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The 48 Laws of Power

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This amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive book synthesizes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz with the historical legacies of statesmen, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages.

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This amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive book synthesizes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz with the historical legacies of statesmen, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages.

30 review for The 48 Laws of Power

  1. 5 out of 5

    Blake

    i learned to be eviiiilll with this book....haha actually this book made me realize how shady people can be. Plus how smart you and ambitious you should be about succeeding in life. You got to stand out in this world. If you roll with the bunches you'll become lost. You always have to have a good reputation or if you have a certain reputation you better use it to your advantage (damn im evil hahaha). This book will expose and teach you alot about the real world. One of my first books i really re i learned to be eviiiilll with this book....haha actually this book made me realize how shady people can be. Plus how smart you and ambitious you should be about succeeding in life. You got to stand out in this world. If you roll with the bunches you'll become lost. You always have to have a good reputation or if you have a certain reputation you better use it to your advantage (damn im evil hahaha). This book will expose and teach you alot about the real world. One of my first books i really read and enjoyed. it motivated me to keeping learning about myself and people. i highly recommend it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shang Shang

    When it comes to morality and ethics, people are used to thinking in terms of black and white. Conversely, "The 48 Laws of Power" deals primarily with the gray areas. At the risk of sounding melodramatic and trite, I say that most of the Laws covered in this book can be used for great evil or for great good. It depends on the reader. There is really nothing wrong with most of the Laws. Each Law comes with true stories from history about those who successfully observed it and those who foolishly o When it comes to morality and ethics, people are used to thinking in terms of black and white. Conversely, "The 48 Laws of Power" deals primarily with the gray areas. At the risk of sounding melodramatic and trite, I say that most of the Laws covered in this book can be used for great evil or for great good. It depends on the reader. There is really nothing wrong with most of the Laws. Each Law comes with true stories from history about those who successfully observed it and those who foolishly or naively transgressed it. Robert Greene has an interpretation for each story. Though each Law is self-explanatory, Greene's explanations are not padding, fluff or stuffing to make the book longer. They actually give greater clarification and depth. Greene's insight even extends to crucial warnings about how the Laws could backfire. There are two reasons to read this book: 1. For attack: To gain power, as have others who have carefully observed the Laws; 2. For defense: To be aware of ways that people may be trying to manipulate you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Josh Steimle

    I think this is a horrible book. Written well enough, sure, whatever, but just so very, very wrong, unless you have no morals. At least with Machiavelli you could make the excuse that he wasn't so much advocating what he said, but merely describing reality. This guy is advocating evil. As I read it I couldn't help wondering how many politicians actually think this way. If I ever met someone who actually liked this book and wanted to live their life according to it, I would never hire that person, I think this is a horrible book. Written well enough, sure, whatever, but just so very, very wrong, unless you have no morals. At least with Machiavelli you could make the excuse that he wasn't so much advocating what he said, but merely describing reality. This guy is advocating evil. As I read it I couldn't help wondering how many politicians actually think this way. If I ever met someone who actually liked this book and wanted to live their life according to it, I would never hire that person, never work for that person, never do business with that person, and would try to avoid any and all relationships with that person. I would like to be quite remotely located physically from any such person. The sad part is I think the author is just plain wrong. Sure, you can find powerful people who have engaged in the behaviors he espouses (I think it's hard to call them "laws") and have been successful, but how many people live life this way and merely end up in the gutter with no friends, no money, and no power? True power comes from being good, not to mention being happy, which is philosophically quite a bit more important than being powerful, although ultimately they are one and the same.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    If the author is evil for writing this...am I evil for enjoying it?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Quincy Miller

    This book belongs in the category of sad-but-true. For those who have a moral objection to the amoral approach of the authors presentation, I understand your feelings, but I think you miss the point. No matter how we feel about the dubious power plays that have occurred throughout history and that occur in our contemporary private and public lives, the fact is that they exist. Here are 48 approaches to power that you will either attempt to use or you will experience them being used against you a This book belongs in the category of sad-but-true. For those who have a moral objection to the amoral approach of the authors presentation, I understand your feelings, but I think you miss the point. No matter how we feel about the dubious power plays that have occurred throughout history and that occur in our contemporary private and public lives, the fact is that they exist. Here are 48 approaches to power that you will either attempt to use or you will experience them being used against you at some point in your life, whether you agree with it ethically or not. If you are one who chooses to never use power over another, at least educate yourself to recognize the subtle and not so subtle ways others will attempt to use power against you. Many a despot would have been dis-empowered had their subjects been aware of the mind-games we humans have consistently used against one another throughout history. It may even be that the lack of this knowledge is as responsible for the abuse of power as the propagation of it. Full of fun and interesting historical anecdotes, this is a thoroughly entertaining read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    No

