by I.K. Mullins
Copyright©2015 I.K. Mullins. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author.
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In his classic 16th-century treatise that justifies and praises manipulation and occasional brutality as the best tools for those who want to hold power, The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, “It is much safer to be feared than loved.”
About five centuries later, Robert Greene wrote his book, The 48 Laws of Power, re-enforcing the Machiavellian interpretation of power and the means for achieving power. In his book, Robert Greene argues, “The need for power is so fundamental, so essentially human, that when you feel you have no power over people or events, you are likely to be depressed.” Greene further describes the laws of power that will show readers how to gain power and influence.
Both Machiavelli and Greene want us to believe that achieving and keeping power require coercion, dishonesty and manipulation.
This book, A Guide to Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power—Summary and Analysis, Key Ideas and Facts, includes a summary of each law of power discussed in Greene’s book. It also provides an analysis of Greene’s laws of power and the principal messages of Greene’s book. Moreover, A Guide to Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power discusses various cases that demonstrate how manipulative people apply the laws of power in the modern world and how you can use some ideas from the laws of power without resorting to deceit and manipulation.
Robert Greene’s book, The 48 Laws of Power, addresses human desire for power and influence. In his book, Greene reviews more than three thousand years of human history and analyzes common patterns and themes. He talks about the wisdom of famous strategists Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz, statesmen Talleyrand and Bismarck, courtiers Gracian and Castiglione, seducers Casanova and Ninon de Lenclos, con artist “YellowKid” Weil and many other people. Greene argues that throughout the history of humankind, people have been systematically using certain tactics in order to gain power and control over other people. Greene calls these tactics the laws of power.
Greene refers to the old aristocratic court when he describes the dynamics of power in a human society. He writes,
Throughout history, a court has always formed itself around the person in power—king, queen, emperor, leader…The perfect courtier got his way [in the court] through seduction, charm, deception, and subtle strategy, always planning several moves ahead. Life in the court was a never-ending game that required constant vigilance and tactical thinking. It was civilized war.
Greene further argues that the laws that governed the royal court still apply to our modern world.
This book, A Guide to Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power—Summary and Analysis, Key Ideas and Facts, includes a summary of each law of power included in Greene’s book. It also provides an analysis of Greene’s laws of power and the principal messages of Greene’s book. Moreover, this book discusses various cases that demonstrate how manipulative people apply the laws of power in the modern world and how you can use some ideas from the laws of power without resorting to deceit and manipulation.
Some of Greene’s ideas can be applied to our lives without a conflict with commonly accepted moral principles. For example, in his book, Greene emphasizes the importance of the ability to master your own emotions. Emotions cloud people’s judgment and prevent them from seeing the situation clearly. Greene also emphasizes the importance of thinking objectively about the future and past, while distancing oneself from the present moment.
However, in my opinion, most of the laws of power described in Greene’s book, The 48 Laws of Power, contradict the principles of human morality, as well as the principles of democracy and equal rights. Yet, the popularity of Greene’s book supports his thesis that the laws of power continue to exist in our modern society, contradicting the ideas of democracy. I will discuss this matter in the second part of my book.