Rachel's Reviews > The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
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's review
Sep 15, 2011

really liked it
Read in August, 2011

As books on power go, this is one of the best. Although Machiavelli and Sun-Tzu have the advantage of having passed the test of time, and are indeed, still relevant today; this book has the advantage of being written in a more contemporary style and incorporating lessons from several cultures, and not simply, say, those of Reniassance Italy and ancient Japan. Moreover, its simple, accessible format makes it usable as a reference work much more so than its predecessors.

Of course, one needs to all how-to books on power with a grain of salt. The 48 Laws of Power is very matter of fact and blunt. It discusses the laws with no reference to the moral consequences of their application. Indeed, such considerations are irrelevant to a discussion of the pure elements of power and how to achieve it. Such observations have led to the current situation whereby "Machiavellian" is an insult, and is indeed a synonym for cold, even evil, ruthlessness. I believe such an interpretation is a disservice and misinterpretation of such works. Rather, knowing the 48 Laws of Power should be considered like knowing the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People--good to know in the abstract, but to be really useful they must be tailored to one's individual situation, beliefs, and morality.

I recommend The 48 Laws of Power highly.

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