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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  • imane
    January 1, 1970
    اذا تقبلت نفسك بعيوبك وتصالحت مع نفسك لا احد يستطيع مهاجمتك لكن اذا اشتموا فيك رائحة عدم ثقة بالنفس او خوف سيستغلون نقاط ضعفك ضدك. الثقة بالنفس تغطي على كل العيوب وتجعلك تبدو جميلا. حينها لن يقترب منك اي ضبع لان الضباع جبناء لا يهاجمون سوى الضعفاءستصل الى مرحلة تراقب فيها نفسك والاخرين من الخارج مع ترك مسافة لا تجعلك تدخل في الدوامة لن تتحكم فيك عواطفك انت من ستتحكم فيها عقلك سيقود قلبكالافعى لسانها حلو وظاهرها حلو لكن باطنها قذر فيه خبث وسم مادمت لا تفهم لغة الافاعي فانت نية لان الافعى تتلون با اذا تقبلت نفسك بعيوبك وتصالحت مع نفسك لا احد يستطيع مهاجمتك لكن اذا اشتموا فيك رائحة عدم ثقة بالنفس او خوف سيستغلون نقاط ضعفك ضدك. الثقة بالنفس تغطي على كل العيوب وتجعلك تبدو جميلا. حينها لن يقترب منك اي ضبع لان الضباع جبناء لا يهاجمون سوى الضعفاءستصل الى مرحلة تراقب فيها نفسك والاخرين من الخارج مع ترك مسافة لا تجعلك تدخل في الدوامة لن تتحكم فيك عواطفك انت من ستتحكم فيها عقلك سيقود قلبكالافعى لسانها حلو وظاهرها حلو لكن باطنها قذر فيه خبث وسم مادمت لا تفهم لغة الافاعي فانت نية لان الافعى تتلون باستمرار وتمثل باستمرار وتبدل الادوار باستمرار مادمت لم تدخل الشر الى تركيبتك وتكن علامة الشر على جبينك لن تفهم وسيتم دائما التلاعب بك. السذاجة نقص في القدرات العقلية لذا الاطفال سذج ولديهم وجه واحد وما في عقلهم يقولونه ولا يتقنون فن التمثيل والكذب والخداع. السذاجة او الطيبة قد تكون وراثة وخلقة او نقص في القدرات العقلية او قلة تجارب الحياة او ظروف جيدة ودلال وحماية زائدة او قلة معرفة وادراك للطبيعة البشرية وما يدور في الكوكبhttps://youtu.be/ZAf3U0J8Se8اذا تقبلت عيوبك لا احد سيستطيع استخدامها ضدك اذا اشتموا انك غير متقبل لنفسك او انك غير واثق بنفسك سيهاجمونك ان عطش الانسان للسلطة والقوة والسيطرة والمال والحب والاهتمام يحرك الانسان. ان عطش الانسان للسلطة لا تجعله يرى اي مبادئ او اخلاق. بعض البشر اكثر طمعا من الاخرين وهذا يظهر منذ الطفولة عندما لا يحصلون على ما يريدون يصابون بهيستيريا لماذا الطفل الاخر حصل على اشياء اكثر مني. ان دور الاسرة في التربية تلعب دورا مهما في تكوين الشخصية. اذا كان الانسان غبيا سيتحول الى مجرم اذا كان ذكيا بما فيه الكفاية سيحصل على ما يريده يطريقة متحضرة مع احترام القواعد المجتمعيةبعض الناس يعشقون دور الضحية ولعب الدراما واذا نصحتهم سينفجرون في وجهك كيف تتجرا على عدم تفهم معاناتهم انهم الوحيدون الذين يعانون في هذا العالم كيف تشك بانهم ضحايا هذا العالم. الضحايا الحقيقون لا يشتكون. من يلعب دور الضحية هو في حقيقة الامر عنيف سلبي يعتبر نفسه مركز الكون ويريد اكثر من الجميع عكس العنيف الايجابي الذي قد يتحول الى مجرم او يجد طريقة متحضرة للحصول على ما يريد. هذا النوع ابتعد عنهم ولا تشعر بتانيب الضمير سيجدون اشخاص اخرين يمثلون عليهمالبعض يتكلمون في ظهرك لتشويه سمعتك ويوصلون لك الكلام السيء الذي يقوله عنك الاخرون لكي يحطموك من باب الحسد. لا تمنحهم هذه المتعة متعة احزانك او تحطيمك. هذا هو العنيف السلبي لا يتحول الى مجرم ولا يفرغ عنفه بطريقة متحضرة في العمل انه عنيف مؤدب لطيف يحطمك ببطء بانتقادك بتوجيه سهامه الى نقاط ضعفك لاضعافك لجعلك تشعر بانك لا تستحق التقدير لكي يسهل عليه استغلالكالبعض قد يدسون لك السم في العسل يعني التعليق يبدو مدحا لكن في واقع الامر هو تحطيم مثلا قمت بعمل جيد بالنسبة لشخص مثلك. او ينتقدونك ثم يقولون لك انهم يمزحون فقط