The Art of War

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What to expect

For the first time in any modern language, a female scholar and translator reimagines The Art of War.

Sun Tzu’s ancient book of strategy and psychology has as much to tell us today as when it was first written 2,500 years ago. In a world full of surprising turns, his rules for anticipating the motivations and strategies of our competitors never cease to inspire leaders of all kinds.

Michael Nylan, in her provocative introduction, sees new and unexpected lessons to be learned from The Art of War―in personal exchanges, business ventures, games of skill, professional careers, and medical practices. The need for strategy and tactical decision-making, like conflict, is woven into society’s very roots.

Listeners newly engaging with ancient Chinese culture will be inspired by Nylan’s authoritative voice. She proves that Sun Tzu is more relevant than ever, helping us navigate the conflicts we know and those we have yet to confront.

Critics Review

  • “The sharpest and most uncompromising English-language rendition of this book I’ve ever read.”

    Steve Donoghue, managing editor, Open Letters Monthly
  • “The pithiness of certain parts of the text, its aphoristic quality, presents an exceptionally difficult challenge. Because Nylan has a deep understanding of the social and cultural milieu that produced Sun Tzu’s treatise, she has created an English-language version that is accessible while retaining the literary beauty of the original.”

    Dennis Washburn, translator of The Tale of Genji
  • “Michael Nylan’s masterful translation of The Art of War brings historical depth to our understanding of the classic and also illuminates its broad significance for our world today.”

    Waiy-yee Li, professor of Chinese literature, Harvard University
  • “Offers a masterly new evaluation of this classic work, which balances the overtly military content with a profound and thought-provoking analysis.”

    Olivia Milburn, sinologist, author, and literary translator

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