The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene [Book Summary]

As a kid, starting school may be shocking. If you have been brought up by parents who are conscientious and trusted all the things they explained to you regarding integrity and reliability, probabilities are there had been a vertical learning curve in front of you at the time you placed with students in your class. All of a sudden it became obvious that integrity is for losers and cowards!

The truth is, attempting to be reliable all the time can extremely damage your achievement. Definitely, if you had been a politician or an executive, you understood that already. However, you still have chances although you are not one of them.

At a time, Robert Greene has been just like you; however, he chose to search more about the past and the workings of power for grasping everything about the way to obtain it, make use of it and safeguard contrary to abuse of power. He devised a huge forty-eight laws of it, and the following chapters will concentrate only on the 7 brightest of those.

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Chapter 1 – Showing off your intelligence won’t gain your manager’s favor; however, making your boss shine would.

Did you attempt to sway your boss, just to embarrass yourself? If you could not succeed to impress a person holding a power position, that might really be the outcome of being better than them. Nevertheless, people that are powerful would like to be the focus of attention; attempting really hard to sway them can change the focus to you than themselves, damaging their gratification while doing that.

However, more terrible is behaving better than them, something that could make your boss see you threatening their status and, hence, to let leave the company.

Consider the connection of the King of France, Louis XIV, and his financial advisor named Nicolas Fouquet. A clever and devoted minister, Fouquet turned vital to his king; however, this didn’t assure him the status of President when the current minister died. In order to make the king like him, Fouquet held an extravagant ball at his lavishly decorated chateau to reveal to the king the way he was connected and powerful.

The following morning, Fouquet was seized and it was the king that ordered the arrest. The king felt dominated and dubiously blamed the financial advisor for robbery to accumulate that kind of expensive riches. Pitiful Fouquet was forced to continue his life in jail.

Hence, you understand you should not sway your boss; however, is there a way to win her favor? Another approach is to constantly make your boss look clever than every other person, as well as you.

For instance, Galileo Galilei the mathematician and astronomer seriously needed money for his study and discovered a clever means to get the fund. When he found the 4 satellites of Jupiter around 1610, for certain, he connected his finding to the ennoblement Cosimo II.

The way he did that?

With an ingenious action, Galileo mentioned that the 4 satellites signified Cosimo II as well as his 3 brothers, whereas Jupiter was similar to Cosimo I, dads of these 4 brothers. All thanks to working to the leader’s self-esteem, Galileo was declared the actual philosophy specialist and mathematics specialist of Cosimo II.

Chapter 2 – Accept praise for the work of others and make sure you defend your own work.

Did you think of claiming part of someone else’s work like it is yours by copying some pieces? During a math test, have you ever secretly stolen answers by looking at the paper of a peer of yours? Perhaps yes or perhaps no; however, the reality is that achieving power usually entails using other people’s work to your own benefit.

Why should you spend energy and time on some tasks if another person could finish those for you to take credit? For example, are you aware that Nikola Tesla was working for the popular creator Thomas Edison? Also, it was really Tesla, and not Edison, making Edison’s famous dynamo by enhancing Edison’s somewhat old design for the time.

To get this finding, Tesla worked non-stop for a full year, usually spending eighteen hours a day around the laboratory. However, now, Edison’s surname is credited to Nikola’s dynamo.

Just a bit has transformed since Edison’s era. Just ponder on the way only a handful of politicians author their talks and the way popular novelists “take on” works of other authors.

However, getting the advantage of pieces finished by other people isn’t sufficient – you’ll have to accept praise for it as well. For instance, Edison and the firm he owned claimed the entire credit for the work of Tesla’s dynamo. Edison did not share a cent of his gains with Tesla, although he had guaranteed him a 50000 USD!

Therefore, having Tesla’s instance in your brain, bear in mind that the praise assigned for a work of any sort is as vital as the creation itself. When you do not take the credit, another person will take it, steal your concept as well as the whole that accompanies it.

Chapter 3 – Winning power over a person entails knowing who they are – and the best method to do that is acting like their friend.

Perhaps you’ve come across this issue before: you’re trying to outdo the opponent; however, you can’t quite succeed to correctly predict your opponents’ tactics. The way to do this?

