57 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Nothing Here But Hype,
This review is from: The 50th Law (Imitation Leather)
I am a great fan of Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power, having read it multiple times and seen it's truths in the real world. I was therefore very disappointed that he has attached his name to this empty and simplistic work, which reads like a propaganda piece for the greater glory of 50 Cent.
The premise of the book is that the "realism", fearlessness, and self-reliance that 50 Cent learned in the drug culture of his youth will bring success to you in your pursuits. This is a wrong and even dangerous idea--and in fact is not realism at all. In reality the "laws" of criminal culture are completely out of touch with society (that's why it's called anti-social behavior) and even within the drug culture you're very likely to end up in jail or dead, regardless of your fearlessness, etc.
Another problem I have is that many ideas in this book contradict many of the original 48 Laws of Power. The great thing about the 48 Laws is Robert Greene's sophisticated illumination of the subtle rules of social interaction, and how certain behaviors have a psychological effect on others. There is nothing of the kind in the 50th Law. Instead we are told to cultivate "self-reliance", an over-rated concept that violates many of the 48 Laws (Law 18, Don't Isolate Yourself; Law 24, Play The Perfect Courtier; Law 43, Work on the Hears and Minds of Others). A quick look at history will show that great rulers understand power as a web of relationships. Julius Caesar was able to rise to power because of the loyalty of his army and the love of the Roman people. Bill Clinton could charm his way to the presidency because common people believed he understood their lives. This is the way power works in the real world.
Finally, there is a complete avoidance of the real reason 50 Cent achieved success, and that is he has a talent for rap music. I'm not a fan of rap, but obviously for his work to get the attention of Eminem and then sell as much as he has shows that he offers something unique and creative that people like. The reader is left to ponder whether another person of lesser talents would have achieved his success, regardless of their adopting the advice in this book.
Of course this is not to say that realism, fearlessness, and self-reliance are not qualities worth cultivating; they certainly are. But context is everything--and selling simplistic maxims based on one man's criminal past and current success in the music business is nothing more than hype.
I will give this book credit for one thing, it proves Law number 32 of the 48 Laws of Power: Play to People's Fantasies.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 15, 2010 9:23:38 AM PDT
Brendaline P says:
There is no contradiction between "Be self-reliant" and the laws you mention ("Don't isolate yourself, etc."). A self-reliant person puts himself/herself in a strong position and can ally with other similarly strong individuals; a non-self reliant person tends to form alliances based on a need to compensate for their own weaknesses. Also, you are focusing on 50's criminal past - you need to put things in perspective. This is an individual who OVERCAME adversity (he lost his mother at age 8), and used his talent to overcome and move away from criminality and succeed. He is not just a rapper, he has other business ventures and now this book collaboration with a well respected writer. People can learn something from his experience.
Posted on Aug 28, 2010 7:49:00 PM PDT
Thank you for your thoughts. Even though I like the book, you expressed yourself well and gave me some substantial criticism to consider.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2010 1:54:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 30, 2010 8:19:12 AM PDT
Thank you for your comments.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2010 1:54:40 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 30, 2010 8:17:07 AM PDT]
Posted on Sep 8, 2010 6:41:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 8, 2010 6:42:40 PM PDT
Neri Rocha says:
1. The ideas in The 50th law have changed a lot if you compare them to The 48 Laws of Power because Robert Greene IMPROVED them in the past 12 years.
2. He already improved his ideas in The 33 Strategies of War (released about 8 years later), and then, once again, 3 years later he improved them to the 'ULTIMATE STATUS' in The 50th Law.
Read this book a bit more, and you will realize it is even still M.U.C.H. better than the already awesome The 48 Laws of Power.
Posted on Aug 6, 2013 1:19:20 PM PDT
It sounds as if you have a prejudice against using someone from the ghetto to illustrate life lessons. What's interesting about Greene is that he can take anyone's story (anyone successful that is) and analyze correctly what it means and how that person achieved their status. There are millions of talented people out there. Talent is certainly not the key thing here. What's really unusual about 50 Cent is his attitude towards life, and I think that lesson can be inspiring to anyone. As for "criminal culture," Machiavelli's court was full of criminal culture, just on a higher social level. 50 Cent used his potential to the maximum, which few of us do, in spite of having an almost zero chance of even surviving much less thriving due to his circumstances. He did use the criminal culture around him at first to get ahead, but got out of it as soon as he could and did the most with his life. No one can help being born into bad circumstances. His story is great, and expertly mined for its truths in this book, especially for any business entrepreneur. I met 50 Cent once briefly and I could see instantly that he is a special person. He has a light within him, a special charisma, a sweetness, a social gift and a sharpness that I've rarely ever seen in other people. No one gets to the top like he did without a very special mindset.
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