Book Review: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Updated on April 24, 2017
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Stephen is an avid lover of history and historic literature. He enjoys any book that teaches lessons from the past that apply to today!

The 48 Laws of Power
The 48 Laws of Power | Source

My Favorite Book

I'll just throw my cards on the table. This is my FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME! I have lost count of the number of times I have read it, listened to it, researched it, and referenced it in the 10+ years since I was first exposed to it. It is a truly phenomenal book! It's easy to read and full of historical tidbits that make a nerd like me fall in love!

My First Exposure

It was 2003 and I was taking an extremely intense Ethics course in college during my final push toward finishing my Associates Degree. One of the MANY books we discussed was The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli. I had been somewhat aware of Machiavelli due to several references in movies, as well as my slight obsession with the Borgia family.

I mentioned to my professor that enjoyed reading The Prince. He said, "If you liked that, you will LOVE The 48 Laws of Power!" Admittedly, I am not much of a reader (with my eyes). However, I am insatiable when it comes to audiobooks. As of today, I have a collection of over 100, thanks to Audible. After a quick Internet search, I decided that the actual book was a MUST OWN!

It was probably the fastest I have ever read any book of that size! I just couldn't get enough of it. Since then, I have listened to it countless times as an audiobook.

So Much to Learn

This book is not a boring history text. Nor is it simply a philosophical debate. As the title implies, the book discusses "laws" of power based on historic references. It reads almost like a dos and don'ts list, which I love. One law will have examples of when the using the law worked. Another with show how breaking that law caused someone's downfall. Then there are some in which you get one of each! Either way, it's a fascinating journey!

I consider myself a student of history. I feel that you have to at least have an appreciation for the subject to enjoy this book. However, even with just a basic knowledge, you can easily follow along. There is so much intrigue, betrayal, and mystery, you will feel like it's a fiction novel! As the saying goes, "truth is stranger than fiction!"

My Favorite Laws

The thing I most admire about this book is that you can pick and choose what you want to apply. Not all 48 laws will work in all situations or with all personalities. It was extremely difficult, but I have narrowed down the 48 laws to a few of my favorites!

Here are my personal Top 5 Laws (in book order):

Law # 1 - Never Outshine the Master - I have relied on this law so many times in my career and it has never let me down when I remember to apply it!

Law # 6 - Court Attention at all Cost - No matter what I do, I make sure that I am noticed by those in power. Languishing away in obscurity is no way to get ahead in life!

Law # 16 - Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor - We all know the phrase, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Well this book takes that to the next level!

Law # 30 - Make you Accomplishments Seem Effortless - I don't do this as much as I'd like, but the principle is sound and works quite well!

Law # 46 - Never Appear too Perfect - This rings true more often than not. Enemies despise perfection in you. Be sure to show a harmless flaw or two!

Get Your Copy!

Be Careful Who You Tell

Trust me! You need to read this book! I will also give you a caveat. Once you read it, be careful who you talk to about it. If you work in a competitive environment, it's best to keep this book a secret. You don't want to give your "enemy" any more tools that can be used against you!

I truly hope you get the chance to read this book. It has undoubtedly changed the way I conduct myself in every aspect of my life. It's worth the investment of time and it's very entertaining!!


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