All war is based on deception.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.

If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.

Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.

Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.

The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

Sun Tzu’s historicity is uncertain. The Han dynasty historian Sima Qian and other traditional Chinese historians placed him as a minister to King Helü of Wu and dated his lifetime to 544–496 BC.

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