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Strategy: Theorist, Philosopher, and Practitioners: Philosophers

How to out plan, out execute and defeat your opponents

The Philosophers

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu is the reputed author of The Art of War (Ping-fa), which some consider to be the best single book ever written on the subject. Of Sun Wu himself (Tzu is an honorific particle, meaning “master”), little is known beyond his birth in the state of Ch’i and service to King Ho-lu of Wu; he was a military specialist active during the turbulent late Chou dynasty. Recent excavations of ancient manuscripts of Sun Tzu in China have confirmed the great antiquity of the text attributed to him. Long studied in Asia, Sun Tzu’s work became known in the West only in the late eighteenth century and was not properly translated until the twentieth.

"Sun Tzu." The Reader's Companion to Military History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Credo Reference. Web. 14 January 2013.

Carl Von Clausewitz

Clausewitz is best known for his book On War, published posthumously in 1832. Despite its philosophical and epistemological dimensions, On War is a book written for the practical military reader as well as for strategists, political leaders, and students of war in general. Clausewitz wrote about war not as an armchair expert, but as one who had witnessed and participated in numerous campaigns during the Napoleonic Wars.

"Clausewitz, Carl von." The Reader's Companion to Military History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Credo Reference. Web. 14 January 2013.

Niccolo Machiavelli

This Renaissance Florentine was best known for his unblinking analysis of political power, The Prince (probably written in 1513; published in 1532).   His Art of War (1521) argued for a return to Roman military virtues. Immediately successful, its then-novel theme is now a basic assumption: stable states require a disciplined military, based on citizens-in-arms.

"Machiavelli, Niccolò." The Reader's Companion to Military History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Credo Reference. Web. 14 January 2013.



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