Quicklet on Robert Greene's The 48 Laws of Power

by Joseph Taglieri

What's in the book?

Quicklets: Your reading sidekick!

    • About the Book
    • About the Author
    • Overall Summary
    • Important People
    • Key Terms and Definitions
    • Interesting Related Facts
    • Sources and Additional Reading

Description

ABOUT THE BOOK

Whether you seek to gain, observe, or protect yourself from domination by the forces of power in the world, Robert Greene’s comprehensive tome on this intriguing subject is in many ways a groundbreaking work of literature. The 48 Laws of Power  synthesizes the thoughts of a host of history’s most influential thinkers including Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz and others. Not only is it rich in the history of power politics and warfare spanning three millennia, the book has real-life relevance to those contending with the affect on our lives in modern times. Greene’s 48 laws demonstrate how qualities such as prudence, cunning, stealth and subtlety, and a complete lack of mercy or compassion for one’s enemies come into play with humanity’s power dynamic.

It’s apparent that those who feel powerless in today’s globalized economy driven by the politics of big-money capitalism are a target audience of this book. The preface begins: “The feeling of having no power over people and events is generally unbearable to us—when we  feel helpless we feel miserable.” Very much like the social and political pressures contained within an old royal court, a duplicitous game of non-overt power moves is the key to success in the current power paradigm.

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

If you aren’t sure of a course of action to take, then don’t try it. Doubt and hesitancy will hamper your ability to operate. It’s always better to begin a course of action boldly. “Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid” (The 48 Laws of Power).

  • Plan all the way to the end. Never neglect to envision the end result of any endeavor. Plan all the way to to the very end and account for “all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others” (The 48 Laws of Power). Planning to the end of a campaign mitigates the possibility that you will be overwhelmed by fate’s circumstances, and it also allows you a reliable gauge on when to wisely cease your quest. “Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead” (The 48 Laws of Power).
  • Make your accomplishments seem effortless. Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease.  All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed.  When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more.  Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions.  Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.
  • Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal. Create the illusion of choice...

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