The 48 Laws of Power Summary is a post about a book with the same name, written by author Robert Green who dedicated a lot of time on research to deliver an amazing piece of art that is going to stand the test of time.
Practical Examples and Comprehensive Summaries
Welcome to the current main focus of this blog. The 48 Laws of Power, summarized, simplified and containing more real life stories and applications. Brought to you by the Modern Machiavelli. I want to thank you in advance for every topic suggestions, feedback or comment you might have and for those I have already received.
This post is structed in the following manner:
- The 48 Laws of Power List
- The 48 Laws of Power Summary
- Internalising the tools
- On Morals & Power
- The most important Rule of Power
- Review of the book and conclusio
- Books like the 48 Laws of Power
The 48 Laws of Power List:
- Never outshine the Master
- Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies
- Conceal your Intentions
- Always Say Less than Necessary
- So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life
- Court Attention at all Cost
- Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit
- Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary
- Win through your Actions, Never through Argument
- Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky
- Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
- Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim
- When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude
- Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
- Crush your Enemy Totally
- Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
- Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
- Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous
- Know Who You’re Dealing with – Do Not Offend the Wrong Person
- Do Not Commit to Anyone
- Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker – Seem Dumber than your Mark
- Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power
- Concentrate Your Forces
- Play the Perfect Courtier
- Re-Create Yourself
- Keep Your Hands Clean
- Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following
- Enter Action with Boldness
- Plan All the Way to the End
- Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
- Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal
- Play to People’s Fantasies
- Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew
- Be Royal in your Own Fashion: Act like a King to be treated like one
- Master the Art of Timing
- Disdain Things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best Revenge
- Create Compelling Spectacles
- Think as you like but Behave like others
- Stir up Waters to Catch Fish
- Despise the Free Lunch
- Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes
- Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter
- Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
- Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
- Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once
- Never appear too Perfect
- Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop
- Assume Formlessness
Internalise the Tools of the modern Prince
The 48 Laws of Power, written by Robert Greene, is one of the most influential modern works on Machiavelli’s teachings. Critics and readers either love or hate it, there is no in between, with the occasional person who doesn’t understand its purpose.
There are only two kinds of people. Those who realise that you can not not play the game of power, and those who are aware that we live in a world that has the always present credo: “Eat or be Eaten”
If you internalise just one book, this should be your pick. If you have a solid understanding of each and every law of the 48 Laws of Power, you are looking at an almost unfair advantage over your competition. Not only that, but this book acts as your shield against the manipulation attempts you are confronted with, day in, day out.
Buy and read the book, listen to the audiobook, watch the animated series, listen to the podcast, read my summaries, at least 2 per day, and read the book & summaries again. Make sure these laws burn themselves into your brain, for they might save your life in many a situation.
See the 48 Laws of Power for what they are. A useful tool in the game of power. In no way does it constitute a psychopaths playbook. The laws are amoral and can be used for the greater good of mankind.
On Morals & Power
Acquisition of money & power can be very fruitful. Unless you are Mother Theresa, you do need money, power & influence to change things, to be charitable. Having no money is the root of all evil and you owe it to yourself, your family and the people who rely on you, to acquire financial assets.
If you violate every rule in the book and thus lose your business, having to layoff all of your employees, whom do you help?
There is nothing immoral at acquiring power and acting in a Machiavellian way. Do you think that the vicious bull will refrain from charging you, simply because you are a vegetarian and wish him no evil? Would you lie down and get mauled by the animal, or would you draw your gun and pacify him? It is to Eat or to be Eaten.
Sometimes you want to steal someone’s credit for their work, to further your own power, when you need the more influential position to achieve greater things than the other person ever could.
Many times you can plagiarise a work (also called as doing “research” in today’s world), improve it and add value to the lives of other people. Use evil to do good.
Don’t get me wrong. A real Machiavellian wouldn’t sneak up upon the bull and shoot it from behind, out of the fucking blue, for no reason at all. Leave this behaviour to the psychopaths & sociopaths of our world.
The most important Rule of All
Some people voice concerns about the belief, that many a law contradicts itself and others. Unfortunately for them, they have not understood the game of power and have a long road to travel, if they wish to ascend the throne of the Modern Machiavelli. Law #48 – Assume Formlessness is the most important law found within this book. Not only in this book but life in general. The laws of power are situational, not contradictory. Ergo you need to be able to adjust your course of action at all times. Analyse the terrain & situation and base you next moves upon the macro- as well as micro-environment around you.
Let your morals be as fluid as your actions and rationalise them away, if you find yourself in a position where you need to use evil Machiavellian schemes, never hesitate and have no regrets.
Short review of The 48 Laws of Power
A marvellous book that was written by condensing some of the best learnings from “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” by Balthasar Gracian, “Il Principe” by Niccolo Machiavelli and sprinkled with a little flavour of “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Of course, it has additional influences. Those three are books like the 48 Laws of Power. And if you have already read them before you laid your eyes upon Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, the laws are not going to shock you too much.
Niccolò Machiavelli has always been a fan of taking bold action, just like Robert Greene is. Despite being able to find a lot of examples that can be applied to every aspect of life, in The Prince, The Art of Worldly Wisdom and The Art of War; the 48 Laws of Power trumps all of them when it comes to self-help & every-day-life-application.
Many people have a hard time relating the Laws of Power to their business conduct, since it was written with a heavy focus on isolated historical examples. Some of the teachings of Robert Greene could be called common sense and are used by almost everyone in various professions. Marketing comes to mind, where attention is absolutely necessary if you wish to survive in a noisy world.
The biggest criticism of the book (even voiced by experts like Jeffrey Pfeffer (“Power“)) was that Greene cherry-picked ancient examples that only happened in isolated cases for reasons not fit to be duplicated. Hence, in my summaries, you will find more real life examples of contemporaries, that are applicable to our modern world.
If you are new to the subject of the power dynamics, this book will open your eyes to the real world, that much I can guarantee.
Books similar to the 48 Laws of Power
Check out the extensive list I compiled just for my loyal Machiavellians. The Top 20 books Niccolò Machiavelli would read can be found within.