Papercut Book Cover for The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The next book on the list for the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge is Sun Tzu's ancient classic, The Art of War.

About the Book:

The Art of War was written roughly around the 5th century BC, and is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu. For centuries it has been the leading war strategy text for both Eastern and Western military thinking. It has also been applied to business tactics, legal strategy, lifestyles and more. However, after reading the text, I think these modern applications are a bit of a stretch.

The book is broken into 13 chapters and covers numerous military strategies such as the use of spies, classification of ground, how to organize an army on the March, and how to attack by fire. The chapters are written in brief one to two sentence "proverbs." Most of theses proverbs directly apply to warfare, although the occasional one may be a bit more philosophical than practical. For example, in Chapter 3, Tzu says,

"Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."



This nugget of wisdom could extend into, say business, or maybe even sports competition. However, Tzu also makes many practical statements about warfare that really can’t be extended beyond their original meaning.


Reading this book, I learned a lot war strategy, and most of it made sense to me- its just not applicable to me. However, it’s another classic checked off the list.


About the Papercut:

Many of the real book covers for The Art of War show a Terra Cotta Chinese soldier. I love this idea, but wanted to do something different. However because it was such a great idea for a cover, it was difficult for me to come up with another idea for a while. Finally, I decided on Chinese dragons, with swords so that it would be more war-like. I enjoyed drawing and papercutting a traditional Chinese dragon, even though the many scales took a while to cut! Because of the intricacy of the design, I had to make this Papercut slightly larger than the 6" x 8" that I usually do for my book covers. But since real books cover in many different sizes, I figure that it’s ok if my Papercut book covers are all different sizes too.

Overall, I’m very pleased with how this book cover came out. What do you think? I love to hear your feedback!

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