Page 3 Profile: Sun Tzu, Ancient Military Strategist


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The Independent Online

Any wise words for the weekend?

Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.

Pretty heavy going.

It’s Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese warlord and author of The Art of War, a manual on all that’s needed to decimate your enemy: stoicism, self-discipline and fearlessness.

Just what I need for a relaxing Saturday

It’s a versatile book. Everyone from Ho Chi Minh to top CEOs and former Australia cricket coach John Buchanan cite the book as a set text. And now it’s being made into a film.

How will that work?

Details are thin on the ground as the project has just been announced. But with Alex Litvak, writer of Predators and The Three Muskateers, on board, the historical action adventure will likely offer up pace, gore and a dollop of wisdom.

And what’s known of the old sage?

Despite having a huge impact on Asian culture and thinking around the world, little is known of Tzu. His name translates as Master Sun, and he is widely believed to have lived between 544–496 BC. Otherwise, just anecdotes remain. And he certainly comes across as a fearsome chap. Once instructed to prove his skills by training 180 of the king’s concubines to be soldiers, he ordered that two of the women be executed for giggling.

Blimey. Any last words?

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated  warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Have a nice weekend.