    “Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.” — Tacitus, C. (A.D. 55-120) "...a woman who is interested in a man wants to see that other women are interested in him, too. Not only does that give him instant value, it makes it all the more satisfying to snatch him from their clutches." -Robert Greene "Everything in seduction however, depends on suggestion. You cannot announce your intentions or reveal them directly in words." "By saying “Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.” — Tacitus, C. (A.D. 55-120) "...a woman who is interested in a man wants to see that other women are interested in him, too. Not only does that give him instant value, it makes it all the more satisfying to snatch him from their clutches." -Robert Greene "Everything in seduction however, depends on suggestion. You cannot announce your intentions or reveal them directly in words." "By saying less than necessary you create the appearance of meaning and power. Also, the less you say, the less risk you run of saying something foolish, even dangerous." -Robert Greene "If you think it important to do all the work yourself, you will never get far, and you will suffer the fate of the Balboas and Teslas of the world. Find people with the skills and creativity you lack. Either hire them, while putting your own name on top of theirs, or find a way to take their work and make it your own. Their creativity thus becomes yours, and you seem a genius to the world." -Robert Greene "Never associate with those who share your defects - they will reinforce everything that holds you back. Only create associations with positive affinities. Make this a rule of life and you will benefit more than from all the therapy in the world." - Robert Greene "Those who seek to achieve things should show no mercy." - Kautilya, Indian Philosopher, Third Century B.C. "To have ultimate victory, you must be ruthless." - Napolean Bonaparte 1769-1821 "...view all those around you as pawns in your rise to the top. You cannot let yourself become the lackey for any cause." -Robert Greene (Law 20) "Do not commit yourself to anybody or anything, for that is to be a slave, a slave to every man... Above all, keep yourself free of commitments and obligations - they are the device of another to get you into his power..." - Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658) "Learn to control yourself, to restrain your natural tendency to take sides and join the fight. Be friendly and charming to each of the combatants, then step back as they collide. With every battle they grow weaker, while you grow stronger with every battle you avoid." -Robert Greene (Law 20) "To reveal the true nature of your intelligence rarely plays; you should get in the habit of downplaying it at all times. If people inadvertently learn the truth - that you are actually much smarter than you look - they will admire you more for being discreet than for making your brilliance show." - Robert Greene (Law 21) "...the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept." - Athenian Delegation "...it is a general and necessary law of nature to rule whatever one can." - Athenian Delegation "When the great lord passes, the wise peasant bows deeply and silently farts." - Ethiopian Proverb "In any organization it is inevitable for a small group to hold the strings. And often it is not those with the titles. In the game of power, only the fool flails about without fixing his target. You must find out who controls the operations, who is the real director behind the scenes." - Robert Greene  "The character you seem to have been born with is not necessarily who you are; beyond the characteristics you have inherited, your parents, your friends, and your peers have helped to shape your personality. The promethean task of the powerful is to take control of the process, to stop allowing others that ability to limit and mold them. Remake yourself into a character of power. Working on yourself like clay should be one of your greatest and most pleasurable life tasks. It makes you in essence an artist - an artist creating yourself." - Robert Greene (Law 25) "Learn to play many roles, to be whatever the moment requires. Adapt your mask to the situation - be protean in the faces you wear. Bismarck played this game to perfection: To a liberal he was a liberal, to a hawk he was a hawk. He could not be grasped, and what cannot be grasped cannot be consumed." - Robert Greene "One should not be too straightforward. Go and see the forest. The straight trees are cut down, the crooked ones are left standing." - Kautilya, Indian philosopher, third century B.C. “Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.” - Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) "Law 31" sound familiar in today's current politics? "The Reality: Change is slow and gradual. It requires hard work, a bit of luck, a fair amount of self-sacrifice, and lots of patience. The Fantasy: A sudden transformation will bring a total change in one's fortunes, bypassing work, luck, self-sacrifice, and time in on fantastic stroke." "...there is often someone behind the scenes who has a great deal of power, a tremendous influence over the person superficially on top. These behind-the-scenes powerbrokers are the group's weak link: Win their favor and you indirectly influence the king." "Time is an artificial concept that we ourselves have created to make the limitlessness of eternity and the universe more bearable, more human." "Desire often creates paradoxical effects: The more you want something, the more you chase after it, the more it eludes you. The more interest you show, the more you repel the object of your desire. This is because your interest is too strong - it makes people awkward, even fearful. Uncontrollable desire makes you seem weak, unworthy, pathetic." "...showing his wealth only on the inside of his house." "When you want to fight us, we don't let you and you can't find us. But when we want to fight you, we make sure that you can't get away and we hit you squarely... and wipe you out... The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue." - Mai Tse-tung (1893-1976)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I hated every word of this manual for the soulless. It's a perfect example of exactly what's wrong with Big Pharma, big business, Wall Street, and in short capitalism as it's currently practiced. This book, which is kinda-sorta a synthesis of many previous Me First directives (Machiavelli leaps to mind), is a handbook on how to fuck over everyone you come in contact with, in order for you to get "ahead" and "succeed". It'd be awesome for sociopaths and wanna-be-CEOs. It plunged me into despair. I hated every word of this manual for the soulless. It's a perfect example of exactly what's wrong with Big Pharma, big business, Wall Street, and in short capitalism as it's currently practiced. This book, which is kinda-sorta a synthesis of many previous Me First directives (Machiavelli leaps to mind), is a handbook on how to fuck over everyone you come in contact with, in order for you to get "ahead" and "succeed". It'd be awesome for sociopaths and wanna-be-CEOs. It plunged me into despair. Parts of it actually raised gooseflesh on my arms while I was reading, I was so freaked out. Repellent. Utterly amoral. Reprehensible. Negative 300 million zillion stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Babs

