Shang Yang Quotes

Who is Shang Yang?

Shang Yang also known as Wei Yang and originally surnamed Gongsun, was an ancient Chinese philosopher, politician and a prominent legalist scholar.

Books by Shang Yang

Best Quotes by Shang Yang

“He who prides himself an extraordinary person by his deeds is rejected by the world; he who has independent ideas is hated by the mass.”

Shang Yang

“Human beings have likes and dislikes; hence, the people can be ruled. The ruler must investigate likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes are the root of rewards and penalties. The disposition of the people is to like ranks and emoluments and to dislike punishments and penalties. The ruler sets up the two in order to guide the people’s will and to establish whatever he desires.”

Shang Yang
The Book of Lord Shang

“If the people are victorious against the government, the nation will be weak; if the government is victorious against the people, the military will have strength.
Thus they will have the means by which they may fight, and thus ascend to supremacy.”

Shang Yang

“In the past, those who were able to regulate All-under-Heaven first had to regulate their own people; those who were able to overcome the enemy had first to overcome their own people.

The root of overcoming the people is controlling the people as the metalworker controls metal and the potter clay. When the roots are not firm, the people will be like flying birds and running animals: Who will then be able to regulate them?

The root of the people is law. Hence, those who excel at orderly rule block the people with law; then a good name and lands can be attained.”

Shang Yang
The Book of Lord Shang

“The stupid don't even understand something that happened long ago, the wise understand it before it develops.”

Shang Yang

“When one thousand people are engaged in agriculture and warfare, yet there is a single man among them engaged in Poems, Documents, argumentativeness and cleverness, then one thousand people all will become remiss in agriculture and warfare. This is the teaching that impoverishes the state and weakens the army.”

Shang Yang
The Book of Lord Shang

“When the people are ignorant, one can become monarch through knowledge; when the generation is knowledgeable, one can become monarch through force.”

Shang Yang
The Book of Lord Shang

“When the people are weak, the state is strong; hence the state that possesses the Way devotes itself to weakening the people.”

Shang Yang
The Book of Lord Shang