The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene

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The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene is about the laws that govern power and how to attain it, using strategies almost 3,000 years old. Told in an anecdote manner.

Laws are:

Law 1 Never Outshine the Master
Law 2 Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies
Law 3 Conceal your Intentions
Law 4 Always Say Less than Necessary
Law 5 So Much Depends on Reputation. Guard it with your Life
Law 6 Court Attention at all Cost
Law 7 Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit
Law 8 Make other People come to you, use Bait if Necessary
Law 9 Win through your Actions, Never through Argument
Law 10 Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky
Law 11 Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
Law 12 Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim
Law 13 When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude
Law 14 Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
Law 15 Crush your Enemy Totally
Law 16 Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
Law 17 Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
Law 18 Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself. Isolation is Dangerous
Law 19 Know Who You’re Dealing with. Do Not Offend the Wrong Person
Law 20 Do Not Commit to Anyone
Law 21 Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker. Seem Dumber than your Mark
Law 22 Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power
Law 23 Concentrate Your Forces
Law 24 Play the Perfect Courtier
Law 25 Re-Create Yourself
Law 26 Keep Your Hands Clean
Law 27 Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following
Law 28 Enter Action with Boldness
Law 29 Plan All the Way to the End
Law 30 Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
Law 31 Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal
Law 32 Play to People’s Fantasies
Law 33 Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew
Law 34 Be Royal in your Own Fashion: Act like a King to be treated like one
Law 35 Master the Art of Timing
Law 36 Disdain Things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best Revenge
Law 37 Create Compelling Spectacles
Law 38 Think as you like but Behave like others
Law 39 Stir up Waters to Catch Fish
Law 40 Despise the Free Lunch
Law 41 Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes
Law 42 Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter
Law 43 Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
Law 44 Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
Law 45 Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once
Law 46 Never appear Perfect
Law 47 Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop
Law 48 Assume Formlessness

Written by Robert Greene

Publisher’s Summary

Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. 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 teach the need for prudence (“Law 1: Never Outshine the Master”) and the virtue of stealth (“Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions”); many demand the total absence of mercy (“Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally”). But like it or not, all have applications in real life. 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 listener interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control. “Not a how to guide ..”
After the first few laws I wasn’t sure what I got myself into .. My first thought was “What kind of person would enjoy listening to this garbage”. Then I came back to read the reviews and I found several other people who thought the same thing.
Either way I found myself listening a little bit more. The more I listened the more I found myself enjoying this audiobook.
Why do I say this? Because I don’t see this as a “how to guide”. I see this as two things 1. A history lesson .. If you dont learn from the past you are bound to repeat it.
2. YES some of these laws are sick and manipulative, but welcome to the real world. There are people that think like this.
Final thought:
The 48 Laws of power is a step by step how to guide, you have to listen between the lines and realize that the world is not all puppy dogs and rainbows. This book shows you how the world is and you can learn from the lessons presented.
“Engaging in a Machiavellian Way”
Would you listen to The 48 Laws of Power again? Why?
No. I would just peruse the 48 laws. They are listed and easy to review.
What does Don Leslie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
There is a lot to get through if you read this book conventionally. Listening gives you a fighting chance to get through them all.
If you could give The 48 Laws of Power a new subtitle, what would it be?
Sparknotes for Machiavelli
“We All Have A Lot More Power Than We Realize!”
When I first read this book a couple years ago, it was so apropos for were I was in my life as I was going through a career change myself. The book helped me to realize that harboring deep inside of me, was a lot of untapped potential and power that I’ve yet to utilize. Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to implement as many of the 48 Laws of Power into my daily life as I possibly can. If nothing else, this book is a great “get off first base and start rounding the bases” book for anyone who feels that their life could use a little bit of a kickstart.
I thought that the author, Robert Greene, kept the book on track, simple, easy to follow and matter of factual. Anyone who’s willing to implement even 5 or 10 (you’ll quickly find that The Laws naturally flow into each other and build upon each other) of these Laws of Power into their lives, won’t be able to help themselves from making better decisions, and taking more control over their lives. Yet, at the same time, living a very fulfilling existence as we all ought to do.
I highly recommend this book as a great reference tool for your “toolbox kit of life”!
“Worth Reading”
Any additional comments?
The 48 Laws of Power makes quite a lot of sense as told and understood by the author. Greene references 12th – 18th century figures to illustrate his points and he does it well.

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