The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power

Paperback

By (author) Robert Greene, By (author) Joost Ellfers, By (author) Joost Elffers

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 463 pages
  • Dimensions: 170mm x 234mm x 32mm | 520g
  • Publication date: 20 November 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1861972784
  • ISBN 13: 9781861972781
  • Illustrations note: colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 9,258

Product description

Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded - or been victimised by - power.

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Author information

Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction (both from Profile), has a degree in Classical Studies and has been an editor at Esquire and other magazines. He is also a playwright and lives in Los Angeles.

Editorial reviews

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power. Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world's greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: "Conceal Your Intentions," "Always Say Less Than Necessary," "Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy," and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it's used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to "be conspicuous at all cost," then told to "behave like others." More seriously, Greene never really defines "power," and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn't. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project. If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it's a brilliant satire. (Kirkus Reviews)