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The Millionaire Mind
The Millionaire Mind
by Thomas J. Stanley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.72
269 used & new from $0.91

5.0 out of 5 stars HOW MILLIONAIRES GOT THAT WAY - PRACTICAL AND INSIGHTFUL INSIDER-INFO, August 17, 2006
This review is from: The Millionaire Mind (Paperback)
Productivity...attack, working in conjunction with frugality...defense - many coaches and success writers tend to focus more on the former tactics than the latter. Interesting to learn that you may earn lots of money - millions even - and be "Income-affluent", but still not be a champion player, as Dr. Thomas Stanley sees it. The real goal, he says, is to be "Balance sheet-affluent". Welcome to the real meaning of millionaire.

One achievement author once said that if all the millions of dollars in the world were taken from the richest and distributed equally between everyone, come back in a few years time, it would all be back in the hands of those that once had the most...What you have rarely exceeds what you are. So if someone gives you a million dollars, you'd better hurry up and become a millionaire. How then does one aspire to become a millionaire - not just in bank-statement but in also state-of-mind?

That's exactly what Dr. Stanley teaches in his research-based but reader-friendly book. He teaches attack: being productive, working harder than others, and having good interpersonal and leadership skills. But more emphatically, he teachers defense: being honest, cutting costs and avoiding heavy consumer spending, saving and investing, investing in diverse vehicles (a private business, real estate, your personal home - in addition to stocks) and - interesting but illuminating - selecting a supportive spouse.

Dr. Stanley also teaches what millionaires are not. They are not "the beautiful people", born with some mystical predestination towards wealth that is exclusive only unto themselves. They are not necessarily those who made the highest grades in high school and college. They are just the ordinary folk next door who over time have consistently made right choices concerning their vocation, their finances, and even whom they should marry.

Becoming a millionaire: other writers preach hope and tell you it can happen; Dr. Stanley presents you with facts and shows you PRACTICALLY how it has happened for others. Read this book and you'll have begun to acquire the mentality requisite to creating the wealth you want; you'll have begun to acquire the MILLIONAIRE MIND.


My Life
My Life
by Bill Clinton
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.33
235 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill Clinton - A Deeper Perspective, July 31, 2006
This review is from: My Life (Paperback)
I must confess I didn't really think much of Bill Clinton - or politicians in general for that matter. "Slick Willie" is the name by which Ross Perot and Pat Robertson, at various times, have referred to him. And, admittedly, that was the image he presented as I lifted the fat volume that is his autobiography - face smiling perfectly for the cameras but eyes appearing watchful and detached from it all. Reading through this book, however, gave me a newer, fresher perspective. Clinton comes off as a regular human being - with all the struggles and pain, challenges and victories, and friendships and failings that plague the rest of us.

I used to think of him as one of those super-slick, hyper-ambitious types, who from infancy focus on becoming president of the United States. But it turns out Clinton was something of a hippy in his younger years, "chancing" upon the governorship of Arkansas after salad days as a law professor and trying for attorney general in his state. He had been governor for years before he decided to run for president, and he ran at a time when it was most unlikely for him to win - at the height of president Bush's (the elder) popularity. So becoming president, or even governor, was not "all in the plan".

And in these positions he strikes me as a leader that is basically honest and caring (yes!). Being a liberal person, he is unexpectedly responsible, beyond all the search for publicity and political capital - if we are to believe the book, which I think, to a large extent, I do. Friendships count a lot with him. While he's in power he remembers those from way back in his life and people who have helped him along the way, doing his best in anyway he can to help them in return.

And yes... as one reviewer put it, Bill Clinton can write. He's a good story teller. The part of the story leading up to the presidency was for me a riveting read. The presidency itself is a little more cluttered with details, interesting portions being when he was hounded by the press, the meetings and agreements with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin (with interesting anecdotes especially about the latter), and of course, the Monica Lewinsky affair. That this book doesn't bear some other writer's name as co-author or collaborator is a testament to Clinton's literary skills and ability...What America gained in a president, it certainly lost in a writer of distinctive brilliance.


My American Journey: An Autobiography
My American Journey: An Autobiography
by Joseph E. Persico
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.64
1335 used & new from $0.01

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There must be something about Colin Powell..., June 7, 2006
There must be something about Colin Powell. All through his career his superiors continually sought him out; and wherever he worked they always wanted him back.

