The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene [Book Summary]

by Nick

This book is immoral, piercingly truthful – and extremely valuable.

It should be on the shelf of everyone who strives for success in the team and counts on promotion on the career ladder.

Do not let her gather dust.

Set yourself the goal of daily familiarizing yourself with one law and carefully analyzing what you read.

The author used a wide variety of sources: on the pages of the book are excerpts from the works of Machiavelli, and stories about great combinators who did not stop at anything to achieve their goals and texts forbidden in ancient China.

At first glance, it may seem that those who live by the laws so fascinatingly set out in the book are extremely unpleasant persons.

But this is not so.

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About Power

The thirst for power is such an integral part of human nature that the realization of one’s inability to influence others or the course of events often causes deep depression.

Those who say that they are indifferent to power, either deceive themselves or try to circle others around the finger.

The authorities want everything. The more power a person has, the more acutely he wants to strengthen it. This is like a drug that does not deprive forces, but, on the contrary, adds them.

“At a time of triumph, the mortal danger often awaits us.”

However, openly demonstrate their desire for power is not accepted.

This is considered a bad sign.

The power hunter should not show his true intentions: those around him should have the impression that he cares exclusively about the good of others.

You should disguise your means and goals, but this does not mean that you need to lie. Lying is not an option, and not because lying is not good, but because the risk of exposure is too great.

Once caught in a lie, a person loses trust, and therefore power.

Duplicity is another matter!

These principles may seem indecently cynical, but they can be applied without violating moral and ethical standards. Moreover, only then can we count on the maximum result.

“In any case, the beginning always seems more original and truer than everything that is done later.”

The Summary you might like: Rules For Revolutionaries

All 48 Laws

Robert Greene has mentioned the following laws in his book:

  1. Do not try to overshadow those who are higher than you in the hierarchy of power. Always strive to strengthen the confidence of your superiors in their superiority. They know very well about their shortcomings and vigilantly monitor the threat from below. If you surpass them with your talents or put in a bad light, they will get rid of you. Prove your usefulness to them.
  2. Do not trust allies and remember the benefits of enemies. Friends will betray you out of envy. They always want too much and eventually become capricious bores. Do not hire friends – hire enemies! If you have no enemies, urgently get two or three more solid.
  3. Do not reveal your cards. If others do not know what your goals are, they will not be able to defend themselves from you. May your true intentions remain secret.
  4. Save the words. The powerful of this world are laconic. The more you talk, the more others will know about you – and the more ordinary you seem to them. Becoming like everyone else, you will no longer cause horror and awe. So keep your mouth shut.
  5. Stop any attempt to tarnish your reputation. An impeccable reputation will protect you from any attacks, but if it is damaged, then there is no benefit from it.
  6. Be the center of attention. People judge you by what they see with their own eyes because it’s better to see once than hear a hundred times. They will forget about you if you don’t be in sight. Get attention at all costs.
  7. Assign the merits of others to yourself. Of course, appropriating other people’s merits is ugly. But this technique gives excellent results, and not using it is simply unreasonable. Nobody will remember anyone who helped you succeed, but they will be admired for a long time by your knowledge, talent, and dexterity.
  8. Set traps. Power is the ability to control the situation. Forcing others to take the first step, you will get all the trump cards. Never enter foreign territory first. Better let the opponents come to you themselves. Lure them, seduce, seduce! They must fall into your trap.
  9. Achieve victory not in word but in deed. Do not start discussions – act. Opponents will not forgive you victory in the dispute. Prove that you are right, in fact.
  10. Stay away from losers – misfortune and bad luck are contagious. A drowning man pulls his saviors with him. Avoid the losers. Chat with the winners. Keep away from the poor, unlucky, unloved and unhappy.
  11. Make people need you. It’s good when others depend on you. Keep them in constant dependence. Do not teach them too much – because then they can do without you or become your rivals. Always have a couple of secrets left to help you maintain a strong position.
  12. Be honest and generous when it is beneficial. When others consider you noble and honest, they soften and begin to trust you. In this state, they are vulnerable and easier to manage. Give people presents. Remember the Trojan horse: then everything worked perfectly.
  13. Turning to people for help, tell them what they will get in return. Do not count on selflessness. If a person is disinterested (which happens infrequently), then you will immediately be indebted to him. People usually don’t want to help for a simple “thank you”. To enlist their support, find out what they need and, without blinking an eye, promise the golden mountains – then they will rush to your aid.
  14. To get important information, rub yourself in trust in others. Call people to talk. Ask leading questions. Try to learn about them as much as possible. Disarm the opponent, hiding under the guise of a friend.
  15. Destroy the enemies. During the battle, do not leave the enemies alive, otherwise, you will have to fight the next day. Exterminate them! Wash them in powder! Forest fire begins with a small spark; mascara any smoldering ember.
  16. Sometimes go into the shadows to be more appreciated. If you are seen too often, you lose a halo of exclusivity. Disappear from time to time, and you will be treated with greater reverence and admiration. Rare things are always in price.
  17. Be unpredictable, and they will be afraid of you. When you behave unpredictably, others spend all their energy on calculating your next step. Finished to perfection tactics of a sharp change of mood and plans instills fear and deprives the subjects of the presence of spirit.
  18. Do not fence yourself off from the world – isolation is dangerous. It is one thing to appear in front of others from time to time, quite another to hide in a tower behind the fortress walls. You don’t have to rely on someone to provide you with reliable information, so you cannot become a recluse. Be in society as much as it takes to stay abreast of what is happening.
  19. Always know who you are dealing with; be careful not to hurt powerful people. Learn to understand people. Find out what your opponents have strengths and who are their friends. Do not make fast conclusions. People often do not show their true faces and hide their grudge for years – until they have the opportunity to take revenge on you.
  20. Do not swear eternal friendship. You answer only to yourself. Avoid strong attachments and promise nothing to anyone. Washington also advised to beware of unions binding hand and foot.
  21. Pretend to be a simpleton. It makes no sense to look smarter than others. Feeling your superiority, people are immediately wary. You can disarm them by making them believe that they are smarter than you. This will lull their vigilance and dispel fear, and you can use them for your own purposes.
  22. Surrender to maintain power. If you are weaker than your opponent, forget about your dream of becoming famous on the battlefield. Surrender under conditions that will help you maintain as many privileges as possible. Wait until your opponent makes a mistake and suddenly attack from around the corner.
  23. Focus on the most important benefit. Identify your strongest side and direct all efforts to develop it. Do not spray your energy and power! Find a good mentor or powerful patron and spare no effort to maintain a relationship with him.
  24. Be a good courtier. The courtier knows how to skillfully weave intrigues, manipulate others, wishful thinking, flatter, flirt and have an easy conversation. An experienced courtier manages to strengthen his influence day after day without betraying himself. Become a virtuoso courtier, and then you can even subjugate the king.
  25. Create your own image. Do not play the role that is being imposed on you. Work on an image that draws everyone’s attention. You should be interested, not yawn. Add expression! Find your own, special gestures, demeanor, wardrobe items so that you are always recognized.
