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The 33 Strategies of War

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  15,256 ratings  ·  740 reviews
Brilliant distillations of the strategies of war—and the subtle social game of everyday life—by the bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery

Robert Greene’s groundbreaking guides, The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and his latest book, Mastery, espouse profound, timeless lessons from the events of history to help readers vanquish an enemy, ensnare an
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published January 19th 2006 by Viking (first published March 3rd 2005)
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Wael Assaf Although RG's books are interrelated, it doesn't matter which book you read first. They're all goodreads!…moreAlthough RG's books are interrelated, it doesn't matter which book you read first. They're all goodreads!(less)

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  15,256 ratings  ·  740 reviews

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Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This guy writes the scariest books out there. Way scarier than Stephen King. Either that or the funniest. I can't tell. His amorality is so exaggerated it's hard to believe. Evil isn't one supernatural weirdo, evil is everyone everywhere all the time. War in this book is a big game between egomaniacs who don't care if they happen to kill millions of people. The author wants you to be like these crazy jerks in your daily life because otherwise crazy jerks will crush you. If people start accusing ...more
Lady Jane
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene turns military combat into an appropriate metaphor for life in the so-called civilized world. The author introduces the book with a warning to not be deceived by the political correctness and democratic values that the modern world promotes, because beneath the splendor of the king’s court is nothing more than human nature broiling in its most aggressive essence, and rather vented through covert, subtle, and socially accepted ways. The civilized world is in ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Excellent if you love History - in particular famous figures, battles, and wars. He humanizes historical people/events in a way that makes what could be dense and overwhelming reading very exciting.
Carolyn Kaufman
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I’d like to give this a 3.5 stars, please.

The good:

- Lots of illustrative stories. (After seeing 300, though, I admit to rushing home and being annoyed I couldn’t find anything…especially since I knew what [wouldn’t] happen to Xerxes because I was reading this at the time.)

- A good guide to different approaches to strategy and war.

The bad:

- Usually when people say a book is too long, I assume they’re used to reading magazine articles and are kind of lazy. (I know, that’s awful.) With this, thoug
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
"The 33 Strategies of War" basically assumes you're a member of the fucking Borgias family--everyone you meet is an enemy or a stragtegic friend, and both groups will likely undermine you. I feel like Robert Greene has read way too much Machiavelli, and now sees his entire life in those terms.

While I found the Game of Thronesy political/strategic angle entertaining, it becomes wearisome after 200 pages or so. Green's prose isn't awful, but he's very repetitive. On the plus side, he throws in a
Oct 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: military
This book is lousy. I was constantly amazed at the author's ability to say absolutely nothing through so much of the book. If you like pseudo-philosophical catch phrases like "If you want to win a battle, fight your battle to win" Ok, I just made that up, but it would have gone along fine in the book. It's filled with all these pithy says that really don't inform the reader of anything.

Its one saving grace are the stories interspersed to highlight the points Greene is making. Many of them are go
Ben Love
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I’m beginning to learn that any book by Robert Greene is a treat. The theme seems to be as follows: lots of attention-worthy historical references, crystal clear deductions from analysis, cross examination of derived points and something to take away. All wrapped up in a bow with no fluff, zero me-me-me and enough solid information to keep you thinking for at least the year after you read the book.
The topic for this Robert Greene outing: strategy. The last of his works I read were on seduction,
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book to study, not to read. The magical combo of Robert Greene, with all the branches of the human sciences served together in the same platter. For me, it is such a delight.
The only problem with the book is that with such heavy advice on winning over others, one cannot help but project the strategies and stories included within them on the people in one's circle. Every time I picked the book, an image of someone would pop to my mind and be today's enemy. Not to mention how I kept bera
Jan 01, 2009 is currently reading it
The 33 Strategies of War picks up where the 48 Laws of Power left off. Greene continues his exploration of historical figures, turning his attention to the more focused ways to fight a conflict, weather that be an actual war or a business meeting. The book is split into 5 sections, each dealing with a different type of conflict or method of fighting a conflict, from fighting defensively to dirty fighting favored by revolutionaries. He uses the same style as in the 48 Laws where he retells the hi ...more
Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Credits to this book for teaching me everything that I need to know about strategy and survival. Brilliantly done!
Michael Goldsmith
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very good book, business is business. We want to all think that in an organization we are all a team. Unfortunately there are many out there that don’t care about you, the organization. They only care about what’s in it for them, or stepping on people along the way. You must learn the tools to protect yourself and the organization you care so dearly about. The tools you learn can only be used for good, or it will backfire.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Psychopathy 101. Self help book for managers, as vapid as any other self help book. Better researched than most but that does not translate into value.
Debjit Sengupta
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was first introduced to Robert Greene’s work when I laid my hands on his debut book- “48 laws of power”. On the surface, it was out and out mean and nasty. When you dig deeper, you find it much more practical and realistic. The book shakes you up and challenges your virtues. The experience took me to another book- “Mastery” from the same author. The treatment was however much lighter in comparison. In both the books, there are numerous real examples to substantiate his points. His view points ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
I watched this man's interview by Tom Bilyeu on Impact Theory and thought he'd be an interesting read. Bought the book the next day. Oh, how my wallet hurts. I dislike this book so much, for the first time in my life I just can't even muster the energy to finish this cynical and very disturbing book on the most retrograde way to approach life I've ever seen. Sad, sad book.

