The 48 Laws of Power
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|Published||1998 (Viking Press) (HC); 2007 (HighBridge Audio) CD|
|ISBN||0-670-88146-5 (HC); 978-1-59887-092-3 (CD)|
|LC Class||BD438 .G74 1998|
|Followed by||The Art of Seduction|
The 48 Laws of Power (1998) is the first book by American author Robert Greene. The book is a bestseller, selling over 1.2 million copies in the United States, and is popular with prison inmates and celebrities.
Greene initially formulated some of the ideas in The 48 Laws of Power while working as a writer in Hollywood and concluding 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 wrote 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 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."
Rapper 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 various songs by hip-hop artists. Dov Charney, founder and former CEO of American Apparel, frequently quoted the laws during board meetings, has given friends and employees copies of the book, and appointed Greene to the board of American Apparel. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro was also claimed by the book's author to have read the book.
Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer said that Greene's so-called laws are based on isolated examples, and not on solid research. Kirkus Reviews said Greene offers no evidence to support his world view, Greene's laws contradict each other, and the book is "simply nonsense". Newsweek also points out ways the laws contradict each other and says "Intending the opposite, Greene has actually produced one of the best arguments since the New Testament for humility and obscurity." Director magazine notes "some of Greene's 'laws' seem contradictory" and the work is "plodding and didactic". There has been no empirical research that any of the laws actually achieve positive social results, rather than being a behavioral guide for a typical sociopath.
- Greene, Robert (2000). The 48 Laws of Power. New York, NY. p. 452. ISBN 0140280197.
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- Chang, Andrea. American Apparel's in-house guru shows a lighter side. LA Times. August 30, 2011.
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- Johnson, Lynn. The 50 Cent Bible. Fast Company. September 10, 2009.
- Burkeman, Oliver (September 4, 2009). "When the gangsta rapper met the self-help guru". The Guardian.
- Lee, Chris (July 12, 2006). "Laws for an Outlaw Culture". LA Times.
- Harris, Randy. "calvin says: enter with boldness". FMLY. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "THE 48 LAWS OF POWER". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 12 Jan 2014.
- Adler, Jerry (1998), The Prince Wants a Word With You, Newsweek, retrieved 12 Jan 2014[dead link]
- Kennedy, Carol (1999), The 48 Laws of Power By Robert Greene, Director Publications, retrieved 12 Jan 2014