I’ve become more and more interested in non-fiction self help books. Mostly because I love to learn new and informative ideas on how I can improve my life and the results I obtain from my actions. To me any book or video that can cut the learning curve is something that I want to absorb. This week I was referred to by a friend about the “48 laws of Power”- by Robert Greene.
This book is a must read and an instant favorite of mine. Robert Greene breaks down all 48 laws to obtaining and keeping power. This can be used in business, politics, and even our daily lives. Greene supports each law with amazing historical examples, which are interesting and informative. Below I have some of my favorite laws which I find useful.
Never Outshine The Master
“Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. in your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite- inspire fear and insecurity.” – Robert Greene
In order to gain power it is important for you not to show all your talents to your “master” because if you do so they may begin to feel you are showing off and that will never lead to your accumulation of power!
When Asking For Help, Appeal To People’s Self-Interest, Never To Their Mercy Or Gratitude.
“If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of you past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in you alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.” – Robert Greene
This law was one of my favorites because it is extremely true! I’ve personally dealt with people who I asked them to help me with something because I had done good deeds for them in the past, only to be ignored! It is a frustrating feeling, and one that I now know how to combat! In HBO’s series The Game Of Thrones- Tyrion Lannister constantly uses this tactic by asking people “what do you want” often times they will tell him through either their actions or words. From that point he uses that knowledge to further his gains and power by giving them what they want. Charisma on Command made a great video on this power topic. Click here to watch that video.
Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
“Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that goes into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work-it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.” – Robert Greene
I’m fairly good at editing videos, I did it all throughout high school and even in college. Often times when people view these videos they are extremely impressed with how fast and well put together I can create these videos. By not explaining to them the hours and hours of edited and coming up with the ideas for the videos, people perceive my video accomplishments as pure talent, thus helping one to accumulate power.
Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew
“Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.” – Robert Greene
This law is one of the darker laws of power. It’s base is to find one’s weakness and exploit it for your own personal gain. The benefit in knowing this law however is of immense value, because once you learn and apply this law not only will you be able to get others to work for your own benefit, you will also be able to see it being done to you, and can prevent others from manipulating your own weaknesses.
Avoid Stepping In A Great Man’s Shoe’s
“What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them. Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making, Establish you own name and identity by changing course. Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.” – Robert Greene
In the book Robert Greene uses Alexander The Great as his subject. Alexander The Great’s father had just been assassinated and Alexander had to rule the kingdom. Alexander despised the way his father had ruled, his advisors told him to do things like his father Phillip, however Alexander did not listen to them and pursued his own path. “He marched to the furtherest reaches of his kingdoms and secured rebellious towns and reunited his empire with brutal efficiency.”- Robert Greene.
Even in today’s world I can think of some people who are creating their own paths and stepping out of their father’s shoe’s. Jaden and Willow Smith, son and daughter to Will Smith the famous american actor. Jaden and Willow at an early age pursued their own paths in music, fashion and business all before the age of 18! They refused to “step in a great man’s shoe’s” instead they are creating their own shoe’s to be filled someday.
This book was insightful, entertaining, practical, and very informative. I learned a great deal about how the use of power has been around since the dawn of time and how many rulers, politicians, and everyday people use it to conquer their enemies. While the topic of power has a general negative connotation, I believe it is important to learn the art of power, and use it for good purposes. If you are someone like myself, this is definitely the book for you. Great examples and extremely practical when applied to your everyday life.
Thank you for reading, and if this was an article that you enjoyed please leave a comment below or share with a friend. See you soon!