I officially read half. Quite literally, half of what felt like the thickest book in the history of books. I guess some peop
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
33 Strategies of War is written by Robert Greene who is a master psychologist, who knows people and circumstances inside out. His research goes to about 3000 years, where the art of war originated. He breaks down the different strategies used by the people in power(mostly monarchs and dictators). He goes deep into the concepts of winning a war, and breaks them down into Historical Examples showing how the particular strategy will provide benefits. I agree, it is hard to implement this strategies ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok

I was looking for a good book on military strategies as I like history and a lot of history is about war, however I simply didn't find it here. It has some glimpses of good historical situations that serve to illustrate tactics but then he ruins it with loads of pseudo-psychology self help bull shit...
I.F. Adams
Mar 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
An strange mix of history, tactics, and self-help that all collapses into a pseudo-intellectual pile of garbage. Tries too hard to connect the dots between personal life and war settings.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a lovely sunny afternoon, and I'm sitting here in my flat near the window enjoying the flair and pleasant atmosphere!!!
I'm asking myself how to review such an awesome book as this....
Let me begin by saying that this indeed is one of the most important books I have ever read in my entire life so far.
In my humble opinion it should become a compulsory read for everyone who wants to cope
successfully with the strains and pressures which modern life demands from all of us!!!
What you actually have
Mr. Greene writes the realist s*** ever. He never fails to surprise me and INTEREST me.

This book is very strategic and it's not really about waging wars, it's more like strategies to use whether in your business or your life to be in control and know how to act.

Powerful tips and it takes a lot of nerves and courage to be applied in one's life.

It's excellent especially to those who love History. He's so good in taking us back in time and paint the picture clear for us in a very smart way.

Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is by far one of the best, most enlightening books I have ever read. The strategies presented resonate with the business world as well as personal endeavors. Be prepared though because it takes time and a lot of thought to absorb it all. This makes it one of the most challenging books I have ever read as well but well worth every minute. I am very grateful for the recommendation of this book as well as "The 48 Laws of Power"...both have made a huge impact! thank you JD ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Simply one of the best books on the subject that has been written. The way that Greene flawlessly moves between teaching and giving actual historical examples of the events is perfect. This book is a must read for anyone in business, the military, or politics.
Laura Noggle
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, 2020, nonfiction
Forever a Robert Greene fangirl, I love his style of incorporating history with psychological tidbits. One of these days, I will complete my physical collection of all his most popular books—but at least I've now read them all.

My favorites, in descending order:

The 48 Laws of Power
The Laws of Human Nature
The 33 Strategies of War
The Art of Seduction

I hope to reread them all at some point as well, as there is so much to take from them even if they need taken with a grain of salt.

Some stando
Franco Arda
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Military collected more genuine intellects and risk thinkers than most if not all other professions ... and Robert Greene puts his vast knowledge of military hitory knowledge and insights into this outstanding book. He combines in a unique way strategy, philosophy and history.

The book is comprised into five parts;

The first part, SELF-DIRECTED WARFARE, is absolutely
Ahmed Zunair Cheema
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
For Robert Greene, life is a continuous struggle; it is nothing short of a perpetual war. In his ‘The 33 Startegies of War’, he has drawn an interesting portrayal of the way the rules of warfare can be put to application in our relationships, work place & other spheres of daily life.
As in his ‘The 48 Laws of Power’, the author has relied heavily upon historical narrative. However, it is 'less Machiavellian' than his previous work. The book is littered with sparkling pearls of practical wisdom fr
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Interesting book, but I think he tries to draw broad lessons from very particular circumstances or interprets events in a way that will produce the lesson he wants. Also, it is obvious that studying strategies of war will help you prevail in actual wars. I am not convinced that you should study war strategies as a self-improvement technique, as this book recommends.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crack-is-whack
A bit of a slough towards the end, but one well worth finishing. Full of fascinating stories, strategies, and anecdotes. A tad on the long side, though. But, with Robert Greene that's the standard difficulty. More of a marathon than a sprint.

Fortunately, I had a long train ride.

I look forward to subjecting myself to his newest book. Let me catch my breath first.
Danyal Wahid
Having read Machiavelli before this which is a much more refined and philosophical body of work on the nature of political strategy; and having recently acquired an interest in, and understanding of, Stoic philosophy, which advocates reluctance towards extending control over external factors, I feel as if I did this book a great injustice by picking it up when I did.

As it stands, I feel that this is a good enough introduction towards understanding the various categories of stratagem that can be
Jan 21, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: better-human
I would really recommend skipping the very disagreeable first chapter. It will probably vex you, unless you already felt like the world was against you! The book gets really enjoyable and interesting from the second chapter. If you don't skip the first, it will likely get you so wound up that it will colour all the subsequent chapters with a horn bias that will prevent you from gaining some deeply powerful and important insights.

As well as the megalomaniacal first chapter (and in many other plac
Kenya Wright
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Packed with ways to win a war and the scary truths of humanity.
Ali Hussein
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first time trying an audiobook aha. Safe to say I prefer paperback books. Anywho I enjoyed this book. I’m starting to like Robert Greene’s style of writing and what he teaches in his books.

His books almost remind me of a game of Chess. Using strategy and long term planning as opposed to tactics and short term thinking.

Good book. Will be reading more of his books. 4/5.
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Best-selling author and public speaker, Robert Greene was born in Los Angeles. He attended U.C. California at Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received a degree in classical studies. He has worked in New York as an editor and writer at several magazines, including Esquire; and in Hollywood as a story developer and

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