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Review: The Art of War for Women by Chin-Ning Chu

“It’s About the Art, Not the War.”

After reading this book I had to admit that I had not understood Sun Tzu’s The Art of War at all. Could it be that the original text had been written for a male audience and I had failed to interpret it from a female point of view? Whatever the reason I’m happy to have read Chin-Ning Chu’s version.

Whether you want to move up the ladder, get that senior position you’ve been eyeing, break the glass ceiling, deal with a difficult colleague or boss, be a better parent or homemaker, or become a successful entrepreneur, this book will help address some of the things that are holding you back and help you with the way forward.

Before you think that this is some raging feminist book, stop. It’s certainly not anti-men and I think that men can also benefit from reading it. Chin-Ning Chu takes all the principles from ancient text and breathes contemporary life into it, and addresses it to women. Something we need more of.

This book is about effective strategies and how we women can see ourselves as leaders, which a lot of times we shy away from because throughout history we have been misrepresented in a lot ways – too emotional and not built for leadership. A good example of how Chin-Ning Chu applies Sun Tzu’s principles is how with regards to this misrepresentation of women she suggests the art of deception and how we can use this illusion of weakness to our advantage.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, all of it. There are many gems she shares about repackaging womankind and selling the world a new image of womanhood. This encourages you to change the way you see yourself, how you see the roles you play in your personal life and in business. After reading The Art of War for Women you will change the way you think, the way you act and the way you manage yourself, people and situations.

I’d recommend this book to women who have been losing on the battlefield of career and home because they’re women and because they have been fed the lie that they can’t win. The book will teach you about taking a holistic approach to winning. I would also recommend it to people who, like me, have read the original The Art of War by Sun Tzu but couldn’t grasp it or apply it anywhere.


Title: The Art of War for Women

Author: Chin-Ning Chu

Publisher: Broadway Books, New York. 2007

ISBN: 978-0-385-51843-7

Genre: Business & Economics

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War has persistently been hailed as one of the books that changed history. Its longevity as an influential read is quite impressive and for a long period, it has widely been used in business, sports, law, and politics.  

It’s an ancient Chinese, military manual divided into thirteen chapters that deal with warfare techniques and strategies, which today are translated into modern meanings for business and so on.

In the first chapter, Sun Tzu talks about laying plans, followed in the next by ‘waging war‘. These discuss obtaining conditions of the field, modifying plans as needed and deceiving the enemy. Waging war focuses on matters such as war material and the length of the war. In the chapter on ‘attack by stratagem‘, it highlights the importance of knowing when to fight and when to avoid it, when to conquer battles through fighting and when to break the enemy’s resistance by fighting. It also goes into seizing opportunities and how the willingness of the mind helps in battle.

Some of the chapters deal with securing oneself against defeat, the army’s combined energy, and weak and strong points in battle. The Art of War gives guidance on the use of tactics and resources that will enable you to know your enemy, yourself, your environment of battle and dealing with conflicts of all sorts.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The book’s philosophies can be applied in business to know your competitor, know when to avoid conflict and when to attack, to manage resources in the battle against your competitor and the economic significance of taking on your competitor. It is also very useful in politics as opponents can be the enemy and the advice in the book can be applied to campaigns.

I, personally, didn’t enjoy it that much. I could understand what it was about and the ways it could be useful, which I’d probably use in the future if necessary. If you enjoy reading about warfare and similar topics, or if you need insight on dealing with conflict, business competition or in need of strategies for business, sports or leadership, then you’ll probably enjoy it and find it useful.

I read the very simple Collins Classics version, which is a clear translation of the book. I am not sure how it differs from other editions but this one is easy and comprehensive.

I’ve been meaning to try The Art of War for Women by Chin-Ning Chu, maybe I might enjoy that one.