Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review: The 48 Laws of Power

If you've ever suffered a defeat, you very likely have felt a sense of powerlessness that comes with it. This feeling is not a good feeling, and it can rob you of your confidence in virtually every sphere of life. When this starts to happen, you may feel that you've lost your power and personal authority altogether, and that you don't have what it takes to get on to the next phase.

Losing this power, and this confidence, can start a chain reaction I call "defeat exhaustion." This is when you just burn out from trying but never getting anywhere. It's tire spinning that robs you of your energy and sucks your will to go on.

Fortunately, there are resources out there to help with this, and one of my all-time favourites is a great book by Robert Greene called The 48 Laws of Power. This book is packed with forty-eight essential laws of power that can be applied to business or social interactions.

The beauty of the book is that it really is set up like a textbook. For each "law," Greene provides a simple maxim, an example of what happens when the law isn't observed ("Transgression of the Law"), another example of how it works ("Observance of the Law"), and useful insights into how to apply the law in practice. Each example is taken from a real historical power play, usually political but occasionally business or cultural as well.

Learning these laws isn't meant to give you the ability (or agility) to slay your enemies on the battlefield, or to give you an edge over your rivals in office politics. But it can give you back your sense of personal authority and potency. Just try a few out in practice. Some take years to develop, while others can be practiced in single interactions. Either way, just knowing that there's a ready resource handy to determine what went "wrong" in a given situation is empowering all on its own. Knowing definitively how to avoid it happening in the future, and set the stage for the game to favour you, is taking back command of your own destiny.

This is the guidebook to make that happen.


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