واذا غضبت سيشعرونك بانك المذنب لانك لا تتقبل المزاح او يقولون لك شيئا سلبيا ثم يقولون لك انت قلت ذلك عن نفسك او يشوهون سمعتك في غيابك كل هذا لكي يشعروك بانك قليل قيمة ولكي يحطموك لكي يستطيعوا استغلالك كل هذا لكي يزرعوا فيك الشكوك حول نفسك لكي تشك في قيمتك ويستطيعوا انزالك. انت تشعر بانهم يدسون لك السم لكن بطريقة غير مباشرة وعندما ستغضب ستبدو انت المذنب لان العنيف السلبي جد لطيفاذا غضبت من الاهانة ستدل على انك غير واثق بنفسك وتسهل زعزعتك وستتحول من ضحية الى ظالم اذا صمت ستدل على انك ضعيف ويسهل افتراسك وصمتك سيجعل الافكار السوداوية تدور بعقلك وهذا سيحقق هدف من اهانك تحطيم معنوياتك لكي تنزل انت ويصعد هو لا تسمح للحسودين والغيورين ومن لديهم نقص ان يحطموك او يحزنوك. لذا هدوء وبكل ثقة بالنفس وجه حازم وصوت حازم وترد الاهانة بادب او ترد الاهانة بالسخريةhttps://youtu.be/J-aY7_RsOPwالانسان العنيف لن يتقبل ان يلتقي مع احدهم في نفس الطريق ويسمح له بالمرور هو اولا والباقي ياتي بعده. سيفعل اي شيء لكي يصعد سيشوه سمعتك سيدوس عليك لكي يمر. الطريقة الوحيدة للتعامل مع هذا النوع هو ان تلعب لعبته يشوه سمعتك تشوه سمعته الدفاع عن نفسك اولى من الحفاظ على براءتكبعض البشر اكثر طمعا من الاخرين وكلما صعدوا في التراتبية الاجتماعية يريدون المزيد والمزيد والمزيد من السلطة والقوة والمال لانهم اذا لم يحصلوا على ما يريدون سيشعرون انهم ضعفاء. هذا لا يعني انهم لا يملكون صفة التعاطف لكن هذه الصفة بالمقارنة مع حب السلطة تختفي لا يرون في الاخرين سوى وسائل يستخدمونها للحصول على المزيدالرجال اكثر عنفا من النساء. لان قيمة الرجال تحدد من تراتبيتهم الاجتماعية وهذا يجعلهم عنيفين.https://youtu.be/9euZXgyYixsعندما تلعب مع الاوغاد لا تلعب مباشرة لانهم اذكياء جدا وستخسر. يجب ان تلعب معهم لعبتهم وتكشف اكاذيبهم بمكر يجب ان تريهم انك انت ايضا تعرف كيف تلعب وان قدرتك على الايذاء خطيرة ويجب ان يعملوا لك حساب. هم بارعون جدا في التمثيل واذا كنت ساذجا سيدفنونك في حفرةاذا لم ترسم حدودا واضحة الجميع سيدفعك ويدوس عليك لا تنتظر من احد انه سيحترم حدودا غير موجودة اصلاhttps://youtu.be/DbE4SEPvsucوانتم تمثلون انتبهوا لحركة جسدكم ولعيونكم لان شكلكم يبدو سخيفا وانتم تقولون شيئا وعيونكم تقول شيئا وحركات جسدكم تقول شيئا. الممثل البارع يتقمص الدور جيدا بالعيون وحركات الجسد والاقوال والتصرفات. ولا تنسوا انكم تمثلون على انسان يشبهكم مصنوعين من نفس المادةعندما تعطي ولا تاخذ انت لا تبدو طيب انت تبدو بلا قيمة تبدو محتاج. انت بحاجة الى رضانا عنكالقوة يجب ان تنبع من داخلك لا تمثلها لاننا ككائنات حاسة شمنا قوية. نشتم رائحة الخوف ونشتم رائحة الضعف ونشتم رائحة اللطف واذا اشتممنا ذلك سننقض ولن نفوت الفرصةالحياة ليست سعادة الحياة هدف. تحدد لك هدفا وتسعى وراءه ولكي تحقق هدفك يجب ان تكون واثقا من نفسك صارما مهما حاولوا تحطيمك. ان اسوء شيء قد تفعله في حياتك ان تكون لطيفا او حساسا ان البشر اذا احسوا انهم بامكانهم استغلالك سيفعلون دون تردد كلما كنت صارما كلما احترموك. امزج حضورك بغيابك وصمتك بكلامك ولطفك بصرامتك كما يفعل الوالد مع ابنه. لا تتاسف لا تكثر من الثرثرة لا تشرح تحرك فقط لا تضع نفسك ابدا في وضعية الدفاع عند مهاجمتك لا تعطي بدون ان تاخذ لا تكن مترددا. اذا كنت لطيفا بطبيعتك تعلم القسوة القسوة ليست شيئا صعبا للتعلم ولا تكن قاسيا اكثر من اللازم لكي لا تبدو ديكتاتور مستبدالجميع لديه جانب قوي وضعيف. الجانب القوي يظهر عندما تنجح عندما تحقق حلما عندما تبني شيئا حينها تزداد ثقتك بنفسك ولا تهتم بتصرفات واقوال الاخرين كثيرا. الجانب الضعيف يظهر عندما تخسر