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The 48 Laws of Power Paperback – September 1, 2000
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“Machiavelli has a new rival. And Sun Tzu had better watch his back. Greene . . . has put together a checklist of ambitious behavior. Just reading the table of contents is enough to stir a little corner-office lust.”—New York magazine
“Beguiling . . . literate . . . fascinating. A wry primer for people who desperately want to be on top.”—People magazine
“An heir to Machiavelli’s Prince . . . gentler souls will find this book frightening, those whose moral compass is oriented solely to power will have a perfect vade mecum.” —Publishers Weekly
“Satisfyingly dense and . . . literary, with fantastic examples of genius power-game players. It’s The Rules meets In Pursuit of Wow! with a degree in comparative literature.”—Allure
From the Back Cover
THE BESTSELLING BOOK FOR THOSE WHO WANT POWER, WATCH POWER, OR WANT TO ARM THEMSELVES AGAINST POWER . . .
A moral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power into forty-eight well-explicated laws. As attention-grabbing in its design as it is in its content, this bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers. Some laws require prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master"), some stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"), and some the total absence of mercy ("Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally") but like it or not, all have applications in real-life situations. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded -- or been victimized by -- power, these laws will fascinate any reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, unfortunately, wishes don't make it a reality, and there are people out there who prey on the weak and take advantage of those who are too trusting. The 48 Laws of Power (by Robert Greene) illuminates many ways that those predatory people can gain power over anyone who is not aware of the manipulation and power games they play. And while it may take some practice, study, and a keen eye for detail, anyone can learn to spot these (often subtle) power struggles and often even turn the tables on the enemy at hand!
Please, if you are considering reading this book but are 'on the fence' about it because of the people saying negative things about it, just read it! This has become one of my favorite books in a short period of time, and it has given me a new way to perceive the world around me. Robert Greene is a great author, and the way this book is formatted / written makes it educational, entertaining, and compelling, all at the same time. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to every single person in the world, because it is not for the faint of heart; but if you've ever been taken advantage of, shut out of someone's life, lost control of a situation, had someone feign authority over you (successfully), had relationship problems, problems in the workplace, etc, you deserve to give this a read-through at LEAST once. Don't take everything at face-value... and by that I mean don't decapitate anyone for "transgression" of any of the laws, but definitely think about times you have seen these laws at work, and how a grasp on a relevant law from the book could have changed the outcome of that particular scenario.
.Long story short, this is an amazing book! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)
It has the brilliant war strategies used by Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington and Mao Tse Tung, the ruthlessness of Ivan the Terrible, John D Rockefeller and Henry VIII, and the wisdoms of Roman Emperors and ancient Japanese tea masters. It is heavy with the tricks and lies used by Henry Kissinger and Otto Von Bismarck, the masterclass diplomacy of Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, or the seductive techniques of the mythical Mata Hari and the many European mistresses. It also analyses the mistakes made even by great men like Xerses and Cyrus the Great, the fraud by con artists such as Panco Villa and Yellow Kid Weil, the camouflaging move made by Ethopian emperor Haile Selassie and Elizabeth I, and the behind the scene moves by Cosimo de Medici to rule Florence.
In between the stories there are writings by the likes of Leo Tolstoy, Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and Baltasar Gracián, and many fables, proverbs and quotations fittingly appropriate within the subject matters. And between the myths, frauds, scandals and tragedies we'll learn about the structure of past societies and how it changes overtime. Indeed, Robert Greene has successfully managed to bring the biggest characters in history to life and even able to portray them as ordinary emotional human beings, but, crucially, human beings who posses winning strategies.
It is by far the most comperensive history book I've ever read, and it got to be the book I've read at the slowest pace. I read and re-read it, highlighted and made lots of notes, and actually made several changes in the way I analyse things, in the way I behave and in understanding other people's behaviours.
Einstein once said that the secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. This book has become an analysis tool so valuable that I hesitated for a while on whether or not I should write a review and reveal my sources. You know what, don't read this book. It's a waste of time and it won't do you any good.
When reading this book cover to cover, I had SEVERAL moments where I thought "yes! this has happened to me" or "that's what she was up to all along". Greene does an excellent job of demonstrating each law through story and analysis. The analyses are very poignant and I highlighted a LOT.
Biggest takeaway: don't show all of your cards. People don't have to know everything. There is some trend in American society to "be authentic" which has become misconstrued, and often results in immature emotional displays. Be authentic on the inside. This assumes one's aim is not evil, but to move forward with their goals.
Criticism: Almost all of the historical references are extremely old. Would be interesting to get some more examples in 20th century (although he uses Kissinger). Second, in virtually every female example, the woman's LOOKS are taken heavily into account. She had to "overcome" being unsightly or had extreme power because of her beauty. Come on. It was absolutely true for those times but there are plenty of contemporary women who I'm sure had to utilize many if not all of the laws of this book. Courtesans and mistresses, as you pointed out, never actually seal their power as the others had.