The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Book for Psychopaths or Unique Historical Lessons?

Many people decide to read books, novels, stories, and just anything because they want to enjoy a good read and maybe learn something new while getting motivated or a bit sad when connecting with the characters or what is written in them. 

In our case, we are quite the readers, which means we don’t have a particular reason for doing it, and thus, we aren’t picky about our books and are always open to new experiences. 

This means we have a lot of knowledge in novels from decades ago but also those that can be included in pop culture today. However, we have a weakness for books that come with great principles, teachings, and lessons we can read over and over again. 

Among the latter, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is definitely one of our favorites, and if you ask whether it is worth your read or not (being objective), we can assure you it is. 

The book covers more than a few years. Instead, it includes wisdom that comes from centuries ago, and the laws and lessons you will get from it are what you should have in your knowledge and principles. 

This is why we decided it was time to go over the details of this book and push you just a bit to give it a try; if you haven’t heard about it before, maybe decide to finally take the step to do so if you have been considering it for a while, or re-read it for another point of view and perspective. 

In addition, expect some facts and details that aren’t usually covered in any book. 

Who Is Robert Greene? – Author of the Masterpiece

Before jumping into the book, it is only fair to learn about the author and the person who came up with the idea of covering the details of this book. 

We always mention this, but we do it because most people tend to omit or skip this part and, if you want a piece of advice and are open to it, you should take your time to understand the book more deeply and differently later on.

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Robert Greene, an actual author, and public speaker, was born in Los Angeles, California, on May 14, 1959, to a Jew family. He was raised in a modest and middle-class family where his father was a salesman for cleaning products. His mother, a woman with artistic inclinations, was dedicated to being a housewife. 

There isn’t much information about Greene’s childhood and details. However, we can jump to his experience in college and follow his life from here. 

Greene was educated at the University of California at Berkley and then at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. 

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies in the latter and decided to travel extensively across Europe after receiving his degree. During his trips, he didn’t have any professional or fixed positions as he held several jobs. 

He has worked in almost 80 different jobs, including the mundane job of a contractor and translator (since he is fluent in many languages). 

One of the most prominent jobs or mentions is the fact he was the editor of “Esquire” magazine and a writer for other magazines, which is where most people refer to his work as a writer and being involved in literature. He also has experience as a Hollywood story writer.

Greene was working in Italy as a writer for the team that created and planned the art school Fabrica outside of Venice. While performing this job, he met Joost Elffers, a New York book packager, and shared his ideas about power. 

What Greene probably didn’t know at the time is that these conversations and debates about the topic would lead to his first book and the one we will be covering throughout the article: “The 48 Laws of Power”, which was published in 1998. 

It is meaningless to say the book was a big hit, and many copies have been sold since its release. 

However, his bestseller also received criticism, and we will have to go over this mention when discussing the book’s plot later on. 

With the success of his first book, Greene decided to bet on new options, and soon after, his next book was published.

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“The Art of Seduction” was Greene’s second work and was published in 2001. It categorizes different types of seduction and explains how they work. 

Cleopatra, Giacomo Casanova, Duke Ellington, and John F. Kennedy are some of the historical figures Greene has used to illustrate his theory on seduction and make it an asset during the text. 

His third book was named “The 33 Strategies of War” and was published in 2006. He was inspired by historical events and has written about the different historical campaigns that led to victory. 

This book provides guidelines for how to apply military war principles in the ever-elusive social games of daily life. As examples, the book includes strategies that were used by military greats like Sun Tzu, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Alexander The Great. 

In 2009, Greene published his fourth book, ‘The 50th Law,’ which was written in collaboration with rapper ’50 cent.’ The book deals with strategy and fearlessness and is a semi-autobiographical book about 50 Cent’s life, citing various anecdotes from his journey as a musician. 

His fifth book, “Mastery,” was published on November 13, 2012. It is about masters, their characteristics, and the universal elements that made them what they are. 

Greene discovered that high-achieving individuals in different fields shared certain traits and a common way of thinking after researching power for ten years, which is why he decided to embark on the journey of writing this fifth book. 

Finally, we are moved to 2018. 

During this year, he published “The Laws of Human Nature.” This book is about understanding the motivations and drives of people, something that they may not even be aware of. 

According to Greene is the result of his research in power, psychology, and history. To demonstrate how self-control can be achieved by separating ourselves from our emotions, the author uses examples such as Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr., and Pericles.

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Throughout all the books from the author, you will notice that he uses examples to explain his arguments and sets “laws” or pieces of advice based on people who can be followed and make them your role models due to their success and virtues in specific areas. 