عندما تهزم عندما تصبح حساسا اكثر من اللازم وتهتم اكثر من اللازم باقوال وافعال الاخرين. هذا الجانب الضعيف هو الجانب البشري هذا هو الجانب الذي يولد منه جانبك القوي. ان فترات الاكتئاب والحزن والخسارة هي من تجعلك تكتشف نفسك وابتعد عن الضعفاء لانهم بلا هدف في الحياة سيحاولون جرك الى اسفل سيهاجمون نقاط ضعفك سيحاولون جعلك تخجل من نفسك لتحطيمكلا تنعزل ابدا كلما كانت لديك تحالفات سيكون احسن. حتى الاسد القوي اذا كان وحيدا تجتمع حوله الضباع. الضباع لا تجتمع عليك الا في ضعفك لتحطيمك لا تستطيع ان تجتمع عليك في قوتكhttps://youtu.be/a5V6gdu5ih8لا تظهر نقاط ضعفك ابدا لانك بذلك تمنحهم السكين الذي سيطعنونك بها. حتى عندما تريد ان تدفع الحسد تشتكي من مشكلاتك السطحية ليس من نقاط ضعفك. ان الضحكة التي تخرج بها اليهم هي اجمل ضحكةان قدرة الانسان على العنف رهيبة سواء في الماضي او الحاضر. لكن الانسان لا يخطر بباله انه عنيف ايضا مثلهم تماما. هذا سوء فهم لان العنف جزء من تركيبة كل انسان. وهذا العنف لا يمكن فصله عن حياتك اليومية عن الطريقة التي تتصرف بها مع مشاكلك. وطاقة العنف هذه قد تؤدي بك الى ايذاء الاخرين اكثر مما هو مطلوب منك لكي تحمي نفسك. هذه الطاقة لا يمكن كبتها يمكن فقط تحويلها الى شيء ايجابي والتحكم بهاالرجال اكثر عنفا من النساء. لان قيمة الرجال تحدد من تراتبيتهم الاجتماعية وهذا يجعلهم عنيفينالانسان كائن اجتماعي وهذا يعني يجب ان تكتسب الذكاء الاجتماعي يجب ان تكون ممثلا رائعا وراقصا رائعا وتفهم الطبيعة البشرية لان الطبيعة البشرية لا تتغير انت من تتغير لكي تتاقلم. تلبس كما يلبس الباقون وتتصرف بنفس الطريقة التي يتصرفون بها وتتبنى نفس الافكار التي يتبناها الاغلبية. ستريد ان تنضم الى المجموعة التي تشبهك لكن في الغالب ستجد المجموعات لا تشبهك لذا لا يجب ان تواجه لوحدك الاغلبية من الافضل ان تصبح مثلهم. يجب ان تمثل مثل بطريقة جيدة اظهر لهم انك تنتمي لكي يحبوك وتمثيلك يتغير حسب المواقف وحسب المجموعات. كن حريصا على ان تبدو بمظهر جيد للمجموعة عندما تكون لوحدك فكر كما تريد وتصرف كما تريد. لا تكن نية ولا تكن ساذجا نوع في الاقنعةفرق تسد لا تسمح لهم ان يتكتلوا ويتحالفوا ويكونوا مجموعة ضدك. وكلما كانت لديك تحالفات اكثر كان افضلالقائد هو من يقود اتباعه لكن في نفس الوقت يشعرهم بالحرية. يقرر لكن يشعرهم بالعدللا تقارن نفسك بالاخر لان ورقة لعبك مختلفة ولعبتك مختلفة لانك مختلف استمع لصوتك الداخليالذكاء مثير للاعجاب مهما كان فيه شر الغباء مهما كان فيه طيبة مثير للشفقة. الشرير لا يمكن ان يكون الا ذكيا اما الغبي فدائما طيب. وانت تعطي لا تنسى ان تاخذ هي عملية تبادلية تمشي في اتجاهين وليس في اتجاه واحد اللطف سيء يؤدي الى الخجل والخجل يؤدي الى ضعف الثقة بالنفس وقلة الثقة تؤدي الى الضعف. ان جانبك المظلم هو من يجعل منك انسان قوي انسان لا يهتم بالاخرين او بارائهم يجعلك تتبع طريقك وليس طريق الاخرين يجعلك تثق بافكارك اكثر يجعلك تضحي اقل وتهتم اقل بنظرة الاخرين بل اكثر هذا يسمح لك بان تؤذي وتجرح من يجرحك او يحاول ايذاءك هذا يجعلك انسانا حرا كاملا. هذا يجعلك تظهر انزعاجك عندما تنزعج لا تخبئه الظلام يصبح صديقك يحميك يجعلك انسان حقيقي وليس مزيفهناك الشخص المتصالح مع نفسه الذي تجده يضحك على عيوبه وهناك الشخص الحساس الذي تجده دائما يحاول انكار جانبه المظلم ويحاول اخفاءه. ان محاولتك الدائمة في اخفاء جانبك المظلم تجعل منك نصف انسان فقط وتنكر وتتجاهل نصفك الاخر. هذا سيؤدي بك للاكتئاب لانك تحاول ان تغمض عينيك عن فوضى العالم والفوضى الموجودة بداخلك. الطريقة الوحيدة للتخلص من اكتئابك هي اكتشاف نفسك اكتشاف الجانب الذي لا يعجبك اكتشاف جانبك المظلمهناك فرق بين انسان جيد وانسان غير مؤذي يجب ان تكون قادرا على الايذاء لديك سلاح تستخدمه في الوقت المناسب ليس هو ان لا تمتلك سلاحا ولا تستخدمهhttps://youtu.be/QBet_lgh4wcلن ينجح احد حقا في ايذائك الا اذا كرهته اذا اعطيته مساحة في حياتك. الحياة تستمر بالتجاوز اعتبره مريضا هو لم يقصدك انت هو كان يعبر عن نفسه فقطلا تاخذ اقوال الاخرين وتصرفاتهم معك على محمل الجد هم لا يرونك انت هم يعبرون عن انفسهم
