The Laws of Human Nature
Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all - understanding people's drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves.We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defence.

The Laws of Human Nature Details

TitleThe Laws of Human Nature
Author
ReleaseOct 23rd, 2018
PublisherViking
Rating
GenrePsychology, Nonfiction, Philosophy, Self Help, History

The Laws of Human Nature Review

  • Ryan Boissonneault
    January 1, 1970
    Pros: a great primer on the psychological tendencies that pull us all in certain directions, mostly to the detriment of our rational goals. Robert Greene identifies 18 such “laws,” providing historical and biographical sketches that demonstrate each law in practice. He then provides strategies for turning each law—with its inherent self-destructive tendencies—into an advantage. The author draws on a vast storehouse of examples, and his emphasis on rationality and examples from ancient Greece are Pros: a great primer on the psychological tendencies that pull us all in certain directions, mostly to the detriment of our rational goals. Robert Greene identifies 18 such “laws,” providing historical and biographical sketches that demonstrate each law in practice. He then provides strategies for turning each law—with its inherent self-destructive tendencies—into an advantage. The author draws on a vast storehouse of examples, and his emphasis on rationality and examples from ancient Greece are well received. Cons: Some of the chapters can drag as the author repeats the same point, and you get the feeling that the book could have been made shorter without loss of content. It’s also difficult to tell which ideas are supported by solid science/research and which are not, as this is not spelled out within the text. Some ideas are backed by solid historical and scientific evidence, such as his chapter on narcissism, but in other sections the ideas are more dubious, as, for example, when the author seems to believe that Milton Erickson recovered quicker from polio through his mental stimulation of his nerves. The author makes more of the mind-body connection, particularly in regard to the recovery from illness, than the literature supports. In the introduction, the author notes that he will rely on the psychological research of leading academics like Daniel Kahneman, but then within the main body of the text uses the ideas of Milton Erickson and Carl Jung, both controversial psychologists of dubious authenticity. I get the feeling that Greene is using the examples that he either relates to better or fits his ideas better, rather than using more contemporary research, so you have to wonder if Greene himself is falling victim to the confirmation bias as he has to reach back to 1919 (in the case of Erickson) to find a psychologist that fits his narrative. Overall, the book provides valuable insights and advice, but it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff when every idea is presented forcefully as the truth in equally confident terms. You will gain some valuable insights from reading this book, to be sure, but it’s best to do so with a skeptical mind.
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  • Fabian Il.
    January 1, 1970
    Very solid book on the topic. I would call them tendencies instead of strict laws especially because some are not really universal. Also there could have been more evolutionary psychology for there is nothing more fundamental to our nature plus the cognitive biases could have been added (some are mentioned like the most fundamental pain avoidance/ pleasure seeking). But all in all really enjoyable book.
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  • Gary Moreau
    January 1, 1970
    So much of discovery is a search for patterns. What links to what? Which variables are related? But patterns aren’t always signs of connection or influence. They can be causal or merely coincidental. And they are seldom universal.Which is exactly why such a high percentage of scientific discovery turns out to be incorrect, or at least not complete. There is a pattern, but it’s not THE pattern – or at least not the only pattern. And, of course, patterns tend to change over time for a nearly infin So much of discovery is a search for patterns. What links to what? Which variables are related? But patterns aren’t always signs of connection or influence. They can be causal or merely coincidental. And they are seldom universal.Which is exactly why such a high percentage of scientific discovery turns out to be incorrect, or at least not complete. There is a pattern, but it’s not THE pattern – or at least not the only pattern. And, of course, patterns tend to change over time for a nearly infinite number of reasons.And that’s the way I felt about the “laws” articulated in this book. I just never got the impression that they were a complete or universal explanation. I could see the pattern. It wasn’t just pulled out of thin air. But it struck me as presumptuous to assume that the “law” was in any way complete or permanent. It might be complete some of the time in some instances. But is it really the final answer that being called a “law of human nature” clearly suggests. The problem is that laws require generalizations in order to be articulated and applied. And that might work reasonably well in defining traffic laws. Human nature, however, is far more complex and variable. Saying, therefore, that “Introverts are more sensitive and easily exhausted by too much outward activity,” or that, “To the extrovert, the introvert has no fun, is stubborn, even antisocial,” strikes me as applying two-dimensional generalizations to issues and traits that are far more complex than they can accommodate. Isn’t that, after all, part of the explanation for the rancor we currently see in our politics?I really wanted to like this book. Who doesn’t want to know the laws of nature? Particularly now. To the point that throughout the book I went back to the marketing materials to see what I was missing. And in the “About the Author” section it describes the author as a “renowned expert on power strategies.” And that makes sense to me. And if power strategies is what you’re looking for, and you can buy into the advice - “Take notice of people who praise or flatter you without their eyes lighting up,” as opposed to recognizing they may have just stepped off the red eye, then you will probably like this book very much. My interests, on the other hand, tend more to philosophy than psychology and I do tend to believe that the Daoists make a very good point – reality (and human nature) is just too nuanced and complicated for our human brains to understand at the level we would need to lay out the laws of human nature.But if the subject sounds interesting to you, it sounds feasible that one book and one author can lay out the laws of nature, or you just like this author, please don’t let me discourage you. (I will admit that I have not read any of the author’s other works.)He’s obviously accomplished. And if you enjoy the history of psychology you’ll find a lot of gems here. For me, however, the author’s theories are just a little too assertive and built on dangerous generalizations to live by 24/7. But I’m not much on “power strategies,” either, so take that advice for what it is.
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  • Jonathan Metze
    January 1, 1970
    must read if you have to interact with... anyone
  • Synthia Salomon
    January 1, 1970
    You can improve your life by understanding human nature. Let the sublime motivate you.
  • TofurkyVectrex64
    January 1, 1970
    I got mine on the 18th from Chapters Indigo! I was worried they would deliver it late but I got mine before release!I do miss the layout style of his other classic books however I can see this as a move to make them even more timeless. I do sense the typical Hollywood Anti Trump anger at times, which betrays the wisdom of the book, not because I stand on either side but the principles of power, war, and seduction are fact, not opinion. Why editorialize? Overall, it's great, he's still the master I got mine on the 18th from Chapters Indigo! I was worried they would deliver it late but I got mine before release!I do miss the layout style of his other classic books however I can see this as a move to make them even more timeless. I do sense the typical Hollywood Anti Trump anger at times, which betrays the wisdom of the book, not because I stand on either side but the principles of power, war, and seduction are fact, not opinion. Why editorialize? Overall, it's great, he's still the master, must buy. 5/5
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the topic of Human Behavior in this book comparatively better than to the book on power. Both books are insightful. This book had more relatable stories and analogies.
  • Fernando Escobar
    January 1, 1970
    Excellente, as always.
  • Emmanuel Ayeni
    January 1, 1970
    It's a grounded work on human nature, emotions and why people do what they sounded different scenarios
  • Muddassir Ilyas
    January 1, 1970
    Not as good as his other books. May be I have read a lot on this topic, I didn’t find much that I didn’t know already. 😊
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