    Did you ever notice how sometimes the right book comes along at the right time? I bought this book way back in '01, almost as a joke--it was so politically incorrect, but mostly for the stellar historical references-- remember, he who forgets the past is destined to repeat it. Little did I realize this tome was to become one of the most dog-eared and spine-cracked books in my collection. Initially, I was trying to make sense of the havoc that schemers and liars were wreaking upon me. I used to b Did you ever notice how sometimes the right book comes along at the right time? I bought this book way back in '01, almost as a joke--it was so politically incorrect, but mostly for the stellar historical references-- remember, he who forgets the past is destined to repeat it. Little did I realize this tome was to become one of the most dog-eared and spine-cracked books in my collection. Initially, I was trying to make sense of the havoc that schemers and liars were wreaking upon me. I used to be naive & innocent, kinda. But then I started relying on some, but not all, of the laws to survive and thrive. Some great lessons from this book: 1. Learn to control your emotions. 2. Contingency. Flexibility. Have a "Plan B." 3. Learn from your past. 4. Life is a game, don't take it personally. What I can't seem to learn is how to conceal my intentions, and play the role of a "courtier." That said, I can unconditionally and unequivocally recommend this book, just for the mini liberal arts "Western Civ" education you'll receive. Read it, you'll have some good conversation at random water coolers and cocktail parties, you might even score a spot on Jeopardy, but you'll definitely kick some poor, weak, sots ass at Trivial Pursuit.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yosep

    For all the readers and reviewers who don't "get" or like this book, here's what you are not getting: It is fact. This book is not teaching anyone to be amoral. It is teaching you how people really are in the real world. It separates the behaviors and tactics of people in history who have succeeded and failed into the 48 "Laws". It is an explanation of power in the only way it can be expressed. If you don't want to be a deceitful heartless prick who does whatever he can to whomever all for perso For all the readers and reviewers who don't "get" or like this book, here's what you are not getting: It is fact. This book is not teaching anyone to be amoral. It is teaching you how people really are in the real world. It separates the behaviors and tactics of people in history who have succeeded and failed into the 48 "Laws". It is an explanation of power in the only way it can be expressed. If you don't want to be a deceitful heartless prick who does whatever he can to whomever all for personal gain, then I praise you. However, YOU STILL NEED TO READ THIS BOOK to protect yourself from aforementioned amoral deceitful pricks. I read this book with this understanding(which Greene also suggests in the book), and came away from it very enlightened. Live your life as you see fit, but I always recommend facing reality in its purest rawest form, and this book really uncovers the seedy underbelly of how powerful people interact with one another.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dave Garnand

    I completely misunderstood what I was about to read when I got this book. I foolishly thought it was going to be a strongly researched and thoughtful historical investigation into the nature of power with 48 astute observations similar to Good to Great or other thoughtful research. This books is probably written for and is appealing to the shallow and overconfident who seek to take more from the world than they give by using the perpetually infantile "well, they're doing it!." If you are committe I completely misunderstood what I was about to read when I got this book. I foolishly thought it was going to be a strongly researched and thoughtful historical investigation into the nature of power with 48 astute observations similar to Good to Great or other thoughtful research. This books is probably written for and is appealing to the shallow and overconfident who seek to take more from the world than they give by using the perpetually infantile "well, they're doing it!." If you are committed to understanding the human condition and pushing our socio-evolution to higher and higher levels of mutuality, collaboration, and "peace on earth, good will toward" one another, this book is either comedy, parody, or pathetic. Maybe the author has his tongue in his cheek like Rush Limbaugh who makes bazillions whipping the ignorant into a frenzy. I find that annoying. I find this book annoying. More concretely, there are two ways to research or investigate a subject; one is to know already what you believe and then find examples that you can stick into your belief system. A good example of this is Creationism. Another good example of this is this book. The other, more...what shall I say, interesting way is to wonder about something, investigate it, look at your findings and see what what you can make of it - even if you don't like what you find. The world, in my view, is moving - slowly - to a more beautiful way to think about power (Read Robert Greenleaf's The Servant Leader for starters, then read something like The Joy of Work by Bakke and, again, Collins' Good to Great where we find great leaders "looking out the window" when things go well and "looking in the mirror" when things go badly). You can't talk people out of listening to Rush Limbaugh and those people will love this book. I think I just wandered into the wrong bar. My bad.

  11. 5 out of 5

    S Kasm

    There are some engaging principles here that make you consider the principle of power from different vantage points -- This book is for those who already have a strong moral center as you find that the author meanders and introduces you to novel approaches to accquiring power --- often times at the expense of values. In many ways, this book is Machiavellian in scope and re-modifies many of the same principles in The Prince for our more modern age. If you're looking for a short-cut to get to the There are some engaging principles here that make you consider the principle of power from different vantage points -- This book is for those who already have a strong moral center as you find that the author meanders and introduces you to novel approaches to accquiring power --- often times at the expense of values. In many ways, this book is Machiavellian in scope and re-modifies many of the same principles in The Prince for our more modern age. If you're looking for a short-cut to get to the top and to compromise some values, then this may be the book for you. Otherwise, I recommend books that are more humanistic and ethically aligned. If you're interested in the "Art of Seduction" --- then again, Robert Greene weaves some interesting anectodes with some of his own wisdom on the subject.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Greg Seguin

    The book is little more than a collection of conflicting laws that are supported only by anecdotal evidence. Good for entertainment and historical vignettes but no real substance or takeaways here.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amir Tesla

