The 48 Laws of Power: Summary Review & Takeaways

This is a summary review of The 48 Laws of Power containing key details about the book.

What is The 48 Laws of Power About?

Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, The 48 Laws of Power is a guide to help readers achieve for themselves what many powerful leaders learned the hard way. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded - or been victimised by power.

Who is the Author of The 48 Laws of Power?

Robert Greene is an American author of books on strategy, power, and seduction. He has written six international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law, Mastery, and The Laws of Human Nature.

[Favorite Quote]: “Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of others—that is too high a price to pay.”

What are key takeaways from The 48 Laws of Power?

Understand power, learn how to defend against it, and learn how to use it to get what you want.

Powerful people like to be the center of attention so in order to impress them you shouldn't outshine them as this will make them feel threatened instead, you should ensure you shine the light on them to make them look better and smarter than everyone one, including yourself.

To become powerful you will likely have to use other people's work to your advantage. Stealing is a strong word to use but if you have ever plagiarized someone's work or copied an answer know that you're not alone as even Thomas Edison used employee Nikola Tesla's work to further his breakthrough of the dynamo, claiming Tesla's hard work as his own. This is why it's so vital for you to claim credit for your work, whether you've invented something, written a book, or written a speech – claim your idea or work before someone else does!

When struggling to outsmart your competition, gather as much information as you can about the company or individual. You'll need to befriend the enemy in order to outpower them, this way you can discover their weaknesses, plans, and desires whilst, in time, influencing their decisions. Hiring informants is one way to gather information but is risky – how will you know if they're a double agent and that the information is reliable? Therefore, it's better to be your own spy. If the tables are turned (and you should presume they are!) you can act unpredictably to gain the edge over your competitor, this will leave them confused and floundering far behind as they try to work out what you're up to whilst you steam ahead.

When faced with an opponent that you know is stronger than you, it's ok to surrender as you will be able to gain power later - Avoid fighting for the glory when you know you don't have a hope of coming out on top and your competitor knows it too. By surrendering this time, you're not giving up altogether – use this opportunity to regroup so you come back fighting stronger next time.

To be treated superiorly you need to act more superior than your colleagues, however, by doing this you'll breed contempt in them. Therefore, you need to get people to treat you like royalty – don't let them see you acting superiorly, be superior so that they assume there's good reason for you to be treated so!

Seduction is always better than using force and coercion when gaining power over others. Even though force can often be the easier option, it breeds resistance in people as they being to resent you. Seduction on the other hand, allows you to control people by playing on their emotions, people will become indebted to you when you treat them well and will ultimately 'jump' as soon as you say the word!

Book details

  • Print length: 452 Pages
  • Audiobook: 23 hrs and 6 mins
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology, Business, Self Help, Philosophy, Politics, Social Sciences

What are the chapters in The 48 Laws of Power?

Chapter One - Law 1 - Never Outshine the Master
Chapter Two - Law 2 - Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends, Learn How to Use Enemies
Chapter Three - Law 3 - Conceal YOur Intentions
Chapter Four - Law 4 - Always Say Less Than Necessary
Chapter Five - Law 5 - So Much Depends on Reputation - Guard It with Your Life
Chapter Six - Law 6 - Court Attention at All Cost
Chapter Seven - Law 7 - Get Others to Do the Work for You, But Always Take the Credit
Chapter Eight - Law 8 - Make Other People Come To You - Use Bait if Necessary
Chapter Nine - Law 9 - Win Through Your Actions, Never Through Argument
Chapter Ten - Law 10 - Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky
Chapter Eleven - Law 11 - Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
Chapter Twelve - Law 12 - Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm Your Victim
Chapter Thirteen - Law 13 - When Asking for Help, Appeal to People's Self-Interest, Never to Their
Chapter Fourteen - Law 14 - Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
Chapter Fifteen - Law 15 - Crush Your Enemy Totally
Chapter Sixteen - Law 16 - Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
Chapter Seventeen - Law 17 - Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
Chapter Eighteen - Law 18 - Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself - Isolation is Dangerous
Chapter Nineteen - Law 19 - Know Who You're Dealing With - DO Not Offend the Wrong Person
Chapter Twenty - Law 20 - DO Not Commit to Anyone
Chapter Twenty-One - Law 21 - Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker - Seem Dumber Thank Your Mark
Chapter Twenty-Two - Law 22 - Use the Surrender Tactic - Transform Weaknesses Into Power
Chapter Twenty-Three - Law 23 - Concentrate Your Forces
Chapter Twenty-Four - Law 24 - Play the Perfect Courtier
Chapter Twenty-Five - Law 25 - Re-Create Yourself
Chapter Twenty-Six - Law 26 - Keep Your Hands Clean
Chapter Twenty-Seven - Law 27 - Play on People's Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following
Chapter Twenty-Eight - Law 28 - Enter Action with Boldness
Chapter Twenty-Nine - Law 29 - Plan All the Way to the End
Chapter Thirty - Law 30 - Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
Chapter Thirty-One - Law 31 - Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards You Deal
Chapter Thirty-Two - Law 32 - Play to People's Fantasies
Chapter Thirty-Three - Law 33 - Discover Each Man's Thumbscrew
Chapter Thirty-Four - Law 34 - Be Royal In Your Own Fashion: Act Like a King to Be Treated Like One
Chapter Thirty-Five - Law 35 - Master the Art of Timing
Chapter Thirty-Six - Law 36 - Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge
Chapter Thirty-Seven - Law 37 - Create Compelling Spectacles
Chapter Thirty-Eight - Law 38 - Think as You Like But Behave Like Others
Chapter Thirty-Nine - Law 39 - Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish
Chapter Forty  - Law 40 - Despise the Free Lunch
Chapter Forty-One - Law 41 - Avoid Stepping Into a Great Man's Shoes
Chapter Forty-Two - Law 42 - Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter
Chapter Forty-Three - Law 43 - Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
Chapter Forty-Four - Law 44 - Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
Chapter Forty-Five - Law 45 - Preach the Need for Change, But Never Reform Too Much at Once
Chapter Forty-Six - Law 46 - Never Appear Too Perfect
Chapter Forty-Seven - Law 47 - Do Not Go Past the Mark You Aimed for: In Victory, Learn When to Stop
Chapter Forty-Eight - Law 48 - Assume Formlessness

What is a good quote from The 48 Laws of Power?

"Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of others—that is too high a price to pay... What you do not react to cannot drag you down in a futile engagement."

― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power Quotes

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: "Machiavelli has a new rival. And Sun Tzu had better watch his back. Greene . . . has put together a checklist of ambitious behavior. Just reading the table of contents is enough to stir a little corner-office lust.” — New York magazine

* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

On average, 90% of what we read is forgotten within the first hours after reading... Which is why it’s so important to apply what you read.

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