The Art of War (also known as The Thirteen Chapters) is a treatise on military strategy. It focuses on alternatives to battle, such as stratagem, delay, the use of spies and alternatives to war itself, the making and keeping of alliances, the uses of deceit and a willingness to submit, at least temporarily, to more powerful foes. According to The Art of War, war is an extension of politics and should be pursued in the interests of the greater good for all: both the conqueror and the conquered.
The book has formed the basis for advanced military training for many centuries. In 1772, it was translated into French. The first annotated English translation was published in 1910. It continues to exert tremendous influence over military, political, and business leaders.
Authorship is attributed to Sun Tzu, a Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher. According to traditional accounts, Sun Tzu was born in 544 BCE in the Kingdom of Wu, a coastal state that controlled access to the mouth of the Yangtze River. Circa 512 BCE, Sun Tzu began service to the Kingdom of Wu as an army general and strategist.