Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general, strategist, and philosopher whose influence has moulded the battlefields of many cultures throughout the ages. The book the Art of War is one of the most famous books in all of history, and it focuses on the secrets of warfare. One must understand that these are just some of the Sun Tzu Intelligence Quotes and there are many more to explore.

Sun Tzu Intelligence Quotes

This book has been used as a modern-day business book that talks about the principles of conflict and war.

It has many more quotes and ideas that can be used to understand how to go about your life in a better way.

Many people have said that this book has had a profound effect on their lives, as well as many others.  Sun Tzu did not believe in self-help books, however, he did believe in giving advice to others, and so he left an abundance of quotes that can help you make it through a difficult time, or for those who are more complex.

Sun Tzu Intelligence Quotes and their meaning

1. “A general should be bold and enterprising.  He should occupy commanding heights which no one would ever think of attacking.  He should select the weaker points to strike at, where he can destroy the enemy’s strongest forces.”

Meaning: In this quote Sun Tzu is explaining that one should be bold, if they want to have any real advantage in their life.  One has to go out on a limb in order to really get anywhere in life and this applies very much so to the world of business and finance.  In order to make a large amount of money one must be brave and aggressive, but not overly so.  If they are overly aggressive then they can end up losing everything they have worked for and this is why it is important to pick your battles wisely.

2. “There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:  1.  Over-confidence; 2.  Self-conceit; 3.  Trust in his troops; 4.  Indecisiveness; 5.  Fear of battle.”

Meaning:  If one has these issues then they can have a bad effect on their life and their career, here Sun Tzu is talking about the very common trait of fear within us all and how it affects our success in life.  These problems have a tendency to hinder us if we do not overcome them.

3.”When envying other men’s success,  find out  exactly  what they have done to achieve it.  Thereby you will discover the necessary qualities and ability required for success.”

Meaning: Sun Tzu is telling you here to learn from others as they are your greatest resource, use their knowledge and lessons in order to use the same methods on yourself so that you may achieve success as well.

4. “When in the presence of a wise man,  ask him what you do not know;  when in the presence of a fool ask him what you do know.”

Meaning: This quote is telling us that we should learn from all people around us regardless of their intelligence level.  There can be just as much wisdom to be gained from the fools, and in some cases even more.  This is because the wise usually instinctively know the lesson and do not realize that they have learned it, as they have perfected it over time.  Whereas the fools are in a constant state of learning and can be easily taught, but lack wisdom in comparison to the wise men.  Sun Tzu was saying that one should be constantly learning from people around them and never stop doing so.

5. “The more you learn from others,  the less you need to arm yourself.  The more you arm yourself, the less you can rely on others.”

Meaning: Again this quote is telling us to learn from others, but this time in a more aggressive way.  It is telling us to be prepared for yourself and not rely on others to help you and protect you.  This is because if one learns how to protect themselves then they are not vulnerable when they are around other people.

6. “Take advantage of your enemy’s ignorance.”

Meaning: This is about preparing for the unknowable and getting to know what you are up against before you confront it.  Knowing what your enemy is planning can be the difference between success and failure.  It is imperative for any business owner to know every weakness of their competition.  This will help them prepare for future attacks and increase their chances of success.

7. “Cultivate the art of not losing.  If you are not ready to fight, a battle will be offered to you.  Close your door and do not open it.  Fight the others when they come.”

Meaning: This is another one of Sun Tzu’s many quotes that relates to business.  This quote is saying that one should keep themselves prepared for every situation, and they should never be caught off guard in any situation.  Always be ready and always be aware of your surroundings.  This will help you in many aspects of life and business.

8. “Military intelligence is the key to war;  without it,  you cannot win.”

Meaning: This quote is very straight forward, it is saying that one should take caution when approaching any situation where they do not know all of the details.  If one is not careful they will be overcome by the situation and if one remains strong and clever then they will win in the end.

9. “In war,  if you are not prepared to fight, you should always be prepared to run away.”

Meaning: This is another of Sun Tzu’s many quotes that relates to business as well as all other arenas of life.  This is telling us to remain prepared for any situation because if you are not then you will be overcome.  If one is always ready for the worst and manages their fear then they will keep themselves safe.

10. “The general who elects to fight  a battle on the enemy’s terms,  will be defeated;  the one who elects to fight on his own terms, will win.  What terms do you offer?”

Meaning: This is another Sun Tzu quote that is talking about an aspect of war that involves business, in this case the battle for the minds of others.  It is telling us that if one wants to make a profit in any business they must be prepared to fight and make their competitors want to do business with them.  If one keeps their competition weak and does not scare them then they can have little to worry about.  This leading into Sun Tzu’s next quote.

11. “When the enemy is at the gates,  the soldier’s essential task is to guard them.  When he is in the field, his essential task is to forage for food.  When supplies are adequate and communications are good,  the army can remain in one place for a long time.”

Meaning: This quote is telling us that in order to be successful we must not waste our resources and always be thinking of ways to build a better business.  It is saying that any action taken by one must be to further his own progress and not to help another.

12. “In war,  the courage to advance is as necessary as the courage to retreat.”

Meaning: This quote is about keeping your head level in any situation, knowing when to advance or when to move back.  You should never over commit yourself or lose sight of your objectives and goals.  This will keep one from getting themselves into trouble.

13. “The general who becomes  concerned with his own reputation will, at best, see but a short distance ahead.”

Meaning: This quote is saying that in order to be successful you must not let your reputation be more important to you than the achievement of your goals.  Thus saying that one should not be afraid to take any action that will further them towards their goals.

14. “The best of all assault armies is one that  comes from the clouds like a thunderbolt,  routing the enemy and disappearing.”

Meaning: This quote is saying that one should always be attacking their enemies not only physically but also mentally.  This means that they should be an attack on all fronts such as with their product, service, brand image, marketing, and so on.  One must always be prepared to attack from every angle to take anyone by surprise and leave them powerless.

15. “If soldiers are not motivated,  the general is to blame.”

Meaning: This quote is telling us that if one wants their employees to work hard and be motivated then they must do the same for them.  They should give them a clear direction on where they are going and allow them to set goals for themselves.  This will allow employees to feel empowered and motivated and thus more productive.

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