If there’s a legitimate reason why this book isn’t required reading in business schools, I’d really love to hear it. My undergrad work was in Sport and Leisure studies, so learning about business was something I did on my own through trial and error and book reading. I was never into reading until about two years ago. I had the mentality of a high school hard ass who thought reading was just something dorks did. Looking back now, it makes me chuckle at how stubborn and close minded I was when it came to new business and self improvement ideas.
After reading a few business books, I remember surfing through Amazon and checking out some other readers recommended lists. One reader highly recommended The 48 Laws of Power. Being the slight narcissist that I am, my attention was peaked and I had the book shipped right away. In my first reading, I remember going through it in about three or four days, and having a general feeling of confusion when I was done. The next time I sat down to read it, I made sure I had my Post it notes and highlighter on hand, so I could mark up the pages and make some notes. This made all the difference in the world. This book has literally become a guide for which I lead my life. I have pages marked to death with highlighter, scribbled notes, rabbit eared corners and pretty much anything else you can think of.
It would be easy to dismiss this book as ruthless and amoral because of the rigid approach that Greene takes in his descriptions, but the laws are based on actual conflicts and situations that continue to happen over and over through the course of time.
Ignoring them would be nothing short of ignorant. Even if you have no intentions of becoming a person of power in business or in life, the rules should still be read, so you can spot these situations and not let yourself become a victim. In the preface Robert suggests that the book can be used in several ways. By reading the book straight through, you can learn about the ins and outs of power in general. Or you can also just access and read certain situations that pertain to you at the moment.
While reading the The 48 Laws of Power will increase your awareness in situations and help you improve your chances of success, the ultimate goal is to understand the laws and recognize the situation without even thinking about it. I believe it was the great fighter pilot, John Boyd who said “the greatest strategy you can reach is no strategy at all”. This is the point at which you have internalized all of the concepts and act naturally without even thinking of your next move. Robert also points this out at the end of the book by saying ” By taking shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water.”
Here are a few of my favorite laws from the book:
Law 1 – Never outshine the master – Always make those above you feel superior. Inspiring fear and security in your master is a recipe for disaster.
Law 5 – So much depends on your reputation ; guard it with your life – Your reputation will ultimately allow you to influence people and win battles with less effort.
Law 10 – Infection : Avoid the unhappy and unlucky – If you surround yourself with people who are negative and emotionally draining, you have no chance of survival. By associating yourself with successful and happy people, you’re frame of mind will be much better.
Law 16 – Use absence to increase respect and honor - Robert also touches on this a lot in his book The Art of Seduction. If you’re a desired person to be around, give people the gift of missing you. It will only increase your prizability and make them want to be around you more. Too much of one thing is never good.
Law 29 – Plan all the way to the end – One of the most important rules in warfare is to have an endgame or exit strategy. By planning all the way to the end, you’ll be prepared for more situations and circumstances.
Law 36 – Disdain things you cannot have : Ignoring them is the best revenge – This is a great law that I think goes well with improving your life. When you acknowledge the petty things, you’re giving them merit. Some people have major problems with this type of thing, and they waste valuable time and energy fussing over trite ideas and situations.
Law 48 – Assume formlessness – This is the end goal you should be striving for. The laws are not set in stone, and every situation is different. Don’t get caught thinking in concrete terms, or you’ll miss out on something important.
I review new books on my blog every once in a while, so stop on by and check it out. I’m actually in the process of reading a few more life/business books that I’ll be posting about soon and you definitely don’t wanna miss ‘em. You can check me out at www.JustinGoff.com. Hope to see ya there!
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