- Hardcover: 624 pages
- Publisher: Viking (October 23, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525428143
- ISBN-13: 978-0525428145
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 185 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Laws of Human Nature Hardcover – October 23, 2018
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From the Publisher
Praise for The Laws of Human Nature:
"In this detailed and expansive guide, Greene (Mastery) seeks to … transform the reader into a “calmer and more strategic observer,” immune to “emotional drama.” Those are lofty promises, but even skeptics will become believers after diving into Greene’s well-organized text. Overcoming the “law of irrationality,” for instance, leads to the ability to “open your mind to what is really happening, as opposed to what you are feeling.” Greene’s thoughtful examination of self and society will, for the committed reader, deliver a refreshing and revitalizing perspective." -- Publishers Weekly
Praise for Robert Greene:
"Greene's specialty is analyzing the lives and philosophies of historical figures like Sun Tzu and Napoleon, and extracting from them tips on how to manipulate people and situations--a cutthroat worldview that has earned him a devoted following among a like-minded readership of rappers, drug dealers and corporate executives." —The New York Times
Praise for The 48 Laws of Power:
"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
"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
About the Author
Robert Greene, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, The Art of Seduction, and Mastery, is an internationally renowned expert on power strategies. He lives in Los Angeles.
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You can tell he put an incredible amount of research into the topic of human nature. As I read the introduction and saw the authorities he was going to cite to make his points, I was glued and kept turning the page to see how he would pull it off. I noticed subtle changes to his style—the chapters are longer, he’s more often quoting scientific principles instead of historical examples, and each law is stuffed with definitions of different cognitive biases we all suffer from. Each time he told the story of an historical figure, I read with curiosity to find out how he would use their experience to make his point. I was disappointed with the results. It came across to me as Greene offering encyclopedic knowledge of the subjects rather than presenting insightful takeaways. After a few chapters I soon lost interest and ended up skimming the rest.
This made me question why I lost interest in this book after being hooked to his previous ones—was the problem him or me? I had to compare this to his older books to find out.
You can tell this book looks slightly different from his previous ones without buying it: it doesn’t pull you in with beautiful graphic design like his other books do; the table of contents is minimal, unlike his previous books where each section comes with a description; and the back cover will make you squint your eyes as it takes a second to comprehend.
The first law in The 48 Laws of Power is “Never Outshine the Master”. It’s 7 pages. It starts with a 3 sentence “judgement”, followed by two memorable stories: one “transgression of the law” and one “observance of the law”, with his interpretations after each. He wraps it up with his “keys to power”, which peppers in more historical examples. On the sides of the pages are quotes, poems, and short stories, all related to the law. The graphic design and color makes it easy to scan. It’s smart, easy to read, and easy to remember.
Now look at the first chapter in this book. Its 28 pages. “Master Your Emotional Self”. A longer 6 sentence description. The first six pages are a story of the law and the remaining 22 are about his observations and lessons. Instead of using historical examples to persuade us, he’s quoting scientific studies and explaining different cognitive biases. The whole design is black and white, and just one quote at the end of the chapter. Instead of leaving the chapter remembering a compelling narrative about the dangers of throwing a nicer party than your boss, I’m left with a hazy memory of him listing a few cognitive biases that I generally already knew about and agreed with.
I know this is a small sample size, but it shows the main differences: Human Nature is longer, trades stories for science and lectures, less memorable, and not something you can pick up for ten minutes at a time.
This book doesn’t have the charm that makes Robert Greene’s other books classics. You wont find yourself quoting a law to someone, or picking it up off your bookshelf to read a chapter you found interesting a month from now, because thats not how it’s structured. It’s long and covers a wide variety of topics. At almost 600 pages, it feels like he sacrificed readability to fit in a few more topics he wants you to know about.
My pure speculation is that shallow money grubbers at the publishing house, Viking, wanted to lube and shoehorn this author in to the lucrative 'Self-Help' genre, which as we all know, is the top selling category among books, next to the cookbook category. This is his worst book and I am debating returning it.
The change in format is not for the better nor is the execution. The real problem is that Greene goes on too long in his explanations of each law. It becomes boring at times. The discussion on narcissists borders on obsession. This book is closer to Mastery than it is his other works.
There's still much to like of course. I think his explanations of the laws are correct and useful. Just too much. The historical examples are excellent of course but there are too few of them.
If you are a Greene fan I think you'll see this one is different and just not up to the excellence of past works. Still enjoyable and worth the purchase. Just not overwhelmingly great.
2nd day - Oh my god I have been repressing my essentially anger nature for years.
This book rapidly alerted me to the parts of myself that I have been trying to hide from myself for years.
In addition to that this book will give you a bunch of information on how to understand and interact with other people.
As others have commented, there is a strange feel about this book. Almost as if this book had been written by a ghost writer instead of Robert Green.
Whereas previous books of him were poetic and insightful this one is naive, new edgy, and prosaic.
After much reflection, I returned both, the book and the audiobook.
You, however, need to make your own mind. I know it wasn’t easy for me to return a book from an author I admire.