    A book of wisdom, a compilation of tactics, hordes of to-avoid mistakes, rich set of brilliant tested ideas for thriving. Although many of the rules might seem devilish, they'd better be considered as lessons to be aware of in perilous social life. This book is unspeakably well written. Everyone can definitely benefit having it read for its lessons are ones that have been tested and utilized throughout the history by bold figures. I really enjoyed this book and learned an intense amount of knowl A book of wisdom, a compilation of tactics, hordes of to-avoid mistakes, rich set of brilliant tested ideas for thriving. Although many of the rules might seem devilish, they'd better be considered as lessons to be aware of in perilous social life. This book is unspeakably well written. Everyone can definitely benefit having it read for its lessons are ones that have been tested and utilized throughout the history by bold figures. I really enjoyed this book and learned an intense amount of knowledge.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Chatman

    Let me start by stating that I was EXTREMELY skeptical about this book, though I had heard so much about it prior to reading it (I don't know, maybe it was the mood I was in). My first thoughts while reading the preface were "Oh god...please don't let this be another book written from the point of view of an arrogant, self centered, self absorbed, narrow minded individual who only sees the world from his end of the spectrum, and believes that without his personal philosophy the rest of us mere m Let me start by stating that I was EXTREMELY skeptical about this book, though I had heard so much about it prior to reading it (I don't know, maybe it was the mood I was in). My first thoughts while reading the preface were "Oh god...please don't let this be another book written from the point of view of an arrogant, self centered, self absorbed, narrow minded individual who only sees the world from his end of the spectrum, and believes that without his personal philosophy the rest of us mere mortals would be doomed!" I am pleased to say that I was TOTALLY wrong and pleasantly surprised. I loved this book! I give the author a tremendous amount of credit for even attempting to take on an issue as COLOSSAL as power and sum it all up in 430 pages. As I stated earlier I was extremely skeptical and was under the impression that this book would be mainly propaganda infused and maybe laced with a little personal philosophy here and there. As I dug deeper into this great work though, I found that the author's personal philosophy actually takes a backseat to the historical references and stories that would eventually take center stage and serve as an excellent way to prove his point and drive it home. I found the accounts of the different powerful figures from ancient civilization all the way up to modern times to be very effective, logical, and convincing. It's always hard to disagree with someone when there's a clear cut example to support the claim. Now I would not recommend this book to the faint of heart. I reiterate that as the author had to have tough skin to address the topic of power, so should the reader in order to read this book and understand it, let alone enjoy it. This book addresses power from every single angle and aspect of it; from exercising power over ones self and his or her own actions, to having power over other people and their actions. I was expecting a lot of sugar coating and flattering words (as you usually get when power is being addressed) but to the contrary there was a boldness and a distinctly honest quality about this book. That had to have taken a lot of courage...salute. The fact that this was Robert Greene's 1st book is commendable in that respect. The word "game" often resurfaces throughout in reference to power,(to whom it may concern) I found that interesting. Power took on the form of politics(which I'm not usually into) and leadership was addressed in an almost microscopic type fashion which made the read more interesting. Some of my favorite historical figures appear throughout also to add clarity. People like Julius Caesar, Otto Von Bismarck, and Sun Tzu have recurring roles in this extreme display of excellence. Power is more times than often romanticized and made to seem alluring and seductive, but very few people dare to explore the object of it from every angle and address the dangers that abound when it is abused; making it easy for an author to inadvertently send an unsuspecting reader of one of these "in a perfect world" type books into a merciless, unrelenting, and unforgiving environment only to be devoured due to misguidance and unpreparedness. The 48 Laws Of Power is not one of those books. Now there are things that I TOTALLY disagree with in this book. There were portions that I read and thought to myself " I would never do anything like that." On the flip side I was glad that those parts were included also because they gave me insight in to the psyche of the person who would and actually does the things that I choose not to do. Then there are also parts that I TOTALLY agree with; parts that I read and got EXTREMELY excited about! I found myself saying "now that's EXACTLY what I would do!" I personally think that's what makes for a great read. Having the notoriously wicked villain only makes you love the heroic character all the more. The 48 Laws Of Power has a little bit of everything in it. Power is addressed, so naturally there's deceit, greed, treachery, corruption, and scandal involved. There's a hint of romance with ancient tales like the story of Ninon de Lenclos and Marquis de Serigne. There's also a pinch of heartbreak like you'd find in the story of King Henry the 13th and Catherine of Argon: both aspects of power that I just happen to find fascinating. Surprisingly there were also instances in which those who appeared to be powerful were actually powerless for whatever reason. This book addresses power from every angle, legitimate and illegitimate, in an unbiased way and I appreciated and enjoyed that aspect immensely. I recommend this book to the man or woman who has reached a crossroad in his or her life and has found themselves staring down the barrel of a powerful decision... either become or remain a subordinate: a life where there's a lot less risk, danger, and treachery involved...or Boss Up: take initiative and pursue a position of leadership and endure the hardships, responsibilities, and drawbacks that being a leader entails. I would also recommend this book to the person who has already acquired a position of leadership somehow, whether it be through hard work and sacrifice, or simply through inheritance. I think all such would find this book to be a tremendous help in deciding on whether to simply bask in what has already been given to you and carry on tradition, or blaze your own path and set your own rules...make your mark. This may be an oldie to some, but I'm sure there are still a few that have yet to take a gander at this and marvel as I did. In conclusion: real will always recognize real and it is impossible for one to miss the realness that resides between the pages of The 48 Laws Of Power... Salute.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tosh

