The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power

Book - 1998
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Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this bestselling work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. As attention-grabbing in its design as it is in 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.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 1998
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780140280197
Characteristics: xxiii, 452 p. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Elffers, Joost
Alternative Title: Forty-eight laws of power


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Sep 15, 2017

A boring manual for sociopaths. There are better ways to be in this life than what this book is going to tell you. Read it and share your thoughts.

Oct 01, 2016

I was gritting my teeth and scowling in moral contempt so much my face was sore whilst reading this. Each 'law' has its own chapter, whose title is the norm to be elucidated in two or three sentences, and then exemplified using historical anecdotes. There are parables, fables, and aphorisms from a wide array of cultures printed in red in the margins; often, these are more interesting and memorable than the historical examples in the main text. When I had studied history there was always something I felt I wasn't 'getting' (ie., comprehending), and what it was, was the drive for power. I found it very helpful to comprehend the power hungry and the competitive social dynamics that play a prominent role in history. It would have been great to read this in order to prepare to study history.

Jan 16, 2016

The working theory of this book is that what everyone really wants is power and more of it. Greene even believes that those who think this idea is crude or outdated are in fact doing a power grab by expressing that. While I do think that part of his rationale for thinking this way is because if you write a book like this and it's goal is to get people to think about every aspect of gaining and keeping power, you can't do so with half measures. He provides no rationale argument against the yearning of power and probably wouldn't be interested in one. The only thing he does provide are reversals to his laws of power. These are examples of how you can mess up using the said rule.
I started this book a while back and came back to it. A lot of it is a little off putting to me. I think I've managed pretty well so far without obsessing over how much control I have over people. Of course to Greene that statement would be a power play in itself. When I returned to the book and finished it, I had to reread the introduction. Greene says one of the uses of this book is really to absorb it and then reflect on your past mistakes and make sure you never make them again. Also that these rules will help you do that. That is the only reason I could digest all of it. The examples of power given are of various charlatans, dictators, con men, and a few people whom history has looked kindly upon, Lincoln and FDR for example. Only in the respect that the book endorses reflection of past mistakes and what I consider just tips to navigate everyday life instead of a rule book to make you the next Fortune 500 CEO can I recommend this book. If you think it's going to change your life and make you a success it won't. That's just one of the tricks Greene uses to promote the book as the charlatans he cites use their old snake oils.

Armdis Sep 09, 2014

This isn't necessarily the type of book that one sits downs and reads from beginning to end. I have had more success approaching it piecemeal, a bit at a time, and not necessarily in the order it was written in. Nevertheless, it is a very important and valuable book that I will definitely be purchasing so that I can refer to it again and again and again.

May 31, 2013

good book with a lot of historical examples

Mar 06, 2013

Loved this book. The short stories about historical figures made me want to learn more about their historical role. This is the kind of book you can read anytime. Just pick it up and open to any random chapter and enjoy

Dec 09, 2012

Very slow. Not much plot. The author is clearly not working anymore. His last several have been the same. No more for me.

Apr 28, 2011

I was first introduced to Robert Greene's books when a good friend of mine gave me, "The 33 Strategies of War". He's a fantastic author! He's very detailed but isn't con-strenuous in his dialogue and uses some great examples to help the readers understand his message in each chapter.
I'm in the process of finishing this book - I should be done in the next day or two. I totally recommend this book for anyone who is in business too - there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from this book.


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