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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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  • ScienceOfSuccess
    January 1, 1970
    Robert Greene again looks at everything from distance. He mentions a lot of names, so his story can hold to something, but in fact, his research is awful.When he mentions Disney park in Paris, he mentions that the park wasn't a success because people in France "don't like to stay in lanes. They also expect beer and wine in theme parks, and there was a lack of such a beverage. I recently read another book, also mentioning this park. The author saw that Paris Disneyland was set up the same way USA Robert Greene again looks at everything from distance. He mentions a lot of names, so his story can hold to something, but in fact, his research is awful.When he mentions Disney park in Paris, he mentions that the park wasn't a success because people in France "don't like to stay in lanes. They also expect beer and wine in theme parks, and there was a lack of such a beverage. I recently read another book, also mentioning this park. The author saw that Paris Disneyland was set up the same way USA park was. Planned for a 3day stay, with hotels and everything visitors may need. They only forgot one thing - in Paris, there are 15 attractions. Disneylands in the USA have 3times more. They had the number of visitors right (22thousand/year if I remember right), but they have them for only one day - this was enough to ride every rollercoaster, and people had no reason to stay in hotels they build.Of course its easier to say that people in France hate queues and love alcohol. Well written Robert.This raises a question, what would happen if we would spend 10 minutes researching every single "fact" he serves?The whole book would be 4/5 for me, but not I'm not sure how other stories go. If he sees them in black and white, chose color fitting his idea, and present this way? Are all those "facts" flat manipulated one-side and cursory? What would happen if we spend 10 minutes researching every single "fact" he serves? Is it different from the lowest scums of BuzzFeed journalism? I understand why so many people love his books. He uses archaic language, mention all those names, places, and stories we heard about before. This creates the illusion of mystic knowledge and mystery hidden in every word.TL;DR: If someone would re-write this book with the language we use in everyday life, without weird sentence constructions and without the approach of intern journalists (one side story,no real research) this book wouldn't be read by anyone.This is honestly the worst book of almost 100 I've read this year.
