Sun Tzu Quotes 1–30 of 66 Quotes

Sun Tzu (孫子 Sūn Zǐ; c. 6th century BC) was a Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, a widely influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking. He is also known as Sun Wu (孫武; Sūn Wǔ), and Chang Qing (長卿; Cháng Qīng).

Below are 30 of 66 sourced Sun Tzu quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“兵者,詭道也。故能而示之不能,用而示之不用,近而示之遠,遠而示之近,”

— Sun Tzu

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More on this quote:  • Variant translations
• A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.

“實而備之,強而避之,怒而撓之,卑而驕之,佚而勞之,親而離之,出其不意,攻其不備。”

— Sun Tzu

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Quote source:  • Note: "If his forces are united, separate them" is also interpreted: "If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them."

“亂而取之”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter 1 · Detail Assessment and Planning)

“卑則驕之”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter 1 · Detail Assessment and Planning)

“孫子曰:國之上下,死生之地,存亡之道,不可不察也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter 1 · Detail Assessment and Planning)

“夫未戰而廟算勝者,得算多也;未戰而廟算不勝者,得算少也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter 1 · Detail Assessment and Planning)

“將聽吾計,用之必勝,留之;將不聽吾計,用之必敗,去之;”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter 1 · Detail Assessment and Planning)

“怒而撓之”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter 1 · Detail Assessment and Planning)

“故兵貴勝,不貴久。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter II · Waging War)

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“兵久而國利者,未之有也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter II · Waging War)

“上兵伐謀”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter III · Strategic Attack)

“知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆”

— Sun Tzu

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More on this quote:  • Variant translations
• If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
• Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know not thy enemy nor yourself, wallow in defeat every time.

“故用兵之法,十則圍之,五則攻之,倍則分之, 敵則能戰之,少則能守之,不若則能避之。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter III · Strategic Attack)

“是故百戰百勝,非善之善者也;不戰而屈人之兵,善之善者也。”

— Sun Tzu

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More on this quote:  • Variant translations
• Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
• The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities... It is best to win without fighting.

“古之所善戰者,勝於易勝者也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter III · Strategic Attack)

“知可戰與不可戰者勝。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter III · Strategic Attack)

“以虞待不虞者勝。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter III · Strategic Attack)

“凡用兵之法,全國爲上;破國次之;全軍爲上,破軍次之;全旅爲上,破旅次之;全卒爲上,破卒次之;全伍爲上,破伍次之。”

— Sun Tzu

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More on this quote:  • Variant translations
• It is best to keep one’s own state intact; to crush the enemy’s state is only second best.

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“是故勝兵先勝而後求戰,敗兵先戰而後求勝。”

— Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#21

Quote source:  • Variant: Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

“見勝不過衆人之所識,非善之善者也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter IV · Disposition of the Army)

“守則不足,攻則有餘”

— Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#23

Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter IV · Disposition of the Army)

“孫子曰:昔之善戰者,先爲不可勝,以待敵之可勝,不可勝在己,可勝在敵。故善戰者,能爲不可勝,不能使敵必可勝。故曰:勝可知,而不可爲。”

— Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#24

Quote source:  • Translation by Lionel Giles

“治眾如治寡,分數是也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter V · Forces)

“積水之激,至於漂石者,勢也。鷙鳥之疾,至於毀折者,節也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#26

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#26

Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter V · Forces)

“鷙鳥之疾,至於毀折者,節也。”

— Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#27

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#27

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#27

Source: Wikiquote: "Sun Tzu" (The Art of War: Chapter titles from Chow-Hou Wee (2003), Chapter V · Forces)

“故善戰者,求之於勢,不責於人。”

— Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#28

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#28

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#28

Quote source:  • Variant: The expert in battle seeks his victory from strategic advantage and does not demand it from his men.

“微乎微乎,至於無形;神乎神乎,至於無聲;故能為敵之司命。”

— Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#29

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Sun Tzu (2021, August 5) Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#29

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#29

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Sun Tzu. “Sun Tzu Quotes: 1–30 of 66 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Sun-Tzu-quotes.html#29

More on this quote:  • Alternative translation: Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.'''
Alternative translation: O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.

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