Nibbling On Asian History & Philosophy Series



Zhuge Liang (181-234 AD)

Mastering The Art Of War

The Way Of The General 

Pages 221-222

From the Book: The Art Of War | Complete Texts and Commentaries | Sun Tzu | Translated by Thomas Cleary



Knowing People

“Nothing is harder to see into than people’s natures. Though good and bad are different, their conditions and appearances are not always uniform. There are some who are nice enough but steal. Some people are outwardly respectful while inwardly making fools of everyone. Some people are brave on the outside yet cowardly on the inside. Some people do their best, but are not loyal.”


Hermit Poet’s comments:

Reading people and understanding their motives is far more difficult today because of less face to face contact. With extensive experience and practice, one can “feel the pulse” in regards to an overall scan of another individual’s make-up, during person to person interactions. Of course, a detailed conclusion regarding complete character could take years or never. Generally, the best time to find out somebody’s true nature is when there is a problem. Even a small inconvenience will be revealing.


The Art of War Publisher: Shambhala

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