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The 48 Laws of Power Paperback – 1 September 2000
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In the book that People magazine proclaimed “beguiling” and “fascinating,” Robert Greene and Joost Elffers have distilled three thousand years of the history of power into 48 essential laws by drawing from the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz and also from the lives of figures ranging from Henry Kissinger to P.T. Barnum.
Some laws teach the need for prudence (“Law 1: Never Outshine the Master”), others teach the value of confidence (“Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness”), and many recommend absolute self-preservation (“Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally”). Every law, though, has one thing in common: an interest in total domination. In a bold and arresting two-color package, The 48 Laws of Power is ideal whether your aim is conquest, self-defense, or simply to understand the rules of the game.
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“Beguiling . . . literate . . . fascinating. A wry primer for people who desperately want to be on top.”—People magazine
“An heir to Machiavelli’s Prince . . . gentler souls will find this book frightening, those whose moral compass is oriented solely to power will have a perfect vade mecum.” —Publishers Weekly
“Satisfyingly dense and . . . literary, with fantastic examples of genius power-game players. It’s The Rules meets In Pursuit of Wow! with a degree in comparative literature.”—Allure
From the Back Cover
A moral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power into 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 require prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master"), some stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"), and some the total absence of mercy ("Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally") but like it or not, all have applications in real-life situations. 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.
- Language : English
- Paperback : 496 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0140280197
- ISBN-13 : 978-0140280197
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Best Sellers Rank: 359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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Top reviews from Singapore
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By Vanessa on 30 June 2022
By Adonis on 5 October 2022
Top reviews from other countries
However, this book has helped me in ways that I did not expect. I am more aware of what other people are doing, I am actually more concerned with the welfare of others, and I realised that it is important to at least have power over your own life so I am now a much more in control person who is more disciplined. I am also more excited about life somewhat, knowing that you can have fun improving yourself and your position in life and in the world.
I am not sure that I will follow each and every rule of the book, but it's an interesting read and some of the laws are fairly neutral such as being careful about what you say to people, not always showing all of your cards and never appearing or being smarter than those above you, especially in a professional work situation. Laws such as these are good for self-preservation, if nothing else.
But if you take everything in this book as gospel, then you may lose your humanity (as other reviewers have said) and/or you may realise that the heights of power are not what you wanted after all. Ultimately, take this book with a barrel of salt and maybe go for the more morally neutral laws, lest you be completely corrupted by the dark side of the world.
These rules are the revenge fantasy of a wounded child archetype. They are highly dysfunctional in any healthy community, relationship, friendships of family. If you practice them, you will end up losing the most valuable of friendships and other relationships that would have helped you out the most in life, and keep you in that hell.
If you want to be able to recognize psychopathic indicators in others, read up some books on modern psychology that addresses that directly. It is not very hard to recognize such people.
I heard this is the most popular book ordered in US prisons. That should tell you something.
First, to understand the 48 laws of power, you must know two key ideas
1. you CAN NOT escape the power game. thinking you can "not participate" is as foolish as thinking that you could somehow escape gravity or make the sun stand still. Robert Greene explains why in the intro with some excellent examples
2. the 48 laws of power are neither good nor evil; they are just LAWS. If someone pushed a man off a cliff would you blame gravity for for his demise? This is the mindset you must adopt in order to learn a lot from this book.
Things I Liked
- NEW PARADIGM
after reading the 48 laws, you will never see the world the same way again. once you understand some of these laws you will see many underlying currents and motives you did not see before.
- INCREASES POWER
one of the main reasons to buy the book. you wil become exponentially more powerfull by knowing and understanding these laws
every law is clearly outlined with "transgression" of the law, "observance" of the law, keys to power, and a "reversal"
the 48 laws are packed with mindblowing and sometimes humorous stories of people in history practicing these laws. this is helpful as some of the concepts are quite abstract.
What I didn't like
an old proverb says " A man who plays with snakes will eventually be bitten". If you begin to use the 48 Laws improperly, you could get yourself in some dangerous situations, lose friends, piss off a lot a people, and destroy relationships
- REQUIRES DISCERNMENT
if you you are looking for a highly concrete book that the says "do xyz and you will accomplish vyx" look elsewhere. the Laws require good judgement and and and prospecting nature to practice and apply
-NOT FOR EVERYONE
If you are aghast at the idea of manipulation and deceit then read with caution.
OVERALL: If you want to have more power or a better understanding of why different situations turn out the the way they do, you should definitely read the 48 laws of power by Robert Greene. If you want to be naive, easily manipulated, weak, you should ignore this book and go watch some netfilx.
Thanks for reading