The 48 Laws of Power
|The 48 Laws of Power|
|Subject||History & Theory, Social Philosophy|
|Published||1998 (Viking Press) (HC); 2007 (HighBridge Audio) CD|
|ISBN||0-670-88146-5 (HC); 978-1-59887-092-3 (CD)|
|Dewey Decimal||303.3 21|
|LC Classification||BD438 .G74 1998|
The 48 Laws of Power (1998) is the first book by American author Robert Greene. The book, an international bestseller, is a practical guide for anyone who wants power, observes power, or wants to arm him- or herself against power. It has sold over 1.2 million copies in the United States alone and is popular with famous rappers, entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes and actors including 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, DJ Premier, Dov Charney, Brian Grazer, Andrew Bynum, Chris Bosh, Drake, and Will Smith.
Greene initially formulated some of the ideas in The 48 Laws of Power while working as a writer in Hollywood and observing that today's power elite shared similar traits with powerful figures throughout history. In 1995, Greene worked as a writer at Fabrica, an art and media school, and met a book packager named Joost Elffers. Greene pitched a book about power to Elffers and six months later, Elffers requested that Greene write a treatment.
Although Greene was unhappy in his current job, he was comfortable and saw the time needed to write a proper book proposal as too risky. However, at the time Greene was rereading his favorite biography about Julius Caesar and took inspiration from Caesar's decision to cross the Rubicon River and fight Pompey, thus inciting the Great Roman Civil War. Greene would follow Caesar's example and write the treatment, which later became The 48 Laws of Power. He would note this as the turning point of his life.
The 48 Laws of Power are a distillation of 3,000 years of the history of power, drawing on the lives of strategists and historical figures like Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P.T. Barnum  and Baltasar Gracián. The book is intended to show people how to gain power, preserve it, and defend themselves against power manipulators. Each law is its own chapter, complete with a "transgression of the law," "observation of the law," and a "reversal."
The 48 Laws
The 48 Laws of Power has sold over 1.2 million copies in the United States and has been translated into 24 languages. Fast Company called the book a "mega cult classic," and The Los Angeles Times noted that The 48 Laws of Power turned Greene into a "cult hero with the hip-hop set, Hollywood elite and prison inmates alike." The book has been featured in publications like CNN, Forbes, The Los Angeles Times, Entrepreneur magazine, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, USA Today, The Guardian, Business Insider, Fast Company, ESPN, and Men’s Health.
The 48 Laws of Power is taught in business management classes and is one of the most requested books in American prison libraries. The book is influential with a wide array of entrepreneurs, musicians, athletes, and movie stars. Dov Charney, founder and CEO of American Apparel, has handed out hundreds of copies of the book to friends and employees and frequently quotes the laws during board meetings (he would also later appoint Greene to American Apparel's board of directors).
50 Cent stated that he related to the book "immediately," and approached Greene with the prospect of a potential collaboration, which would later become The 50th Law, another New York Times bestseller. Busta Rhymes used The 48 Laws of Power to deal with problematic movie producers. DJ Premier has a tattoo inspired from Law #5, "Reputation is the cornerstone of power", on his arm and DJ Calvin Harris has an "Enter with boldness" arm tattoo based on Law #28. The 48 Laws of Power has also been mentioned in songs by UGK, Jay Z, Kanye West, and Drake.  Former Cuban President Fidel Castro is also reported to have read the book.
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