The Art of War #3 – Sun Szu
The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: – let such a one be dismissed!
While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.
Accordingly as circumstances are favourable, one should modify one’s plan.
All warfare is based on deception.
Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.
Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations lead to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I foresee who is likely to win or lose.