Summary of The 48 Laws of Power

Joost Elffers Books,
First Edition: 1988 more...

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The 48 Laws of Power book summary
Forty-eight crafty, cunning, deliberate, detailed strategies for getting - and keeping - power. Scruples optional.


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This book is amoral, hauntingly true and indispensable. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone who aspires to any level of success in any organization or profession. It should not gather dust but should be read regularly, according to a plan - one law a day, for example, absorbed slowly and contemplated deeply. Author Robert Greene draws on a rich variety of sources including books so threatening that they were banned by the ancient Chinese. He cites the memoirs of Machiavelli, various con men and many others who swept aside what ought to be in order to focus on what is. It might seem that anyone who follows all of these laws in their rich, narrative detail will turn out to be a very unpleasant person. That’s probably not true. getAbstract suspects, in contrast, that the person who masters the laws of power will be extremely pleasant, with winning ways and a knack for likeability, yet awe-inspiring and in control - though not always obviously so. Doesn’t that sound tempting?

In this summary, you will learn

  • What 48 axioms you need to know to accrue power in your organization; and
  • How to be ruthless, crafty, cunning and successful.


The Ways of Power
The need for power is so fundamental, so essentially human, that when you feel you have no power over people or events, you are likely to be depressed. People who pretend to have no aspirations to power are either deceiving themselves or attempting to deceive others. ...
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About the Author

Robert Greene has a degree in classical studies and has been an editor at Esquire and other magazines.

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