Title: 48 Laws of Power
Author: Robert Greene
Year: First published: 1988; New edition published: 01/01/1998
Length: 496 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Business, Psychology
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Short Description: No one in today’s world agrees to settle with less – less power, less money, less things. It’s pity, but everyone wants more and more. However, it’s also dangerous to demonstrate your desire for greater power. That’s why it’s essential to pretend to be a modest guy, while you’re making plans for your future moves. 48 Laws of Power is a practical guide that will teach you (obviously) 48 techniques to acquire and sustain more power. Without exaggeration, this book can change your life.
Amoral, ruthless, skillful and enlightening. This book offers the millennial wisdom of great men and women once lived in our world. Laws of Power is a practical guide for everyone looking for a way to acquire more power.
The book features techniques that will help you overcome almost every obstacle in your life, but more importantly, help you play with the minds of others and convince them to work in your favor. Here are few examples: Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit; Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy; Law 21: Play sucker to catch a sucker – seem dumber than your mark.
Every law, though, has one thing in common: an interest in total domination.
When I ordered the book back in 2012, I didn’t knew that I am actually ordering a practical guide that will teach me how to influence the people around me. Once I’ve read the book, I’ve purchased all other books written by Robert Green and happy to say that I’m a fan of his work till this very day.
Today’s society faces numerous laws, regulations, rules that are both protecting us, and at the same time, are limiting us. If we strictly obey the rules we won’t be able to excel, move forward. Robert Greene teaches us how to bypass laws, act in our favor, tweak other’s minds, and still look decently and charming in the eyes of others. He does all of that, by providing us with 48 techniques, which are described in details, that show us unique ways to handle situations of any kind. Each individual law is well argued with examples, interpretation, quotes, tales, and historical events.
The only downside of 48 Laws of Power is probably that’s a bit hard to read. The author is constantly throwing facts from different centuries, and at times it is hard to keep up with all the names, years and events. However, it’s totally worth it. You can sense the author’s attention to details in his writing. Each fact is perfectly balanced and it’s adding up amazingly well to the point the author is trying to prove. Without all the historical data the book would not be the same.
I will personally recommend this book to people who are lacking confidence, struggle to climb up in their career or find a spouse.
To be honest, it was really hard to choose only 5 takeaways from the book. There is a lot to learn from all 48 laws and my notes of the book are around 10 pages. After long consideration, here they are, the key takeaways:
Notes, thoughts, and essential takeaways that I want to remember from the book. My main goal is to leave you with curated content, to which you can easily return to in the future for reference, that’s holding (spoil free) insights of the book, but mainly actionable steps, that can be used in our real lives:
Protect Your Reputation at All Costs
Reputation, in general, means: the opinion people have about someone or something, or how much respect or admiration someone or something receives, based on past behavior or character. To put it simply, your every day behavior is acknowledged by the people around you, which helps them form an opinion about you. Others, more often take into consideration these few things:
- The way you talk, walk, do certain things.
- What you talk about, what words you use.
- Your intonation, voice, timbre.
- The moments you remain silent.
- The way you dress, the stuff you own and buy.
The available behavior combinations are hundreds: You can dress in tailored suits but if you remain quiet and unengaged in times of distress, people will think that you’re coward or a prick. In contrast, you can prefer wearing t-shirts and jeans but be the first one to act when there is a major crisis.
Wearing suits can give you a couple of extra points in regards what people think of you. However, if this is not backed by appropriate actions, you will eventually lose points in the eyes of others. Bottom line, looks will help give you initial leverage in certain situations, but if you don’t further endorse it with your IQ it won’t mean much – be smart and sexy kind of guy/girl.
Why talking about this?
Because your reputation is your life. Consider your name as a brand – like Apple, SONY, Volkswagen or other. Are you a more like a Tesla (shiny and cool) or a more like a Volvo (conservative and safe)? Actually, you might think you’re like Tesla, but the people around you might perceive you more like a Ford kind of guy – boring and outdated.
