The 48 Laws of Power

by Robert Greene

Number of pages: 452

Publisher: Penguin

BBB Library: Communication, Personal Success

ISBN: 978-0140280197

About the Author

Robert Greene has a degree in classical studies and is the author of several bestselling books, including The 48 Laws of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, The Art of Seduction, and Mastery. He lives in Los Angeles.


Editorial Review

This amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive book synthesizes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz with the historical legacies of statesmen, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages.

Book Reviews

"Even if The 48 Laws of Power can be read as a bastard's handbook, he wrote it to demystify the dirty tricks of the executives he encountered during a dispiriting period as a Hollywood screenwriter."- The Guardian

"By the book's conclusion, some protagonists have appeared too many times and seem drained." - Publishers Weekly

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Wisdom to Share

Never Outshine the Master

Never let favors you receive go to your head.

Never take your position for granted.

If you are more intelligent than your master, act as if you are not.

Do not rely on friends; they will never be totally honest with you. They will not openly disagree with you in order to avoid arguments.

Enemies expect nothing so they will be surprised when you are generous.

An enemy spared the guillotine will be more grateful to you than a friend.

When you decide to hire a friend you will discover qualities they have kept hidden.

Skill and competence are more important than friendly feelings.

Hiring friends will limit your power.

All working situations require a kind of distance between people.

You destroy an enemy when you make a friend of them.

An enemy at your heels keeps you sharp, alert, and focused.

Conceal Your Intentions

Use decoyed objects of desire and red herrings to throw people off scent.

Use smoke screens (a poker face) to disguise your actions.

False sincerity is one powerful tool that will send your rivals on a wild goose chase.

Publicly declare your false intentions to give misleading signals.

A noble gesture can be a smoke screen to hide your true intentions.

Blend in and people will be less suspicious.

Saying less will keep you from saying something foolish or even dangerous.

Once the words are out you cannot take them back.

Keeping silent makes people reveal more about themselves. This is information you may be able to use against them later on.

Always Say Less Than Necessary

So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard It With Your Life.

Sow doubt and spread rumors about your rival. Even if they vehemently deny it, people will still be wondering why they are so defensive.

Use humor or gentle mockery at your rival’s expense.

A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strengths without your having to spend much energy.

Never appear desperate in your self-defense against the slander of others.

Be careful not to go too far in attacking another’s reputation, it draws more attention to your vengefulness than to the person you are slandering. Use subtler tactics like satire and ridicule.

Court Attention at All Cost

Surround your name with the sensational and the scandalous.

Create an air of mystery.

It is better to be attacked and slandered than ignored.

Make yourself appear larger than life.

Any sort of notoriety will bring you power.

Get Others to Do the Work for You, but Always Take the Credit.

Save time and energy by hiring others to do the work.

Your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered.

Borrow from history. Use the past and profit by others’ experience.

You can only exploit others’ talents if your position is unshakable.

Make Other People Come to You – Use Bait if Necessary.

For Negotiations and Meetings, It Is Wise to Lure Others Into Your Territory, or a Territory of Your Choice.

Once Someone Suspects You Are Manipulating Them, It Will Be Harder to Control Them. Making Them Come to You Gives the Illusion They Are in Control.

Most Often the Effective Action Is to Stay Back, Keep Calm, and Let Others Be Frustrated by the Traps You Set for Them.

Demonstrate, Do Not Explicate.

Arguing Will Only Offend Your Superior.

Learn to Demonstrate the Correctness of Your Ideas Indirectly.

Choose Your Battles Carefully.

Don’t Bother Demonstrating if Time and Experience Will Eventually Teach the Other Person What You Are Trying to Say. Save Your Energy and Walk Away.

No One Can Argue With a Demonstrated Proof.