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SPIRIT

It’s usually called something like “attitude.” Motivational business literature and life coachery are replete with it. The law of attraction tells us that like attracts like. The more positive and upbeat we are, the more likely we are to attract other positive and encouraging people. But for Sun Tzu, this quality is a uniquely powerful force capable of shaping military hegemony. The Art of War can’t really be understood without a study of the somewhat abstract element of spirit.

THE SPIRIT OF WIND, FOREST, FIRE, MOUNTAIN, NIGHT, AND THUNDERBOLT

This passage combines elements of classical writings from before Sun Tzu’s time:1

Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest. In raiding and plundering be like ...

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