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The 48 Laws of Power
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Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power in to 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 teach the need for prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master"), the virtue of stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"), and 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 reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.

Customer Reviews:

  • prison bible
    This book is being used by all the wrong people.this is like a bible for some gangs in prison.They are using it to get over on staff, and there own family.most people dont know what hit them untill its to late.The 48 Laws of Power...more info
  • A must read !

    One of those those "Infamous" books.Robert Greene has challenged the world
    with this.The so called good people may pretend they dont like it.

    But this is a must read for everyone in these modern days to get things done and to protect themselves from getting cheated.

    The timespan this book scans and the works the author has gone through are unbelievable.From Arthashatra to bible , from B.C to A.C ......

    If you dont have time to read this big volume ,at least DO read the concise edition of the same ....more info
  • An Absolute Masterpiece!! the"worldly"persons' Bible!!
    This everyday guide to survival instantly became my hands-down favorite book of all time!! Pushing"The Unseen Hand"out of the top spot(that it held for over five years)as my prime reading delicacy!!I've personally used(to great effect)a few of these laws,on my former job(which greatly resembled the courtier conditions oft-discussed in this book!! "Never Outshine the Master"was THE most important Law to implement in the Fire Station!!Law 2(Never put too much trust in Friends,Learn how to use Enemies)is one of my favorite Laws as well as one of the truest.The little passages written in red on the fringes of the pages are great!!The passage about about picking up a bee out of kindness,and the LIMITATIONS of kindness,presents a priceless lesson,to those with a decent amount of understanding,and the African folktale of"The Snake The Farmer and The Heron"rings so very true to me when I consider the MULTITUDE of favors,I did(when I was able)for the very same leeching"friends"who wont lift a finger,to assist me in MY need!!The utter TRUTH of this following passage was permanently"burned"into my memory from the second that I read it:"When you see water flowing UPHILL,someone is repaying a kindness!!"My absolute favorite quote of this(fantastic)book is contained in Law 14"Pose as a friend Work as a spy"this quote involves the famous French politician Talleyrand and his ingenious tactics of duping a person into saying/revealing things about themselves that they would've preferred to remain hidden..Talleyrand had a stupendous method that he employed at political gatherings of"blurting out"FABRICATED"secret"information so he could discern just who may've been planning to do what,by scrutinizing the reaction/facial expression of each individual in attendance,thus identifying who seemed to have a vested interest in whatever contrived"secret"that he let"slip out"..To which Baron von Stetten cleverly stated:"Monsieur Talleyrand fires a pistol into the air to see who will jump out the window!!" Starting today,I am going to begin employing Talleyrands stupendous method on my(dim-witted/treacherous) acquaintances to uncover which particular"snake"is scheming what,as far as MY livelyhood is concerned!! As a frequent target of envy and jealousy,Law 46:("Never Appear Too Perfect")is the most interesting chapter,as far as my life experiences go...This chapter contains a lot of PROFOUND snippets concerning the bane of my very existence:ENVY envy is(profoundly)defined by one philosopher as:"unhappy ADMIRATION" and this great quote:"Envy is the"tax"which all(people of)distinction must pay" "Envy creates"SILENT"enemies" "Of all the disorders of the soul,envy is the ONLY one no one CONFESSES to" "Lord protect me from my(envious)friends,I can handle my enemies"and this accurate and revealing view on envy:"The envious man dies not only once,but as many times as the person he envies lives to hear the voice of praise..The eternity of the envied mans fame is the measure of the envious mans punishment!" "Thus,the jealous man is sentenced to be choked to death,on his own envy!!" I can now clearly see,where I transgressed Law 46 resulting in rancorous feelings towards me,from friends,older brothers etc..Had this book been written a couple of decades earlier,I might've been spared a lot of ill-will from those who I(foolishly)believed had my best interest in mind!! (The Bible even recognizes the power and wickedness of envy!! Proverbs chapter 27 verse 4 reads:"Wrath is cruel,anger is outrageous,but WHO is able to stand before envy?!?"and Proverbs chapter 14 verse 30 further elaborates on the seriousness of this mental"cancer"that is eating away the peace of far too many people:"A sound heart is the life of the flesh,but envy,the rottenness of the bones...Song Of Solomon chapter 8 verse 6 declares:"jealousy is cruel as the GRAVE" Acts chapter 7 verse 9 gives a chilling example of how INSIDIOUS jealousy will cause you to become:"And the patriarchs,moved with envy,SOLD Joseph into Egypt ) This book even goes as far as to give advice on how to deal with envy:"Once envy reveals itself for what it is,the ONLY solution is often to flee the presence of the(hopelessly incurable)enviers,leaving them to stew in a hell of their own creation!!Also outlined are:indicators/disguises of envy which include:those who laud you with excessive praise{CHECK}hypercritical people{CHECK}and those who SLANDER you publically.{DOUBLE CHECK}Now all my enviers are laid bare and exposed before me!!(Whereas before I studied Law 46,one(self-righteous)envier had me thinking that I was to blame for the animosity that HE held for me ever since I was in the 3rd grade(or probably much sooner!!) This book also advises to avoid dropping to the jealous mans'level by getting involved in mutual"mudslinging"or of taking their"character assasination" attempts to heart,noting that the BEST revenge is by simply IGNORING their measly/petty presence!!This is a WONDERFUL book,that can help(intelligent)individuals through this("cut-throat")world we currently live in!!EVERYBODY,should own a copy of this book..Even if a(corpulent)jealous-hearted sibling steals it from you,do like I did,and purchase another one!!...more info
  • Guidelines for the Realists
    This book is a true guideline for the Realists or the Strategists.

