Misquoting Sun Tze

Guess many of you might have heard of this quote:

“知彼知己 百战百胜” (Literally translated: Know the enemy, know yourself and you would win 100% of your battles)

And guess most of you would “know” that it was attributed to Sun Tze’s Art of War (孙子兵法) … or was it?

The truth is, Mr Sun Tze never wrote anything like this before!!

In fact, this was what he wrote in the book:

“是故百战百胜,非善之善也” (winning 100% of your battles is not the best way to go)

“不战而屈人之兵,善之善者也” (winning without fighting is the highest way)

And what about “knowing the enemy and knowing yourself”?  In Sun’s own words, it should have been:

“知己知彼,百战不殆” (Know the enemy, know yourself and you would NOT lose any of your battle)

Though an author on a book on warfare, Sun Tzu was, ironically, a big advocate on “winning without fighting”  as he recognized the negative impact on a country finances during war times.

Hmm… think the US can do with some Sun Tze Art of War…


孙武, 字长卿


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