• 48 Laws of Power

  • By: Robert Greene
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 23 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (23,544 ratings)

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48 Laws of Power

By: Robert Greene
Narrated by: Richard Poe
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Publisher's 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 infamous strategists. The 48 Laws of Power will fascinate any listener interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.

©2000 Robert Greene and Joost Elffers (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

It's The Rules for suits.... Machiavelli has a new rival. And Sun-tzu better watch his back." ( New York Magazine)

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    5 out of 5 stars

You don't have to be a psychopath to like this.

This is an absolutely amazing book. It will help you to tell your true friends apart from people who just want to use you. It will tell when to give more to your employer, or when to tone down your enthusiasm. It will warn you about going too far in your quest for power.

If you really are a power-hungry maniac, this book will do just as much to help you reach your goals as it will if you are an average joe with no ambitions. I'm an idealist myself - I like to see the good in everyone and I don't like to think of myself as someone who wants "power" over other people.

But that is not an excuse to avoid encountering the incredibly valuable information in this book. At the very least, it will keep you from making poor moves that will cause you to fall out of favor with others. At the most, you will be able to spot when someone else is playing "the game" and use their techniques against them.

I don't like to play the game myself; I don't think power is a game. But I sure as hell like to watch the people who DO live like it's a game spin their wheels as they try and fail to pin me down and make themselves look totally incompetent in the process.

If you're an honest person and if you think rewards and status should be earned by merit and not by raw power or deception, then your reputation and character will go before you and these laws of power will walk behind you.

Don't use this book to grow in power for power's sake. This is a fool's errand, and ends in your annihilation. Rather learn the laws of power to attain mastery over your own spirit, and to defend against those who would prey upon your honesty and integrity.

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1,378 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting

As a Christian I find myself struggling with these laws and approaches to power. Maybe I am naive when it comes to power, or too idealistic. This book seems to outline all the dirty tricks played by politicians to stay in power. The author seems to recommend some of the behavior we naturally disapprove of as an acceptable means to power.

So why did I listen to the whole thing? I thought about returning the book after listening to the first chapter. But I realized that even though I may dislike these "laws of power" they are at play in the world I live in. And even thought I do not believe I will ever live by the majority of these laws, being aware of them has helped open my eyes to what is going on around me.

So I would not highly recommend this book because there is little emphasis, if any, in character. But the book is useful in pointing out how people acquire and maintain power, and there is a benefit to being aware of how power can work.

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335 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Road Listen

being a trusting person by nature... and working amongst a bunch of sharks. Listening to this has helped me gain perspectives I've never considered.

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NOT a Self Help Book

Perhaps the best title for this book should be “A Con Man’s Primer” or “The Unabridged Encyclopedia of Selfishness.” An interesting look at cons and power plays throughout history, this book takes a totally amoral look at how to win at all costs.

While many of the points brought out through history are fascinating (and do provide some insights into what others may be doing to exert control or power over you), I certainly wouldn’t want to use this book as a guide for my life simply because it lacks any substance that would help you create and sustain a “real connection” with another human being.

I find it interesting that the manuscript quotes several times from the Bible yet teaches a philosophy that is so directly opposed to what is taught there.

This is a book of contradictions (although it refers to several “paradoxes” of power). One law tells you to take all the credit for performance while another encourages you to give your master the credit. Which is it? Yes, the points are well taken when it comes to these paradoxical principles, but mostly you’re left to ask, “So WHEN do I exercise one law over another one?”

In summary, this is primarily an interesting historical read. Yes, it could help you recognize times when others may be trying to exert control or power over you, but that’s about where its usefulness stops.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Psychopathy Manual

This book would be more aptly titled: How to be a Psychopath: Strategies of Manipulation and Deceit.

It is an entertaining and useful, yet highly disturbing book. Now that I know the true scope of the drive for power, I see the world through suspicious eyes. If you are someone who seeks power at the expense of all else, this historical guide book will likely thrill you. If you are a normal light hearted good natured sort, you may find this book appalling, as it reads like it was written by the devil himself. Yet you should probably listen to it anyway. If nothing else, it will alert you to the strategies of the wolves around you.

Besides all the rules themselves and the commands to use, manipulate, control, trick and destroy everyone that crosses your path, this book is primarily a collection of historical antidotes. Listening to it will increase your knowledge base of the history of some of the world's most influential power players. It will also help you be alert to such tactics in use in the present.

The narration of this book was perfect. It could not have been done better. The narrator captured the sadistic domineering feel this book requires to a tee. He was engaging and clear with a very agreeable voice and cadence.

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173 people found this helpful

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Does not resonate with my entrepreneurial goals

Deceptive intentions are just not my way. I love great business recommendations. Second motives will not accomplish anything and karma is real. I will go back to Brian Tracy.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting stories blur into a useless flood

As I wrote in my review,

The book is a compilation of very interesting stories.
However, after several chapters, all those stories blur into an easily-forgettable flood of dates, names, and facts.

All you will be able to recall a day later that someone killed or betrayed someone, or lied, or spread rumors, or did something else Machiavellian.

What's presented as "Laws" is is a collection of random, often mutually exclusive observations. Some people lied to get to the top, some were articulate and said a lot and tried to be in the public eye. Others got to the top by being secretive and never seen in public. Some were generous and that helped them succeed, others were greedy and ruthless.

The book is definitely worth reading if you just want to hear a bunch of entertaining historic anecdotes. However, unless you're a student of history and know enough history to recognize the names from these stories and put them in context, if you're like most, you'll forget 95% of these stories the moment you move on to the next chapter.

Treat this book as a great collection of interesting historic stories, but do NOT expect that you will receive a practical advice on how to influence others and achieve your goals.

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Machiavelli would be proud.

great philosophies for evil people. garbage if you have a moral bone in your body.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Learn from lessons from the past. Great narration!

This book tells a story of lessons that can be learned from examples of things that have happened in history. All of the lessons revolve around a theme of what you should and shouldn't do to put yourself in the best position for power. A little philosophical, but if you enjoy philosophy you will like that piece of it. You don't have to have ambitions of being a power monger to get a lot out of this book. It may make you re-think how you approach things on a day to day basis. It's a little long, but it found it to be engaging and enjoyable the whole way thru.

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long winded Machiavelli

This book has helped me manage power hungry individuals.
This is NOT a book about morals, ethics, and hard work.
This is a book with examples of rulers inviting their adversaries to dinner and killing their entire families.
This is the perfect book for a good hearted person who can not understand why people can be so mean.

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