A friend of mine had mentioned this book the other day: The 48 Laws of Power. At first glance I was disinterested but as I delved into the first couple of pages it caught my attention. The author Robert Greene who feels power is deeply routed in our DNA takes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carl Von Clausewitz (amongst others) while citing historical examples to make this an insightful and intriguing read.
It might look amoral, cunning and deceitful yet it made sense to me as throughout my life (business & personal) I have always been surrounded by people grasping for more power and using these tactics effectively time and time again.
Greene says that learning the laws of power has given him tranquility:
“It just brings a sense of calmness and detachment because things don’t bother me,” he says. “I observe everyone else’s power games. It’s a beautiful position to be in.”
After reading through all 48 laws I couldn’t agree more. Although many of you won’t take to it, Greene has taught me how dodgy some people might be and how how clever and ambitious you should be about succeeding in life. I also loved the fact that beneath each Law of Power he gave a historic example as well as a section called wisdom in a nutshell bullet pointing and explaining each technique.
Valuable insight and wisdom indeed. This is truly an unique book that serves both as a manual as well as a reading of the history of power and how it was used through the ages—I would slot this into the business / self help / psychology / philosophy category. In my opinion it shouldn’t be construed into cruel and heartless tactics to stay in power or “how to be evil” but give you insight into the realty of the world, the games of power and how to maintain the edge.
Some of my favorite rules where:
- Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies.
- Play a sucker to catch a sucker: play dumber than your mark.
- Conceal your intentions.
- Always say less than necessary.
- Learn to keep people dependent on you.
- So much depends on reputation. Guard it with your life.
- Use absence to increase respect and honor.
- Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.
You may read through all the laws here at the Wikipedia or buy the whole book at Amazon. It won’t take you more than one hour to have a read, but should a particular situation arise take your time to reference this handy book.
Related Books & Posts:
- The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
- How to Wins Friends & Influence People
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
- The Art Of Seduction
- The Art Of War