The 48 Laws of Power is not an exception, which is why the book was so popular when it was first released and continues to be a top piece of literature you should add to your reading list. 

Don’t worry; we won’t leave you with doubt if you haven’t read it, so just stay for the next to know more about the book in specific and a bit less about Greene. 

The 48 Laws of Power Plot: What to Expect from the Book

If you think that this book is about lessons and non-fiction, you are right there. Though, we wouldn’t actually consider it a book to take as a lesson but rather just learn about the topic and aspect that is being approached: Power. 

Robert Greene was a true genius when he decided to compile several pieces of what power actually is and how you can prepare yourself for obtaining it, handling it, or maybe avoid it when you’re not the one with it. 

You can learn and adopt so many things from the book that you will be fascinated and go over the pages as much as you can. 

That being said, we won’t keep leaving you in doubt with our praises. 

The 48 Laws of Power covers a period of over 3,000 years and includes 48 pieces of wisdom from men, women, and civilizations around the world that share a common thread. 

Greene’s book distills this wisdom and provides a guideline on how to be more powerful. 

But how does Greene approach this goal?

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The 48 Laws of Power offers strategies for power maneuvering, which involves gaining power, maintaining it, or maybe knowing how to handle it when you are facing people with ultimate control in their hands and are using it against you. As Greene has mentioned, it is all about a power game. 

For this, Robert made sure to focus on the philosophies of great figures throughout the years, as previously mentioned. 

As a result, these chapters draw on the lives of notable historical figures and tacticians such as Sun Tzu and Queen Elizabeth I. Others like Carl Von Clausewitz and P.T. Barnum are also considered and quoted in it. 

The book is considered to be ruthless, amoral, cunning, and very instructive, thanks to all the figures considered during its creation. 

Naturally, this means The 48 Laws of Power go over a total of 48 lessons you can get from the compilation of the author and the philosophies taken from those great figures. 

The lessons range from “Never Outshine the Master,” which focuses on making people above you feel comfortable with your presence, to “Assume Formlessness,” which goes over the need of being adaptable and malleable to lead yourself to the point of being ungraspable. 

Every law is a new horizon you can explore, and we truly recommend going over each one with a new perspective based on the previous you’ve read. 

Earnings & Reception: How Popular Is It?

We are happy to tell you that since the book was published in 1998, we are able to share more details in this section than usual. 

Since this non-fiction and self-help book is out of the usual categories we have covered, like fiction, fantasy, and similar ones where novels like “Lord of the Rings” would fall, the copies sold aren’t as many. 

However, in the case of The 48 Laws of Power, the number of copies sold so far is quite great.

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To this date, the book has sold over 1.3 million copies in the United States alone and about 5 million worldwide, thanks to the translation into 24 languages. 

The average price of the book is set at $26 in 2021, and this would bring a total of $130 million if we decide to follow this number. 

But considering inflation and how much the book has cost over the years, it is hard to determine this, and, unfortunately, we will owe you this information for the next time. 

Now, what about the reception?

The 48 Laws of Power was popular among many classes, from prisoners to celebrities.

Among those who claimed to have read this book were Dov Charney (founder of American Apparel), Brian Grazer (film-TV producer), Will Smith (actor), and Christopher Bosh (basketball players). 

His book was admired by many rappers, including Jay Z, Drake, and 50 Cent (which is why the latter took place in a future book). 

Thanks to the author’s approach and how practical it is during each law or lesson, people loved it. 

It was part of the New York Times bestsellers, including having him as a York Times bestselling author in 1999. Greene’s books have always been at the top, but everything started with the first masterpiece. 

However, it also caused controversy, being called devious, unethical, and unscrupulous, an “a psychopath’s bible.”

Greene denies all accusations, saying that he wrote about a reality that no other book has ever described and defends his book to heart as every author would do. 

After all, The 48 Laws of Power is more about fantastic examples, setting a belief system, and going over-refined and concise wisdom for your own life and have a better perspective with everything; to join the genius power-game players in the world according to what we can take from what Greene wrote.

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4 Facts About The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

  • One of the favorite laws from the book is the second one: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies. 
  • Greene came up with the perfect idea for the book not only for his thoughts and perspective about power but also when he found how similar the current status is compared to previous times with the historical figures included in the book. 
  • People consider the seventh law to be unethical: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit. 
  • Greene follows the same structure for his other books where historical figures are taken into consideration and as part of the topic approached in each of them.

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Written by Dame Cash

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