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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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  • Dustan Woodhouse
    January 1, 1970
    Just hit repeat once you’re finished it. And again. And again. This content is the stuff of life, business, love, etc. Robert Greene will be looked back on hundreds of years from now as one of the great thinkers of our time.
  • Akhil Jain
    January 1, 1970
    My fav quotes (not a review):-Page 29 |"In his conception, the human mind has to worship something, has to have its attention directed to something it values above all else. For most people, it is their ego; for some it is their family, their clan, their god, or their nation. For Pericles it would be nous, the ancient Greek word for “mind” or “intelligence.” Nous is a force that permeates the universe, creating meaning and order. The human mind is naturally attracted to this order; this is the s My fav quotes (not a review):-Page 29 |"In his conception, the human mind has to worship something, has to have its attention directed to something it values above all else. For most people, it is their ego; for some it is their family, their clan, their god, or their nation. For Pericles it would be nous, the ancient Greek word for “mind” or “intelligence.” Nous is a force that permeates the universe, creating meaning and order. The human mind is naturally attracted to this order; this is the source of our intelligence."-Page 40 |"And the most common emotion of them all is the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Our thoughts almost inevitably revolve around this desire; we simply recoil from entertaining ideas that are unpleasant or painful to us. We imagine we are looking for the truth, or being realistic, when in fact we are holding on to ideas that bring a release from tension and soothe our egos, make us feel superior."-Page 49 |"Be aware of demagogues who exploit the group effect and stimulate outbreaks of irrationality. They inevitably resort to certain devices. In a group setting, they begin by warming up the crowd, talking about ideas and values that everyone shares, creating a pleasant feeling of agreement. They rely on vague but loaded words full of emotive quality such as justice or truth or patriotism. They talk of abstract, noble goals rather than the solving of specific problems with concrete action. Demagogues in politics or the media try to stir a continual sense of panic, urgency, and outrage. They must keep the emotional levels high."-Page 53 |"In his stories and plays, he found it immensely therapeutic to get inside his characters and make sense of even the worst types. In this way, he could forgive anybody, even his father. His approach in these cases was to imagine that each person, no matter how twisted, has a reason for what they’ve become, a logic that makes sense to them. In their own way, they are striving for fulfillment, but irrationally. By stepping back and imagining their story from the inside, Chekhov demythologized the brutes and aggressors; he cut them down to human size. They no longer elicited hatred but rather pity. You must think more like a writer in approaching the people you deal with, even the worst sorts."-Page 69 |"As Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”"-Page 93 |"I do not ask the wounded person how he feels. . . . I myself become the wounded person. —Walt Whitman"-Page 97 |"Erickson instead focused mostly on people’s physical presence as an entrée into their mental life and unconscious. Words are often used as a cover-up, a way to conceal what is really going on. Making his patients completely comfortable, he would detect signs of hidden tension and unmet desires that came through in their face, voice, and posture. As he did this, he explored in greater depth the world of nonverbal communication. His motto was “observe, observe, observe.” For this purpose he kept a notebook, writing down all of his observations. One element that particularly fascinated him was the walking styles of people, perhaps a reflection of his own difficulties in relearning how to use his legs. He would watch people walking in every part of the city. He paid attention to the heaviness of the step—there was the emphatic walk of those who were persistent and full of resolve; the light step"-Page 101 "He had to see the tension in their necks and register it physically as tension within himself to understand why they were suddenly uncomfortable in his presence. What he discovered is that nonverbal communication cannot be experienced simply through thinking and translating thoughts into words but must be felt physically as one engages with the facial expressions or locked positions of other people. It is a different form of knowledge, one that connects with the animal part of our nature and involves our mirror neurons."-Page 104 "Developed over so much time, before the invention of language, that is how the human face became so expressive, and gestures so elaborate. This is bred deep within us. We have a continual desire to communicate our feelings and yet at the same time the need to conceal them for proper social functioning. With these counterforces battling inside us, we cannot completely control what we communicate."