    Although the laws don't seem to follow each other, the sum is a compendium of solutions to stay competitive and gain an advantage if your mission is to be number one.

    I strongly recommend it to individuals who have a need for "power & control"....more info
  • Pompous writer, but interesting book
    I find the subject matter that Mr. Greene writes about to be interesting, but I found it also to be more "highbrow" than necessary at times. His strategies are solid (they're basic manipulation techniques), but I think more modern references outside of the European courts of the 17th and 18th century might make the book a bit more digestable for most. However, I must give the author credit for not dumbing down the subject matter so much that ANYONE could understand it.

    Needless to say though, with a little bit of interest in history this book is an easy read. Wouldn't use it as a guide for living, but at least you can spot these strategies in others when they arise....more info
    This book would be better titled "How To Spot a Manipulator" or "Understanding Creepy People" or possibly "How To Get Fired in a Hurry". The historical stories are interesting, but the author must have had a horrible childhood to have grown up to be this creepy. All I can say is, keep this guy away from children!

    My advice to the potential buyer is to pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends & Influence People" How to Win Friends & Influence People. That book will teach you how to get ahead in the business world and how to be a genuinely likeable person as well. From what I can tell so far, the only thing you're going get out of the power trip book is glimpse at the world through the eyes of a deeply disturbed individual. If you're a manager, like me, it might help you better understand the behavior of these types of people, but it's certainly not a guide to how to get ahead in the business world. It's exactly the opposite. If you try to manipulate people the way this author suggests, you're going to be hated and eventually you're going to be fired. It's that simple.
    ...more info
  • Closer to The Form of Power
    Just what is power? I believe that through the amoral approach demonstrated in the 48 Laws of Power, Greene has gotten much closer to this answer and at the same time, gotten around many of the issues that plague discussions of power. This does not mean that ethics is not important when handling power, but rather, that power is morally neutral and is a tool that one can utilize within their own ethical systems. Everybody from the subjectivist to the altruistic individual can make use of power as it is defined in this text.

    While some may become disgusted at the ammorality and the examples that often show a "low brow" use of power, this does not take away from the value of this book, and in fact probably adds to it by showing how power can be used to harm others; someone could probably even apply Law 7 (which in part refers to using the wisdom of others) in order to create examples that show positive uses of power.

    Overall, I would recommend this book for anybody, but especially those studying Leadership and/or Politics....more info
  • Chilling
    This book is past tense. People who still think like this are making the news everyday, and not as "the good guys." I didn't want to give it any star at all ... maybe the sign of the cross....more info
  • Awesome book!
    When I were in high scool I used too alwayse get picked on buy other kids and I new that one day I would be powerfull. People made fun of me working at McDonalds at first but then something happended. I found this AWESOME book! now i have the last laff. One kid even bumped into me the other day and asked me for some money and I said your not powerful and spit in his face. i got beat up but felt better later on that week. my mom didnt buy me a GI Joe aircraft carrier when I was yong so I slashed all her tires and disconnekted the ocygen bottle just to show her who has the power now! I even make my cowworkers look really bad at work by doing small things to make them mess up and makes me look better. Thanks to the athor of this book. Finally a book that i can understand AND it makes sense to me also! I feel like i am the powerfullest man in the world and I no that I am everyday when i put on my brown uniform and look into the mirrer and tell myself that i am better than god and that he kooldnt ever sweep the floors at mcdonals like better than I can sweep the floors!...more info
  • 48 laws to gain (& loose?) power
    Do you think that you are not getting the credit for your work? Did you ever feel left out in discussions or meetings? Do you find it hard to create dependency? Were you curious how some of your colleagues move up in the ladder fast? Well, this book is just for you.

