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Publisher's Summary

For more than two thousand years, The Art of War has stood as a cornerstone of Chinese culture, a lucid epigrammatic text that reveals as much about human psychology, politics, and economics as it does about battlefield strategy. The influence of Sun-Tzu's text has grown tremendously in the West in recent years, with military leaders, politicians, and corporate executives alike finding valuable insight in these ancient words.

In this crisp, accessible new translation, eminent scholar John Minford brings this seminal work to life, presenting the core text in two formats, first the unadorned 13 chapters of the original work by Sun-Tzu followed by the same text with extensive running commentary by classical Chinese scholars as well as Minford himself. The result is an opportunity for Western readers to experience Sun-Tzu's work in all its intensity as it applies to many aspects of our lives.

©2002 John Minford (P)2008 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Modern warriors, warrior-wannabes, and world leaders would be advised to heed Sun-tzu's wisdom. Reader Lorna Raver's skill with voices adds to the inscrutable nature of the text and increases the listener's attention." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    174
  • 4 Stars
    139
  • 3 Stars
    159
  • 2 Stars
    87
  • 1 Stars
    44

Performance

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    72
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    74
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    24
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    64
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • Terry, MS, USA
  • 04-21-07

Excellent book on tactics and strategy

If you are looking for a book that dissects the mechanics of skillful warfare then this book is what you are looking for. The actual book itself is not very long but over six hours of commentary and background information are appended after it which give interesting and useful facts about the book and its theories.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful for the Western mind

This audio book is a very thick 'document' in that the use of the very direct, very thought provoking comparisons of the western actions and history thrown into the usage and history of some of the other commentary's bring the clarity of intent Master Sun was giving to those of his place and time to a new understanding. I feel that I am more able to understand and digest this document as it was intended by its author (or authors depending on your belief or understanding.) All in all a wonderful collection of thought and explanation, although in order to grasp it all, the book itself needs to be in place or at hand to use for the many reference point given.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not the right medium

Part 1 of this work was interesting -- not life-altering, but interesting. What I didn't know is that, by long tradition, editions of this book are published with elaborate commentaries in the margins. Thus, after Part 1 finishes presenting Sun Tzu's treatise, Part 2 attempts to present the work all over again with all the marginalia -- and I didn't find the audio format conducive to any integrated consideration of the text and margin notes.

Two stars for Part 1, and none for Part 2.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 03-08-14

Worth Reading but Not Life-Altering

I downloaded this book and Machiavelli's "The Prince" at the same time. Having now read both, I feel that at this point what has been written and said about these famous works is probably more significant than the works themselves. Unlike Machiavelli's work, "The Art of War" is at least interesting throughout. It's fairly brief, but always intriguing.

In the case of this particular version, the commentary on the work (included as part of the audiobook) is much more extensive than the work itself. For anyone who would listen to this version in the future, I would recommend listening to both "parts" of the audiobook.

Listen to the introduction, as that allows you to get some background and facts about the work. Then listen to the unannotated version so that you can form your own ideas about it. Many readers would be inclined to stop there but I would suggest going on to part II. Don't let the length of part II (almost 7 hours long) deter you from giving it a try. It definitely helps to bring depth to the work and it's interesting to hear the different commentators' theories.

I was somewhat surprised that I never tired of the commentary. I feel like I got much more out of this audiobook than I would have if I had stopped after part I. I really wish the audiobook of "The Prince" had included a similar annotated version along with the unannotated work.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gerrit
  • Hammanshof, Worcester, South Africa
  • 10-02-12

Great Advice

Would you listen to The Art of War [Blackstone Version] again? Why?

Yes. The info stands the test of time. We all can learn from times gone by.

Any additional comments?

This is a great listen. Every man and woman who likes to think strategically will enjoy the Art of War.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Pam
  • Virginia, USA
  • 07-10-05

Tough Read

I can only comment on the first part, the raw reading of the text, since I wasn't able to get through much of it. It is definitely not for listening to while driving. Obviously, Sun Tzu's writing is not straight forward modern western commentary, rather an eastern expository on principles of fighting and war which repeats itself and speaks in metaphor. The narrator's voice was also difficult to listen to, because it was slow and somewhat monotone. Although this may convey Sun Tzu's mood, it was not enough to keep me engaged.

36 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not the best version of this classic in my opinion

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The format was hard to follow, bouncing around from topic to topic then back, I would have less out of order commentary.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I may listen to another version of this book at a later date to see if I can take in the entire work better.

Do you think The Art of War [Blackstone Version] needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

If this version was better laid out it would stand alone well.

Any additional comments?

When you think the book is done it starts back up in a random place then goes back through most of what you already heard but with new commentary. It was confusing and unfocused. In my opinion it did not capture the spirit of the original.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not Just the Art of War...

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The original book IS in there, but you have too listen too all kinds of other opinions and ideas to get it.

I don't care how someone else interprets a book, I read (listen) to interpret the story myself. That is the joy of books!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Scholarly Treatise

Have you listened to any of Lorna Raver and Ray Porter ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The readers did fine.

Any additional comments?

I didn't realize that the "Art of War" was a mere 10% of this book. Is this a book that people rave over and do not actually read? The book was approximately 90% analysis. -- I wanted to enjoy this book, I could not.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

No

Way too much was added to the words of Sun Tzu. Just the book would have been fine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Francis
  • 05-30-06

A so-so read that could of been improved

As a fan of this book this was the first book i bought from Audible, thinking it would be good to listen to at uni and whilest driving.

While the text is itself ancient, it is still highly relevant to todays society, and is indeed still used in the likes of Japan for large companies.

However, much to my disapointment, Lorna Raver is a dead narrator, in that there is no life in her words. She sounds like a mavhine reading from rote, which sadly destroys a lot of the enjoyment that can come from this text.

Equally dismaying is that this is indeed the best version of audio book ive found, hence me giving it 3 stars. If you can put up with the narrators lifeless and dull single tone voice, its worth getting.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • chatbear1
  • 01-31-16

not bad

Like the Chinese the narration repeats to often.but,overall it is worth listening to.now the fun,of using it in modern days.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C M Pihl
  • 10-10-15

Too much boring nonsese i this version.

It was an incredibly boring way to explain this perfect manual... I simply had to skip the parts where she explains the history, to avoid hating the actual book! I am highly dissatisfied with my purchase!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Big BoBo
  • 07-06-16

Narrative very repetitive

The reading of the Art of War itself was good but narrative seemed very repetitive. Had alot of dejavu moments!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • t
  • 02-17-12

art of war

quite intense and vocal choice does not help - recommended for true enthisiasts who wish to go deeper than the simplified versions by other authors of the teachings

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 11-10-05

Art of War (Unabridged)

Very good book, worth spendind time. Still can be used as strategy guide.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-12-18

very long drawn out and confusing. Did not enjoy

very long drawn out and confusing. Did not enjoy and regret buying this book. wish I could return.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Obi 1
  • 11-29-16

A challenge for the ears

as above suggests I could listen to this before bed. it is slow and the narrator waffles through interpretation rather than just reading the text. it is difficult to absorb the key parts through the constant rubbish the narrator puts out.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Krystal
  • 03-08-18

old time fav

love the book, don't love all the interpretations added to it. less is more in this case.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 02-03-18

Kings, politicians, generals and cannon fodder.

Would you try another book written by translation by John Minford and Sun-Tzu or narrated by Ray Porter and Lorna Raver ?

One never steps in the same river twice. I thought the mix of eastern, western, ancient and modern translations was an important perspective.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I thought the ending was somewhat predictable.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Ray Porter and Lorna Raver ?

An improvement could be made by having both narrators being recorded at the same volume.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Now that I've listened to the book I think I will have to watch the doco on the book.

Any additional comments?

No matter where or when one comes from, Rulers think they have dominion over the lands and the people to do with as they wish. War along with business is a ruthless and unforgiving environment.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful