35 Sun Tzu Quotes from The Art of War (The #3 Is So Powerful)

By Angelo Sorbello | Uncategorized

the art of war quotes

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’.

I started my first company at 13 years old as a game. It was a video games magazine that quickly grew to be one of the biggest in Italy, my home country.

In the same period, I got interested in self-help.

Stumbling from one blog to another, one of these past versions of Tai Lopez was talking about the importance of books. How much the wealthiest and most influential people in the world were reading.

I got fascinated and started to read more, mostly books about business to apply at my growing company.

Among the others, however, the Art of War has been one of my favorites and influenced my life enormously. I still apply its wisdom to this day.

In this page, I will share my favorite quote from the oldest military treatise that we know of. Read on!

Who Was Sun Tzu?

Sun Tzu, the author of ‘The Art of War’ (roughly 771 to 476 BC), was a military strategist, Chinese general, and philosopher. He lived during the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China.

To date, ‘The Art of War’ it is still the most influential strategy treatise in East Asian warfare. It also has a profound influence on both Western and Eastern business tactics, military thinking, and beyond.

It is composed of 13 chapters. Each one is devoted to a different of warfare and how that applies to military strategy and tactics.

Best Sun Tzu Quotes

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

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

    3. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not to 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

    4. “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”  ― Sun Tzu


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

    2. “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.” – Sun Tzu

    3. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” ― Sun Tzu

    4. “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

    5. “When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.” ― Sun Tzu

    6. “So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”  ― Sun Tzu

    7. “Who wishes to fight must first count the cost” ― Sun Tzu

    8. “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

    9. “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

    10. “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not will be victorious.” ― Sun Tzu

    11. “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

    12. “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 a division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.” – Sun Tzu

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

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

    15. “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu


    1. “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 be seen. There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.” – Sun Tzu

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

    3. “Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack.” – Sun Tzu

    4. “The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.” – Sun Tzu

    5. “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

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

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

    8. “The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy so that he cannot fathom our real intent.” ― Sun Tzu


  1. “Victory usually goes to the army who has better-trained officers and men.” – Sun Tzu

  2. “The opportunity 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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. 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

What is your favorite quote from Sun Tzu? Comment below!

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About the Author

Angelo Sorbello is an Entrepreneur and Growth Marketer. He started his first online business at 13 years old, and without any considerable marketing budget, he later sold it after having signed partnerships and contracts with companies such as Microsoft, DigitalBros, and 888. He now focuses on helping his other companies and budding entrepreneurs and marketers to grow their business and get results.

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