Friday, December 16, 2011

The 48 Laws Of Power By Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power
By Robert Greene

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Product Description

Laws of Power is a practical, readable guide for anyone who wants power, watches power, or want to arm themselves against power. Written by Robert Greene and produced and designed by Joost Elffers, the renowned packager of The Secret Language of Birthdays, The 48 Laws of Power will be known as the essential--and controversial--guide to modern manipulation. In a bold and elegant two-color package, The 48 Laws of Power synthesizes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Suntzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz, with the historical legacies of statesmen, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages. Using the stories of such figures as Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, and P. T. Barnum, the Laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs, and failures of those who have wielded-- and those who have been victimized by--Power. At work, in relationships, on the street, or on the five o'clock news, these Laws are exerted everywhere. Whether your interest is conquest, self-defense, or simply being an educated spectator, The 48 Laws of Power will be the most important book you buy this year.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #78214 in Books
  • Published on: 1998-09-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 452 pages
Editorial Reviews Review
"Learning the game of power requires a certain way of looking at the world, a shifting of perspective," writes Robert Greene. Mastery of one's emotions and the arts of deception and indirection are, he goes on to assert, essential. The 48 laws outlined in this book "have a simple premise: certain actions always increase one's power ... while others decrease it and even ruin us."

The laws cull their principles from many great schemers--and scheming instructors--throughout history, from Sun-Tzu to Talleyrand, from Casanova to con man Yellow Kid Weil. They are straightforward in their amoral simplicity: "Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit," or "Discover each man's thumbscrew." Each chapter provides examples of the consequences of observance or transgression of the law, along with "keys to power," potential "reversals" (where the converse of the law might also be useful), and a single paragraph cleverly laid out to suggest an image (such as the aforementioned thumbscrew); the margins are filled with illustrative quotations. Practitioners of one-upmanship have been given a new, comprehensive training manual, as up-to-date as it is timeless.

From Publishers Weekly
Greene and Elffers have created an heir to Machiavelli's Prince, espousing principles such as, everyone wants more power; emotions, including love, are detrimental; deceit and manipulation are life's paramount tools. Anyone striving for psychological health will be put off at the start, but the authors counter, saying "honesty is indeed a power strategy," and "genuinely innocent people may still be playing for power." Amoral or immoral, this compendium aims to guide those who embrace power as a ruthless game, and will entertain the rest. Elffers's layout (he is identified as the co-conceiver and designer in the press release) is stylish, with short epigrams set in red at the margins. Each law, with such allusive titles as "Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy," "Get Others to Do the Work for You, But Always Take the Credit," "Conceal Your Intentions," is demonstrated in four ways?using it correctly, failing to use it, key aspects of the law and when not to use it. Illustrations are drawn from the courts of modern and ancient Europe, Africa and Asia, and devious strategies culled from well-known personae: Machiavelli, Talleyrand, Bismarck, Catherine the Great, Mao, Kissinger, Haile Selassie, Lola Montes and various con artists of our century. These historical escapades make enjoyable reading, yet by the book's conclusion, some protagonists have appeared too many times and seem drained. Although gentler souls will find this book frightening, those whose moral compass is oriented solely to power will have a perfect vade mecum. BOMC and Money Book Club alternates. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince (1513) as an amoral guide to practicing power in a dangerous world. Author Greene (formerly at Esquire) and collaborator Joost, the packager of many books for Penguin Studios, including best sellers like The Secret Language of Birthdays, give us an updated version for obtaining and using power today. The book is arranged into 48 laws concentrating on interaction among individuals. Readers are advised not to outshine the boss, not to trust friends too much, to court attention, keep people dependent on you, use selective honesty, distrust the free lunch, and crush enemies. Examples from classical, European, Chinese, and Japanese history illustrate these points, as do hints from American con men like Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil. Further illustrations are taken from Henry Kissinger, Napoleon, and Haile Selassie. The book's ideas apply to politics, the workplace, and human relationships as a whole. Moral purists will be appalled by it; amoral survivors will like its frank nature. Schools might want to consider this new interpretation for ethics classes. Recommended for all libraries. [For another interpretation of Machiavelli, see Alistair McAlpine's The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business, reviewed on p. 90?Ed.]?Stephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Lib., P.
-?Stephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Lib., PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

480 of 501 people found the following review helpful.
4Read in spirit of the "Screwtape Letters"
By Buck Rogers
In one's life, you're better off following the teachings of Moses, Jesus, or Buddha to gain long-term happiness. But the sad fact is, many people live by a very different set of rules, and while most of these folks eventually self-destruct, they can inflict severe damage on our personal and professional lives in the process.

