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Summary

Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. This bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers. Some laws teach the need for prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master") and the virtue of stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"); many demand the total absence of mercy ("Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally"). But like it or not, all have applications in real life. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded, or been victimized by, power, these laws will fascinate any listener interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.
Listen to the companion audiobook, The 33 Strategies of War.
©2000 Robert Greene and Joost Elffers (P)2007 HighBridge Company

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Learn to deal with, not become a tyrant

If you could sum up The 48 Laws of Power in three words, what would they be?

A guide how to see signs of people using, abusing, playing games and controlling you. Or if used it can make you a very powerful and manipulative person who most would view as evil.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Christopher Columbus, some one who took the power by just aiming for the stars and got away with the moon. If proof was ever needed that with confidence and knowing what to ask for and how, will make you appear much more powerful then you actually are.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

It would become a sketch movie that would jump from century to century

Any additional comments?

If you want to become a powerful monster, its a step by step guide

If you want to learn how to deal with the monsters, its a step by step guide as well. Bottom line is that people will use the techniques used in this book against you, subconsciously or knowingly and regardless it helps knowing and seeing the signs that some one is playing you.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Incredible insight into the world of Ego/Greed!

If you want cut throat, selfish and egotistical brain massaging, this the book for you.

This book takes as its premise that all people act purely to out of self interest and encourages the use of power play behaviours to take advantage of the weak, infirm and/or genuinely nice. According to this thinking altruism is a lie or at best an illusion.

This book is truly poisonous in the wrong hands.

I have read Robert Greene's 'Masters' and enjoyed his ability to entwine self-help sage advice with real life stories. Always aware that often this sort of advice is pre-desired by the reader rather than being some innate truth.
The book covers have always been a big draw as the graphic is so strong and simple but completely on message. This is why my curiosity was drawn to Power. I was truly shocked by the content. On the other hand the book is well written and enthrallingly narrated.

If you do buy this book, please remember with great power comes great 'responsibility' ; possibly a good title for Greene's follow up novel?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Levy
  • Manchester, England
  • 18-05-15

A good listen

A good listen. Some of the stories are a bit hard to follow. Also the chapters don't have titles, what's that about? Overall a good book. Each law could probably be books in themselves. Of course at the end you're reminded of the paradox that you should forget what rules you've learned and adapt to the situation at hand.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Evil Genius!

One of the best books i have read in the past decade -- more educational than a pair of uneducated parents. Robert Greene, you are one evil genius. Having read it twice I can simply say this is a guidebook to politicians as Bible / Quran are to Christians / Muslims. Keep up the good work. I look forward to your next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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couldn't stop listening

This book was so interesting that i couldn't stop listening or thinking about it. I have never been so eager to listen to a book

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An overview of 48 "laws" and historical examples

What did you like most about The 48 Laws of Power?

This book has a simple structure that is easy to follow with simple "laws" that delve into historical events and demonstrates 48 individual "laws of power".

Who was your favorite character and why?

This book makes reference to many famous figures throughout including John D Rockerfeller, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I and many many more.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Law 41 was a good one with a good example.

The Law is "Avoid stepping into a great mans shows". This "law" gave a good account of Alexander The Great and the fact that he wanted to be a different ruler from his father. His appetite to not step into his fathers shoes meant that he was able to create a greater legacy than his father could have ever dreamed of creating and guaranteed that he wrote his name into the history books.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

A good listen. The "laws of power" and historical references provide a snapshot of a point of view where influence and power was gained by obeying each of the 48 laws. In parts the links between the laws and the historical references are tenuous and the laws themselves have to be taken with a pinch of salt at times, but it's a good book to broaden the knowledge of power and influence.

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Scary great read!!!

Treasure trove of information. The fact that some people have been using these tactics on others for years is scary though

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love it

this is my favorite book, I love it so much. love the stories... 👍👍. read

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lovely

I love it. I'm sure everyone does. many lessons to learn in how to manoeuvre in life.

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very good

full of contraditctions from one law to the other. but such is the mystery of power. they dont teach things like this in school. must read

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  • Ricardo
  • 19-03-13

Not a how to guide ..

After the first few laws I wasn't sure what I got myself into .. My first thought was "What kind of person would enjoy listening to this garbage". Then I came back to read the reviews and I found several other people who thought the same thing.

Either way I found myself listening a little bit more. The more I listened the more I found myself enjoying this audiobook.

Why do I say this? Because I don't see this as a "how to guide". I see this as two things 1. A history lesson .. If you dont learn from the past you are bound to repeat it.
2. YES some of these laws are sick and manipulative, but welcome to the real world. There are people that think like this.

