The Lost Art of War informs the reader about the art of war". It discusses strategy and tactics in warfare. The book begins with a cryptic story of the Sun Tzu's victory over one of his arch rivals using the strategy of misdirection. The text then goes on to discuss some of the Tzu's conversations with the king and general to whom he served as a consultant. After that the book proceeds to deal with a series of related topics, focusing on the issues of tactics and strategy.
The first thing I observed about this book was that it is a translated version. By reading the commentary I found out that the book was never found as a whole, until fairly recently. However, even the most recent version was not able to be completely translated. The translator, Thomas Cleary, had to guess by context and other ways, in some areas. I do not like that, but it is a necessary evil. I can not be sure I am reading what Tzu actually wrote.
Much of the book is written in anecdotes, which at some points were difficult to understand. After each section, the Cleary wrote an explanation of the previous passage, this made the reading a lot easier. I particularly like the word usage in this book, by both Tzu and Cleary. The words are of a higher level. As the reader I did not feel as if either writer was trying to simplify the text.
The word usage is very educational, and it makes the reader think. Another positive aspect of the book, an addition made by Cleary, is an alternate interpretation of the original text. Rather than thinking about it in the traditional sense, and applying the book to the military and warfare, the text is applied to politics, economics, business, and so on. This is a creative, logical, and very understandable view. I found it very easy to understand. There were a few sections in particular the stand out to me.
The sections titled elite troops and timing stand out to me in that I can relate them to my present life. Being wrestler I can apply timing into my strategy for wrestling. The section on elite troops can be applied to any sport, because only the best are wanted on any team. Another addition made by Cleary is a comparison of Sun Tzu II and the author of The Art of War, and to the two books themselves. This allows the reader to see the similarities and differences of the two books.
It also allows the reader to see where some ideas for The Lost Art of War came from. One thing that Cleary tries to help clarify is the transitions in the book. There are no significant linear transitions in the book. In the introduction the he states that the book may have been notes and papers compiled by disciples of the author. This at least gives some kind of explanation for the lack of clarity.
This does not, however, make it easier to comprehend. In the comparison between The Lost Art of War and The Art of War, the translator gives and example of a similarity or a particular style, and the proceeds to quote a passage to help clarify his statement. I found this section of the book very helpful. The citing of passages helped me, as the reader, to visualize what he was trying to say. The book easily kept my attention with the constant references to battles and wars. This kept the book lively and interesting.
The style of writing also helped keep my attention. Even though it was difficult to follow, the transitions make you think as the reader, and in result you are almost forced to be attentive. I would recommend this book to those interested in the military, warfare, and in history. It is very interesting and informative.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in succeeding in the area of business, the whole book is informative on how to survive and win. The book may help the reader to become a successful businessman.