190+ of the Most Powerful Sun Tzu Art of War Quotes I’ve Ever Read: A blog about powerful art of war quotes

Last Updated on February 2, 2023 Updated By Quotes Beta Writer


Sun Tzu was a great military strategist person who knew how to win battles. He also understands the importance of philosophy and how it could help people in their everyday lives.

Today, Sun Tzu’s teachings are still relevant in our lives and can help us succeed.

He is traditionally credited with a book author called “The Art of War”.

A powerful work of military plan of action that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking.

His works are still studied by military commanders and diplomatists today, and this is clear that his thinking is ahead of his time.

If you are looking for life-changing motivation to achieve your desired aims, there is no further look other than Sun Tzu’s The Art of War Quotes.

In this blog post, QuotesBeta compiled 190+ Sun Tzu’s Art of War Quotes that help people to get motivated in their life.

Below is the Most Powerful Sun Tzu Art of War Quotes:

Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. – Sun Tzu

If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. – Sun Tzu

Keep your friends close, your enemies even closer. – Sun Tzu

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories. – Sun Tzu

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

Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. – Sun Tzu

If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near. – Sun Tzu

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. – Sun Tzu

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity. – Sun Tzu

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. – Sun Tzu


Sun Tzu Quotes on Leadership

Sun Tzu’s principles on leadership is outlined in the book called “The Art of War”.

It includes the importance of having a

  • Clear Vision,
  • Being Decisive, and
  • Inspiring Greatness in Others.

Here are Sun Tzu’s most famous Quotes on Leadership:

Appear Weak When You Are Strong And Strong When You Are Weak Sun Tzu

Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. – Sun Tzu

Keep Your Friends Close And Your Enemies Closer Sun Tzu

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. – Sun Tzu

The Greatest Victory Is That Which Requires No Battle Sun Tzu

The greatest victory is that which requires no battle. – Sun Tzu

Know Yourself And You Will Win All Battles Sun Tzu

Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu

A Leader Leads By Example Not By Force Sun Tzu

A leader leads by example, not by force. – Sun Tzu

To Know Your Enemy You Must Become Your Enemy Sun Tzu

To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy. – Sun Tzu

Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can? – Sun Tzu

You Have To Believe In Yourself Sun Tzu

You have to believe in yourself. – Sun Tzu

Build Your Opponent A Golden Bridge To Retreat Across Sun Tzu

Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across. – Sun Tzu

The Supreme Art Of War Is To Subdue The Enemy Without Fighting Sun Tzu

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

Even The Finest Sword Plunged Into Salt Water Will Eventually Rust Sun Tzu

Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust. – Sun Tzu

Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. – Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception. – Sun Tzu

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. – Sun Tzu

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. – Sun Tzu

Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain. – Sun Tzu

If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things. – Sun Tzu

Opportunities Multiply As They Are Seized Sun Tzu

Opportunities multiply as they are seized. – Sun Tzu

Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. – Sun Tzu

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. – Sun Tzu

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. – Sun Tzu

When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move. – Sun Tzu

When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise. – Sun Tzu

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

Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley. – Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. – Sun Tzu

Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate. – Sun Tzu

There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.There are not more than five primary colors, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted. – 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


Sun Tzu Quotes on Discipline

Sun Tzu’s Quotes on Discipline are remarkable because they are make a point of the

  • Importance of Training and
  • Preparation in Achieving Success in Battle.

In particular, Sun Tzu highlights the need for soldiers to be disciplined in order to be achieving success in battle.

Here are Sun Tzu’s most famous Quotes on Discipline:

Simulated Disorder Postulates Perfect Discipline Simulated Fear Postulates Courage Simulated Weakness Postulates Strength Sun Tzu

Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength. – Sun Tzu

Maneuvering With An Army Is Advantageous With An Undisciplined Multitude Most Dangerous Sun Tzu

Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. – Sun Tzu

Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight. – Sun Tzu

Plan For What Is Difficult While It Is Easy Do What Is Great While It Is Small Sun Tzu

Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small. – Sun Tzu

One Mark Of A Great Soldier Is That He Fights On His Own Terms Or Fights Not At All Sun Tzu

One mark of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or fights not at all. – Sun Tzu

Concentrate Your Energy And Hoard Your Strength Sun Tzu

Concentrate your energy and hoard your strength. – Sun Tzu

When the leader is morally weak and his discipline not strict, when his instructions and guidance are not enlightened, when there are no consistent rules, neighboring rulers will take advantage of this. – Sun Tzu

Ponder And Deliberate Before You Make A Move Sun Tzu

Ponder and deliberate before you make a move. – Sun Tzu

If It Is To Your Advantage Make A Forward Move If Not Stay Where You Are Sun Tzu

If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. – Sun Tzu

These are the six ways of courting defeat – neglect to estimate the enemy’s strength; want of authority; defective training; unjustifiable anger; nonobservance of discipline; failure to use picked men. – Sun Tzu

He Will Win Who Prepared Himself Waits To Take The Enemy Unprepared Sun Tzu

He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. – Sun Tzu

If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers. – Sun Tzu

The Consummate Leader Cultivates The Moral Law And Strictly Adheres To Method And Discipline Thus It Is In His Power To Control Success Sun Tzu

The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success. – Sun Tzu

Walk In The Path Defined By Rule And Accommodate Yourself To The Enemy Until You Can Fight A Decisive Battle Sun Tzu

Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle. – Sun Tzu

In your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise: which of the two generals has the most ability? on which side is Discipline most rigorously enforced? which army is stronger? on which side are the officers and men more highly trained? in which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment? – Sun Tzu


Sun Tzu Quotes on Know Your Enemy

In today’s business world, the most advice is “Know your enemy”.