At various points he served as military assistant in the Defense Department to powerful figures as Charles Duncan, Graham Claytor, Frank Carlucci and Casper Weinberger; but he always yearned to return to his first love and what he felt was his primary responsibility - commanding troops in the field. And a few times he did make it back to the barracks, but soon his old bosses would be back on the phone again, urging him to return to Washington. Once it took the personal request of the president of the United States himself, Ronald Reagan, for Powell to finally agree to return.

Why was Powell in such high demand? I believe it had something to do with his character, and the fact that he must have been very capable. Ultimately, he did rise to the pinnacle of his profession as a soldier, becoming Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Armed Forces. Not bad for a black man who struggled with grades such that he had to switch courses midway to avoid getting kicked out of college. Powell went on to blaze many trails and attain success many would have thought unimaginable - marrying a very beautiful wife in the bargain. His story, told in this insightful book, illustrates how the most basic of values such as character and commitment, can carry a person into the loftiest realms of achievement.

"...Behold a man skilled in his craft; he shall stand before kings, and not before mean men."


The God Who Begat a Jackal: A Novel
The God Who Begat a Jackal: A Novel
by Nega Mezlekia
Edition: Paperback
38 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Wit, colourful images and social commentary - A beautiful novel, May 18, 2006
Aster and her doting, desperate and despotic father.

Gudu, born a slave and growing into a talented master-poet in the courts of Count Ashenafi; to a young man in love, risking great danger of detection; to a rebel-leader, finding himself in the fore-front of a people's struggle not just with war and survival, but also with social status, religion and superstition.

The abettors, ancient war patriarchs, who live for the whiff of battle and consider it a shame to leave any side floundering in a conflict.

Nega Mzelekia paints a surreal yet vivid landscape, laced with East African folklore and brimming with wit and humour. A beautiful novel. I had to read it twice, chuckling silently to myself every other line.


Prisoner of Conscience
Prisoner of Conscience
16 used & new from $7.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAJEK FASHEK - EVOLVING REGGAE GENIUS, May 17, 2006
This review is from: Prisoner of Conscience (Audio CD)
Majek Fashek, the Prisoner of Conscience, appeared on the scene in 1988 wearing a top hat, large baggy knickers and black army boots. He carried a pair of handcuffs round his wrists and a bell that tolled, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!...Repent, for the kingdom of Jah is come!" With large dreamy eyes and locks that drooped over his forehead, he conveyed genius reminiscent of the master himself, Bob Marley. Indeed, two tracks on Majek's first album are heavy with the late reggae legend's influence: LET RIGHTEOUSNESS COVER THE EARTH, which carries a Bob Marley baseline, and REMEMPTION SONGS, a Marley track that Majek "kpangolorizes" into a much sweeter version - kpangolo signifying in Majek's native Yoruba parlance music made from tins and sticks, music of the streets. But the most memorable song from the PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE album, a song where Majek sheds his handcuffs to wield a hoe, is SEND DOWN THE RAIN. The song featured at number one on Jamaican charts for several weeks, an unprecedented achievement for a Nigerian. And, as if in answer to the rainmaker's invocations, Nigeria witnessed exceptional downpour that year.

If Majek Fashek displayed genius in his debut album, in the BEST OF MAJEK FASHEK, rallying fellow Africans and Americans from sleep on the first track SO LONG TOO LONG, he is more mature, more original. We know of the talking drum in Nigeria's native Juju and Fuji music genres. But in reggae? Majek employs it beautifully, brilliantly, providing through it the gentle rocking percussion that starts out and steers a song like JAH PEOPLE. The talking drum also supplies the thunder and sense of urgency in the apocalyptic SODDOM AND GOMORRAH, where a frenzied Majek proclaims, "The end of the world is Armageddon!" - pronouncing it Arma-g-i-d-e-o-n. And if Majek's tone was somewhat controlled or constrained in PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE, in BEST OF MAJEK FASHEK he is more expressive, less inhibited; more of his old playful self, rowing through the rain and singing lustfully amidst a boat-load of kids in the video of MOTHER.