Another trick you can use to win power is collecting significant detail about the individuals you would like to have control over. Also, to collect something from a person, you should learn about those people. Nevertheless, understanding a person’s tactics, weaknesses and wants will assist you in winning their goodwill and control actions.

Consider Joseph Duveen, an art trader who decided to make Andrew Mellon, an industrialist, a customer in the year 1920. However, Mellon could not be simply swayed; therefore, Duveen chose to corrupt Mellon’s personnel to give him secret detail regarding their boss.

At the time Mellon went to England, Duveen made it a must to go after the industrialist. The trader appeared at the exact art showroom Mellon went to, apparently by accident, and captured him inside a lively discussion.

Because Duveen knew a lot about the interest of Mellon, he effortlessly won his likes by letting him think that the two have the same likes regarding art, in addition to other things. Due to that, the meeting finished on favorable notes and Mellon immediately turned into Duveen’s nicest customer.

Therefore, what is the way you achieve the thing Duveen accomplished?

You may employ informants or, better still, spy by yourself by acting as a friend of the person. Although the majority of the people prefer to hire spies as the art trader did, this method is risky. Nevertheless, could you be certain that these spies are reliable?

To be certain that your detail is correct, it’s better to spy by yourself. This isn’t simple, as people usually waver to give individual details to people they don’t know.

But, they would not be as closed when they are in the midst of a person they see as a peer, therefore, making acting like a friend an extremely effective approach.

Chapter 4 -Act in a way that cannot be predicted to perplex the rivalry.

You are likely aware that the majority of the individuals would not like unexpected changes; however, are you aware of how to utilize unpredictability for the competitive edge? Moving unpredictably may retain your rivalry off-equilibrium, and this is the way:

In fierce cases, your competitors will possibly work hard to understand you by observing your routines and decisions, and they will not delay using this detail at odds with you. Then, the best thing you can do is acting haphazardly – being incalculable would save you from your competitors’ understanding of you, which would horrify and frighten them.

Consider the popular 1972 chess game among Boris Spassky, the Russian winner, and Bobby Fischer. Fischer understood that Spassky’s method was aiming at the habits and calculability of his competitor, and Fischer made use of this knowledge to his benefit by making the moves as incalculable as he can.

Even the day before the game, Fischer acted uncertain if he could make it to Reykjavik, the place where the play would take place. At the time he came, there were minutes left until the play was set to cancel as a result of his non-appearance. Following his act, Fischer went on to grumble regarding anything such as the lighting, the seating, and the sounds in the environment.

At the time they eventually started the championship’s initial game, Fischer made reckless errors before leaving, a strange move considering he was well famed with his endurance. Spassky could not determine if he made errors truly or just pretending.

At this stage, Fischer had the rival just at the place he would like him to be: when your opponent is really perplexed, you’re in a good place for victory.

What is the reason for that?

Acting for confusing your competitor will prompt him to attempt to describe your action and divert the concentration from his present task, offering you the opportunity to strike.

Therefore, after 2 matches of the play, Fischer started being victorious step by step with brave moves. When everything was over, Spassky surrendered and Fischer became the world champion.

Chapter 5 – Handing over to a more powerful contender will assist you to gain power eventually.

Have you competed with a person with the knowledge of never having the victory? Although it’s normal for individuals to battle for honor no matter what the possibility is, it has not been the way to power. Therefore, the things to do at times you are confronted with a rival stronger than you?


This may look like an odd method, particularly since humans naturally fight their foes to defend themselves. However, when a rival behaves with hostility, he would wait for you to react in an exact manner. In situations when you are aware that this rival has you knocked down, the best thing you can do is doing the contrary and giving up.

The reason for that?

When you surrender or show your opponent that you did so, you may guarantee that he will not cause much harm. Not just that; however, your opponent, believing he has succeeded, will as well drop his shield. At the time he lets his guard down, you’ll get a golden chance to recover your power and think about your following action.

Consider the example from Bertolt Brecht, an author of communist, revolutionary opinions who went to the US in the year 1941 for joining the intellectuals like him that had been expelled from Europe. With World War 2 ended, Brecht, as well as his colleagues, were called in front of the American Congress, for an investigation of alleged communist filtering from Hollywood.