To be successful in any stream, you should understand how your competitors operate on their ideas. What are the things of our competitor strength and weakness?

By the way of understanding enemies, you can develop strategies to counter their moves and ultimately achieve victory.

Sun Tzu’s quotes are as much relevant in today’s life as they were two thousand years ago.

In order to be successful, you must understand not only your own strengths and weaknesses but also those of your competition.

Here are Sun Tzu’s most famous Quotes on Know Your Enemy:

To Know Your Enemy You Must Become Your Enemy Sun Tzu 2

To know your enemy, you must become your enemy. – Sun Tzu

Know Your Enemy And Know Yourself And You Can Fight A Hundred Battles Without Disaster Sun Tzu

Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. – Sun Tzu

It Is Easy To Love Your Friend But Sometimes The Hardest Lesson To Learn Is To Love Your Enemy Sun Tzu

It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy. – Sun Tzu

He Will Win Who Knows When To Fight And When Not To Fight Sun Tzu

He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. – Sun Tzu

The Whole Secret Lies In Confusing The Enemy So That He Cannot Fathom Our Real Intent Sun Tzu

The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent. – Sun Tzu

The Opportunity Of Defeating The Enemy Is Provided By The Enemy Himself Sun Tzu

The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. – Sun Tzu

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. – Sun Tzu

Great Results Can Be Achieved With Small Forces Sun Tzu

Great results can be achieved with small forces. – 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

When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move. – Sun Tzu

He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious. – Sun Tzu

Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. – Sun Tzu

Be Where Your Enemy Is Not Sun Tzu

Be where your enemy is not. – Sun Tzu

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

Foreknowledge cannot be gotten from ghosts and spirits, cannot be had by analogy, cannot be found out by calculation. It must be obtained from people, people who know the conditions of the enemy. – Sun Tzu

Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm. – Sun Tzu

Those skilled at making the enemy move do so by creating a situation to which he must conform; they entice him with something he is certain to take, and with lures of ostensible profit they await him in strength. – Sun Tzu

Thus The Expert In Battle Moves The Enemy And Is Not Moved By Him Sun Tzu

Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him. – Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. – Sun Tzu

To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. – Sun Tzu

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight; (2) he will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces; (3) he will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks; (4) he will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared; (5) he will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign. – Sun Tzu


Sun Tzu Quotes on Strategy

Strategy is more than a plan of action; it’s a way to achieve goals.

Strategy is a process of

  • planning,
  • action and
  • learning.

It’s used in

  • politics,
  • business,
  • military operations and
  • sometimes even everyday life.

All you need to do is set the goal, plan out how you’re going to achieve it then execute with care.

Then you can evaluate how successful you were, make the necessary improvements then try again with a new or modified strategy!

Here are Sun Tzu’s most famous Quotes on Strategy:

Strategy Without Tactics Is The Slowest Route To Victory Tactics Without Strategy Is The Noise Before Defeat Sun Tzu

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. – Sun Tzu

Supreme Importance In War Is To Attack The Enemys Strategy Sun Tzu

Supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. – Sun Tzu

To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy. – Sun Tzu

Weak leadership can wreck the soundest strategy; forceful execution of even a poor plan can often bring victory. – Sun Tzu

One Able To Do This Understands The Strategy Of The Direct And The Indirect Sun Tzu

One able to do this understands the strategy of the direct and the indirect. – Sun Tzu

Attack The Enemys Strategy Sun Tzu

Attack the enemy’s strategy. – Sun Tzu

Thus Those Skilled In War Subdue The Enemys Army Without Battle They Conquer By Strategy Sun Tzu

Thus those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They conquer by strategy. – Sun Tzu

The Peak Efficiency Of Knowledge And Strategy Is To Make Conflict Unnecessary Sun Tzu

The peak efficiency of knowledge and strategy is to make conflict unnecessary. – Sun Tzu

All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. – Sun Tzu

The Rules Of Strategy Are Few And Simple Sun Tzu

The rules of strategy are few and simple. – Sun Tzu

All Warfare Is Based On Deception Therefore When Capable Feign Incapacity When Active Inactivity Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception. Therefore, when capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity. – Sun Tzu

Their action and inaction are matters of strategy, and they cannot be pleased or angered. – Sun Tzu

The Height Of Strategy Is To Attack Your Opponents Strategy Sun Tzu

The height of strategy is to attack your opponent’s strategy. – Sun Tzu

Much strategy prevails over little strategy, so those with no strategy cannot but be defeated. – Sun Tzu

