Main lesson of the book: How to control situations by understanding self and the opposition
This book is famous for several reasons and each one of them is valid as long as you use the proper perspective. Now I am making the assumption that none of us will actually use the tactics as they are intended in the book. But we can however take the lessons from the books and use them as reference points for our own lives. That is exactly what I did as I read this book. The book covers what one should do when preparing for war, engaging in battle or how one should conduct themselves during war times. The beauty of these lessons is that Sun Tsu has some core philosophies he abides by as he teaches you how to wage war.
One of the main things I learned from the Art of War is that you can only become victorious if you know yourself and know your enemy. This sounds simple but Sun Tsu goes into depth about the rules of what you should be aware of when you are about to engage. Know the location, understand all possible outcomes of the fight, know all the routes in and out of the battlefield and the state of your men. Know if the enemy is retreating or advancing and act accordingly. There are more rules to this very simple statement of know yourself but these to me seemed to be the key ones. I tried to translate these points into something that I can use for my own personal growth or financial IQ.
The main lessons I learned from the Art of War is that managing people with a just mind is the way to go. What was very interesting is that the book taught me that managing an army is the same as managing one person. Give those who work for you rewards when they excel and punish them justly when they make mistakes. Never slack on this because it will tarnish your authority. Keep that in mind from the very beginning as you start by being strict and making sure that they respect your authority. Another interesting lesson from the book is that once you conquer another army show them mercy by letting them live. No need to destroy those who you have defeated. This is an interesting concept to me, because the way I read it, it means that your victory should be sufficient and that once you achieve your goal you should let everyone around you bask in your light. This is a beautiful concept because it tells me that I should not try to destroy or compete with all those around but rather work with them to make sure all our lives improve.
The Art of war isn’t necessarily a financial book nor a true management book but the lessons it holds are as valid then as they are now. Business can easily be seen as war and thus the book can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skillset to make sure you become successful in business. I want to mention that there is a follow up to the book called Mastering The Art of War written by Zhuge Liang.