Author: Robert Greene
Date read: June 2018
How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
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Summary & High Level Thoughts
The 48 Laws of Power is the optimal book for those who want power, watch power or want to arm themselves against power.
It's a must-read for anyone who aspires to make it big in politics, climb the corporate ladde or, god forbid, organize a cult.
The devious, cunning approach suggested in the book goes against my core values, but reading The 48 Laws of Power will help you understand what can be done against you so you aren't cauge off guard.
No matter how real the laws are, I have a hard time putting them into practice. I’m not after power and I don’t enjoy power games. I find them fascinating but playing them is not my style.
That said, I must admit Robert Greene is a wonderful author. The book is almost 500-pages long, but it's a fascinating read.
It’s impossible to summarize this book. Each one of the 48 laws is crucial in today's times. Relevance and importance will be dictated by your personal situation, needs, career, ambitions.
With that said, there are a few universal lessons that should I'd like to highlight.
First, gaining and keeping power is an arduous task, and you need to be willing to be cunning, deceiving and traitorous because the people around you will. Stakes are too high.
Second, history is a great master. Greene tells every story through the lens of history, utilizing powerful characters and true anecdotes to illustrate, sustain and give veracity to his reasoning.
Third, people aren’t reasonable. Arguments do not work. Most people hold their ideas and values without thinking about them. I do, and you probably do to.
What are your views on abortion? Gun control? Immigration? Are they supported by data? Or a hunch? How do you react when they are challenged?
“There is a strong emotional content in their beliefs; They really do not want to have to rework their habits of thinking, and when you challenge them, whether directly through your arguments or indirectly through your behavior, they are hostile."
Finally, master your emotions. No matter what’s your goal, and whether you agree with Greene’s view of power, you should learn to master your emotions, delay gratification, and keep everything calm and in control, no matter the situation.
“As an actor in a great play, you must learn to cry and laugh on command and when it is appropriate."