Q&A: Read The Art of War

I read the book description of The Art of War and wonder if this book is insightful for storytelling as well especially if stories tackle warfare and politics. I’m planning on writing a fantasy that involves disputes between kingdoms and such but I lack ideas of war strategies and politics. Do you think I should read this book to get have an idea or insight of the war strategies and politics?


You may also find the book a little obtuse at times. If that’s the case, you might want to track down some commentaries or an annotated version (both exist.) Regardless, The Art of War is a book you should read. Even outside of the context of this project.

I’d also suggest The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli. It’s an excellent “how-to” primer on European political rule, and can also offer some excellent insights that may help your writing. Keep in mind it was written in early 16th century, so some the ideas he’s espousing were relatively recent.

Both of these are challenging reads.

Sun Tzu asks you to do a lot of unpacking. The writing itself is extremely succinct, and on the surface, it’s just about armed conflict, but a lot of the advice given works on a much wider scale if you can step back and put it in a larger context.

So, yes, read them both.

Given they are on Project Gutenberg, I’m linking them here. The Amazon links above to benefit the blog, but these are both public domain.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Giles translation)

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (Kenaz translation)

Sorry this is such a short post, but they are worth your time.


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