Although the peer rebels provoked a pandemonium and defied the jurisdiction of the American Congress by shouting and being perverse, Brecht was patient and gently gave answers to the inquiries they asked him.

As a result of this nice conduct, the government released Brecht, which even endeavored to assist him in his relocation process– eventually, this suggestion was pointless since he parted with the US and kept on authoring his strong beliefs.

What about his obstinate peers?

They were put on the blacklist, and they could not publish for several years!

Therefore, do what Brecht has done and let giving in be an instrument of self-strengthening. Form power for a longer period rather than making extreme devotion for shorter-term glories.

Chapter 6 – You need to behave like you are superior if you would like to have behaved like you are superior.

Do you have a ladder above another person? If that is the case, it’s significant to act like you are – except, certainly, you like to be viewed as if you are similar to them. However, do not forget this advice: behaving like you are in an equal position to other people while maintaining a superior one would just cause contempt.

Consider Louis-Philippe, the French king between 1830 – 1840. He flouted royal ceremonies and every other symbol related to the throne. By resisting the customs of his seniority, he was notorious for putting on a gray cap and carrying an umbrella instead of his valuable crown and royal mace. As a matter of fact, he could not even have friends that are royalty, usually friends with bankers instead.

However, the king’s action didn’t bring him any benefit – he was quickly despised by poor people and riches. Rich people complained of the strange king, whereas the poor people didn’t like a monarch who behaved like he was lower in position and didn’t care for them. Also, his banker peers criticized him at the time they discovered they could abuse him easily by not being anxious about being punished.

This whole hatred piled up till individuals rebelled contrary to him and the king was obliged to leave the throne.

Generally speaking, people are skeptical of people that are in a higher position who behave similarly to them; acting like that makes people assume that you are devious, as they would believe your humble behaviors are a canny ploy to shadow your rights.

What would be a greater method?

Rather, you should employ the tactic “the crown” to let others handle you like you are royal. Basically, if you think you’re above other people and behave in this manner, they will start to think you’re superior as well. When people notice you behaving superiorly, they’ll believe there is a good cause for that.

For example, Christopher Columbus acted like he was royal and, hence, the majority of the people saw him as a royal. As a matter of fact, this was his bold networking with the royal family of Spain that ultimately influenced the Spanish royalty to fund his trips.

Chapter 7 – To acquire power over other people, seduction works well than coercion.

Imagine being Chuko Liang, the leader of the strategy for the olden state of China, Shu: Battle has only been announced in China from King Meng Huo, and preventing him as well as saving the nation rests with you.

However, before knowing the things to do, it is vital to understand the things you should not.

Firstly, making use of power and compelling techniques would not be smart, although they seem like the simplest decisions. As a matter of fact, when you really use your power, individuals would hate you secretly since power breeds hostility. Liang was aware of this fact and did not strike with force, although he would have most likely conquered the attacking soldiers.

But, if he would, Menghuo might have hated both Liang and China, and the nation might need to defend itself regularly. This might have made everyone involved tired and caused paranoia.

Seduction is a better approach. People have a tendency to be influenced by their feelings, and by manipulating their senses, you may control them how you wish – with their free will.

This can be done by scaring your rival therefore, they anticipate suffering and then all of a sudden treating them nicely. For instance, when Menghuo invaded China, Liang arrested Meng Huo and his whole soldiers. Meng Huo was kept apart from the army and anticipated the worst; however, to his good astonishment, he was given a nice meal and wine rather.

Although Liang freed his foe’s army, he might just allow Menghuo to leave at the time the rival king assured that when he was taken, he might bow in front of the king of China.

Also,  although Liang caught Meng Huo many times again, he usually let him leave. Then, went he captured him on the 7th time, Menghuo bowed down to Liang’s foot, handing over himself as well his kingdom.

Although Liang might have murdered Meng Huo at the time he got hold of him, a reality that the rival king knew of, he offered him a lot of opportunities and behaved him greatly every time. Due to that, Menghuo grew more thankful and grateful to the King of China, until he eventually bowed down to his own will.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene Book Review

The universe has been governed by conquest and power. Definitely, a lot has transformed into this present age; however, the significance of command and power has stayed. By grasping from the errors and wins of the strong effort of the past, you as well may turn out to be a power to be reputed with.

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