For some time Majek has been off the scene, sorting out some personal and professional problems, we hear. But now he's back. And as if sensing the anticipation that has attended the release of his next album - especially that of we fans who have closely followed his evolution through the years - Majek has named his latest effort LITTLE PATIENCE. How apt. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the CD.


Best of Majek Fashek
Best of Majek Fashek

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAJEK FASHEK - EVOLVING REGGAE GENIUS, May 17, 2006
This review is from: Best of Majek Fashek (Audio CD)
Majek Fashek, the Prisoner of Conscience, appeared on the scene in 1988 wearing a top hat, large baggy knickers and black army boots. He carried a pair of handcuffs round his wrists and a bell that tolled, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!...Repent, for the kingdom of Jah is come!" With large dreamy eyes and locks that drooped over his forehead, he conveyed genius reminiscent of the master himself, Bob Marley. Indeed, two tracks on Majek's first album are heavy with the late reggae legend's influence: LET RIGHTEOUSNESS COVER THE EARTH, which carries a Bob Marley baseline, and REMEMPTION SONGS, a Marley track that Majek "kpangolorizes" into a much sweeter version - kpangolo signifying in Majek's native Yoruba parlance music made from tins and sticks, music of the streets. But the most memorable song from the PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE album, a song where Majek sheds his handcuffs to wield a hoe, is SEND DOWN THE RAIN. The song featured at number one on Jamaican charts for several weeks, an unprecedented achievement for a Nigerian. And, as if in answer to the rainmaker's invocations, Nigeria witnessed exceptional downpour that year.

If Majek Fashek displayed genius in his debut album, in the BEST OF MAJEK FASHEK, rallying fellow Africans and Americans from sleep on the first track SO LONG TOO LONG, he is more mature, more original. We know of the talking drum in Nigeria's native Juju and Fuji music genres. But in reggae? Majek employs it beautifully, brilliantly, providing through it the gentle rocking percussion that starts out and steers a song like JAH PEOPLE. The talking drum also supplies the thunder and sense of urgency in the apocalyptic SODDOM AND GOMORRAH, where a frenzied Majek proclaims, "The end of the world is Armageddon!" - pronouncing it Arma-g-i-d-e-o-n. And if Majek's tone was somewhat controlled or constrained in PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE, in BEST OF MAJEK FASHEK he is more expressive, less inhibited; more of his old playful self, rowing through the rain and singing lustfully amidst a boat-load of kids in the video of MOTHER.

For some time Majek has been off the scene, sorting out some personal and professional problems, we hear. But now he's back. And as if sensing the anticipation that has attended the release of his next album - especially that of we fans who have closely followed his evolution through the years - Majek has named his latest effort LITTLE PATIENCE. How apt. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the CD.


Very Best Of Osibisa
Very Best Of Osibisa
Price: $6.99
27 used & new from $2.10

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUSIC THAT IS ALL SWEETNESS, SKILL AND SPIRIT - AFRICAN MUSIC, May 8, 2006
This review is from: Very Best Of Osibisa (Audio CD)
The African drum. The Master-drummer. You can't take anything from the other instruments, but it is the percussion that gives Osibisa its special quality - whether it is accompaniment to folklore, like in DENSU, the "river in Africa where fishermen sing the praises of all the fish they can catch", or in the breaking and crashing and hurried, repeated splashing of waves in SEASIDE MEDITATION, or yet in stirring the hearts of men to action in tracks like WARRIOR or CHOBOI (heave ho!).

Osibisa represents a medium that expresses all the glory and beauty of Africa - just as much as the Senegalese and Malian poets, recounting family lineages and the deeds of kings; or the Zulu warrior, stabbing, leaping and kicking in a glorious war dance. The men play with an exuberance that is infectious; they sound like they're just having great fun. They also play with unparalleled skill. But I would say the thing that makes their music so sweet goes beyond skill, it is more of spirit - the African spirit.

Some time ago my sisters and I found an Osibisa cassette my dad used to play when we were much younger. Then we would chant lustfully to the music, marching round and round our living room. Listening to it recently as an adult offered me a more profound, appreciative experience - and also wore the last life out of the poor cassette. It's unbelievable and a real blessing that there's Osibisa music now on CD, out there just for the buying.

And yes... we still dance chanting to Osibisa music in my parents' living room - this time with my little nieces in tow.


