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The 48 Laws of Power Paperback – Sep 1 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 375 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140280197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140280197
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 375 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“It’s the rules for suits . . . Machiavelli has a new rival. And Sun Tzu had better watch his back. Greene . . . has put together a checklist of ambitious behavior. Just reading the table of contents is enough to stir a little corner-office lust.”
New York magazine
 
“Beguiling . . . literate . . . fascinating. A wry primer for people who desperately want to be on top.”
People magazine

“An heir to Machiavelli’s Prince . . . gentler souls will find this book frightening, those whose moral compass is oriented solely to power will have a perfect vade mecum.”
Publishers Weekly
 
“Satisfyingly dense and . . . literary, with fantastic examples of genius power-game players. It’s The Rules meets In Pursuit of Wow! with a degree in comparative literature.”
Allure

From the Back Cover

THE BESTSELLING BOOK FOR THOSE WHO WANT POWER, WATCH POWER, OR WANT TO ARM THEMSELVES AGAINST POWER . . .

A moral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power into forty-eight well-explicated laws. As attention-grabbing in its design as it is in its content, this bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers. Some laws require prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master"), some stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"), and some the total absence of mercy ("Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally") but like it or not, all have applications in real-life situations. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded -- or been victimized by -- power, these laws will fascinate any reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am not earning over a million bucks a year so I might not be qualified to judge the value of the book. However, as somebody in his late thirties and always stuck in the middle of world class big corps, I can tell just knowing the laws can greatly improve your ability to defend against arrows shooting at your back.
For your easy reference, the laws are:-
1. Never outshine the master
2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies
3. Conceal your intentions
4. Always say less than necessary
5. So much depends on reputation - guard it with your life
6. Court attention at all cost
7. Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit
8. Make other people come to use - use bait if necessary
9. Win thru your actions, neer thru argument
10. Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky
11. Learn to keep people dependent on you
12. Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim
13. When asking for help, appeal to people's self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude
14. Pose as a friend, work as a spy
15. Crush your enemy totally
16. Use absence to increase respect and honor
17. Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability
18. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself - isolation is dangerous
19. Know who you are dealing with - do not offend the wrong person
20. Do not commit to anyone
21. Play a sucker to catch a sucker - seem dumber than your mark
22. Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power
23. Concentrate your forces
24. Play the perfect courtier
25. Re-create yourself
26. Keep your hands clean
27. Play on people's need to believe to create cultlike following
28.
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Format: Paperback
Once again, I listened to the book on my Android phone and after many hours of meditation, I’m still not sure whether the author wanted us to absorb his message literally or if he was highlighting the absurd.

Mr. Greene tries to teach us how to obtain power by cunning, manipulation and lying. He states his 48 laws of power and then uses historical examples to show a “transgression of the law” and an “observance of the law.” The historic examples are taken from three thousand years of history from leaders of ancient China and Greece to our present days. Many of the stated laws are distilled from the teachings of well known philosophers such as Machiavelli, Sun-tzu and a few others.

I belief that Mr. Green purposely showed the most shrewd ways to gain power and ignored the many ways that people can obtain power by honesty, by giving, by showing gratitude and by serving others; the bookstores are already full of those books. Mr. Green found a fantastic way to differentiate himself in a crowded market.

It is my believe that obtaining power by deceit and cunning is way more difficult than obtaining power by honesty and by a desire to help others. At a given moment, the mask becomes too heavy to carry and if you manage to carry it all the time, you obtain power by giving up your true self. It is not different from the professional who becomes rich by working so many hours that he never gets to enjoy his wealth. Is it worth it?

All that being said some laws make perfect sense:

“5. So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life.” This is my own interpretation of the law: You might be loyal to your spouse all you life, but it only takes one incident of infidelity in order to destroy your reputation as a faithful spouse.

“9.
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Format: Paperback
This title makes you pump your fist and feel like Caeser in his prime. An alternate title could be the Devil's Guide to Success. Anyone who has ever felt tired of being manipulated and played by smooth words (and discovering it far too late), will tear through these pages. It is a clear bombshell into analyzing effective influence and deception, via lessons learned from recent to centuries past. Psychological warfare in the business world is a very real thing, and you can either uses the tools to your advantage, or get taken to the cleaners. The choice is yours, and this book will break down every facet in great detail. The author writes with good intentions, and arms you with protecting yourself from being a victim, and selectively using the skills to your advantage.
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Format: Paperback
In our world of political correctness and appearances, where society is depicted as fair, democratic, at times altruistic and transparent, the reality of the situation is far different. And as Greene proposes, no one wants to be seen as power hungry, and those that do, are generally scorned. Power is a game. And to play this game successfully, duplicity is the key: to win power, we must, on the surface, at least appear to be fair, altruistic and transparent, however we must scheme, manipulate, deceive, charm and seduce, if we are to get what we want...to achieve power, as Napoleon suggested, we should use an iron fist with a velvet glove, smiling as we stab our opponents in the back. Attaining power is war, though according to Greene, a civilized war.
Any person with an essential good nature should find this book a little disturbing. The message from Greene is clear - living the virtuous life is the road to failure and powerlessness. Appealing to the better angels of our natures is a lost cause and will get us nowhere but the bottom of the food chain. In other words, "nice guys finish last." The only way to the top is through treachery, seduction, observing others' weaknesses to then play on those weaknesses to your advantage. Greene's advice is basically a negative strategy to power and success. And to be sure, there are other positive strategies out there to attain power and success without resorting to deception and covert manipulation. But none are presented here.
That said, understanding the 48 laws presented here, at least will make us aware of the depths some people will go to in order to get what they desire. In this regard, this text is worth the time, energy and money.
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