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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immense fun and of practical benefit, but....
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...
Published on 26 Sep 2004 by Zhazha

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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars entertaining but misses the point
This is a sort of satan's self-help book - how to bring out your inner manipulative villain and conquer the world, MWAHAHAHAHAAA...
It's well written, although a bit self-important in places. The main attraction are the many colourful historical anecdotes, and the book is worth reading for them alone. I also love the design of the cover (again, MWAHAHAHAHAAA...),...
Published on 24 July 2007 by ear9pg


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immense fun and of practical benefit, but...., 26 Sep 2004
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. And remember, even the powerful can get it very wrong (poor Nicolas!). However, the author does recognize that there are exceptions to every rule and at the end of each chapter, cites further examples from history that are, what he calls, a 'reversal' of the law.
As well as being entertaining, I have certainly learned practically from this book. I don't think that I will ever view my disagreements with others in the same way again. But it should not be seen as some kind of gospel and therefore taken too rigidly (as one reviewer appears to have done). As I think I have shown, I don't believe the author intended it to be that way anyway. Lightness is the key.
I would love to see more editions of this book with further historical anecdotes. I agree with the person who said they were not particularly interested in history before - this book could really give you a taste for it.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for it's purpose, 18 Feb 2007
By 
David Askew - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The 48 Laws of Power (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Analysis of Machiavellian Theory, 18 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The 48 Laws of Power (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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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn effective alternatives to being always 'nice'., 20 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The 48 Laws of Power (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading if you have to deal with powerful people, 17 Jan 1999
By A Customer
No mattter if you find the subject of the acquisition, use and maintenance of power to be distasteful, power is a reality, just as is the atomic bomb. And if you don't know how to deal with it, then get used to the idea that it will be used against you. That is one good reason why this book is essential for anyone who doesn't understand power. Another, more proactive reason, is that unless you understand power, you will yourself remain powerless and your influence for good will be extremely limited.
Greene explains most of what you would ever need to know. He is especially valuable in explaining the role of jealousy and personal insecurity in the holding back and dragging down of people of talent, enthusiasm and ambition (regardless of what ends that ambition serves). Yes, you need to know these things. The only reason this book does not get 5 Crowns is that the authors do not do enough to convince the reader that these are really the 48 most important laws of power (might there be more?) and it is produced as a list rather than as a structured approach to understanding and applying the knowledge.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power manual, 2 Jan 2011
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This book is very insightful and uses many historical figures and events to illustrate the points made. Although some may find that certain rules are extreme, you should try and read between the lines as not everything written should be taken literally. Having said that the rules are all tried and tested ways of achieving power eg. Believing and acting like you belong with those of power will undoubtedly attract power to you,making you powerful. Being wary of friends is another good rule as well as avoiding negative people and 'victims', some may say the book is generally a cynical way of thinking but unfortunately it's a realistic and sensible way of looking at life if you want to gain power and avoid becoming part of the weak. I think incorporating these rules will make your life richer as they will strengthen you and make you aware of peoples psychology when interacting with them, remember that many people you meet in life will have their own agendas. Being equipped with such knowledge will give you a big advantage, the power will make your life better and give you the ability to make other peoples lives better too.