The Godfather (Signet)
The Godfather (Signet)
by Mario Puzo
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.60
158 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars MARIO PUZO'S GODFATHER...THE BOOK THAT GAVE THE EXPRESSION NEW MEANING, December 28, 2005
This review is from: The Godfather (Signet) (Paperback)
The Webster's Reference Library Dictionary defines the word Godfather as `A male godparent, who sponsors a child at baptism, taking responsibility for its faith.' But Mario Puzo in his classic novel brings another dimension to this definition. What is it about Vito Corleone, the main character, that captures our imagination and gives him such a larger-than-life image? What is it about Corleone that makes him The Godfather?

Is it because he's so good in his chosen career? He gets a powerful Hollywood movie producer to `reason' with him when the man wakes up terrified to find the bloody head of his favourite horse in bed with him. He thwarts Al Capone himself, who tries to send men to fight in a war against him, by dispatching his own fearsome henchman, Luca Brazi, to meet Capone's men at the train station with instructions that liberate Brazi's wildest instincts. He builds a vast criminal empire, the reaches of which many times catch his enemies, and even his closest friends, by surprise.

Is it in the way he carries himself? With dignity and the deepest self-respect. He's faithful to his wife and becomes straitlaced whenever the discussion comes round to sex. You could say, ironically, that he has a certain moral rectitude. And yet we see in all his transactions that he's not your usual run of criminal. His motivation can't be said to be greed or money, but something else...something more profound.

Is it because he is influential and has countless friends from various walks of life? Friendship is everything, he counsels a protégé. It is more than money. It is the equivalent of power...And Vito Corleone cherishes his friends deeply. He is generous with them and offers them his own `justice', whenever society fails them.

Corleone is all these things - a mastermind, honourable and influential - but a clue to what really separates him from the pack lies in a conversation he has with Tom Hagen, his consigliore (adviser), about the producer who refused to feature his protégé in a movie. Does this man have balls? the don asks Hagen. Hagen, knowing the don's standards are different from everyone else's, ponders what the question really means before he attempts to answer. Does the movie mogul have a strong will? Does he wield immense power? (The CIA Director is his personal friend.) The answer to these questions is yes. Hagen then ups the stakes: Will this man risk losing everything, including his life, just to defend a principle - as a matter of pride? Hagen smiles and then gives the godfather his answer: No.

Pride...personal, family and `professional' pride...that is the undercurrent that runs through this book. It is this quality, and the bid to control his own destiny in a society of suspect standards, that drives a man of such positive attributes to a life of crime, Puzo tells us. And it is this same quality that Vito looks for as he seeks a successor. He considers his sons: Sony is too brash; too erratic (it is his brashness that kills him in the end). Fredo is too timid, and his fidelity is questionable (more than once he takes sides with strangers against his own family). It is Michael, who has the same high intelligence and cold fearlessness as his father, that the don favours. But Michael is just a gentle, unassuming university kid who prefers to become a maths professor. That is until his father is shot, his family besieged, and his face disfigured by a police captain. Then Michael himself undergoes the traumatic life-changing experience that sets him, like his father before him, on the path to self-realization - to becoming the Godfather.

Godfather - a male godparent who sponsors a child at baptism, taking responsibility for its faith - these days, thanks to Mario Puzo, the word conjures rather different images - images of extraordinary leadership, enormous influence and exaggerated power - at times bordering on notoriety. Mr Puzo writes a book that, though built around the Mafia (I read an interview once where he swore he doesn't have a thing to do with them), explores the traits that command influence and followership among men anywhere - courage, competence, character and community. Reading this book also makes us examine ourselves in the light of these virtues. The Godfather...It is one of the few novels I've finished in a single sitting - for its very absorption, and it must also be the book I've reread the most...A real work of genius.


Shogun
Shogun
by James Clavell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.04
257 used & new from $0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHOGUN...AN ABSORBING TALE ABOUT POWER AND THE JAPANESE MIND, November 28, 2005
This review is from: Shogun (Mass Market Paperback)
A lot has been said about the film, but you need to read the book to really appreciate the greatness of this work. James Clavell in Shogun portrays an absorbing picture of the mind and land of the Japanese - conceptualized gardens and elaborate tea ceremonies; poetry and politeness - and all the subtlety beneath; bushido - the way of the warrior, kimonos, sashes and swords; karma - fate; secret messages sent across fiefs by carrier pigeon; and pissing, literarily, on deals to seal them.