    This is really an unique book that serves both as a manual as well as a reading of the history of power and how it was used through the ages. I imagine most read this book to get insight into business transactions or self-help - but what is fascinating are the examples that are used to show certain aspects of obtaining or getting power. That and Robert's other two books "The Art of Seduction" and the War one are important studies on the nature of those subject matters. Really unique and interesti This is really an unique book that serves both as a manual as well as a reading of the history of power and how it was used through the ages. I imagine most read this book to get insight into business transactions or self-help - but what is fascinating are the examples that are used to show certain aspects of obtaining or getting power. That and Robert's other two books "The Art of Seduction" and the War one are important studies on the nature of those subject matters. Really unique and interesting!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Imagine if you will, that one awkward asperger-syndrome kid in the college dorm who sits in the game room reading the art of war all the time and generally being an out of touch borderline creep. You know the guy I mean. The dude who has about eight separate motivations for going to lunch with you, and thinks that picking up the tab will put you forever into a wookie life debt for him. This book was written for people like him. It's like a how-to manual for wannabe sociopaths, and is two parts hi Imagine if you will, that one awkward asperger-syndrome kid in the college dorm who sits in the game room reading the art of war all the time and generally being an out of touch borderline creep. You know the guy I mean. The dude who has about eight separate motivations for going to lunch with you, and thinks that picking up the tab will put you forever into a wookie life debt for him. This book was written for people like him. It's like a how-to manual for wannabe sociopaths, and is two parts hilariously out-of-touch with the modern world, to one part "practical advice that you should know anyway if you've ever interacted with anyone." Every one of the 48 rules of power has an example of "obeying the rules: great success" and "didn't obey the rule, probably died a miserable failure". All of these examples are generally from like 900AD and involve politics from the 4th dynasty of Burma or some stupid irrelevant shit like that. The author has an attitude that everyone is a horrible person who is out to get you if you don't do so first, and his contempt for people seeps through when he constantly refers to people who don't play the power game as "fools" and "suckers". The only redeemable factor of this book is that you might more quickly identify the type of sociopaths who circlejerk over stuff like this in your workplace. Usually the same sort who got their online MBA writing thesis papers on books like this one, the art of war, and seven habits of highly effective people. If you've ever used the term "cats-paw" unironically, you might enjoy this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    This is Machiavelli updated for the everyman (and woman). Robert Greene is educated as all get out and he puts it out there for everyone to see. Really, the only way you can make arguments for the positions he takes is by citing historical example, (i.e. the laws of power are immutable and unchanging and here's all my examples throughout history to explicate that). Machiavelli really only relied on his own times (Renaissance Italy which of course was populated with characters like Cesare Borge w This is Machiavelli updated for the everyman (and woman). Robert Greene is educated as all get out and he puts it out there for everyone to see. Really, the only way you can make arguments for the positions he takes is by citing historical example, (i.e. the laws of power are immutable and unchanging and here's all my examples throughout history to explicate that). Machiavelli really only relied on his own times (Renaissance Italy which of course was populated with characters like Cesare Borge who were ripe for Machiavelli to canonize) and antiquity. Greene, on the other hand, talks about everyone from ancient Chinese warlords to Talleyrand to Thomas Edison. This book is often marketed as some kind of self help book but it's much more than that. I don't know if the "48 Laws" are the only laws and, moreoever, I'm not sure they couldn't be condensed into fewer, more elegant, laws. BUT, what Greene has to say has caught on in a lot of circles (I read a story about Robert Greene in the New Yorker where he was hanging out with both 50 Cent and the dude who started American Apparel, Dov Charney. I wouldn't consider either of those guys my literary heroes or anything, but it is interesting that they have this fellow and his book(s) in common), and I think it's definitely worth reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Safat

    I've seen many people disliking this book because it's evil. What they do not understand that this book is meant to be evil. And in its execution, it was spectacular. This book is a classic. I think the world is a horrible place because good people don't understand evil scheme, or can't plot evil scheme when its necessary to fight the evil. As evil minds are generally ruthless in executing their schemes, they win most of the time. To fight it, you must play dirty when necessary. That being said, I've seen many people disliking this book because it's evil. What they do not understand that this book is meant to be evil. And in its execution, it was spectacular. This book is a classic. I think the world is a horrible place because good people don't understand evil scheme, or can't plot evil scheme when its necessary to fight the evil. As evil minds are generally ruthless in executing their schemes, they win most of the time. To fight it, you must play dirty when necessary. That being said, this book has enormous seductive power which could transform you to manipulating mind. Here's two laws that I particularly liked.. Law 1: Never outshine your master. Law 4: Always say less than necessary. Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people's self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude. Law 19: Know who you are dealing with, do not offend the wrong person. Law 40: Despise the free lunch. Law 46: Never appear two perfect. What makes the book a fun read is that each law is bolstered by historical stories, where either observance of the law or transgression of the law is exemplified. So the reader can relate the laws to real life scenarios, even in his own life. This is an exceptionally well written book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    carrie beth

    I couldn't stomach this book so to be fair I only finished about a quarter of it so I can't speak for the whole thing. A friend recommended it to me. It seemed to justify selfishness on these somewhat flawed ethics-based arguments. I think it's a recommended reading for business majors. Some folks love it. A good book to check out on power that takes a somewhat different approach is Thich Naht Hanh's "The Art of Power".

