Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively. They are like a great river that maintains its course but adjusts its flow.
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.
When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
If fighting is sure to result in victory, than you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler’s bidding.
For 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.
Attack the enemy’s strategy.
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.
Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
It is more important to outhink your enemy, than to outfight him
Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.
Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and you know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and you know Earth, you may make your victory complete.
Great results, can be achieved with small forces.
The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.