The cast Clavell presents is just as engaging - Mariko, the delicate, petite lady who courageously confronts guards outside Osaka castle in a dwell. She's samurai, she's Christian, and she's in love with Blackthorne. But beneath all these seemingly entangled affiliations lies one deep, unswerving devotion - and that is to her liege lord, Toranaga.

Ian Blackthorne...the `barbarian' pilot who happens on the scene with a ship bearing muskets and cannon, vast potential for future warfare in Japan, and telling implications for whichever feudal lord can lay hold of this advantage. Blackthorne has come into a good thing, but as things go in this surreal world of willows, he just doesn't know. He's in love with Mariko. He's even slept with her - he thinks - but then, he can't be sure. He's Toranaga's friend. He's even saved the man's life once. But isn't he no more than just a pawn - valuable but expendable - in the hands of the powerful general?

And there's Toranaga himself, whose favourite pastime is falconry - and manipulating the people around him, studying them and playing them off against each other, like he does with his falcons. The novel is set in 17th Century Japan, but Toranaga looks as if he has already read Machiavelli's The Prince and Robert Greene's 48 Laws of power. The story is largely about his bid to become Shogun - Supreme Military Dictator - ruling by fiat of the Emperor, who then would really be just a puppet.

Japan's current leader, The Taiko, lies on his death-bed and asks Toranaga what can best be done to ensure his little son will grow up to rule after him. The two men, The Taiko and Toranaga, have come a long way and have the greatest regard for each other. Toranaga is the only commander The Taiko has ever lost a battle to, and Toranaga sees The Taiko as the only leader who has ever been worthy of his followership. But now The Taiko is dying and Toranaga tells him, "Let me go outside and commit seppuku" [ceremonial suicide], implying the obvious - that Toranaga himself forms the most apparent threat to The Taiko's son's ascension. The Taiko declines and constitutes a Council of Regents that will handle affairs till his son comes of age. The Council of Regents, Toranaga included, is made of the strangest bed-fellows and has Lord Ishido, Toranaga's arch-enemy, as Commander of the Heir's body guard. The Taiko reckons these people hate each other so much and will continue to disagree and cancel out each other's powers until his son is ready to take over.

In the aftermath of The Taiko's death Toranaga continues to affirm his loyalty. He is passive and acts demure when Lord Ishido (who happens to have fancy ideas of his own) accuses and tries to provoke him. He is indignant when his own aides as much as hint at the begging opportunity for ultimate power. "That is treason", he vehemently chastises them. But Toranaga is a great actor. In his private moments he is astonished that people can be so gullible. He continues to watch - plotting and plotting, weighing his aces, strengthening his position.

And while he's doing this he's not above using any means he considers expedient, even if these means tamper with sacred ways or border on the amoral. He needs to have the foreign ship pilot firmly in hand - so Mariko's husband is ordered to divorce her, then Blackthorne's ship gets razed by unidentified arsonists. Toranaga commiserates and orders the immediate rebuilding of the ship, but reckons privately that the ship might just again get burnt sometime in the future, with yet another building reordered. Also, in the same breath he orders a couple of his grumbling generals outside a conference room to commit seppuku, but when his trusted aide and most senior commander, Hiro-matsu, asks to be accorded the same `privilege' to ease a certain shame, Toranaga tells him, "I don't approve of useless death." Hiro-matsu's grandson-in-law had brought disgrace on his family when he committed an ill-advised breach of court, drawing his sword, unordered, on the Lord Ishido when the latter had insulted Toranaga.

And, as events play themselves out and the hour of decision approaches, Toranaga is on the lookout for treachery, constantly gauging the loyalty of friends, family and associates. Yabu, the daimyo - or feudal lord - of Izu, whose support could really swing things for either side in the coming war, is supposed to be Toranaga's ally. They negotiate, parley and plan towards the event, and in the end Toranaga tells Yabu, "But I don't trust you", and gets him to commit seppuku. Yabu's greatest pride as he composes his death-poem and kneels for the blow, is that he finds himself without fear. Toranaga also tests his son and heir, Sudara, telling him to put to put to death his children, all of whom Toranaga has already hidden beforehand. Sudara passes the test, but Toranaga, looking at him wistfully, feels sorry for his son, knowing that Sudara, who has been bred since he was young for the greatest responsibility, will never know any joy. But I'm different, Toranaga thinks. I love to drink sake and to `pillow'...And yes, I love to win.

