The Art of War: Revealing the Author behind the Ancient Chinese Military Book

who wrote the ancient Chinese military book known as the art of war
by CJ McDaniel // July 15  

“The Art of War” is one of the world’s best-known ancient Chinese military books, revered for its timeless wisdom and inspiration of military leaders, businesspeople, and sports coaches alike for centuries. Who wrote such an influential tome? Sun Tzu is known to live during the Eastern Zhou period, from 544-496 BCE, where his masterpiece, “The Art of War,” was composed. We will take an in-depth look into his life, career, and the content within “The Art of War” to examine its lasting legacy today as we read why its relevance remains.

Sun Tzu: The Master Strategist

Sun Tzu, sometimes rendered as Sunzi or Sun Wu in Chinese textual sources, was an ancient Chinese military strategist credited as authoring “The Art of War.” According to historical accounts, Sun Tzu lived around the 6th Century BC. This iconic text on military strategy and theory remains influential within military training and warfare and across business, politics, sports, and personal self-improvement realms. Academics, leaders, and scholars have studied Sun Tzu’s book extensively and found its principles still applicable and influential today over 2,500 years after its composition. Yet his identity entails several layers of fascinating history, problems, and nuances that add mystique and intrigue to this ancient text.

Sun Tzu in History and Legend

Sun Tzu was an internationally-recognized military strategist, philosopher, and tactician best known by his title of Master Sun. Known for serving one of Eastern China’s warring states during its turbulent Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), his knowledge was indispensable during warring states’ sieges as the Kingdom of Wu engaged in several conflicts that ensued (770-476 BC). Few historical accounts or documents exist about Sun Tzu’s life; therefore, some scholars and historians question his existence or assume he represents ideals of military strategy rather than being a real person. In several ancient texts, Sun Tzu is mentioned, such as in Sima Qian’s Spring and Autumn Annals as an actual living person; legends surrounding Sun Tzu portray his wisdom, intelligence, and strategic insight while lending him an air of mystery and mythology that add depth and authenticity to his persona.

Unveiling “The Art of War”

“The Art of War” traditionally comprises 13 chapters that address different aspects of warfare – tactics, strategy, logistics, and even philosophy behind the war – providing practical advice and broad principles on wartime conduct and application to various situations. Particularly notable among its focused chapters are preparation, resource allocation, and resource efficiency management, as well as more sophisticated concepts like managing alliances and deception, which go far beyond physical conflict.

The Global Impact of Sun Tzu’s Work

The influence of Sun Tzu‘sThe Art of War can be seen in both Chinese and international military customs. His ideas have been readily adopted into Western military thought and implemented into a military doctrine from all parts of the globe; such prominent military figures as Napoleon Bonaparte and General Douglas MacArthur may have drawn upon Sun Tzu for inspiration in their philosophies; furthermore, it remains relevant in contemporary warfare due to inclusion into United States Military Academy at West Point curriculum, among many other examinations by military organizations worldwide.
The Art of War has had far-reaching ramifications beyond military strategy alone. Many of its principles have proven relevant across several different sectors – business, politics, and sports among them – applying Sun Tzu’s teachings on strategies, negotiations, and crisis management with excellent results for corporations, politicians, and coaches – not forgetting its popularity among self-improvement enthusiasts who find its lessons on discipline, adaptability and perseverance invaluable for personal growth.

Sun Tzu’s Lasting Influence

Sun Tzu is widely acknowledged as the author of the ancient Chinese military treatise “The Art of War,” an influential work with long-term effects on tactics, strategy, and philosophy since its debut over 2,550 years ago. Although much remains unanswered regarding Sun Tzu himself despite speculations and mysteries concerning him personally; nevertheless his remarkable wisdom continues to inform and influence individuals, institutions, and organizations worldwide; its timeless relevance stands testament to Sun Tzu and his skill at distilling war strategy into something which speaks directly to human nature while remaining highly accessible intellectually stimulating; testament also to Sun Tzu himself!

Frequently Asked Questions About The Ancient Chinese Military Book known as The Art of War

Q: What is the name of an ancient Chinese military book? A: This ancient text is “The Art of War.”

Q: Who wrote “The Art of War”? A: Sun Tzu is widely recognized as the author.

Q: When was “The Art of War” composed?
A: According to some scholars, The Art of War may have been written around the 5th Century BCE.

Q: How can “The Art of War” be understood within Chinese history? A: “The Art of War” holds great importance within Chinese history as one of the most influential military treatises ever written.

Q: Did Sun Tzu have military experience? A: Sun Tzu was well known among ancient Chinese military generals and strategists as an outstanding general and strategist.

Q: Why did “The Art of War” become popular outside China? A: “The Art of War” became widely read outside China when translated into various languages for easier accessibility to a wider audience.

Q: What are the major themes discussed in “The Art of War”?
A: “The Art of War” addresses several themes related to strategy, tactics, leadership, and deception, as well as understanding one’s enemy.

Q: Has “The Art of War” influenced military strategies and tactics throughout history?
A: Indeed, “The Art of War” has dramatically affected military strategies and tactics throughout time, its principles being applied by military leaders worldwide.

Q: Is “The Art of War” still relevant today?
A: Yes, “The Art of War” remains highly influential today – not just within military settings but also spanning business, sports, and negotiation strategies.

Q: How Many Chapters Does “The Art of War” Comprise? A: There are thirteen chapters to The Art of War.

Q: What is the purpose of “The Art of War”?
A: The primary aim of The Art of War is to offer insight and guidance into military strategy and warfare conduct.

Q: Are Any Translations of “The Art of War” Available in English?
A: Yes, several English translations of The Art of War can be found and will help a more comprehensive readership gain access to its teachings.

Q: Has “The Art of War” been studied beyond military and strategic circles?
A: Absolutely. ‘The Art of War” has been explored across numerous academic disciplines such as philosophy, political science, and business management.

Q: Did Sun Tzu’s other works survive apart from “The Art of War”?
A: Unfortunately not, “The Art of War” is the sole remaining work attributed to Sun Tzu. Any others could have been lost to history over time.

Q: What writing style was adopted for “The Art of War”? A: “The Art of War” uses an accessible and concise writing style, conveying ideas quickly. It presents its message via short, powerful statements.


“The Art of War” is an evergreen classic of military strategy literature, featuring Sun Tzu as its author – revered in Chinese history. His writing has inspired generations of military leaders worldwide and become part of their education and knowledge base.

Sun Tzu’s meticulous yet practical approach to warfare, as described in “The Art of War,” has had an indelible mark not only on military strategy but also business, politics, and daily life. His insights regarding preparation, intelligence gathering, and adaptability remain as relevant today as they did over 2000 years ago.

Sun Tzu’s classic work “The Art of War” continues to be studied and applied by leaders across multiple fields – its continued study is testimony to Sun’s wisdom and insight.

Sun Tzu and his work, “The Art of War,” deserve our sincerest appreciation. Their impact cannot be overstated by many, and their legacy is ensured for future generations. For anyone aspiring to master war strategy, “The Art of War” remains an indispensable resource that continues to teach lessons of wartime strategy and inspire.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!