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jareed

    Also posted on my blog: i'mbookedindefinitely In the confines of my sociological classes, where my known companions were Locke, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Rousseau, and Mills, saying that I loved this book would perhaps even amount to an affront to the value I have assigned to it back then. When I entered law school and got oriented in the ways of the law, the cunning, ruthless, and decisive ways of the legal world, I appreciated this book. It was practical and in these present days it simply made sens Also posted on my blog: i'mbookedindefinitely In the confines of my sociological classes, where my known companions were Locke, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Rousseau, and Mills, saying that I loved this book would perhaps even amount to an affront to the value I have assigned to it back then. When I entered law school and got oriented in the ways of the law, the cunning, ruthless, and decisive ways of the legal world, I appreciated this book. It was practical and in these present days it simply made sense. In a dog-eat-dog world, you had to arm yourself. This was the perfect weapon. But power can be achieved in a multitude of ways and Greene wrote this handbook in perspective of a certain limited spectrum. To avoid any definitional debate and to put this review's foundation on the right track, POWER as used in this book needs to be defined. I would mention Thomas Hobbes' working definition of power as derived from the Leviathan (4 STARS) as “a man’s . . . present means, to obtain some future apparent good, which is divided into two kinds: (1) natural, derived from inborn abilities of the body and mind, including intellect, strength, wit, and artistic ability, and (2) instrumental, derived from the acquired faculties and advantages of friends, money, or reputation (1651),” but there is greater propensity to consider the definition written by Robert Dahl in his article: The Concept of Power (1957), (here's an online link to the article) stating that, "power is the ability of A to get B to do something he or she would otherwise not do. In the case of authority, B’s behavior is driven by obligation, not force, but the operative condition is the same: B does something he or she would otherwise not do because of A’s will." The kind this book talks about is rooted in deception, it is sustained by cunning, and realized by manipulation. Yes, that is the kind of power this book seeks to achieve. So if dear reader, you seek such kind of power, continue on and revel in this book. The draconian, the Machiavellian, the power hungry, the deceiver, the cynic, now this one's for you. To which in the same sense I would caution the veracious and the pure souls in reading this. If you're one seeking the generous and the warm kind, I would go as far to suggest that you instead read the succeeding selections, for this book is effective like that, it can change someone. The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm (3 STARS) A General Theory of Love A Lover's Discourse: Fragments Because love is a powerful force just like that. :) The title says it all. This book contains 48 laws of power to which one chapter is adroitly dedicated to the discussion of each law. The chapters' form can be generally characterized through first a discussion of the law itself and a recommendation on how to apply and realize this law. Greene further indurates these discussions by providing the nuances in every law and countering the said nuances themselves. The foregoing discussion is followed either by an allegory or an anecdote lifted from the lives of people who have been notable in the fields of war, politics, and deception, a list which the likes of Talleyrand, Clausewitz, Bonaparte, and Bismarck populate. Green concludes the chapters by providing a summary of the discussion through an approximated equivalent imagery representation and a brief quotation from a notable individual to probably stand as an authority on the matter. The writing is simple and direct as it should be for books categorized under the self-help genre. The typesetting is interesting, it somehow adds to the appeal of this book. Every chapter contains stories separate from the allegories and anecdotes directly infused in the discussion of the law itself (personally, I give thanks to this book for introducing me to Clausewitz, Gracian, and several other authors and books). These references are pivotal if not indispensable as Greene derives the strength of his arguments and laws from historical figures. Of course, his statements, however overreaching and cynical at times, seem to resonate with a certain veracity when kings, emperors, warlords, and philosophers of incomparable renown are included in the picture. What is surprising though is that a number of his references come from Baltasar Gracian, a Jesuit. Coming across the numerous reviews of this book, the discussion and debate of whether this book is amoral or immoral, sometimes bordering what some people designate as 'evil' strikes me as discussion that can be easily resolved, if not clarified. You see, people are not simply engaging in a definitional debate here. The contention of what is good and evil is a value judgement dispute, something that has been in place even before the history of man was conceived. I say this in recognition of the dangers that cultural relativity presents. This right here is the dilemma, if everything is relative, can there exist a universal moral code operative not only over a single class or culture but for the entire race that would help us in qualifying the contents of this book? Kant and his Categorical Imperative would agree that it exists, but let us not stray to far from this review. The point of all this is that, if you think selectively trusting your friends (Law #2), concealing your intentions (Law #3), taking credit for others work (Law #5)... is good, then you may as well validly and relatively argue that this is a "good, heaven-sent" book, and so too does the converse work and I will leave you at that. The truth however is that a fine line does exist between what is good and evil. True, it is a fine line, but it is not something that is indiscernible. The sad thing is that most people choose to turn a blind eye rather than being critical and responsive. People furthermore tend to consciously complicate simple things resulting in the unduly blurring of the boundaries, leading to our own undoing. If it helps, here's what Robert Greene thinks of what you've just read; "Everyone assumes I practise all of my own laws but I don’t. I think anybody who did would be a horrible ugly person to be around." (The Telegraph, 2010) For all that, this still occupies a special space on the permanent bookshelf on my reading table, along with Machiavelli, The Little Prince, my hard won thesis, my camera's manuals and my journal, cradled securely by my direwolf bookends. It remains to be special, certainly not as valuable as when I first read it, but still worthy of the place it occupies. If your looking for an academic read on power, read Power: A Radical View (4 STARS), a book containing a number of articles by key contributors in the field like Hobbes, Foucault, and Dahl. It explores the conception, aspects, derivatives and several perspectives in viewing power.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Austin

