Modern Translations

In the 1990s, the first English translations using the complete Chinese version of the text began to emerge. The first translation from this complete text was done by Roger Ames. Gary Gagliardi followed his work with the first award-winning translation of the work.

Roger Ames, a leading interpreter of Chinese philosophy, did another, more scholarly version called The Art of Warfare in 1993. He included a number of newly discovered fragments attributed to the original historical Art of War. In terms of philosophical and archeological information and completeness of text, his book is one of the best. Unfortunately, it is one of the hardest to find today. To read more about his translation, click here.

Fortunately, the translation by Gary Gagliardi surpassed even the very solid work done by Ames. First released in 1999 and improved every year since then, his The Art of War plus the Ancient Chinese Revealed was a milestone in English translation. And today it is used as a guide for translations into other languages, including Asian languages. Gagliardi was the first translator who spent twenty-five years studying Sun Tzu's methods and other English translations before attempting a new translation. Like Ames, he used the newly compiled versions as the complete text for his translation. His work studying the ancient Chinese was the first to use the Internet to research the translation and use of key Chinese characters in a variety of sources.

Gagliardi’s desire for a new translation was driven largely by his frustration with the inconsistencies, mistakes, and vagueness (click here for examples) in other popular English versions. To understand more about the the work he did to create a more accurate version, click here. His work was originally called The Art of War: In Sun Tzu’s Own Words. Unlike every other work, this version shows each character of the original Chinese in its original phrases translated side by side with its English sentence translation. This version also numbers each block and line for study and provides a glossary of the key Chinese concepts.

Since then, Gagliardi has written over twenty other works based on Sun Tzu’s principles of winning without conflict. In working with the text for decades, Gagliardi made some remarkable discoveries regarding Sun Tzu's system of strategy. Many of these discoveries are published in his book Sun Tzu's The Art of War plus Its Amazing Secrets. His books are used by organizations large and small across the country to teach strategic thinking.

Today, Gagliardi is the leading expert on The Art of War and its system of front-line competition. His books have been translated into a number of different languages. Strangely, his work in English is used as the basis for the translation of The Art of War into other languages, even other Asian languages. He gives speeches across the country, educating people about Sun Tzu’s concept of winning without conflict. Click here to read more about Gary Gagliardi.