48 Laws of Power

law 1

Reading this book has changed my life. Generally, one (who states something has changed their life) speaks from an altered emotional state… emotions are fleeting albeit essential to separating humans from other animals.

“Some play with power and lose it all by a fatal mistake. Some go too far or not enough. Yet others make all the right moves and are able to draw power unto themselves with an almost superhuman dexterity” – Robert Greene, 2002

We might deny it – but via introspection – you will discover that humans love to wield power over other humans and entities (even inanimate objects!).  To feel powerless ultimately opens the gate to depression for the majority of us. Politicians want more power (for example) however; due to the western societies’ attitude… they must appear democratic and congenial.  Duplicity and manipulation of the masses is needed in order to become a powerful politician. For more about this please see: Tony Blair and Hitler. Yes… I did just compare Blair to Hitler. In my opinion, doctors – like politicians – often start their careers full of passion, youth and rigor; hoping to change the world… and then they become corrupted by power.

What is power? You will have to work that one out for yourself… however here are the 48 laws of power in conjunction with commentary from your favourite blogger in this field.

  1. Never outshine the master: Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power – Robert Greene, 2002

I mostly agree with this law; but not entirely.  Generally, it is a great rule. Those who are above you can immensely help your career [see my blog about mentorship]. However, they can also keep you at your station thus hindering your progress. This definitely happens in the case where masters are insecure and are fearful that the relationship will transform from one of: master and apprentice – to – competitors.

I somewhat disagree with parts of this law because the premise here is to progress unannounced and without conflict. I like conflict. We have a state of mind in the West that conflict is unnecessary yet we start wars in other parts of the world – the irony is outstanding. If one can grow through conflict, one will become a stronger and better version of themselves. “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict” – William Ellery Channing, 1839.

Example of Law: Gordon Gekko sabotaged Bud Fox’s progress in the legendary investment film: Wall Street – because Bud tried to grow too quickly and had the promising talent to surpass Gekko – Wall Street, 1987



Robert Greene, 2002.48 Laws of Power. London: Profile Books Ltd.

Wall Street, 1987. Hollywood: Oliver Stone

William Ellery Channing, 1839. On War [online]. Available at: http://www.john-uebersax.com/plato/channing.htm



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