    Robert Greene has done an excellent job of distilling how power works at the macro level, among great generals, statesmen, larger-than-life seducers, and even top CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. But most of us do not experience power in the way that is presumed by these examples. Most of us experience a much more fluid, shifting, and consensus-based form of power among people whom we must work with over and over again over many years and cannot afford to treat as disposable. This book is of limi Robert Greene has done an excellent job of distilling how power works at the macro level, among great generals, statesmen, larger-than-life seducers, and even top CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. But most of us do not experience power in the way that is presumed by these examples. Most of us experience a much more fluid, shifting, and consensus-based form of power among people whom we must work with over and over again over many years and cannot afford to treat as disposable. This book is of limited value for understanding power in such normal, everyday situations where those exercising power lack the ability to behead, poison, or even to fire those with whom they work. The book works very well as a history of how absolute power has been accumulated, preserved, and lost. It works much less well as an set of instructions for how to exercise influence in a world where power is much more diffuse and unstable than it is in almost any of the examples that the author relies on as the basis for his "laws."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Samarth Agnihotri

    •I believe that in this era there are a lot of people waiting eagerly to take advantage of you and if you are not clever enough, if you don't have a sense of the real world enough then you will get crushed by this world and god knows what else can happen. •This is one of my personally favourite books. A bit long but with loads of information. I recommend this book to everyone. It contains some dark laws too but at the end of the day it's your choice that how you wanna cope with a situation. •You •I believe that in this era there are a lot of people waiting eagerly to take advantage of you and if you are not clever enough, if you don't have a sense of the real world enough then you will get crushed by this world and god knows what else can happen. •This is one of my personally favourite books. A bit long but with loads of information. I recommend this book to everyone. It contains some dark laws too but at the end of the day it's your choice that how you wanna cope with a situation. •You will encounter 48 very strong laws which I believe if you follow, you will become indispensable. There are some short stories with one contradicting and one following real life situations and trust me they are just amzaing. •I have read some negative comments about this book but in reality this book tells you the real perspective of life making you more competent, strong, deceiving and unstoppable. •The writing format and style is fantastic and to the point. Know the reality of the world and set yourself free from misery before it's too late. •Have a nice day and keep developing yourself :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pumpkinberry

    This book does not get two stars because I am offended by its contents, or naive enough to think that this isn't how some people function. This book gets two stars simply because it's boring, though it does have it's funny moments. I picked up 48 Laws of Power with no knowledge about it at all. It was an eBook lent to me by a friend, and when I started reading it- I thought it was a joke. I found myself laughing out loud at this "exaggerated" take on the recognizable actions of people I had prev This book does not get two stars because I am offended by its contents, or naive enough to think that this isn't how some people function. This book gets two stars simply because it's boring, though it does have it's funny moments. I picked up 48 Laws of Power with no knowledge about it at all. It was an eBook lent to me by a friend, and when I started reading it- I thought it was a joke. I found myself laughing out loud at this "exaggerated" take on the recognizable actions of people I had previously encountered in life. When I realized the book was intended to be serious, it lost all appeal, and three stars as well. Everything written in this book should be, in my opinion, common sense. Perhaps I was lucky (or unlucky?) enough to run into people who act like this, so I recognize this type of behavior immediately. But if it wasn't meant to be a funny and light hearted way of educating, then it felt like, "The Incredibly Short and Paraphrased Idiot's Guide to Machiavellianism". It keeps two stars because a lot of what is said in the book is true. I find it interesting that a lot of reviewers called the actions in this book, "evil", when really it's just taking everyone back to the roots of human instinct. It's ugly, but a lot of people act and feel this way, and there's no harm in educating yourself so you can recognize when you're being manipulated.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria Gad