    The author clearly defines the "48 laws" that can help you in gaining power. The author not only talks about situations where you can apply these 'techniques' but also warns you of situations where you shouldn't. The references from history was kind of too much and was going above my head.

    These techniques will serve as an armor, if your work environment expects you to play politics. If you don't play them right, some of these ploys may also bring you down from power.

    This material is a good source of techniques to be aware of. It will help especially when people try to play these tricks on you. ...more info
  • Not to be treated like a manual
    Are there really 48 established laws of power? That depends on which of the book's many tyrants or swindlers you ask. The qualities and traits of an out-maneuvering courtier can't be acquired as a recipe. You either have it or you don't.

    Each chapter is systematically laid out like a pavillion with annecdotes lining the side of the main copy. You begin with a brief description of the 'Law'. Followed by 'Observances of the Law' in which the historical annecdote is presented. Then a converse section 'Transgression of the Law'. And finishing with summary.

    The cited outcomes are more circumstantial and it would be absurd for anyone to treat this as a manual.

    Fun reading. Just don't try the 'methods' on your boss....more info
  • Great Read, Interesting Lessons
    To base one's life on a book such as this requires a degree of quixotic sensibility that I do not have. However, taken as an entertaining book filled with much worldly wisdom, Robert Greene's book really works.

    The text flows quite naturally, even elegantly; and the myriad historical anecdotes are jewels both as reading material and future conversation pieces. As a result, it can be both lightly and seriously read again and again.

    Great content and great format.

    Makes for a great gift to anybody with appreciation for history or psychology!...more info
  • Survive and Thrive In a Competitve World
    I picked this book up for $1, proof that there is no correlation between cost and value.

    This would be the book that Machievelli would have written, had he courted the Aristocracy of his times, rather than attempting to ingratiate the Prince.

    The author gives a hint to his motivations for this composition when he states in his acknowledgments:

    "Finally, to those people in my life who have so skillfully used the game of power to manipulate, torture and cause me pain over the years, I bear you no grudges and I thank you for supplying me with the inspiration for the 48 Laws of Power."

    This book is cathartic. But before diving deeper, a reader should be prepared to entertain the following ideas:

    1. A Human being is no more than a sophisticated animal with self-interest as the primary motivator
    2. Everyone wants more power, not less
    3. Be true to yourself first and foremost, don't be a sucker
    4. Power is a game and the better you play, the better your life will be
    5. Power is essentially amoral and one of the most important skills to acquire is the ability to see circumstances rather than good or evil
    6. To triumph, it is necessary alternate between being both cunning and formless
    7. Beyond linear dualities of good and evil, there is a third dimension, the strategists' mind
    8. The indirect path, that of influence is more effective and the use of it is an art

    If you can live with the above, the 48 laws of power serves as a handbook on the arts of indirection.

    This book argues that by mastering ones emotions, understanding the people involved and the fundamental dynamics of interrelationships within society determine the extent of ones accomplishments. Power is ultimately an artificial construct, given legitimacy by the people who participate in the game.

    We need power to survive in a competitive world that is constantly seeking to recruit us into the ambitions of others. We can drain our lives in the fulfillment of others, or best use our given life, energy and talents at our own discretion. Implicit to this design is the belief that society defaults a role to you, whether or not that role reflects your beliefs and understanding about yourself. A choice then has to be made on your part to accept such a role or to resist whether in an active or passive way. In the latter sense, one will turn upon themselves. It is better then to assert some degree of control by exercising influence and demonstrating an identity that is consistent with the person whom we feel ourselves to be, in other words, to actualize ones' self. Although this end state transcends any particular identification, characterization or ego, the path to it requires a struggle and this book is about the methods and devices used by successful participants. The good news is, the struggle can be worthwhile, rewarding and the unexpected consequences enlightening.

    The perfect archetypical master of the laws of power is the Courtier, who possesses more than anything, a talent to influence. Cognizant of how he is perceived at all times in a socially competitive world, the Courtier is ever vigilant to monitor his own effect, ever mindful of the elusiveness of power. I believe that this is what the author means by the Courtiers mirror.

    The core realization is that more than anything, human beings are the most social of animals, so it goes without saying that the most socially adapted animal attains the best that life has to offer. Human beings also possess Consciousness to such a heightened degree, that they can deliberately break and follow a path in defiance to their instincts and conditioned or learned behaviors, unlike animals.

    In a paradoxical way, learning to play the game of power teaches virtues of mindfulness, patience and mastering ones ego. In this sense, the book permits another legitimate path to the completion of ones life without blindly accepting a given religion.

    Well written, argued and referenced, it is abundantly clear how the author reaches his conclusions. It is highly accessible and well digested for the reader. There is a great deal of truth to the idea that a book serves as a mirror for the reader and I am hard pressed to argue against the wisdom contained in this manual. There is great peace of mind to be had from accepting fundamental truths.

