Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.
According to my assessment, even if you have many more troops than others, how can that help you to victory?
One who sets the entire army in motion to chase an advantage will not attain it.
So the important thing in a military operation is victory, not persistence.
Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?
These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.
Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.
If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.