Sun Tzu “Art of War” Summary

Art of War, Sun Tzu

“Art of War”, written by the world-renowned General Sun Tzu, is a military classic that delves into the intricacies of wartime strategy, tactics, and leadership. It is divided into 13 chapters. Each chapter thoroughly explains a specific principle. The chapters/principles are:

  1. Laying Plans/The Calculations
  2. Waging War/The Challenge
  3. Attack by Stratagem/The Plan of Attack
  4. Tactical Dispositions/Positioning
  5. Energy/Directing
  6. Weak Points & Strong/Illusion and Reality
  7. Maneuvering/Engaging The Force
  8. Variation in Tactics/The Nine Variations
  9. The Army on the March/Moving The Force
  10. Terrain/Situational Positioning
  11. The Nine Situations/Nine Terrains
  12. The Attack by Fire/Fiery Attack
  13. The Use of Spies/The Use of Intelligence


The main area of focus is on Chapter 1: Laying Plans/The Calculations and Chapter 5: Energy/Directing. These chapters focus on the five fundamental factors (the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management), as well as timing and creativity of leadership. One of the most vital elements in decision-making is also addressed; foreknowledge.


Sun, Tzu. Art of War. S.I.: Pax Librorum H, 2009. Print.



The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

        John C. Maxwell lists out 21 laws of leadership and expounds on them, in a similar fashion to Sun Tzu and the “Art of War”. His Laws are:

  1. The law of the lid
  2. The law of influence
  3. The law of process
  4. The law of navigation
  5. The law of E. F. Hutton
  6. The law of solid ground
  7. The law of respect
  8. The law of intuition
  9. The law of magnetism
  10. The law of connection
  11. The law of the inner circle
  12. The law of empowerment
  13. The law of reproduction
  14. The law of buy-in
  15. The law of victory
  16. The law of the big mo
  17. The law of priorities
  18. The law of sacrifice
  19. The law of timing
  20. The law of explosive growth
  21. The law of legacy

The most significant laws are the law of respect, the law of the inner circle, and the law of the big mo. The law of respect has one think about whom they would follow no matter where that person wanted to go, and why. This law reflects on the fact that people follow people who are stronger than them, and respect people that show them respect.


The qualities that help a leader gain respect are:

  • Respect for others
  • Leadership ability
  • Courage
  • Success
  • Loyalty
  • Value added to others


The law of the inner circle states that the leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him. Because everyone has key strengths and weaknesses, the only way for a leader to reach his or her full potential is by having a team to supplement his or her abilities, and bridge the gap where they are lacking.

The law of the big mo states that momentum is a leader’s best friend. Momentum makes leaders seem better than they are, helps followers perform beyond their own capabilities, and is the most powerful agent of change.


Maxwell, John C. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1998. Print.


Conflict and Dispute Management System Design

Kirschner’s definition of conflict management is this: “Conflict management is about early recognition of conflicts and a process of facilitating constructive intervention before it escalates into a dispute.

She relates on many company’s tendencies of keeping a situation from escalating by avoiding conflict, putting “band aids” over problems, bargaining, and using power to dominate. She notes the wisdom in steering clear these techniques, and using more effective and healthy strategies. The strategies include: Training employees in conflict management, creating an atmosphere for problem solving, and developing a dispute management system.

She also stresses the importance of learning from conflict, by focusing on the conflict as a learning opportunity, analyzing the cause and affect, and developing specific action or protocol for the future to avoid making the same mistakes.


Kirschner, Shirli. “Conflict and Dispute Management System Design.” Academic OneFile. Gale, 07 Feb. 1998. Web. 10 Nov. 2011.

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