Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

The 13 chapters of The Art of War, each devoted to one aspect of warfare, were compiled by the high-ranking Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher Sun-Tzu. In spite of its battlefield specificity, The Art of War has found new life in the modern age with leaders in fields as wide and far-reaching as world politics, human psychology, and corporate strategy finding valuable insight in its timeworn words.

Aidan Gillen - who has learned a thing or two about strategy through his roles as skilled manipulator Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Game of Thrones) and ambitious politician Tommy Carcetti (The Wire) - brilliantly performs this ancient classic. His experience in portraying insightful and, at times, cunning characters makes him a natural fit for this ancient collection of battlefield epigrams whose influence has grown tremendously in the modern world.

Public Domain (P)2015 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about The Art of War

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,652
  • 4 Stars
    686
  • 3 Stars
    307
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    21
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,659
  • 4 Stars
    446
  • 3 Stars
    174
  • 2 Stars
    39
  • 1 Stars
    17
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,317
  • 4 Stars
    529
  • 3 Stars
    338
  • 2 Stars
    88
  • 1 Stars
    31

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring

I really enjoyed this. Excellent book and Aiden Gillen an inspired choice as narrator. Full marks all round

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Timeless

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I bought this audiobook. I had heard of the Art of War and always wanted to read it, as any book that was written more than 2000 years ago and still holds reverence must be worth reading (or listening). The book seemingly offers very generalised advice to military leaders (no pun intended). However in my understanding of the text there are much wider applications of the wisdom shared by Sun Tzu, namely patience and the value of self reflection. As such this book transcends any notion that it is merely an ancient text on military stratagem and is much more akin to allegorical philosophy.

Adian Gillen’s ‘performance’ was excellent, although I have not listened to many audiobooks so I’m not sure what a good performance constitutes. That being said, he has a pleasant, cool and clear voice that resonates well with the text. Although I concede that at times I couldn’t shake the sense that, Petyr Baelish ‘Littlefinger’, was reading this book to me especially when speaking about spies.

There is no story and as such I marked it as five stars. It seemed to make more sense than marking no stars.

Very much worth the price paid, I didn’t use my token though. I thought it might be a waste given it was so cheap to buy.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

This books is to be read not listened to

This is the kind of book that has to be read instead of listened to so that its meaning can be absorbed and the wording revisited and considered.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The narrator had a train to catch.

Sun Tzu speaks with great insight, wisdom and clarity, but the Aidan Gillen spoke too quickly and with no emphasis. He should have paid attention to Sun Tzu's warning not always do the same thing.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Master of War

Would you consider the audio edition of The Art of War to be better than the print version?

I've never read the print version but have always wanted to. I'd still like a copy so I could go back and study certain tactics, but I understood everything in the audio version.

What other book might you compare The Art of War to, and why?

Bushido? Only because of the historic aspect and the fact that it teaches you a way of life & war.

What about Aidan Gillen’s performance did you like?

I couldn't think of anyone better to narrate than Aidan Gillen. As soon as I saw that he was the narrated I instantly bought it. He adds a level of cunning and guile that is required in a tactician and no other narrated could have pulled off.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

This isn't the sort of book you could turn into a film - a documentary though. Perhaps "War is barbaric, War is an art"?

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent

something I've intended to read for a while, and Aidan Gillen gives an excellent delivery. I'm looking forward to listening to this one again already. The insight into the nuances of war, and the intricacies of character that allow success or failure, is one that can be appropriated to many aspects of life.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Informative and Excellent Performance

Didn't recognise the actor's name but when I recognised him I thought it was an excellent choice. He has a very dry and engaging voice.

It was quite informative and I like all the definitions e.g. intersecting ground. I think I'll have to listen to this again so that all the points sink in.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating!!

Incredibly performed. Compelling story with loads of interesting points.

Its an essential, you must read this! Its even at a low price

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Timeless Reading at its best

Aiden Gillen does a great job of narrating this classic. Many are the transferable tactics, strategies and mindset towards any business, political or economic venture worth pursuing. Definitely worth investing in!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Short

Expected it to be longer but good listening nonetheless. Aidan Guillan has a great voice (little finger)

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Fred271
  • Fred271
  • 31-12-19

The actual book The Art of War, not a commentary

Excellent reading by Aidan Quinn, and a nice translation by an uncredited translator.

