Sun Tzu Quotes On The Art Of War, Love and Life
Use these Sun Tzu quotes like a sword against your next personal battle.
March 20, 2023 5:00 AM EST
There is a way to shut out negativity from your mind, and these Sun Tzu quotes can show you how to turn your mind into your most powerful weapon.
The Art of War will train you to master your mind and defeat any battle that comes your way!
Tell us your favorite Sun Tzu quote in the comment section below.
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Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” has been translated into over 30 languages and remains one of the most influential works on strategy and leadership, according to a study by the University of Cambridge.
This statistic underscores the enduring relevance of Sun Tzu’s ideas and their impact on modern military and business strategy.
What are the benefits of reading these Sun Tzu quotes?
Life can regularly be tough, lonely, or throw wrenches in our carefully devised plans.
There are experiences we struggle to find meaning in and can take a toll on our:
Whether good or bad, we should embrace the experiences we go through in life.
One of the most influential Chinese military generals and Taoist philosophers, Sun Tzu, explains the importance of looking within to defeat negativity and mental anguish that creeps into existence.
Below you will find our inspirational, and wise Sun Tzu quotes from various sources over the years.
Whatever personal battles you encounter in your life, use these Sun Tzu quotes to overcome them.
Also, check out our list of insightful Chesty Puller quotes from the most decorated Marine in American history.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Explore our complete collection of motivational quotes here.
Inspirational Sun Tzu Quotes about Power and Life
A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that individuals who read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” were more likely to exhibit strategic thinking and decision-making skills.
The study suggests that Sun Tzu’s ideas can help individuals navigate complex situations and make more informed choices.
1. “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” – Sun Tzu
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2. “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?” – Sun Tzu
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3. “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu
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4. “Keep your friends close, your enemies even closer.” – Sun Tzu
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5. “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” – Sun Tzu
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6. “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu
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7. “Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” – Sun Tzu
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8. “If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.” – Sun Tzu
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9. “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu
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10. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun Tzu
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11. The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.” – Sun Tzu
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12. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu
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13. “Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems.” – Sun Tzu
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14. “Do not engage an enemy more powerful than you. And if it is unavoidable and you do have to engage, then make sure you engage it on your terms, not on your enemy’s terms.” – Sun Tzu
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15. “If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.” – Sun Tzu
16. “Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.” – Sun Tzu
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Famous Sun Tzu Quotes
According to a study by researchers at the University of Queensland, Sun Tzu’s ideas about leadership and motivation are still relevant in modern workplaces.
The study suggests that Sun Tzu’s emphasis on building strong relationships and aligning goals and values can help managers foster greater engagement and productivity among their teams.
17. “Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise, for the result is waste of time and general stagnation.” – Sun Tzu
18. “A wise general makes a point of foraging of the enemy.” – Sun Tzu
19. “”The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.” – Sun Tzu
20. “All war is deception.” – Sun Tzu
21. “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” – Sun Tzu
22. “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.” – Sun Tzu
23. “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu
24. “The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.” – Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu quotes to make you wiser
25. “It is more important to out-think your enemy than to outfight him” – Sun Tzu
26. “Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.” – Sun Tzu
27. “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” – Sun Tzu
28. “Do not press an enemy at bay.” – Sun Tzu
29. “The skillful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man.” – Sun Tzu
30. “For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards.” – Sun Tzu
31. “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” – Sun Tzu
32. “When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.” – Sun Tzu
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Motivational Sun Tzu Quotes
33. “Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm.” – Sun Tzu
34. “The peak efficiency of knowledge and strategy is to make conflict unnecessary.” – Sun Tzu
35. “He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.” – Sun Tzu
36. “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.” – Sun Tzu
37. “You have to believe in yourself.” – Sun Tzu
38. “When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.” – Sun Tzu
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39. “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.” – Sun Tzu
40. “Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of the trigger.” – Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu quotes to inspire you
41. “Sweat more during peace: bleed less during war.” – Sun Tzu
42. “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.” – Sun Tzu
43. “Concentrate your energy and hoard your strength.” – Sun Tzu
44. “The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” – Sun Tzu
45. “When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.” – Sun Tzu
46. “Who wishes to fight must first count the cost” – Sun Tzu
47. “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.” – Sun Tzu
48. “One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.” – Sun Tzu
49. “The art of giving orders is not to try to rectify the minor blunders and not to be swayed by petty doubts.” – Sun Tzu
50. “The line between disorder and order lies in logistics.” – Sun Tzu
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Sun Tzu quotes that will expand your mind
