The Art Of War has great insights that apply in the real world… The inspirations can even work in uplifting your business and investment plans.
In times of war, appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.
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. Know both yourself and the enemy.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. Do not be too quick to reveal them.
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.
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.
Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain. An element of surprise will make you win a war against the mighty.
Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley. Treat them as trash and they will leave you when you need them the most.
The greatest victory is that which requires no battle. There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. Any war that requires weapons, justified or unjustified, has losses on both sides.