48 Rules of Power is a good primer for learning how these people think. I've spotted a number of similar books in the Business section (like "Career Warfare" and classics like the "Art of War") of my local bookseller, but none put things quite as succinctly as this one. In today's predatory work culture, with good jobs (read: jobs that let you own a home and pay all the bills month to month with a little left over) becoming harder and harder to find, you almost certainly will be the target of these techniques at some point. A friend once made an innocent and extraordinarily minor faux pas at an office Christmas party, and had a homicidal CEO attempt to destroy his future using methods as varied as slander and identity theft, all done through middle manager proxies to keep his own hands clean. You need to read books like these to know how too many people at the top think. But don't live out some of these rules in real life (e.g., crush your enemy completely) - there'll always be someone who does it better, and you will get crushed. Martha Stewart got hers, so don't think you're going to smash people and live to tell the tale. Reality simply doesn't work that way - and even if you survive professionally, the spiritual rot and personal decay will leave you an isolated, paranoid wreck. Read this book in the spirit of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, in which a master demon gives advice to a protege on how to destroy mortals. Learn how to spot people who live like this - and then stay very, very far away. Jesus said, "Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves." This book, read in the right spirit, will help you with both.

222 of 232 people found the following review helpful.
By A Customer
When it comes to morality and ethics, people are used to thinking in terms of black and white. Conversely, "The 48 Laws of Power" deals primarily with the gray areas. At the risk of sounding melodramatic and trite, I say that most of the Laws covered in this book can be used for great evil or for great good. It depends on the reader. There is really nothing wrong with most of the Laws per se.

Each Law comes with true stories from history about those who successfully observed it and those who foolishly or naively trangressed it. Robert Greene has an interpretation for each story. Though each Law is self-explanatory, Greene's explanations are not padding, fluff or stuffing to make the book longer. They actually give greater clarification and depth. Greene's insight even extends to crucial warnings about how the Laws could backfire.

There are two reasons to read this book:

1. For attack: To gain power, as have others who have carefully observed the Laws;

2. For defense: To be aware of ways that people may be trying to manipulate you.

As Johann von Goethe said (as quoted in "The 48 Laws of Power", of course): "The only means to gain one's ends with people are force and cunning. Love also, they say, but that is to wait for sunshine, and life needs every moment."

Those who say they have never used any of these laws are either being hypocritical--or lying.

1020 of 1103 people found the following review helpful.
3Not bad, but not all that good either
By John S. Ryan
This book is well-written and very nicely designed. Beyond that, it's hard to see what the fuss is about.

First of all, and on the one hand, the book isn't the torrent of Machiavellian amorality you may have been led to believe. The author does go out of his way to make it _sound_ as though he's presenting you with sophisticated, in-the-know, just-between-us-hardheaded-realists amoral guidance. But as a matter of fact almost every bit of this advice _could_ have been presented without offense to the most traditional of morality.

(For example, the law about letting other people do the work while you take the credit is made to sound worse than it really is. Sure, it admits of a "low" interpretation. But it's also, read slightly differently, a pretty apt description of what any good manager does.)

Second, and on the other hand, the advice isn't _that_ good; it's merely well-presented. How it works will depend on who follows it; as the old Chinese proverb has it, when the wrong person does the right thing, it's the wrong thing.

And that's why I have to deduct some stars from the book. For it seems to be designed to appeal precisely to the "wrong people."

Despite some sound advice, this book is aimed not at those who (like Socrates) share the power of reason with the gods, but at those who (like Ulysses) share it with the foxes. It seeks not to make you reasonable but to make you canny and cunning. And as a result, even when it advises you to do things that really do work out best for all concerned, it promotes an unhealthy sense that your best interests are at odds with nearly everyone else's. (And that the only reason for being helpful to other people is that it will advance your own cloak-and-dagger "career.")

No matter how helpful some of the advice may be, it's hard to get around the book's rather pompous conceit that the reader is learning the perennial secrets of crafty courtiers everywhere. Even if only by its tone, this volume will tend to turn the reader into a lean and hungry Cassius rather than a confident and competent Caesar.

In general the book does have some useful things to say about power and how to acquire and wield it. Unfortunately its approach will probably render the advice useless to the people who need it most. Readers who come to it for guidance will come away from it pretentiously self-absorbed if not downright narcissistic; the readers who can see through its Machiavellian posturing and recognize it for what it is will be the very readers who didn't need it in the first place.

Recommended only to readers who _aren't_ unhealthily fascinated by Sun-Tzu, Balthasar Gracian, and Michael Korda.


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