And win he does in the end: "That year...the main armies clashed...By late afternoon Toranaga had won the battle and the slaughter began...Ishido was captured alive and Toranaga genially reminded him of the prophecy...Ishido lingered three days and died very old"...Machiavelli and Robert Greene would have been extremely proud of Toranaga.


The 48 Laws of Power
The 48 Laws of Power
by Robert Greene
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.29
211 used & new from $9.99

100 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE 48 LAWS OF POWER: YOUR THINKING WILL NEVER REMAIN THE SAME, November 1, 2005
This review is from: The 48 Laws of Power (Paperback)
Read this book and your thinking will never remain the same. Drawing upon historic examples that portray man's journey through the ages as one long, unending quest to dominate his fellows, The 48 Laws of Power reads somewhat like a much expanded version of Machiavelli's The prince. Yet it carries a lot of its own originality - on many levels. One interesting, innovative feature of this book can be found in the numerous illustrations and anecdotes appearing along the page margins that the writer uses to buttress his points. Quite educative, they provided me an easy opportunity to browse through and be acquainted with fascinating classic literature from Aesop's Fables down to Sun Tzu's The Art of war.

Can we refer to the 48 Laws as success literature? Some of Robert Greene's advice seems innocent enough: Never outshine the master; win through your actions, never through argument; concentrate your forces; enter action with boldness. These are tips you would find in any self-help book that should put anyone on a stronger footing in the workplace with their boss, with colleagues, or even within the curious context of a romantic relationship.

But there is a darker, more sinister side to the 48 Laws, a side that appears to be responsible for all the notoriety that surrounds this book. There are laws which, seeming to controvert themselves in some instances, advocate underhandedness and the practice of outright evil in the pursuit of one's ambitions. Reading The 48 Laws awakens a moral conflict within us and presents two philosophies that attend the attainment of power - one inspired by goodness and the other governed by guile. But I think it all depends on the kind of success you seek. To those that would stoop to guile I would point out that Robert Greene has neglected to include what perhaps might have been the first law: All that goes around comes around; you reap what you sow.

On the other hand, some of these laws that appear to advocate evil - taken in the right context, they shed their malicious intent and turn out to be very helpful, well-meaning principles. For instance, I agree with the thought `So much depends on your reputation - guard it with you life'. But I think my reputation rests, more than anything, on my character and commitment to whatever I do, and it is along these lines I will seek to guard it. Also, when I think of `Make other people come to you - use bait if necessary', I tend to see it in the light of the principle that pronounces: The kind of person you are, to a large extent, determines the kind of people you will attract into your life. So I go about developing my `bait' - myself - in the best way I can. Fishing, as opposed to hunting, one success writer calls it.

An anecdote which fascinated me and which I kept returning to was one about Cosimo de Medici, the 15th Century Florentine banking magnate, who rode a mule instead of a horse and decidedly deferred to city officials, but effectively controlled government policy in Florence for decades. He spent a lot of his own funds on grandiose development projects across the city but preferred to live in a nondescript villa, and when he died asked to be buried in a simple tomb devoid of lavish ornamentation. Robert Greene uses Cosimo's example to illustrate a concept that is profound as it is though-provoking: the REALITY of power is much more important than the appearance of it. Unfortunately, most people tend to see it the other way.

On the whole, the 48 Laws awaken one to the on-going struggle for domination and control even in the most mundane transactions between humans. They insist that power is a reality, whether we like it or not. They impress upon us the thinking that, to survive in today's world, one has to become a man or woman of the world - at least, if not in one's actions, in one's awareness. For me, the 48 laws show one how to discern power-bids in relationships, how to read between the lines and scour the fine-print; how to recognize various inter-personal issues at stake in business and the workplace, navigating with panache and perceptiveness. They show one how to be `peaceful as a dove but wise as a serpent', how to `see the tricks coming', as another reviewer put it. Indeed, the 48 Laws seek to banish our innocence. And you'll agree...innocence, many times, can be a painful thing.


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