In executing an Artful Strategy: When ten times greater, surround them; When five times greater, attack them; When two times greater, scatter them. – Sun Tzu

Go Forth Armed Without Determining Strategy And You Will Destroy Yourself In Battle Sun Tzu

Go forth armed without determining strategy, and you will destroy yourself in battle. – Sun Tzu

Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy. – Sun Tzu

When your strategy is deep and far-reaching, then what you gain by your calculations is much, so you can win before you even fight. – Sun Tzu

The Opportunity Of Defeating The Enemy Is Provided By The Enemy Himself Sun Tzu 2

The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. – Sun Tzu

While the main laws of strategy can be stated clearly enough for the benefit of all and sundry, you must be guided by the actions of the enemy in attempting to secure a favorable position in actual warfare. – Sun Tzu

If You Know Yourself But Not The Enemy For Every Victory Gained You Will Also Suffer A Defeat Sun Tzu

If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. – Sun Tzu

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

The principle on which to manage an army is to set up one standard of courage which all must reach. – Sun Tzu

Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. – Sun Tzu

When your strategic thinking is shallow and nearsighted, then what you gain by your calculations is little, so you lose before you do battle. – Sun Tzu

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. – Sun Tzu

The Ultimate Skill In Taking Up A Strategic Position Is To Have No Form Sun Tzu

The ultimate skill in taking up a strategic position is to have no form. – Sun Tzu

Disorder Came From Order Fear Came From Courage Weakness Came From Strength Sun Tzu

Disorder came from order, fear came from courage, weakness came from strength. – Sun Tzu

You Can Ensure The Safety Of Your Defense If You Only Hold Positions That Cannot Be Attacked Sun Tzu

You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked. – Sun Tzu

Success In Warfare Is Gained By Carefully Accommodating Ourselves To The Enemys Purpose Sun Tzu

Success in warfare is gained by carefully accommodating ourselves to the enemy’s purpose. – Sun Tzu


Most Famous Quotes by Sun Tzu Quotes

Sun Tzu’s quotes are famous for their insights on strategy, leadership, discipline, love, victory, and know your enemy as mentioned below.

His quotes are often used to motivate and inspire people to achieve their goals.

His quotes are a great way to gain insight into the mind of a great strategist and leader.

Here are Sun Tzu’s most famous Quotes:

If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.― Sun Tzu

Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and sternness.― Sun Tzu

If the enemy know not where he will be attacked, he must prepare in every quarter, and so be everywhere weak.― 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

Those who win every battle are not really skillful—those who render others’ armies helpless without fighting are the best of all.― Sun Tzu

If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.― Sun Tzu

Every animal with blood in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked.― Sun Tzu

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

The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.― Sun Tzu

Knowing the enemy enables you to take the offensive, knowing yourself enables you to stand on the defensive.― Sun Tzu

Using order to deal with the disorderly, using calm to deal with the clamorous, is mastering the heart.― 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

The victorious army is victorious first and seeks battle later; the defeated army seeks battle first and seeks victory later.― Sun Tzu

If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.― Sun Tzu

He wins his battles by making no mistakes.― Sun Tzu

It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy. – Sun Tzu

All wars are won or lost before they are ever fought. – Sun Tzu

Rewards for good service should not be deferred a single day. – Sun Tzu

If you are strong, appear weak. But if you are weak, appear strong. – Sun Tzu

Ponder and deliberate before you make a move. – Sun Tzu

Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat. – Sun Tzu

The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent. – Sun Tzu

The height of strategy is to attack your opponent’s strategy. – Sun Tzu

What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins but excels in winning with ease. – Sun Tzu

Correct your mistake as soon as you have found it. – Sun Tzu

Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. – Sun Tzu

To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy. – Sun Tzu

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. – Sun Tzu

Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu

If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by. – Sun Tzu

So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak. – Sun Tzu

The wise warrior avoids the battle. – Sun Tzu

One mark of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or fights not at all. – Sun Tzu

Attack is the secret of defense; defense is the planning of an attack. – Sun Tzu

Great results can be achieved with small forces. – Sun Tzu

I have heard that in war haste can be folly, but have never seen delay that was wise. – Sun Tzu

The PEOPLE being regarded as the essential part of the State, and FOOD as the people’s heaven, is it not right that those in authority should value and be careful of both? – Sun Tzu

First make yourself unbeatable, then go to war. – Sun Tzu

If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. – Sun Tzu

To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. – Sun Tzu

Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots. – Sun Tzu

He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious. – Sun Tzu

Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him. – 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

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. – Sun Tzu

A leader leads by example not by force. — Sun Tzu

Winning isn’t enough. The acme of all skill is to defeat your enemy before taking the field. — Sun Tzu

If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak. — Sun Tzu

Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient. — Sun Tzu

A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. — Sun Tzu

Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will. — Sun Tzu

If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. — Sun Tzu

Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. — Sun Tzu

Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest. — Sun Tzu

Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small. — Sun Tzu


Conclusion

As you can see, Sun Tzu’s art of war is all around us and can be applied to any aspect of life. We hope you found these quotes useful in your own life and that they help you to learn and grow. Please share this post if you found it interesting and if you haven’t done so already!