"Before all else, be armed"
Niccolo Machiavelli
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power in history, 8 Nov 2005
By 
Sarah Hague (Montpellier, France) - See all my reviews
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What is so attractive about this book is the historical examples of each law. The author has not written a self-help manual full of mumbo jumbo, jargon or modern woolly ideas; he has gone through history to demonstrate just how successful power strategies can be, and how people have been engaging in the pursuit of power for centuries. Both the Athenians and the Chinese were past masters at it thousands of years ago.
To balance the successful use of the laws, he also cites examples where the law was not observed, to disasterous results. The main message of the book is that to obtain power you need a plan. Power doesn't just fall into your lap. You need a strategy, a plan of action, patience and lots of nerve.
Oh, and often, a little luck goes a long way, too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer who enjoyed the book, 21 Dec 1999
By 
Mr. P. Brennan "peter brennan" (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It has certainly given me new insights into other people's behaviour and also made me more aware of the signals I send to others. I like to revisit the book when something at work is on my mind and I want to remind myself of the importance of perceptions.
It was obvious the book was written with great skill and much thought to the lay out. One criticism would be that some of the examples (transgressions or observance) dragged a little and I would sometimes skip to the synopsis at the end of the chapter.
Greens insight's into other people's emotionally driven behaviour revealed a significtant understanding of psychology. I like to read a little psychology now and again and found reading Green's book much more informative than some of the dry psychology books on the market.
I would not agree with all the points Green makes, I believe people are good at seeing through Machiavellian characters and I also believe 'integrity' is important. However, Greens analysis is intriguing.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, 1 Dec 2004
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The 48 Laws of Power (Hardcover)
This book is amoral, hauntingly true and indispensable. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone who aspires to any level of success in any organization or profession. It should not gather dust but should be read regularly, according to a plan - one law a day, for example, absorbed slowly and contemplated deeply. Author Robert Greene draws on a rich variety of sources including books so threatening that they were banned by the ancient Chinese. He cites the memoirs of Machiavelli, various con men and many others who swept aside what ought to be in order to focus on what is. It might seem that anyone who follows all of these laws in their rich, narrative detail will turn out to be a very unpleasant person. That's probably not true. We suspect, in contrast, that the person who masters the laws of power will be extremely pleasant, with winning ways and a knack for likeability, yet awe-inspiring and in control - though not always obviously so. Doesn't that sound tempting?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power Games Machiavellian style, 11 Feb 2008
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This book is focused predominantly on Machiavellian strategies of power. As such, it is a very interesting read. Each "law of power" is illustrated with sample stories and some of the stories may be too much for the faint of heart - they are utterly ruthless.

Power is so seductive - the effects of it like chasing, fighting for and owning the "one ring that rules them all" from Talkien's "Lord of the Rings". It seems so irresistible, so sweet, but watch out how far you go, because while setting a trap for another, you can find yourself unnoticeably getting caught in it.

There is a saying that the absolute power corrupts. That is not exactly true of the "real" power - but the "real" power is not based on fear, only the perceived power is based on fear and that is what Machiavellian power is based upon. After all his motto was that it is better to be feared than to be loved. And if you invest yourself totally in being feared, one day you just find yourself ending all alone. There is yet another and better way - but that one takes another route. It is based on higher knowledge.

I am glad that Robert Green has added the "reversals" - the way you can find this double edged sword of power stuck in your own back if you're not careful.

This book is a lovely compendium of use and abuse of power with plenty of stories drawn from history. It is nice to be aware of possible consequences when using the laws of power before you become power crazy and find yourself in a ditch. With great power comes great responsibility.

Another reviewer mentioned that there is no "how to" in this book - well, even each heading clearly points out the modus operandi, which is further illustrated through the stories.

And not all the laws in the book are devious, even thought that may seem to be the main flavor of the book. Some of the laws are good common-sense advice as in "avoid free lunch", "plan all the way", "concentrate your forces", "master the art of timing", etc.

As you read this book, I'll just like to mention a story of a man who felt rather shy and powerless and who figured that the best way out for him to feel like somebody would be if he gets other people to be afraid of him. He found a book on mind-power and sat down to practice. It didn't take long, before he was apparently wielding power and people around him felt rather anxious in his presence. Eventually they all began finding excuses for staying away from him and in the end he was all alone - no one wanted him around.

So, when you engage into experimenting with these laws of power, temper them with love and wisdom - else you may not be too happy with your creation. Machiavelli, too, ended up in exhile and all alone.
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The 48 Laws of Power
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene (Paperback - 26 Oct 2000)
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