Final thought:
The 48 Laws of power is a step by step how to guide, you have to listen between the lines and realize that the world is not all puppy dogs and rainbows. This book shows you how the world is and you can learn from the lessons presented.

88 of 93 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 24-03-13

We All Have A Lot More Power Than We Realize!

When I first read this book a couple years ago, it was so apropos for were I was in my life as I was going through a career change myself. The book helped me to realize that harboring deep inside of me, was a lot of untapped potential and power that I've yet to utilize. Ever since then, I've made it a point to implement as many of the 48 Laws of Power into my daily life as I possibly can. If nothing else, this book is a great "get off first base and start rounding the bases" book for anyone who feels that their life could use a little bit of a kickstart.

I thought that the author, Robert Greene, kept the book on track, simple, easy to follow and matter of factual. Anyone who's willing to implement even 5 or 10 (you'll quickly find that The Laws naturally flow into each other and build upon each other) of these Laws of Power into their lives, won't be able to help themselves from making better decisions, and taking more control over their lives. Yet, at the same time, living a very fulfilling existence as we all ought to do.

I highly recommend this book as a great reference tool for your "toolbox kit of life"!

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • Briana Melissa Ford
  • 16-04-13

How to Be a Villain, Narrated by Severus Snape

What did you love best about The 48 Laws of Power?

There were some practical laws, for good & evil doers

What about Don Leslie’s performance did you like?

He sounded like he would cue evil laughter at any moment

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

How to Be a Villain

Any additional comments?

Pretty good book. Check your motives before reading/listening

46 of 52 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-01-14

Powerful Material but the author has a DarkOutlook

I think the content is great. I love the stories and case studies/historical examples that the author uses. The author likes to use words that suggest that in order to be powerful you must use trickery and deception. Perhaps his view of the world has always been of scarcity which is why his view on these topics feels so dark. I believe that by changing a few words but keeping all the same points there is an abundance based way to view and write this content that speaks to ways that we can achieve our aims without manipulation and create our success without feeling the need to walk all over the people around us to get there.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth
  • 04-10-10

With A Grain of Salt

I want world domination. Sure, don't we all?
Filled with interesting anecdotes, and methods of machiavellian maneuvering, this book is ideal inspiriation for the brooding evil genius or dictator within us. Often contradictory, the contents are still certainly fun.

The narrator does have a tendency towards slow, deliberate speech for unnecessary emphasis, but it's still listenable. The random musical interludes could have been done away with. Otherwise thoroughly entertaining.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 25-07-07

Listen at High Speed

The production is high quality, but the guy talks soooo sloooowwwlllllyyyy that you can easily listen to it at 5x speed and understand every word.

As for content, Greene put a LOT of work into this and it really shows. The stories really help lock the laws into your memory.

But there is a ton of stuff in the book that the audiobook leaves out. The way it is organized, it would be impossible not to.

My advice? Get the book as well. You can find it online cheap and it has even more stories and insight to share.

Was the audiobook version worth the money? Yes.

Was it fun to listen to? Yes.

Do I recommend it to you? Only if you want to learn about power in all its gory details. If you're squeamish about the underbelly of wielding power, this is not for you.

59 of 69 people found this review helpful

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  • Moe
  • 08-02-15

keep an open mind

This book offers many great lessons and aspects. The long history behind each law is to help you understand what mostly was another man mistake or success which I found very helpful in order to be able to relate and also it helps to make the law more memorable. I have seen many bad reviews concerning evilness of this book which I can understand where it might be true depending on your perspective. In my understanding it is not evil by any mean nor is it telling to practice each and every law. some of the "evil" are there to help you protect your self and if need for any of them to be used or practiced they are not meant for a coworker or your next door neighbor they are for bigger enemies which will try to defeat you in the bigger picture if happen to become a man of great success.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • GH
  • 10-05-12

Engaging in a Machiavellian Way

Would you listen to The 48 Laws of Power again? Why?

No. I would just peruse the 48 laws. They are listed and easy to review.

What does Don Leslie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

There is a lot to get through if you read this book conventionally. Listening gives you a fighting chance to get through them all.

If you could give The 48 Laws of Power a new subtitle, what would it be?

Sparknotes for Machiavelli

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michcail
  • 26-10-16

Fantastic

This is a great book to listen to, it will teach you so many things.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • nbradley
  • 20-09-15

It was extremely great! It's not that hard to

It's really not that hard to listen it was an astounding reading enjoyed it very much!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful