A perfect gift! One of the most powerful books ever written is the ‘48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Greene. A modern-day classic for people who aspire to achieve power or maintain their current power status. First published in 1998, it’s available in more than 20 different languages and has gone on to sell over 1.2 million copies in the U.S. alone and many more around the world.

Although Greene has published another four bestselling books since the 48 Laws of Power, it remains his magnum opus. The book focuses on how to gain power in any situation, regardless of whether it’s morally right or wrong and it uses specific anecdotes from history to illustrate these “rules of power”.

Illustrations are drawn from the courts of modern and ancient Europe, Africa and Asia while devious strategies are culled from well-known personae: Machiavelli, Catherine the Great, Lola Montes and various con artists of our century. If you’re looking for a book that provides guidance on how to achieve power in an ethical manner without compromising morals, this is not for you.

It details without shame how to achieve it and hold on to power with overt ruthlessness or underhanded cunning. The first paragraph of the preface describes the book perfectly; “The feeling of having no power over people and events is generally unbearable to us, when we feel helpless, we feel miserable. No one wants less power; everybody wants more. In the world today, however, it is dangerous to seem too power hungry, to be overt with your power moves. we have to seem fair and decent. So, we need to be subtle – congenial yet cunning, democratic yet devious.”

The layout of the book’s chapters.

Each law is a chapter so there are 48 of them. The book is quite big, but each chapter is around five or six pages in length so they’re easily digestible. The chapter structure is unique as each chapter follows the same formula.
1. The law.
2. Transgression of the law and interpretation.
3. Observance of the law and interpretation.
4. Keys to power.
5. Reversal of the law – when it’s appropriate to do the opposite of what the law states.

One thing about this book is that you can pick and choose what you want to apply. Not all 48 laws will work in all situations or with all personalities.

The book does a brilliant job of enplaning the logic and mindset of the people who play such games to get power. If you want to understand why people play these games, this is a book worth reading. Although gentler souls will find this book frightening, those whose moral compass is oriented solely to power will have a perfect vade mecum.
The 48 Laws of Power is a book that will stand the test of time; the historical references are vast. Add to this that human nature does not change and you have a reference book for years to come.

By Alagi Yorro Jallow