48 Laws of Power
by Robert Greene
-48 Laws of Power is a book that shows how to deal with people, how they think, and how people can easily be manipulated when you appeal to their egos. Why do some people throughout history appear dominant and others seem weak and pathetic? Our ancient ancestors to what they wanted by force, but at some point in history, power was gained by wit and deception rather than brute force.
-Mastering emotions and displaying patience are rare skills. Robert Greene says, “Nothing about power is natural; power is more godlike than anything in the natural world. And patience is a supreme virtue of the gods who have nothing but time.”
-He is saying that the patient man or woman displays control, mastery, and an almost divine ability to endure.
-Below are the 4 laws that meant the most to me.
-Law 4, Always Say Less Than Necessary
-General Coriolanus was a legend to the Romans. When he tried to gain political power, he began to brag and insult the people. Greene says, “The more he said the less powerful he appeared. A person who cannot control his words shows that he cannot control himself.”
-When you remain silent, people don’t know what you’re thinking you become mysterious and intimidating.
- “When you carefully control what you reveal, they cannot pierce your intentions or your meaning.”
-Law 15, Crush Your Enemy Totally
- “To have ultimate victory, you must be ruthless.”
-Greene tells the story of ancient Chinese concubine, Wu Chao who killed her own baby to create suspicion that the empress had murdered the child. The empress was executed and Wu Chao married the emperor.
- “A viper crushed beneath your foot but left alive will rear up and bit you with a double dose of venom. An enemy that is left around is like a half-dead viper that you nurse back to health”
-There are times when compassion for your enemy causes hesitation in eliminating him. Since you can’t murder your enemies in everyday life, ensure that he is totally hopeless and powerless when dealing with you.
-Law 25, Re-Create Yourself.
-Power plus theater. When Julius Caesar became dictator of Rome, he put on magnificent forms of entertainment throughout the empire. His love of theatre manifested in his speeches. He created an image among the Roman public of being larger than life.
-Green says, “Like Caesar, you must be constantly aware of your audience, of what will please them and what will bore them.”
-We are like clay. We can mold ourselves like clay. We define our roles while others allow society to mold them.
-People react to image and perception. Appeal to their nature, their emotions, and their desire to be entertained.
- “Never reveal all your cards at once, but unfolding them in a way that heightens their dramatic effect.”
-Law 48, Assume Formlessness
-Why were the Athenians victorious over the Spartans? While Sparta initially conquered the Athenians in 431 B.C., Athens remained skilled in politics, economics, seafaring, and trade. The Spartans were one dimensional. All they knew was war. The Spartan hold eventually collapsed.
-Greene says, “Learn to move fast and adapt or you will be eaten.”
-Just like water takes the form of whatever is around it, we must be changing, evolving, and unpredictable.
-Be willing to take criticism. Put the ego aside because when we act defensive, we resist a chance to learn. Defensiveness causes us to appear weak and insecure when show our emotions.
-Growing up, we are taught to be weak, suppress anger, and be too nice by society. Teachers, parents, and religious leaders tell us foolish things because they are just as ignorant as we are. Society programs us with advertisements and they influence and manipulate us by using the techniques in this book.
-Robert Greene’s shows how human egos and emotions are influenced. I just listed four of the laws that stood out to me. When you read this, you might be tempted to resist the laws because they go against what we have been taught by society. Just remember that people are manipulators. Be aware of them and do not trust them. Even the greatest leaders throughout history achieved power through deception, manipulation, and theatricality.