Reviewing The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Title: The 48 Laws of Power
Author: Robert Greene
Read: 24 August to 10 Sept 2006 Seattle & Ocean Shores
Normally I have a one sentence, one paragraph, one page review. But this one wants to be more free-form.
The 48 Laws of Power details 48 individual laws of coercive power. How to obtain it, how to hold it, how to avoid being hurt by it. The overarching rule of power - that it corrupts - is never directly mentioned but is apparent. Greene provides amazing examples of history's masters of power. Napoleon, Catherine, Qin, etc.
One seriously can't stop reading this book.
But, for me, it caused a sort of recursive introspection that haunted me for days. I was constantly thinking of past events. What the power dynamics were. What I did wrong. Who was the victor. What the lasting damage was. What could be written off.
The good news is that, historically, I've done pretty well. When I was impertinent, I was not beheaded. When I was overeager, I was not exiled. I have not been imprisoned or had my wax wings burned. I haven't been drug through the streets or forced to live as a slave.
But I have overly applied power when I've had it, been burned by others when they've weilded theirs, and not played political games with skill and cunning. I have lost friends and overly rewarded those who wished me ill. I have been slow to identify malice.
This book was a slog for me. It was rough. It was necessary.