Your persona is not something formed in a day, however. Like the brands I mentioned, is something formed after years of work. In our case, after years of living. Your reputation is the cornerstone of your life. If flawless, you will do much better in life with fewer efforts. On the contrary, compromised or tainted reputation will prompt you to work harder to obtain certain things.
So, if you haven’t thought about it yet, consider thinking about it now: What type of guy you want to be, for yourself, and in the eyes of others? Once you know the answer to the question, start acting and looking like the guy you want to become. Soon, you will not only convince the people around you, but you will also convince yourself – which is actually more important.
Remember though, one wrong step can ruin everything you worked for so hard. Your reputation is a sensitive matter and you should treat it with respect.
Focus your Efforts
Which of the two will be more quickly done: Building one 10 story building or building 3 separate, three-story buildings with the same amount of resource? Even though the 3 story buildings will be with fewer floors, it will take you much longer to build 3 separate buildings in three separate locations than building one bigger structure. Simply, your efforts are channeled in one thing, thus the faster turnaround time.
If we examine one day of our lives, we will see at least 20 obvious different things requiring our attention: getting out of bed, dressing up, making coffee, going to the bathroom, pouring water, talking with other people, driving, showering, making dinner, shopping, writing texts, emails, walking, talking to the phone, reading, resting, getting up to grab the remote control, sleeping, thinking. Our thoughts are the biggest source of assignments, though. A thought of a juicy hamburger appears in your mind and voila, you’re hungry. The assignment? To find what to eat? From where? How much will it cost? Will I do it myself or I will order?
The reason we have so many things on our plate each day is because we’re constantly making more assignments on our own. In our own minds. Daily, our brain generates more than 50,000 thoughts. That’s around 34 thoughts per minute. What I am saying is, that, there is a constant traffic in our heads and pretty much all vehicles have their own separate final destinations. This ultimately resolves into few or zero real accomplishments each day.
Focusing our efforts should start with focusing your thoughts. It’s no secret that if you pursue a certain goal, dream, long enough, you will eventually reach it. The problem, though, are all these thoughts each minute about things that aren’t really related to our final destination: “Go to the bathroom, check your Facebook, talk to your colleague, check your email, order food, watch the funny video you saw the other day again, check your Twitter, respond to an email.” Even though that stopping these thoughts to appear in our minds is kind of impossible, you can do the following: While working on a particular task, acknowledge each sabotaging thought that appears. Say, “ok, I will check my Facebook later” or, “I will respond to the email at exactly 16:00 o’clock”. Don’t try to fight these thoughts, rather, accept them and move on.
You have to learn to preserve your power and energy by concentrating it only on the most important things. Better to find a single source of wealth or love than to scatter around your resources on shallow things that have no potential.
Consider Yourself as a King
The way you behave in front of others will determine the way others will behave with you. If you treat others with respect, you will inspire the same behavior from the people around you. No one likes to talk to a dumbass who doesn’t appreciate the people around him. Moreover, such behavior is not appropriate for a king. I’m not talking about acting like a selfish bastard. I am talking about behaving with gratitude, honesty, building a character who is destined for great things.
Even though the idea of acting like a king might sound like a something only a narcissist will do, there is more to that. As we age, we understand that there are certain limits, blocking us to achieve what we desired when we were younger. Without opposing, we start to constantly feed our mind with limiting beliefs: “You can’t do that”; “That’s impossible”; “You will never become a writer” and etc. At this stage, we’re already expecting less from life. We settle down with an average job, mediocre salary, and an ordinary lifestyle. The dreams and hopes we had when we were young have been replaced with negative thoughts that are only narrowing our horizon. This, as you can imagine, leads to depression. There is only one way to get rid of all this negativity – try to forget the natural restrictions and be more persistent in your demands from life. How can you do this?
