The Art of War

“He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.”
“Hence the saying: 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.”
“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.”
“Sun Tzu said: The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers. [That is, cutting up the army into regiments, companies, etc., with subordinate officers in command of each. Tu Mu reminds us of Han Hsin’s famous reply to the first Han Emperor, who once said to him: “How large an army do you think I could lead?” “Not more than 100,000 men, your majesty.” “And you?” Asked the Emperior. “Oh!” he answered, “the more the better.”
“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 (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen. There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attacked - the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is like moving in a circle - you never come to an end. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?”
“Tu Mu says: “He first of all considers the power of his army in the bulk; afterwards he takes individual talent into account, and uses each men according to his capabilities. He does not demand perfection from the untalented.”
“All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. [I.e., everybody can see superficially how a battle is won; what they cannot see is the long series of plans and combinations which has preceded the battle.”
“Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances. [As Wang Hsi sagely remarks: “There is but one root- principle underlying victory, but the tactics which lead up to it are infinite in number.” With this compare Col. Henderson: “The rules of strategy are few and simple. They may be learned in a week. They may be taught by familiar illustrations or a dozen diagrams But such knowledge will no more teach a man to lead an army like Napolean than a knowledge of grammer will teach him to write like Gibbon.”
“When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; [Wei Liao Tzu says: “If the commander gives his orders with decision, the soldiers will not wait to hear them twice; if his moves are made without vacillation, the soldiers will not be in two minds about doing their duty.” General Baden- Powell says, italicizing the words: “The secret of getting successful work out of your trained men lies in one nutshell- in the clearness of the instructions they receive.”
“The only chance of life lies in giving up all hope of it.”