Robert Greene (American author)
May 14, 1959|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Robert Greene (born May 14, 1959) is an American author known for his books on strategy, power and seduction. He has written five international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law (with rapper 50 Cent) and Mastery.
The younger son of Jewish parents, Greene grew up in Los Angeles and attended University of California, Berkeley before finishing his degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in classical studies. Before becoming an author, Greene estimates that he worked 80 jobs, including as a construction worker, translator, magazine editor, and Hollywood movie writer. In 1995, Greene worked as a writer at Fabrica, an art and media school in Italy, and met a book packager named Joost Elffers. Greene pitched a book about power to Elffers and wrote a treatment which eventually became The 48 Laws of Power. He would note this as the turning point of his life.
The 48 Laws of Power
Greene's first book, The 48 Laws of Power, first published in 1998, is a practical guide for anyone who wants power, observes power, or wants to arm themselves against power. The laws are a distillation of 3,000 years in the history of power, drawing on the lives of strategists and historical figures like Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Haile Selassie I, Carl von Clausewitz, Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, and P.T. Barnum. Each law has its own chapter, complete with a "transgression of the law," "observance of the law," and a "reversal."
The 48 Laws of Power has sold more than 1.2 million copies. It is popular with well-known rappers, entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes and actors including 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, DJ Premier, Drake, Dov Charney, Brian Grazer, Andrew Bynum, Chris Bosh, Michael Jackson, Courtney Love and Will Smith.
The Art of Seduction
Greene's second book, The Art of Seduction, was published in 2001 and is a handbook on the most subtle and effective form of power, seduction. The book profiles the nine types of seducers (e.g. The Rake, The Siren, and The Charmer) and details aspects of attraction, authenticity, storytelling and negotiation. Greene uses examples from historical figures such as Cleopatra, Giacomo Casanova, Duke Ellington and John F. Kennedy to support the psychology behind seduction.
The 33 Strategies of War
The 33 Strategies of War is the third book by Greene and was published in 2007. The book is divided into five parts: Self-Directed Warfare, Organizational (Team) Warfare, Defensive Warfare, Offensive Warfare and Unconventional (Dirty) Warfare. The book is a guide to the campaign of everyday life and distills military wisdom from historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Sun Tzu, Alfred Hitchcock, Alexander the Great and Margaret Thatcher.
The Sunday Times called the book "an excellent toolkit for dealing with business and relationships," and The Independent called Greene "a modern-day Machiavelli." NBA player Chris Bosh stated that his favorite book is The 33 Strategies of War. It has sold more than 200,000 copies.
The 50th Law
The 50th Law is the fourth book by Greene—written collaboratively with rapper 50 Cent—and was published in 2009. The book mixes talk of strategy and fearlessness by supplementing anecdotes from 50 Cent's rise as both a young urban hustler and as an up-and-coming musician with lessons from various historical figures. Each of the 10 chapters in the book explains a factor of fearlessness and begins by telling how 50 learned this "Fearless Philosophy" in Southside Queens.
Greene's fifth book, Mastery, was released on November 13, 2012. Mastery examines the lives of both historical and contemporary figures such as Charles Darwin, Paul Graham, the Wright Brothers, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Mozart, and distills the traits and universal ingredients that made them masters. The book is divided into six sections, each focusing on essential lessons and strategies on the path to Mastery.
Mastery reached #6 on The New York Times Bestseller list and was featured in CNN Money, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Business Insider, Forbes, Management Today, and Fast Company.
Influence and controversy
The 48 Laws of Power has been referenced in songs by Jay Z, Kanye West, and Drake. Busta Rhymes used The 48 Laws of Power to deal with problematic movie producers. Greene has claimed former Cuban President Fidel Castro also to have read the book. The 48 Laws of Power is one of the most requested books in American prison libraries. Several American prisons have banned The 48 Laws of Power and The 33 Strategies of War.
Greene's books are sometimes described as manipulative and amoral. The Sunday Times noted that The 48 Laws of Power has become the "Hollywood back-stabber's bible" and that although the book is reportedly used by some business executives, it is difficult to find people who publicly acknowledge its influence because of the book's controversial nature. Greene responds to this sentiment by stating, "These laws … people might say, 'Oh they're wicked', but they're practiced day in and day out by businesspeople. You're always trying to get rid of your competition and it can be pretty bloodthirsty, and that's just the reality."
Greene's work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, The New Yorker, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, Business Week, Business Insider, Fast Company, Slate, and XXL. Greene has also appeared on The Today Show, CNBC, ABC, and MTV News.