Sincerely believe in yourself, that you’re destined for amazing things. This belief, if it’s pure and real enough, will show you the way, give you an inner strength. Will fuel your goals and turn you again into this happy child who has dreams.
There are three main tactics that will help you achieve any ambitious goal:
- First, always want a lot – from life, from others, form yourself. Raise the bar high and don’t settle down for less than what you deserve.
- Second, follow the footsteps of people who have achieved success in the field you’re trying to grow. Research what they did and how did they did it.
- Third, build a lasting and mutually respectful relationship with the person with the most influence in your surroundings. It’s always best to have influential people at your side. You never know at what point you will need assistance.
Your life, any life, is like a kingdom where you’re the main player – the king. It depends on you whether your kingdom will thrive, or will perish.
Aim to Influence the Minds and Hearts of Others
The easiest way to win someone on your side is if you pay enough attention to his individual needs. Respect his feelings, focus on what’s dearest to him, talk only about his interest and act like you’re really interested. If you don’t pay attention to the aspirations, feelings and the opinions of the people who are surrounding you, they will sooner or later hate you.
Big brands like Amazon, Google, Apple have consumed our world and have set a high standard in their industry. Although we can’t compete with them, we have the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with people all over the world. Nowadays, most people are more willing to believe an individual, than a corporate firm that fills your social media feed with commercials.
Why should all of this concern you?
If you’re planning to build an online business, or any kind of business, your main concern should be the needs of others, not yours. Explore their particular qualities and adapt to what interests and entertains them. Try to connect and influence the masses. Offer a simple and easy to understand reason on how will they benefit if they listen, buy from you. The most powerful human motive is the “what’s in it for me” motive. Remember that.
On a personal level, the reason you need to aim towards the hearts and minds of the people surrounding is very simple: People, in general, are not interested in you. The thing that drives them is their own personal interests. However, we often need help from others to accomplish our goals. You get the conflict: people are selfish and aren’t interested in you, but you need their help to acquire power.
What you can do, is to reveal your true identity – your fears, troubles, weaknesses. Add to this your strengths but don’t forget to show that your human first. People connect faster with others who have weaknesses. Why? Because themselves have flaws that are hiding from the world. Revealing your disadvantage first, will give them a false belief of superiority over you. Then, they will open up, and share with you their secrets, giving you a valuable information that you can use against them.
Might sound cruel, but life ain’t easy.
Act Brave, Be Brave
Fear is much more than a feeling. It’s an emotional sensation that causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. When in fear, we create all kinds of obstacles in our heads with a single goal – to abandon a task.
When feeling fear, act courageously.
While fear adds an extra set of hurdles, bravery finds a way to overcome all them. Courage (also called bravery) is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. It’s completely different human reaction and helps the host to gain incredible strength in time of need. Courage makes you feel more powerful, authoritative, even better looking. It adds an extra layer of confidence in your voice, thus making your stories sound even more authentic. In desperate moments, when acting brave, you will scare your opponent and gain an advantage over the situation.
We all know brave people. People who seemingly have no fear of anything. This, of course, is not even close to the truth.
We’re all afraid of something. Whether this will be from dark places, spiders, narrow spaces, clowns, bugs, it doesn’t matter. Even people who seem tough are afraid of something – Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” is scared of spiders. The next obvious question is: How the hell they seem so brave? Their secret is actually really simple: They act courageously regardless of whether they are afraid or not. That’s why it’s called bravery, you forget for a moment your fears and do what’s necessary.
The next time you’re afraid of something, act immediately, don’t hesitate for even a second. Hesitation can only slow your progress.
Everyone can be a king on his own, as long as his actions are meaningful and useful to the people around. It doesn’t matter that you don’t seal your letters with royal stamps. Be exalted in your desires, noble in your thoughts. Then, all of your actions will prove to yourself that you deserve to wear a crown on your head, although, in reality, this will never happen.” Baltasar Gracian
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