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Sun Tzu Quotes On The Art Of War, Love and Life

Use these Sun Tzu quotes like a sword against your next personal battle.

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 how to master your mind and defeat any battle that comes you way!

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 mind, body, and spirit.

Sun Tzu a Chinese General

Whether good or bad, the experiences we go through in life should be embraced.

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 collection of inspirational and wise Sun Tzu quotes, collected from a variety of sources over the years. Whatever personal battles you are encountering within your life, use these Sun Tzu quotes as a strategy to overcome.

Also check out our list of insightful Chesty Puller quotes from the most decorated Marine in American history.

Inspirational Sun Tzu Quotes about Power and Life

1. “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” – Sun Tzu

2. “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?” – Sun Tzu

3. “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu

4. “Keep your friends close, your enemies even closer.” – Sun Tzu

5. “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” – Sun Tzu

Inspirational Sun Tzu Quotes about Power and Life

6. “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu

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

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

9. “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu

10. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun Tzu

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

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

13. “Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems.” – Sun Tzu

sun tzu quotes about victory

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

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

Also read these thought-provoking 48 Laws of Power quotes that will lead you to success.

Famous Sun Tzu Quotes

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

wise sun tzu quotes

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

sun tzu quotes

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

sun tzu quotes to make you wiser

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

You might also like these war quotes from writers, politicians and more.

Motivational Sun Tzu Quotes

33. “Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm.” – Sun Tzu

sun tzu quotes

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

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of humble quotes about the benefits of humility.

39. “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.” – Sun Tzu

sun tzu quotes

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

inspirational sun tzu quotes

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

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. “Those skilled in warfare move the enemy, and are not moved by the enemy.”― 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.” –
Sun Tzu

70. “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.” – Sun Tzu

71. “When your opponent gives you an opening, be swift as a hare.” – 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 fight 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

What other Sun Tzu quotes would you add to the list?

In searching for significance in our own lives, either through religion or other practices, we find that our deepest understanding does not stem from teachings or things we have read, but rather it is found 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 is what 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 you think should be added to the list? Tell us in the comment section below.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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  1. Chris L

    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

  2. Richard Burgess

    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 ~~

  3. Michael Cenkner

    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.

  4. Michael Cenkner

    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.”

  5. Tom McNassor

    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.

  6. Dawn Pope

    June 11, 2019 at 2:23 AM

    Thanks Norbert – You have a quote for almost all circumnstances. I appreciate your hard work

  7. C.R.D. St.

    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.

    C.R.D. St.

  8. Bronks

    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.

  9. Claudine Gary

    September 13, 2018 at 11:45 AM

    If you are planning on going to battle
    pick a hill to die on

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