-Page 109 "Related to this is what is known as Othello’s error. In the play Othello by Shakespeare, the main character, Othello, assumes that his wife, Desdemona, is guilty of adultery based on her nervous response when questioned about some evidence. In truth Desdemona is innocent, but the aggressive, paranoid nature of Othello and his intimidating questions make her nervous, which he interprets as a sign of guilt. What happens in such cases is that we pick up certain emotional cues from the other person—nervousness, for instance—and we assume they come from a certain source. We rush to the first explanation that fits what we want to see. But the nervousness could have several explanations, could be a temporary reaction to our questioning or the overall circumstances. The error is not in the observing but in the decoding."-Page 116 "In the course of a conversation there is an equal level of banter, with the pace quickening, indicating increasing rapport."-Page 123 "Looking at this from the other side, as a character in Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot advised, “When you are lying, if you skillfully put in something not quite ordinary, something eccentric, something, you know, that never has happened, or very rarely, it makes the lie sound much more probable.”"-Page 127 "A relaxed smile, however, and looking people in the eye in these first encounters can do wonders for lowering their natural resistance."-Page 128 "If dirty work must be done, get others to do it. Your hands are clean. Never overtly play the Machiavellian leader—that only works well on television."-Page 127 "Use dramatic effects. This mostly involves mastering the art of presence/absence. If you are too present, if people see you too often or can predict exactly what you will do next, they will quickly grow bored with you. You must know how to selectively absent yourself, to regulate how often and when you appear before others, making them want to see more of you, not less. Cloak yourself in some mystery, displaying some subtly contradictory qualities. People don’t need to know everything about you. Learn to withhold information. In general, make your appearances and your behavior less predictable."-Page 187 "It is advisable to let everyone of your acquaintance—whether man or woman—feel now and then that you could very well dispense with their company. This will consolidate friendship. Nay, with most people there will be no harm in occasionally mixing a grain of disdain with your treatment of them; that will make them value your friendship all the more. . . . But if we really think very highly of a person, we should conceal it from him like a crime. This is not a very gratifying thing to do, but it is right. Why, a dog will not bear being treated too kindly, let alone a man! —Arthur Schopenhauer"-Page 203 "In nineteenth-century India, under British colonial rule, authorities decided there were too many venomous cobras in the streets of Delhi, making life uncomfortable for the British residents and their families. To solve this they offered a reward for every dead cobra residents would bring in. Soon enterprising locals began to breed cobras in order to make a living from the bounty. The government caught on to this and canceled the program. The breeders, resentful of the rulers and angered by their actions, decided to release their cobras back on the streets, thereby tripling the population from before the government program."-Page 232 "Instead you must work from within their self-opinion, empathizing with the injustices in their life and the difficulties they have faced. Now, with them feeling validated and mirrored, you have some latitude to make gentle corrections and even apply some reverse psychology (see the section below). Finally, the greatest obstacle you will face in developing these powers comes from a cultural prejudice against the very idea of influence: “Why can’t we all just be honest and transparent with one another, and simply ask for what we want? Why can’t we just let people be who they are and not try to change them? Being strategic is ugly and manipulative."-Page 249 "One night, to totally disconcert his literal-minded monks, he showed up to a talk completely drunk. He never apologized or repeated it, but the lesson was simple: such rules are merely guidelines, and to demonstrate our freedom we must violate them from time to time."-Page 264 "Jung illustrates this idea in the following way: Imagine that on a hike people come upon a brook that must be crossed to continue the journey. One person, without much thought, will simply leap across, touching a stone or two, not worried at all about possibly falling. He loves the sheer physical pleasure of the jump and doesn’t care if he fails. Another person is excited as well, but it has less to do with the physical joy than with the mental challenge the brook represents. She will quickly calculate the most effective means of crossing and will gain satisfaction from figuring this out. Another person, of a cautious nature, will take more time to think it through. He takes no pleasure in the crossing; he is irritated by the obstruction, but he wants to continue the hike and he will do his best to safely cross. A fourth will simply turn back. She will see no need for crossing and will rationalize her fears by saying the hike has been long enough."