The 48 Laws of Power is a book of wisdom, a compilation of tactics, hordes of to-avoid mistakes, and a rich set of brilliant tested ideas for thriving. Although many of the rules might seem devilish, they'd better be considered as lessons to be aware of in perilous social life.
There may be a lot of readers and reviewers who don't like this book, there are many who feel that the author's presentation is amoral. However, this book is not teaching anyone to be immoral. It is teaching you how people really are in the real world. No matter how we feel about the dubious power plays that have occurred throughout history and that occur in our contemporary private and public lives, the fact is that they exist.
Here are 48 approaches to power that you will either attempt to use or you will experience them being used against you at some point in your life, whether you agree with it ethically or not. If you are one who chooses to never use power over another, at least educate yourself to recognize the subtle and not so subtle ways others will attempt to use power against you. Many a despot would have been dis-empowered had their subjects been aware of the mind-games we humans have consistently used against one another throughout history. It may even be that the lack of this knowledge is as responsible for the abuse of power as the propagation of it.
Each Law comes with true stories from history about those who successfully observed it and those who foolishly or naively transgressed it. Robert Greene has an interpretation for each story. Though each Law is self-explanatory, Greene's explanations are not padding, fluff or stuffing to make the book longer. They actually give greater clarification and depth. Greene's insight even extends to crucial warnings about how the Laws could backfire. There are two reasons to read this book, to gain power, as have others who have carefully observed the Laws; and to be aware of ways that people may be trying to manipulate you.
This book is not for the faint of heart. This book addresses power from every single angle and aspect of it; from exercising power over ones self and his or her own actions, to having power over other people and their actions. Power is more times than often romanticized and made to seem alluring and seductive, but very few people dare to explore the object of it from every angle and address the dangers that abound when it is abused. As a result, an author could inadvertently send an unsuspecting reader of one of these "in a perfect world" type books into a merciless, unrelenting, and unforgiving environment only to be devoured due to misguidance and unpreparedness. Thankfully, the 48 Laws Of Power is not one of those books.
The 48 Laws Of Power has a little bit of everything in it. Power is addressed, so naturally there's deceit, greed, treachery, corruption, and scandal involved. There's a hint of romance with ancient tales like the story of Ninon de Lenclos and Marquis de Serigne. There's also a pinch of heartbreak like you'd find in the story of King Henry the 13th and Catherine of Argon: both aspects of power that are fascinating. Surprisingly there were also instances in which those who appeared to be powerful were actually powerless for whatever reason. This book addresses power from every angle, legitimate and illegitimate, in an unbiased way.