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The 48 Laws Of Power (A Joost Elffers Production) Paperback – 20 Nov 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; New Ed edition (20 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861972784
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861972781
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 2.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction (both from Profile), has a degree in Classical Studies and has been an editor at Esquire and other magazines. He is also a playwright and lives in Los Angeles.

Product Description

Amazon Review

"Learning the game of power requires a certain way of looking at the world, a shifting of perspective," writes Robert Greene. Mastery of one's emotions, and the arts of deception and indirection are, he goes on to assert, essential. The 48 laws outlined in this book "have a simple premise: certain actions always increase one's power ... while others decrease it and even ruin us."

The laws cull their principles from many great schemers--and scheming instructors-- throughout history, from Sun-Tzu to Talleyrand; from Casanova to con man Yellow Kid Weil. They are straightforward in their amoral simplicity: "Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit," or: "Discover each man's thumbscrew." Each chapter provides examples of the consequences of observance or transgression of the law, along with "keys to power," potential "reversals" (where the converse of the law might also be useful), and a single paragraph cleverly laid out to suggest an image (such as the aforementioned thumbscrew); the margins are filled with illustrative quotations. Practitioners of one-upmanship have been given a new, comprehensive training manual, as up-to-date as it is timeless. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Invaluable manual on the use and abuse of power... indispensable and often-cited influence on many of America's most successful rappers' -- Sunday Times Magazine

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Zhazha on 26 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
First and foremost, this book is immense fun to read, because every point is exemplified with true stories from history - stories of the success wrought by adhering to each 'law' and, even more amusingly, stories of the consequences that followed from breaking the 'law' (a great example is the story of Louis XIV and his finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet. Voltaire is quoted at the end of this passage: "When the evening began, Fouquet was at the top of the world. By the time it had ended, he was at the bottom"). Why is seeing the powerful fall flat on their faces so heartening?
I have a slight reservation about its style. It is written in a way as if to advise the reader on how to attain power, rather like a PMA book. I took this style initially to be intended as tongue-in-cheek. Whether or not that was the intention (and I think it was), it definitely should be seen that way. The author does stress the point at the beginning that power is a game. The implication is that, as with all games, one should not become attached to the idea of power. He makes the point that having no power is misery, but that having power and not having peace of mind is pointless. Power therefore cannot be an end in itself, as many powerful figures have failed to discover.
I have noted that some reviewers do not agree with all the 'laws'. I don't feel able to comment as, so far, I have just been enjoying the idea that 'power' can be broken down in this way. If I do find, on reflection (as well as on finishing the book, as I'm barely past the first 100 pages), that I disagree with some of the 'laws' here, I will still have a view on an aspect of power that I wouldn't have otherwise had - in disagreeing with a principle, one makes up one's own.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By David Askew on 18 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
I can't really fault the book at all.

Robert Greene has established 48 laws of power, and they are all very interesting, powerful and fact based. Throughout the book I feel as if Robert knows completely what he's saying and he's done acres of research.

This book however, is to be taken very carefully. It doesn't seem as if he has written the book to any moral guidelines. If books can have age restrictions on a person buying them, I would definately give this one an 18. I could definately see someone young, greedy or just suggestable obsessing over the book and becoming a pretty immoral person. I believe it takes a certain level of maturity and moral understanding to be aquired in order to not abuse information in the book.

The 48 laws of power, generally focuses around methods you can use and themes you can engrain into your personality, in order to get things. Whilst the book is absolutely brilliant at delivering this, the fact is that if everyone applied all the laws to themselves (or even just a handful), the world would be almost at a standstill... as an example one of the rules is to "Get others to do work for you but always take the credit" - is this really a mode people should follow for the good of the world? If everyone was doing that, there would be no work to take credit for and economies would halt. Imagine a planet full of conmen, what a great place to live that would be... hmmm... not.

Robert Green indicates some key resources he's used and one to mention is the famous "The art of war by sun tzu" - I believe Robert is extremely interested in books like these and he's only gone and made pretty much, a brilliant book himself.

It's a very good buy, for it's purpose. But can you really find true happiness by being powerful? Well, I'll leave that question for you to perhaps answer, but for me, without any doubt at all, the 48 laws of power is an incredible buy.

I hope my opinion has been helpful to you.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
Moralists beware! This is not a book to be compared with the Bible. It is, however, a very well researched and brilliantly written analysis of Machiavellian theory as it has been practiced by famous historical figures.
I personally find such tactics distasteful, yet I am too old to ignore their effectiveness in the modern world. If you find the harsh practicality of this book too much, you should read The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian, a 15th -century Spanish Jesuit priest.
On the other hand, if, like me, you were enthralled by Ian Richardson's portrayal of Francis Urquhart in the House of Cards trilogy, then this is the perfect weekend reading for you!
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120 of 126 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Nov 2001
Format: Paperback
I was brought up, probably like most people, that the right way to treat people is to be nice and pleasant to everyone at all times. Unfortunately, not everyone you come into contact with has similar views.
All too frequently, I have been subjected to behaviour and attitudes from some others that I have not understood or what motivates them. In short, I was naive in some aspects of the way of the world and resulting in my being ineffective far too often for my own good.
Whilst it is good to learn from your mistakes, too often have I made the same mistake again and again.
Life is too short and too complex to learn everything about human interactions, but this is the best book by far that I have read to help 'nice' people to get switched on to the less wholesome aspects of some human behaviour.
I have made the mistake of trying to improve my interactions with people by reading books of a spiritual nature of which there are many.
Whilst I have learnt much from them I have had to accept that I have been laughed at by the more basic and worldly-wise people with whom I have come into contact.
In my opinion, I have 'got wise' many times quicker after reding this book a couple of times than I have done during 20 years of reading the spiritual books. Sad, but true.
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