The Art of War by the Chinese army general Sun Tzu is among the oldest books ever written. However it contains many useful lessons for today, in military as well as domestic circumstances where conflict is at hand. Many of his successors have used it, and written commentaries, but perhaps more surpringly also purely literary scholars have drawn their inspiration from the book.
The elegant style of the short statements in which the thirteen chapters are written, have certainly contributed to its accessibility to Asian as well as European readers. It has been widely known in the United States since the mid-1970s. American diplomat Henry Kissinger was among the first to make public reference to Sun Tzu and he may indeed be the most frequently quoted Chinese personality in the world today, eclipsing Confucius, Lao Tze and Mao Dzedong.