A Bunch of Rules of a Game You Can\’t Avoid


You may not be an Illuminati hopeful or want to be seen reading a book with this title. It doesn’t matter.


I think this book is worth checking out. As Robert Greene states in the preface, “If the world is like a giant scheming court and we are all trapped inside it, there is no use in trying to opt out of the game. That will only render you powerless, and powerlessness will make you miserable. Instead of struggling against the inevitable, instead of arguing and whining and feeling guilty, it is far better to excel at power. In fact, the better you are at dealing with power, the better friend, lover, husband, wife, and person you become.”

Either play the game or get played.

If you can get past the cold and ruthless nature of the writing and laws, there’s plenty of valuable knowledge in this well researched and organized book. Robert Greene uses hundreds of stories from all time periods in history to explain how each law is used and broken. Due to the repetitive nature of the structure, I would not recommend trying to read this book from start to finish; it reads better as a reference book.  Absorbing the laws over a longer period of time helps you see their application in more real-life situations than if you were going to try to read it in a weekend.

Here are my \”everything is a quote or close-enough\” notes from the book.

Those who make a show of innocence about the game of power are the least innocent of all.

Power is an amoral and unavoidable game, better to be an artist than a denier.

How to be an artist(preview of 48 laws in the intro)

      • Master your emotions, emotions cloud reason
      • Examine past mistakes to never repeat them
      • Play with appearances: deception is your most potent weapon
      • Have patience
      • Don’t worry about people’s intentions, follow the results of their moves instead

“The value of a thing sometimes lies not in what one attains with it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us” -Nietzsche

The 48 Laws

1. Never Outshine the Master

      • you can inadvertently outshine the master by being yourself, stifle your charm, intelligence, creativity
      • attribute your ideas to them and you will be rewarded with more power

2.) Never trust friends too much, learn how to use your enemies

3.) Conceal your intentions

      • Don’t be unabashedly open, if you make yourself so predictable and familiar it is impossible to respect or fear you

4.) Always say less than necessary

      • impress and intimidate by saying less, even if you say something bland it will seem original
      • the more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish

5.) Guard your reputation with your life

      • we live in a society that depends on the opinions of others, be the master of your reputation
      • it would be hard to judge without appearances, clothes, gestures, words and actions, so use yours to your advantage

6.) Court attention at all costs

7.) Outsource and take credit

8.) Make other people come to you

      • A bear that knows its being hunted is impossible to catch and ferocious if cornered
      • Bear hunter should not chase its prey, rather bait it with a honeyed trap and wait

9.) Win Through Actions Not Argument

      • \”The truth is generally seen, rarely heard\”- Baltasar Gracián
      • Example- As Michelangelo is finishing the statue of David, a patron views the statue and says the nose is too big. Michelangelo brings the patron to an eye-level with David\’s face, acts like he is chipping away at the nose, then shows the patron, who then thought it looked perfect

10.) Avoid the unhappy and the unlucky…..(you can google search the entire list but now I\’ll just list ones that I thought were important)23.) Concentrate your forces

      • \”Intellect is a magnitude of intensity, not a magnitude of extensity\”- Arthur Schopenhauer
      • You can not hit two targets with one arrow

32.) Play to fantasies

      • Life is so harsh that people who manufacture romance or fantasy are like oases in the desert

35.) Act like a king, be treated like a king38.) Think originally, behave the same

      • Keep your differences in your thoughts and not your appearance

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