Therefore the victories of good warriors are not noted for cleverness or bravery. Therefore their victories in battle are not flukes. Their victories are not flukes because they position themselves where they will surely win, prevailing over those who have already lost.
Therefore a victorious army first wins and then seeks battle; a defeated army first battles and then seeks victory.
There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.
There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.
The skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field. With his forces intact he disputes the mastery of the empire,
The skilful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man.
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.
The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
The one who figures on victory at headquarters before even doing battle is the one who has the most strategic factors on his side.
Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.