51. “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”― Sun Tzu
52. “Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and sternness.”― Sun Tzu
53. “If the enemy know not where he will be attacked, he must prepare in every quarter, and so be everywhere weak.”― Sun Tzu
54. “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
55. “Those who win every battle are not really skillful—those who render others’ armies helpless without fighting are the best of all.”― Sun Tzu
56. “If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.”― Sun Tzu
57. “Every animal with blood in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked.”― Sun Tzu
58. “Know the enemy, know yourself and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles.”― Sun Tzu
59. “The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.”― Sun Tzu
60. “Knowing the enemy enables you to take the offensive, knowing yourself enables you to stand on the defensive.”― Sun Tzu
61. “Using order to deal with the disorderly, using calm to deal with the clamorous, is mastering the heart.”― Sun Tzu
62. “Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.”― Sun Tzu
63. “The victorious army is victorious first and seeks battle later; the defeated army seeks battle first and seeks victory later.”― Sun Tzu
64. “If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.”― Sun Tzu
65. “He wins his battles by making no mistakes.”― Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu quotes to enlighten you
66. “It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy.” – Sun Tzu
67. “All wars are won or lost before they are ever fought.” – Sun Tzu
68. “Rewards for good service should not be deferred a single day.” – Sun Tzu
69. “If you are strong, appear weak. But if you are weak, appear strong.” –
70. “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.” – Sun Tzu
71. “Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat.” – Sun Tzu
72. “The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.” – Sun Tzu
73. “The height of strategy is to attack your opponent’s strategy.” – Sun Tzu
74. “What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins but excels in winning with ease.” – Sun Tzu
75. “Correct your mistake as soon as you have found it.” – Sun Tzu
More Sun Tzu quotes and sayings
76. “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” – Sun Tzu
77. “To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” – Sun Tzu
78. “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.” – Sun Tzu
79. “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” – Sun Tzu
80. “If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.” – Sun Tzu
81. “So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.” – Sun Tzu
82. “The wise warrior avoids the battle.” – Sun Tzu
83. “One mark of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or fights not at all.” – Sun Tzu
84. “Attack is the secret of defense; defense is the planning of an attack.” – Sun Tzu
85. “Great results can be achieved with small forces.” – Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu quotes that will make you think
86. “I have heard that in war haste can be folly, but have never seen delay that was wise.” – Sun Tzu
87. “The PEOPLE being regarded as the essential part of the State, and FOOD as the people’s heaven, is it not right that those in authority should value and be careful of both?” – Sun Tzu
88. “First make yourself unbeatable, then go to war.” – Sun Tzu
89. “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu
90. “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
91. “Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.” – Sun Tzu
92. “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.” – Sun Tzu
93. “Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.” – Sun Tzu
94. “When one treats people with benevolence, justice, and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.” – Sun Tzu
95. “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
Sun Tzu Quotes That Motivate You On How To Succeed
96. “A leader leads by example not by force.” — Sun Tzu
97. “Winning isn’t enough. The acme of all skill is to defeat your enemy before taking the field.” — Sun Tzu
98. “If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.” — Sun Tzu
99. “Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.” — Sun Tzu
100. “A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return.” — Sun Tzu
101. “Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.” — Sun Tzu
102. “If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.” — Sun Tzu
103. “Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home.” — Sun Tzu
104. “Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest.” — Sun Tzu
105. “Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.” — Sun Tzu
What other Sun Tzu quotes would you add to the list?
In searching for significance in our lives, either through religion or other practices, we find that our deepest understanding does not stem from teachings or things we have read.
Rather, we find it within our own being and how we manage those events.
Moments of stress and grief are likely, but knowing how to react and combat them makes us more stable.
Use these Sun Tzu quotes as valuable reminders of the importance of self-perseverance and astuteness and meditate on accepting your own nature and the possibilities of life.
Which of these Sun Tzu quotes was your favorite?
Do you know of any other Sun Tzu quotes that should be added to the list?
Tell us in the comment section below.
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July 20, 2020 at 10:12 PM
“Ayyyy, is-a perfect Lotsa mooshy rings some runny ketchup and a teeny huge bit of corn syrup” -sun tzu
October 20, 2019 at 5:27 AM
“When the mouse dances with the Elephant, the mouse must know all moves the elephant may make, well in advance.”
~~ Sun Tsu’s small friend, Mao tse ~~
October 6, 2019 at 10:20 AM
btw, I think “keep your enemies close and your friends closer” is NOT actually from Sun Zi. He doesn’t use the word “friend,” as far as I can recall.
There is a whole chapter on using spies effectively which I guess is amazingly insightful about human psychology.
October 6, 2019 at 10:17 AM
Thanks for these, nicely chosen.
I like also “Don’t fight uphill,” or “Don’t climb mountains to fight your battles”
“Courage and cowardice are a matter of momentum”
“Although I have seen wreckless haste in war, I’ve never seen wise delay.”
September 21, 2019 at 8:10 PM
I love this wisdom. I confronted a man in the park. The man was loitering and drunk. I advised the man to leave the park. The man left the park, but not with out insulting me and threatening me.
June 11, 2019 at 2:23 AM
Thanks Norbert – You have a quote for almost all circumnstances. I appreciate your hard work
April 28, 2019 at 11:16 AM
“The proper blend of: fury and patience,
combined with enough wisdom, courage and
faith in one person make best use of the
How many U.S.A. people at this moment can
you describe as such?”
Carve on the wood that is your self.
April 1, 2019 at 5:31 AM
I don’t recall Sun Tzu mentioning friends. So I asked Google, and the phrase ‘keep you friends close, but your enemies closer’ is (first mentioned) by Michael Corleone in the movie Godfather 2.
September 13, 2018 at 11:45 AM
If you are planning on going to battle
pick a hill to die on