"The Art of War" Reimagined Through Diagrams and Graphs

Apr 29, 2015

Illustrator Jessica Hagy thinks the well-known book on war strategy is a metaphor for just about everything.

Illustrator Jessica Hagy
Credit Jason Merryman

Chinese general Sun Tzu's The Art of War is thought of as a classic of its time, covering various aspects of military strategy and philosophy. But while it is ostensibly about fighting a war, the text has been influential among people in other arenas, from sports to business to personal relationships.

"I really get into anything that can be metaphorical, that I can play with an idea that's almost a real shock test for something else. That as soon as you read it you're like, 'Oh! This can mean this, that, the other thing, and all of those things!' And it's beautiful because it can," says artist and writer Jessica Hagy.

Jessica Hagy came to book almost by happenstance. Her husband owned three copies - all different interpretations.

Author and illustrator of How to Be Interesting, Hagy is best known for her witty illustrations featuring simple line graphs, Venn diagrams and more. Her newest art translation, called The Art of War Visualized, gives a unique perspective of the Sun Tzu guide.