The skilful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man.
If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result is victory, then you must not fight, even at the ruler's bidding.
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!
So the important thing in a military operation is victory, not persistence.
The one who figures on victory at headquarters before even doing battle is the one who has the most strategic factors on his side
Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
One who sets the entire army in motion to chase an advantage will not attain it.
Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
The proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause people's substance to be drained away. When their substance is drained away, they will be afflicted by heavy exactions. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and their incomes dissipated.
Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
To perceive victory when it is known to all is not really skilful. Everyone calls victory in battle good, but it is not really good.
Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the Attack.
A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.