(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War , last viewed on 27th Dec 2007)
The Art of War (Chinese: 孫子兵法) is a Chinese military treatise written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it has long been praised as the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time.
The Art of War is one of the oldest books on military strategy in the world. Like a work of mathematics or science, much of the work is dedicated to defining its concepts in what has been described as a series of formulas. It is the first and one of the most successful works on strategy and has had a huge influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, and beyond. Sun Tzu was the first to recognize the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive actors in that environment. He taught that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through a to-do list, instead it requires quickly responding appropriately to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a competitive environment, competing plans collide creating situations that no one plans.
The book was first translated into a European language in 1782 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, and had possibly influenced Napoleon, and even the planning of Operation Desert Storm. Leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Pervez Musharraf, Vo Nguyen Giap, and General Douglas MacArthur have claimed to have drawn inspiration from the work.
The Art of War has also been applied, with much success, to business and managerial strategies.