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Hardcover 48 Laws of Power Book

ISBN: 0670881465

ISBN13: 9780670881468

48 Laws of Power

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Cunning, instructive, and amoral, this controversial bestseller distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings


Read this book and your thinking will never remain the same. Drawing upon historic examples that portray man's journey through the ages as one long, unending quest to dominate his fellows, The 48 Laws of Power reads somewhat like a much expanded version of Machiavelli's The prince. Yet it carries a lot of its own originality - on many levels. One interesting, innovative feature of this book can be found in the numerous illustrations and anecdotes appearing along the page margins that the writer uses to buttress his points. Quite educative, they provided me an easy opportunity to browse through and be acquainted with fascinating classic literature from Aesop's Fables down to Sun Tzu's The Art of war. Can we refer to the 48 Laws as success literature? Some of Robert Greene's advice seems innocent enough: Never outshine the master; win through your actions, never through argument; concentrate your forces; enter action with boldness. These are tips you would find in any self-help book that should put anyone on a stronger footing in the workplace with their boss, with colleagues, or even within the curious context of a romantic relationship. But there is a darker, more sinister side to the 48 Laws, a side that appears to be responsible for all the notoriety that surrounds this book. There are laws which, seeming to controvert themselves in some instances, advocate underhandedness and the practice of outright evil in the pursuit of one's ambitions. Reading The 48 Laws awakens a moral conflict within us and presents two philosophies that attend the attainment of power - one inspired by goodness and the other governed by guile. But I think it all depends on the kind of success you seek. To those that would stoop to guile I would point out that Robert Greene has neglected to include what perhaps might have been the first law: All that goes around comes around; you reap what you sow. On the other hand, some of these laws that appear to advocate evil - taken in the right context, they shed their malicious intent and turn out to be very helpful, well-meaning principles. For instance, I agree with the thought `So much depends on your reputation - guard it with you life'. But I think my reputation rests, more than anything, on my character and commitment to whatever I do, and it is along these lines I will seek to guard it. Also, when I think of `Make other people come to you - use bait if necessary', I tend to see it in the light of the principle that pronounces: The kind of person you are, to a large extent, determines the kind of people you will attract into your life. So I go about developing my `bait' - myself - in the best way I can. Fishing, as opposed to hunting, one success writer calls it. An anecdote which fascinated me and which I kept returning to was one about Cosimo de Medici, the 15th Century Florentine banking magnate, who rode a mule instead of a horse and decidedly deferred to city officials, but effectively controlled government policy

May be unethical, but it's true and it works

I am not earning over a million bucks a year so I might not be qualified to judge the value of the book. However, as somebody in his late thirties and always stuck in the middle of world class big corps, I can tell just knowing the laws can greatly improve your ability to defend against arrows shooting at your back. For your easy reference, the laws are:-1. Never outshine the master2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies3. Conceal your intentions4. Always say less than necessary5. So much depends on reputation - guard it with your life6. Court attention at all cost7. Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit8. Make other people come to use - use bait if necessary9. Win thru your actions, neer thru argument10. Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky11. Learn to keep people dependent on you12. Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim13. When asking for help, appeal to people's self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude14. Pose as a friend, work as a spy15. Crush your enemy totally16. Use absence to increase respect and honor17. Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability18. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself - isolation is dangerous19. Know who you are dealing with - do not offend the wrong person20. Do not commit to anyone21. Play a sucker to catch a sucker - seem dumber than your mark22. Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power23. Concentrate your forces24. Play the perfect courtier25. Re-create yourself26. Keep your hands clean27. Play on people's need to believe to create cultlike following28. Enter action with boldness29. Plan all the way to the end30. Make your accomplishments seem effortless31. Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal32. Play to people's fantasies33. Discover each man's thumbcrew34. Be royal in your own fashion; act like a king to be treated like one35. Master the art of timing36. Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge37. Create compelling spectacles38. Think as you like but behave like others39. Stir up waters to catch fish40. Despise the free lunch41. Avoid stepping into a great man's shoes42. Strike the shepherd and the sheep with scatter43. Work on the hearts and minds of others44. Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect45. Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once46. Never appear too perfect47. Do not go past the mark you aimed for: in victory, learn when to stop48. Assume formlessnessI hope you wont find the above "laws" too repugnant. Anyway, this book is well written with plenty of lively and interesting examples or stories. An excellent read for both leisure and self improvement, I must say. Highly recommended.

A Wonderful Tableau Of The Historical Exercise Of Power

Coming from a strong Christian upbringing, initially I found the idea of this book frightening. The only title I've read that seems more ostentatious is _How To Become CEO_, by Jeffrey J. Fox.As I read the book, I was fascinated by the diversity of the historical examples provided. There are historical examples ranging from Thomas Edison to Michelangelo; from Genghis Khan to Harry Houdini. I demur from some of the reviewers of this item, in that I enjoyed it immensely. I did not expect to get a roadmap about how to plunder and pillage my way to be King. I expected a sharply presented discussion on the dynamics of power, and I was not at all disappointed--in fact I was thrilled.Disagree with the author if you must, or better yet, take a tour through the tales of past triumphs and failures in the exercise of power. Colorful fables, quips, and quotations abound and are presented tastefully. I've not thoroughly enjoyed a book this much in quite some time!

A Fascinating, Yet Dangerous Book

This is one of the best books that I have ever read. Unfortunately it is also one that can easily be misunderstood or misused. First let me say what the book is. The book is a guide to amoral methods of gaining power. It gives 48 different "laws" to use to accomplish that. The 1st misunderstanding of the book is purely the fault of the authors. "Laws" is very misleading in this case. "Strategies" works much better, but isn't quite as marketable. Anyone who tries to follow all 48 laws simultaneously all the time will be sorely dissapointed. The book will not make you an expert power player. Yes, the book does contradict itself, but in real life different strategies are needed in different situations. It's still up to you which ones to use. This brings me to the next point. Yes, the book is a distillation of many great masters of power. And, as with any distillation, the end result is not as good. But the simple fact is that the great masters are fairly difficult and boring to take straight. The book is best used almost as a primer course. It makes reading the actual texts by Machiavelli and Sun Tzu much easier. Next, the book does not advocate the use of these ideas. It does not say "Here, everyone should do this." In fact, in expressly says that these laws are not right for everyone. Those who morals tell them not to act this way, shouldn't. The book is a study of strategies for gaining power which have worked for those in the past. The book also does not advocate any particular use for power. It does not say that one should gain power for its own sake, or that one should gain power to help others. It just says that if you want to have power, here are some ways to do it. It's up to you how to use the power. The cold, hard truth is that the methods described in the book do work. Every major wielder of power in history has used some of the rules to get that power. Gandhi was a master of the use of power - Law 6 "Court Attention At All Costs", Law 8 "Make Other's Come To You", Law 9 "Win Through Your Actions", Law 16 "Use Absence to Increase Respect." These were all methods used by Gandhi to take power from the British. The most important law in my opinion is Law 19, "Know Who You're Dealing With, Do Not Offend the Wrong Person." The person who does not treat the methods in hear with the proper respect and uses them rashly will violate this law over and over. The wise reader, however, will take Law 19 to heart and learn when to and when not to use the strategies, The laws themselves are neither moral nor immoral. How they are used defines their morality. I found the book to be a wealth of ideas and examples of what works and what doesn't work. The immorality of many of the laws is balanced by the fact that the more immoral your course of action seems, the more likely you are to violate Law 19. I recomend this book on many levels. It is a fascinating study of power, and
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