  26. Do not get your hands dirty. Someone else must do the dirty work for you. Then find those on whom you can blame for all the mistakes and unsightly actions. Scapegoats and helpful idiots are very helpful.
  27. Use people’s need for faith to create their own cult. People need to believe in something. Offer them what to believe and who to follow. Speak with fervent speeches and generous promises, but do not go into details so that no one can later blame you for idle talk. Your followers must sacrifice themselves for your sake – this will strengthen your power.
  28. Act boldly. Be courageous and decisive. Never show that you hesitate. Doubts will only hinder you and increase the likelihood of failure. Do not miss the public. The wrong steps are forgiven to the brave, but not to the careful ones.
  29. Look forward all the time. Do not rely on luck. Plan your every step, including the very last, and even the one that comes after it. Many lost sights of their goal, not paying due attention to the plan of action at the very last stage. As a result, fame, money, and power went to others.
  30. Behave as if everything is easy for you. Never show that it’s hard for you and that sweat is streaming through you. Magicians hide their devices, and you must do the same. Surprise the ease of your achievements.
  31. If you want to win, turn in the cards. Others should have the impression that you are giving them freedom of choice. Moreover, you should always quietly establish the framework of this freedom. Offer to choose from those options that will be beneficial to you in any case.
  32. Pretend that you are going to give people what they have long dreamed of. Do not allow people to face gloomy reality. Inspire them with the hope that their dreams will come true – and they will help you gain power.
  33. Find out what hurts and take advantage of it. Everyone has their own weaknesses, fears, needs, and quirks. Get information on these vulnerabilities. By causing pain or removing it, you can achieve the necessary results.
  34. Play the role of a king, and you will be treated like a king. Respect and value yourself! Others will relate to you the way you relate to yourself.
  35. Count the time correctly. The ability to maintain self-control is perceived by people as self-confidence. Never show that you are in a hurry, that something is bothering you, or that not everything has been worked out. Behave as if everything is going as intended. Learn to catch the right moment for the throw.
  36. Be indifferent to what you can’t influence. If you understand that you cannot reach the desired goal, then the most reasonable in this situation is to leave with your head held high, as the fox did in Aesop’s fable about green grapes. By paying too much attention to a problem, you reinforce its significance.
  37. Use signs and symbols. Strive for entertainment. Use expressive symbolism, color, theatrical effects to surround yourself with a brilliant halo and create a sense of strength.
  38. Think about what you want, but act like everyone else. Eccentric or reckless behavior does not contribute to the strengthening of authority. If you too openly rebel against traditions or fashionable hobbies, people will treat you with distrust and contempt. Only your loved ones should know about your ingenuity and originality.
  39. Take your enemies out of patience, and then attack. Never give vent to anger. But find a reason to anger your enemies. Blinded by rage, they will miss, attacking, and will be powerless against your well-prepared blow.
  40. Do not look for free cheese – this is below your dignity. For what is worthy of possession, you have to pay. Do not be in debt to anyone, rely on yourself, stay away from mousetraps. Do not count on the generosity of others, but be generous yourself.
  41. Do not try on the clothes of the great ones. The outfit may not be your size, and you will look an arrogant fool. If your predecessor has achieved outstanding results, you will be in his shadow all your life. Vigorously take up the matter and begin to act in a new direction.
  42. Hit the leader, and the flock will flee. When anxiety or aggression grows among people, you need to look for the instigator. It happens that one rebel dissatisfied with something disables the whole team. Get rid of him, and the rebellion will be crushed.
  43. Take control of the hearts and minds of people. Do not force people to do your will. They will perceive this as violence and begin to harbor plans for revenge. Get your way through cunning, flattery and dexterity. Let them believe that they are doing as their mind and heart tell them, and then they themselves will go to your service.
  44. Disarm enemies by imitating them. Do what your enemies do. Seeing themselves in you, they will not be able to recognize your true plans.
  45. Talk about reforms, but do not rush to implement them. People love talking about changes, but they don’t want to change themselves. If you are in power, do not carry out major transformations quickly. Tell us about your ideas, make people dream of their implementation. And yourself be patient and carry out the plan a little.
  46. Do not always strive to be perfect. If you do not have any flaws, then people out of envy will try to destroy you. Tell them about your minor flaws.
  47. Having reached your goal, stop. Many lost the subject of their desire, showing excessive greed and arrogance. Do not overdo it. Having won, you have completed the last point of your plan. Stop Moving on is only worth it if you have a new plan.
  48. Keep flexible. If you do not have a rigid form, then it will be difficult for your envious people to find the right point for the blow. Take an example from the water. Adapt to new circumstances, like water, always taking the form of a vessel.


  • Look worthy in any situation.
  • Do not trust anyone and remember that enemies are more reliable than friends.
  • Pretend that everything is easy for you.
  • Try to always be in the spotlight.
  • Do not force others to do what is beneficial to you. Persuade and deceive.
  • Plan your actions carefully; Having reached the goal, stop.
  • To manage people, you need to know what excites them and what hurts them.
  • Speak as little as possible; verbosity is dangerous.
  • Keep your distance in relationships with people and you will be respected.
  • If the opponent considers himself smarter than you, he will quickly make a mistake.

Why You Should Read “The 48 Laws of Power”

  • To become charming and powerful
  • To become a master of your life
  • To earn unshakeable respect

Get The 48 Laws of Power:

Audiobook | eBookPrint