Recently the Web site Sonshi, a site dedicated to Sun Zi’s The Art of War scholarship and interpretation, ranked Victor Mair’s translation of The Art of War as their most highly recommended translation of all the versions available.
Founded in 1999 in Atlanta, Sonshi.com is a network of professionals from various disciplines joined together by a common interest: Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Sonshi.com has since become the leading and largest website for The Art of War, and is the gathering place of Sun Tzu authors, scholars, and readers around the world. It is a prestigious honor to have Mair’s translation chosen as the best among the many translations available.
Sonshi’s news of the #1 ranking was posted simultaneously with a new interview with Victor Mair.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Shonshi.com: What do you think is the most misunderstood verse or idea in The Art of War by readers?
Mair: That’s a difficult question. After giving it some thought, however, I would say that the most poorly understood idea in the Sun Zi is that expressed in the celebrated statement that “Warfare is a way of deception.” Too many people think that this gives a license to lie. I would suggest, rather, that what Sun Zi was getting at here is not sheer mendacity, but the need for the general to conceal from the enemy his true intentions. The skilled general (or athlete, businessman, etc.) should lead his opponent into believing that he will surely adopt a certain course of action or movement, then surprise the daylights out of him by executing a totally different tack.