 'hobbling the army'; ignorant interference in military decisions confuses officers and men; ignorant meddling in military appointments perplexes officers and men.

When an army is confused and perplexed, the feudal princes will cause trouble. This creates chaos in the ranks and gives away victory.


There are five essentials for victory.

Know when to fight and when not to fight; understand how to deploy large and small numbers; have offices and men who share a single will; be ready for the unexpected; have a capable general unhampered by his sovereign.

These five point the way to victory. Hence the saying, know the enemy, know yourself and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles. He who knows self but not the enemy will suffer one defeat for every victory.

He who knows neither self nor enemy will fail in every battle.

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