The 48 Laws of Power

“Be wary of friends—they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.”
― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

Kuvahaun tulos haulle 48 laws of power

The 48 Laws of Power is a self-help work  by Robert Greene. It is  seen as a modern day classic. As the title says, the book is about 48 Laws that will help you to achieve a position of power and to master it.

This book stunned me. People want different things in life, however if you want power then this book is the one you must read.  I really loved this book. I don’t think there is a clearer book about power. There’s Art of War by Sun Tzu, yet that only gives vague tips that are open to all kinds of interpretation.

“To succeed in the game of power, you have to master your emotions. But even if you succeed in gaining such self-control, you can never control the temperamental dispositions of those around you. And this presents a great danger.”
― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

Book follows an interesting formula, it starts by stating the law of power, for example: Law 10. Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky. Then the book explains the transgression of the law and interpretation: Law 10: If you associate yourself with people who seem to attract misfortune then you might be infected with this misfortune as well. Then, observance of the law and interpretation: Book tells us an historical example of Lola Montez and every man who associated themselves with her was doomed (great men like Ludwig I of Bavaria fell). Keys to power: this part explains step by step instructions on how to follow this law. For example, with law #10: if you are gloomy by nature, try to associate yourself with cheerful people, if you tend to avoid human company, surround yourself with sociable people, only associate yourself with successful people in short. Last part of the book formula is Reversal of the law explaining when you should behave exact opposite from what the law tells you to do. I might be confusing transgression and observance of the law parts but I hope you get my point still.

“Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of others—that is too high a price to pay.”
― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

I like how 48 Laws of  Power tells you to do the exact opposite of what many others will try to tell you. It tells you to play games, wear masks and never trust another person completely no matter who they are to you. Never let other people to pull you down and always take credit even if you didn’t do it. Cunning, isn’t it? I loved the various historical examples in this book. For example, I was aware of the fact that Rubens barely painted any of his painting himself, he rather relied on the students of Rubenshuis, however I did not know that the great Thomas Edison did this as well. Edison might be remembered as one of the greatest inventors of our time and what he really was a cunning businessman. ‘War of the currents’ is not just about whether AC or DC was better, it was about Edison ruining Tesla’s reputation. He most surely did not come up with ideas for 1, 093 patents under his name by himself.

And stories of countless emperors, kings and rulers as well as  some amazing con artists. Like “Count” Lustig who sold the Eiffel Tower twice and who managed to con 5000$ from Al Capone just by showing Capone some good will.

“…But the human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will turn wild and cause you grief.”
― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

It’s a long time since I have read a book as good as this one. Audio version on Audible was nearly 24 hours but it was definitely worth it. Simply wonderful book.
5/5 stars

How-To Read 48 Laws of Power

1. If you’re familiar with Art of War and have liked it, this is very similar to that. It’s one of those books you should keep on your nightstand.
2. Ste Davies has written a wonderful review (link) of this book also including all the laws and a nice graph, check it out. Laws alone even without explanations make a lot of sense.
3. Over 500 pages long so it’s quite hefty book so take it slow. Or I would recommend the Audible version. It is long as well, however the narrator was just wonderful. He had a powerful and clear voice which suited this book really well.
4. Be careful about applying these laws in your own life. You absolutely should apply them, however if you just suddenly start taking credit of all the ideas of other people, I can imagine what will happen to you. Be tactful and patient, power is like playing chess.
5. If you are not that interested about power and cunning people (I know it sounds evil…) I still warmly recommend this book for all the historical facts it gives.

Cover image source: Statue of Janus

Thoughts? Have you read this? Would you be interested in reading this?

From Fiction to Nonfiction

I recently stumbled upon a great nonfiction blog called What’s Nonfiction? In ‘About’ section, author of the blog writes:

“Back then, I read almost exclusively fiction (an easier section to pinpoint). But in recent years, I found the opposite was becoming true, and I preferred nonfiction, in its many very different categories, to anything fictional. But when I tell people I only like to read nonfiction, they sometimes look disgusted, nose wrinkle and all, like I have no imagination or can’t appreciate fine literary art.”

Blog in question also has a wonderful slug: Where is your nonfiction section please. My little quote  here above doesn’t do the blog any justice so you should go check it out.
And maybe create nonfiction section to your blog?

Anyway,I feel like same thing is happening to me. I’ve always read nonfiction. Quarter of what I’ve read in recent years has been nonfiction but now if I have to choose between reading fiction or nonfiction, I would choose nonfiction. Same goes for reviewing it. I feel like it’s my duty now, as if I have to become an ambassador of knowledge.

Don’t get me wrong. I always have and I always will love fiction. I will always love fantasy and science fiction more than anything because I’m endlessly fascinated by what human mind can come up with. And I feel like sometimes only fiction can express what must be said. Like fairytales, we know that the dragon represents great evil, however we also know can be beaten (thank you Neil Gaiman). And of course, fiction is a must. You cannot read encyclopedias to your kids (or can you?).  I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about what they read.  Please do read whatever you love. I’ve written about how I hate snobbism in reading.
All reading is beautiful.

But.
This week I read and reviewed Night by Elie Wiesel. It’s an amazing work and it changed the way I think. One of my thoughts was that you have no right not to know. If silence is a crime, then what is not knowing?  Fiction is incredible and fiction on WW2 is heart-wrenching and it gives you so much (books like All the Light We Cannot See, Book Thief.. millions of stars wouldn’t be enough to rate them) But. Six million people died because of Holocaust. Most likely the number is much greater. Then all the lives lost in World War II, all the lives lost during Mao’s rule in China, all the lives lost during Stalin’s and Lenin’s rule in Russia. What is still happening in North Korea? All the lives lost when we colonized the world, all the lives lost during the crusades. All the things we have done. All the wrongs. If not us, who will remember those events? Who will preach about them? Who will not let them happen again?

Is it not our responsibility to carry that burden? Is it not our responsibility not let it come down to WW3? And to push humans forward? Achieve greatness through scientific discoveries? To become better individuals?

Nonfiction is about the truth and very often about someone trying to uncover it. Truth is the most beautiful and most cruel thing in this world. In nonfiction, heroes often don’t win and are often unknown. If fiction puts you in shoes of an another person, nonfiction will make you walk in those shoes whether you want it or not.

So please read both. Would be happy to give you some recommendations.
Moreover, I will try to blog more about nonfiction.

How-To Read More Nonfiction
1.
Audible and audiobooks in general are super worth it. You can listen to nonfiction while you do chores. I feel like it’s also sometimes easier to concentrate when someone talks.
2. Start with a topic you like. You like historical fiction –> historical nonfiction, science fiction –> try books by Michio Kaku, thrillers –> try true crime, fantasy –> books on writing and on world building,  or if you have hobbies like cooking or sports or travel, read memoirs. Or start with author you like.  If you like Murakami, try his nonfiction books. Same goes for some other authors.
3. Keep trying. Try different nonfiction genres. Try different places. Try different ways to read.

And I’m curious. What are your thoughts on this? Have your interest switched? Have you preferred fiction and moved to preferring reading nonfiction? Or maybe from one genre to another one? Do you prefer specific genres? Why? Any  tips on how to read more nonfiction?

/Anastasia