People sometimes assume that because The Art of War is short, and it mentions Sun Tzu in the text, a given edition is an abridgment or a summary. No, The Art of War is just pithy, and was never intended to be a book. It was written down on scrolls around 500 BC. A translation of the text itself will be no more than 80 pages, often in the form of verse or bullet points, though a given edition might be longer because it contains additional material, such as an introduction and some of the classical commentary. For example, Lionel Giles' translation is 25 pages long and just under 11,000 words.

As for the text speaking of Master Sun saying various things, that's not an uncommon device. The Book of Ecclesiastes does it, too, for example, and so does the Chuang Tzu. "Sun Tzu" appears to be an imaginary authority, inspired by a military expert named Sun Bin, rather than the actual author, so it's pretty logical.

I mention this because at least a couple of the commenters here have come to the wrong conclusions about what this audio book is, and a lot of people have taken their word for it, judging by the approval ratings. This is a very good recording, and it would be a shame to overlook it because of a misunderstanding.

321 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David S. Mathew
  • David S. Mathew
  • 14-04-18

Game of War

The Art of War is a time tested classic of strategy and martial wisdom. The reputation of this book is extremely well known, so I won’t bother reviewing Sun Tzu. If you’ve ever been interested in this text, go for it.

If you’re reading this review, my guess is that you’re wondering about the performance. In short, Aidan Gillen knocks it out of the park. If you’re a fan of Aidan Gillen (or Game of Thrones in general) what could be cooler than being schooled in the art of war by Lord Petyr Baelish himself? You owe it to yourself to give this a listen. Highly recommended!

59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Angelina PM
  • Angelina PM
  • 14-04-15

Aidan Gillen needs to narrate more books

What made the experience of listening to The Art of War the most enjoyable?

The narration

What did you like best about this story?

The simplicity, the sensibility that Sun Tzu brought to chaotic war.

Which character – as performed by Aidan Gillen – was your favorite?

...

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Please have Aidan Gillen narrate The Prince next, and really anything else. This man could read a phone book and I'd pay for it.

135 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for coppertin
  • coppertin
  • 24-04-15

Great performance

This ancient text may apply to many people's work. Anyone who works in a competitive environment can benefit from it, even if only a little. Even if you can't benefit from it, this work might help the listener to understand historical works dealing with wars better.

The reading is excellent. Aidan Gillen does a great job reading the text. I don't know if it's because I've been watching Game of Thrones for four seasons, but it sounds like he's using a kind of Littlefinger voice here, which adds to the effect. I'd recommend this audiobook to pretty much anyone, even if they don't have an army.

74 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mathias
  • Mathias
  • 27-05-15

Littlefinger brings it home

Aidan Gillen delivers a great performance and keeps the listener interested and engaged through out the entire book!

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Molly Mcdermott
  • Molly Mcdermott
  • 27-05-15

Clever and extremely enjoyable

Stroke of genius having Aidan Gillen read Art of War. His gentle Irish brogue is tough yet alluring. And as a fan of GoT, I can see Littlefinger conspiring over this document and making these words his own. Well done!

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for William E.
  • William E.
  • 30-12-19

A classic, but this is not the whole text...

Art of War by sun Tzu is a classic, but this is not the whole text. Regardless, it provides the essence, and probably all I really wanted + Gillen's narration was great. Glad I listened, and if you are in to STRATEGY, this should be on your MUST READ list.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tukundane
  • Tukundane
  • 08-12-18

Best strategy book.

I have listened to the book while multi tasking and in heavily noise locations without missing key point Sun puts out.
The Art of War strategies once implemented in the day today activities can have great impact.
I am surely going to listen to it the second time in a more calm and quiet environment.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for G. Parish
  • G. Parish
  • 31-05-16

A classic text, read well

This is a classic text and the narrator fit it well. If you are interested in strategy this is a required text.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David W
  • David W
  • 25-11-19

an hour long!?!?

what is this. the cliff notes to an actual book??? disappointing as I thought I bought a book. not a news clipping....

14 people found this helpful