    Some would read this book and walk away with the impression that this is a "how to" on manipulation. Beware of such people, as their delusions make them a danger to themselves and anyone who places trust in them. You need not become a con artist to derive benefit from what is contained here. The laws of cause and effect and the aphorism of "Know thyself" are embedded as living proof, ignore them to your peril....more info
  • Life changing knowledge
    This is a philosophy and a truth that most people have lost or do not even consider important.

    Thank you, Robert Greene....more info
  • Attorney in a large law firm
    I am an attorney in a large law firm in a large metropolitan area. I bought the book in 1999 and have returned to it often. I was very skeptical of its ideas at first. However, as my career has progressed, I have witnessed that ALL of the 'laws' contained in the book are practiced regularly by my superiors and peers. Does that mean that they are all reading and using the book? No. It just means that Greene has keenly distilled human nature as it relates to the practice of 'power.' I can't say that I've used the book in a proactive way. But I have used the book with great effect in a DEFENSIVE way. Familiarity with the laws have given me a 'third eye' with which to blunt and repel ill-actions in the workplace. That in itself is a GREAT reason to own and read and consult this book. And it is also a moral reason to do so. Power is power. It is practiced at all levels of society. It is human nature. Decry the methods, if you will--but ignore the reality of their existence at your peril. Get the book. Read it. Then use it as a shield in your climb up the ladder.

    Also recommended: Thick Face, Black Heart, by Chin Ning Chu...more info
    This book was interesting, but alot of the concepts in this book, I already practice. Much of this information is common sense, some is quite shady, but it's a good book for someone who is vulnerable, or naive to how others may try to manipulate them....more info
  • 48 Ways to Never Achieve True Power...
    Glad I borrowed this from the library and didn't waste the money myself...

    This book takes a Machiavellian approach to life, but does so in a long and extremely drawn out manner. While the book does provide for some good ideas, most of the book entails how to be devious and manipulative. The author even manages to take what good advice he does offer and pervert it into a seemingly sinister plot to take over the world, as if the author enjoys being the bad guy.
    This book may benefit those who don't want invest the time to truly learn how to persuade or lead (which is the purest form of power). If you want to take shortcuts, you will sew what you reap as most of these tactics will never bring long term success... They are insincere, manipulative, and shallow ways to reach for power. For anyone who will ever be (or wishes to be) in a position which requires that person to be a leader, following this book guarantees failure before you've even begun. Do yourself a favor and invest some time in learning some real people skills and leadership abilities, you will be much better off......more info
  • Wonderful
    A very special book... that should not be available for everyone. It's very dangerous in the right hands.
    ...more info
  • Success for sure, but ...
    This book is really good. On top of all the business/power learnings it brings great tales and historical facts, which makes the reading pleasant and interesting.
    If you follow all the laws in this book, you will be a really powerful person, but forget about having friends. The laws are though to follow and come with a price....more info
  • Amazing, Real, and Nonapologetic!
    Some people may be turned off by the fact that the guy makes people sound like one of two things: predators or prey. Well, in a sense, that is what we are! Ever wonder why two dominate people may not mesh sometimes? I LOOOOVE hearing Robert Greene talk as I have the audio version of this book. At first with the multitude of real historical examples, one may get confused or wonder what they have to do with the main point as Greene is very detailed! You will then run into people and situations where you realize it is exactly what Greene has been telling you about! I feel a heck of alot smarter and in tuned and this has helped me out because I have realized one person in my job is plotting against me for sure, no dellusion. And I am able to out wit this person. You must listen to it and take it as you will. Use it to climb up, defend yourself, help others, or dominate others unfairly. This is NOT a book about morals. If you want that, pick up a Bible or what ever you believe in. Most likely youll even find sinners and saints there who without knowledge of this book, used these tactics. ...more info
  • Great
    its a great read
    sent in excellent condition
    and arrived very quickly

    ...more info
  • Robert Greene's books are worth their weight in diamonds.
    This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to live an independent life. You will encounter the challenges Greene writes about, and this book offers useful strategies for overcoming them.

    I know Greene's thinking is sound because I've tested it. With no business or technical education, I managed to increase my income 400% in just a few years. With my own money and leverage, I bought a house in the most expensive city [housing-wise] in America.

    Maybe your ambitions are different. Whatever you want, you won't get it without planning. All along the way, you must deal with people. You must get around or through them. This book is a great help. It is a masterpiece. I can't recommend it too strongly. I've read it through twice, listened to it on CDs and dipped deeply into Greene's bibliography. Read this book, you will never regret it....more info