- 1998 The 48 Laws of Power (with Joost Elffers)
- 2001 The Art of Seduction
- 2006 The 33 Strategies of War
- 2009 The 50th Law (with 50 Cent)
- 2012 Mastery
- 2018 The Laws of Human Nature (unpublished)
- Chang, Andrea. American Apparel's in-house guru shows a lighter side. The Los Angeles Times. August 30, 2011.
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- Chang, Andrea (August 30, 2011). "American Apparel's in-house guru shows a lighter side". LA Times.
- "Bonhams : Michael Jackson: an annotated copy of the book 'The 48 Laws Of Power' by Robert Greene,". www.bonhams.com. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
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- "The Art of Seduction". Amazon.
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- Robert Greene Interview, Part 1. Power Seduction and War. July 7, 2006.
- Greene, Robert (2006). The 33 Strategies of War. New York, NY: Viking. p. 496. ISBN 0143112783.
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- Burkeman, Oliver (September 4, 2009). "When the gangsta rapper met the self-help guru". The Guardian. London.
- Finnell, Joshua (August 20, 2009). "The Blingdom of God: Books on the Religion of Hip-Hop". Library Journal. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012.
- Hardcover Advice & Misc. Bestsellers. New York Times. September 27, 2009.
- "USA TODAY Money best sellers". USA Today. October 12, 2009.
- "The 50th Law". USA Today.
- Getlen, Larry (September 20, 2009). "Talking Cents". New York Post.
- Capouya, John (November 9, 2012). "Zen and the art of global domination". CNN Money. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012.
- Greene, Robert (2012). Mastery. Viking. ISBN 0670024961.
- Kurutz, Steven (November 7, 2012). "Renovate Like a Master". New York Times.
- How Yoky Matsuoka created the modern robotic hand, and what the rest of us can learn from her GeekWire. November 12, 2012.
- Groth, Aimee (November 2, 1012). "27 Tips For Mastering Anything". Business Insider.
- Bradt, George (November 8, 2012). "Beyond 10,000 Hours: The Constant Pursuit of Mastery". Forbes.
- Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. Book review: Mastery, by Robert Greene. Management Today. November 1, 2012.
- Robert Greene. The Aha! Moments That Made Paul Grahms Y Combinator Possible. Fast Company. November 12, 2012.
- ‘Mastery’ By Robert Greene: How to Become a Master in Your Chosen Field. Huffington Post. November 15, 2012.
- Best Sellers: Advice and Misc..The New York Times. November 26, 2012.
- "Mastery". USA Today.
- "Kanye West – Primetime Lyrics". RapGenius.
- "Drake – What I'm Thinkin' Right Now Lyrics". RapGenius.
- The Readers Behind Bars Put Books to Many Uses New York Times
- Books Banned in U.S. Prisons Featured at Minneapolis Art Festival (video), Unicorn Riot Media, 25 June 2018
- "How to take power and influence people". The Sunday Times (London). August 6, 2006. "Despite Greene's obvious influence, most Hollywood executives are coy about admitting it. Jonathan Baker, marketing manager for Sony Pictures Entertainment, says the book is often used by executives he knows, "but because of its nature, you won't find a lot of people who will own up to how important a resource it has become for them. Acknowledging its influence can be damning; you are opening yourself up to being judged in a negative way. But I don't mind saying that I stumbled on it in a very down period in my life, and it gave me a lot of clarity when I needed it most".
- "Robert Greene and his influence over American Apparel [Video]". The Los Angeles Times. August 31, 2011.
- Wilson, Craig (September 30, 1998). "Playing the power game '48 Laws' on winning, whatever the stakes". USA Today.
- Stranahan, Lee (January 22, 2010). "33 Strategies Of War Author Robert Greene on Obama's Tactical Hell". The Huffington Post.
- Beam, Christopher (October 31, 2006). "The Oracle of Hip Hop". Slate Magazine.
- "XXL Quick Hitters: 50 Cent, Shyne, Diddy and The Weekend, Just Blaze And Saigon". XXL. May 29, 2012.
- "50 Cent On The Today Show for supporting his new book "The 50th Law"". The Today Show. October 1, 2009.
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- Reid, Shaheem (September 10, 2009). "50 Cent Signs Copies Of His New Book 'The 50th Law'". MTV News.
- "Robert Greene on his 48 laws of power: 'I'm not evil – I'm a realist.'" Lynskey, Dorian. The Guardian. Published December 3, 2012. Accessed August 3, 2017.
- Power, Seduction and War Robert Greene's Blog