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The Art of War
Sun Tzu

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Calculation

 

CHAPTER SUMMARY (1.01-1.19): Assessing the Five Key Factors in Any Conflict
Planning before action is essential to victory and involves the assessment of five factors:

• Way, or the Tao. Unity (of leader and people) in a moral purpose. 
• Heaven. Weather and cultural atmosphere (season, time of day, social values). 
• Ground. Physical landscape—its limitations and possibilities, given society's rules.
• General. The traits needed in a military general, a good leader (see 1.05). 

 Law. The management of the group's resources. 

One must assess these factors for oneself and one's adversary, then compare the results to devise strategy.

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[1.01] Warfare is important to a nation. It is a matter of life and death. It is the way to survival or to destruction. So study it.

[1.02] Study the five factors of warfare: Way, Heaven, Ground, General, and Law. Calculate your strength in each and compare them to your enemy's strengths.

[1.03] The Way is the strong bond your people have with you. Whether they face certain death or hope to come out alive, they never worry about danger or betrayal.*

[1.04] Heaven is dark and light, cold and hot, and the seasonal constraints. Ground is high and low, far and near, obstructed and easy, wide and narrow, and dangerous and safe.

[1.05] General* is wise, trustworthy, benevolent, brave, and disciplined.

[1.06] Law is organization, the chain of command, logistics, and the control of expenses.

[1.07] Every general has heard of these five factors [Way, Heaven, Ground, General, Law]. One who heeds them will be victorious; one who does not heed them will not be victorious.

[1.08] Therefore, calculate and compare your levels of strength in them [Way, Heaven, Ground, General, Law] to your enemy's, and determine whether you are superior.

[1.09] Ask: Which ruler has the Way; which general has the ability; which has advantage in Heaven and Ground; which implemented Law; which army is resilient; which officers and soldiers are trained; which rewards and punishes clearly. By asking these types of questions, I know who will win and who will lose.

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1.03 The Way is the strong bond...never worry about...betrayal. The "strong bond" refers to the high moral purpose you and your people share; "betrayal," to your betraying them/not acting in their best interest.
1.05 General. The five basic traits needed in a military general: 1) wisdom (good judgment); 2) credibility (high reputation); 3) benevolence (positive intentions); 4) courage (fortitude); 5) discipline (reliability).

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