    Power is a social game, and you have to master it. It is a game in which there is no exit. The better you master it,the better and the more successful person you will be. Smartness is about not to opear too power hungry and in the same time to have no power over people and events. To help us master the keys of power, the book provides 48 laws. Truthfully, the book is very well-organized and clearly aimed. The book's methodology is as follow: -Law -Judgment - Observance of the law,in which it contai Power is a social game, and you have to master it. It is a game in which there is no exit. The better you master it,the better and the more successful person you will be. Smartness is about not to opear too power hungry and in the same time to have no power over people and events. To help us master the keys of power, the book provides 48 laws. Truthfully, the book is very well-organized and clearly aimed. The book's methodology is as follow: -Law -Judgment - Observance of the law,in which it contains real life examples -Interpretation (explanation for the examples, what we get from it and what we should do) -An image and a proverb that is applicable to the law (as a way of preserving the law) The good new is that there are many of the laws and ideas helps us be quite powerful and successful. They are logical and should be included in our laws, principles and traditions For example: -Tackling the idea of mastering your emotions -Dealing with the past "Half of the game is learning to forget those events in the past that eat away at you and cloud your reason.The real purpose at the backward-glancing eye is to educate yourself constantly" -How to deal with your superiors (which was very well-tackled -law 1) -How to transform weakness into power -How to recreate yourself -How to treat others The bad news is Greene is so much influenced by Machiavelli. All over the book, the reader feels this Machiavellian soul. If Machiavelli gave advises to the ruler (or the prince) in the form of a book. Greene advises to the ordinary people. so it's like "The prince 2" And as we all know, Machiavelli's main principal in life is "the Ends justifies the means". Greene adopted this principle. Unfortunately, Most the majority of the laws is against morals and religions. Greene's ideas are well, shocking. It makes or he already thinks it is a war in which all is against all. A psychological war. They will make the world worse,or let me put it in an another words,the world which is already evil will be more evil. Here are examples to clarify what I mean: -"surround your name with the sensational and scandalous..do anything to make yourself seem larger than life" -"By pretending to bare your heart to another person,in other words, you make them more likely to reveal their own secrets..they will reveal all kinds of truths about themselves,truths you can later use against them" -Law 15; "Crush your enemy totally" -"Playing people against one another, making them pursue you" Better name this book "How to be a bastard ( or a scoundrel -as you like) in a few days" There is a thin line between being powerful while respecting morals and immorality powerful, this book failed this issue. The point is I can have the keys of power and gain the heaven. The 48 laws of power is a sly and an odd book. It's very well-written and contains a lot of rich examples. It consumes a lot of effort, time and concentration, so if you decided to read it, you should dedicate a whole month to reading it only. I have spent about 20 days reading this book and they weren't enough. Some of the laws and ideas were being repeated all over the book. It's an irreplaceable guide to any politician,since in its heart politics is about power. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." ( Matthew 10:16)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim Razinha

    This book is funny, but not as much as the Amazon and Goodreads reviews. You have the people who took it seriously and gave it five stars. And then you have the people who took it seriously and gave it one star. Lighten up, Francis! I didn't take it seriously, but instead took it for what it was: a bunch of unsourced anecdotes (a BUNCH of anecdotes...multiple per "law") draped in the author's interpretations of applicability. Okay, he has a "selected" bibliography, but every anecdote is just pre This book is funny, but not as much as the Amazon and Goodreads reviews. You have the people who took it seriously and gave it five stars. And then you have the people who took it seriously and gave it one star. Lighten up, Francis! I didn't take it seriously, but instead took it for what it was: a bunch of unsourced anecdotes (a BUNCH of anecdotes...multiple per "law") draped in the author's interpretations of applicability. Okay, he has a "selected" bibliography, but every anecdote is just presented without reference so they're just some tales packaged to illustrate a point or three. Some of those interpretations are insightful, and some are...a reach. Most are just stories loosely connected to his "laws". Greene made a bunch of money selling these "laws" and hats off to him. I wish I didn't care about what I wrote and could sell this stuff.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dimitris

    What I really liked in this book was the historical moments mentioned inside for each of the 48 laws that you'd have to follow of some sort and execute to be successful or get what you want in life. Each "law" is described as what to do or not to do and then it gives you a little example of it with what happened at a certain point in history. Tough act to follow for those who say this book is evil and shit. Difficult to stay true to what this book says and just be an asshole. If you're an asshole What I really liked in this book was the historical moments mentioned inside for each of the 48 laws that you'd have to follow of some sort and execute to be successful or get what you want in life. Each "law" is described as what to do or not to do and then it gives you a little example of it with what happened at a certain point in history. Tough act to follow for those who say this book is evil and shit. Difficult to stay true to what this book says and just be an asshole. If you're an asshole, you don't need a book to tell you how to be one. And if you're not, you won't be. Even though it tells you what to avoid to do or to get what you want with any means necessary and that means be an asshole to people around you/you work with or whatnot. But anyway, at the end of the day, it's nice to read about what happened back in the days with some of the most known people throughout the history. Most of it accurate of course, but you know, you never know in SOME cases what exactly happened or if there was anything behind some motives of the people the book it talks about.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Majdz

    The reason for giving this book 4 stars is for the beautiful way it is written. It is very thorough (even though very long) and I was amazed by all the real life stories Greene gives to emphasize his concepts. I don't agree with many theories he states, and I didn't understand some of them (given my very passive character), but I learned a lot of history nonetheless. Apparently Greene gave this book a lot of effort and a lot of research was put into making this book what it is. I recommend it ju The reason for giving this book 4 stars is for the beautiful way it is written. It is very thorough (even though very long) and I was amazed by all the real life stories Greene gives to emphasize his concepts. I don't agree with many theories he states, and I didn't understand some of them (given my very passive character), but I learned a lot of history nonetheless. Apparently Greene gave this book a lot of effort and a lot of research was put into making this book what it is. I recommend it just for those interested in some history of big minds or leaders, and how their actions led to their fall or rise.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Definitely read this book if you're planning on being a war general soon. Or if you want to destroy your "enemies." If you want to be happy, probably this book is useless for you. Most of the models of power ended up being killed or miserable. This book is pretty useful--anyone who doesn't see it as satire or rates it as 5 stars, you should probably avoid in your daily life--they think you're tool and are incapable of human love.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Hathout

    This book is a manual for that person who wants to be an Egoistic Bastard.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kells Next Read

    Actual Ratings 4.5 Surprisingly I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it via audio and I absolutely loved the narrator.

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