-Page 264 "No one simply sees or hears the rushing of water over rocks. Our minds do not perceive just what is there. Each person sees and responds to the same brook differently, according to their particular attitude—adventurous, fearful, et cetera."-Page 275 "Most of us have depressive tendencies and moments. The best way to handle them is to be aware of their necessity—they are our body’s and mind’s way of compelling us to slow down, to lower our energies and withdraw."-Page 275 "The best way to handle recurrent depression is to channel your energies into work, especially the arts."-Page 275 "Never try to lift up depressive people by preaching to them about the wonderfulness of life."-Page 281 "When Chekhov had the epiphany about the ultimate freedom he could create for himself, he had what the American psychologist Abraham Maslow called a “peak experience.” These are moments in which you are lifted out of the daily grind and you sense that there is something larger and more sublime in life that you have been missing."-Page 298 "What we glimpse in these moments is the dark side of their character, what the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung called the Shadow. The Shadow consists of all the qualities people try to deny about themselves and repress."-Page 338 "The root of the Latin word for envy, invidia, means “to look through, to probe with the eyes like a dagger.”"-Page 340 "And gossip is a frequent cover for envy, a convenient way to vent it by sharing malicious rumors and stories. When they talk about others behind their backs, you will see their eyes light up and their voice become animated—it gives them a joy comparable to schadenfreude."-Page 349 "As Hesiod noted in the eighth century BC, “The potter envies the potter, the craftsman the craftsman, the writer the writer.”"-Page 356 "But it would be wise to practice instead the opposite, what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called Mitfreude—“joying with.” As he wrote, “The serpent that stings us means to hurt us and rejoices as it does so; the lowest animal can imagine the pain of others. But to imagine the joy of others and to rejoice at it is the highest privilege of the highest animals.”"-Page 359 "To do so, a film had to begin with a great concept, one that was original, easy to summarize, and dramatic. Executives could hire the most expensive writers, directors, and actors for a film, but if the underlying concept was weak, all the money in the world would be wasted. Films with a strong concept, however, would market themselves. A studio could churn these relatively inexpensive films out in volume, and even if they were only moderate hits, they would ensure a steady flow of income. This thinking went against the grain of the blockbuster mentality of the late 1970s, but who could argue with the undeniable profits Eisner had generated for Paramount? Eisner immortalized this formula in a memo that soon spread around Hollywood and became gospel."-Page 402 "Caterina had foreseen the maneuver with the children and had calculated that the assassins were weak and indecisive—they should have killed her and her family on that first day, amid the mayhem. Now they would not dare to kill them in cold blood: the assassins knew that the Sforzas, on their way to Forlì, would take terrible revenge on them if they ever did such a deed. And if she surrendered now, she and her children would all be imprisoned, and some poison would find its way into their food. She didn’t care what they thought of her as a mother. She had to keep stalling. To emphasize her resolve, after refusing to surrender, she had the cannons of the castle fire at the Orsi palace."-Page 410 "It is the terrible deception of love that it begins by engaging us in play not with a woman of the external world but with a doll fashioned in our brain—the only woman moreover that we have always at our disposal, the only one we shall ever possess. —Marcel Proust"
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  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    Robert Greene is a great collector of information and a great writer. His snippets of history are interesting and his lessons are also good ones and when you first read it, it feels very insightful. But with just a little reflection, the connection sort of falls apart. The lessons don't really match the stories--and the lessons aren't all that new. I read it not in one sitting--just here and there when I was in the mood and that was not a bad way to read. Just interesting reminders to pay attent Robert Greene is a great collector of information and a great writer. His snippets of history are interesting and his lessons are also good ones and when you first read it, it feels very insightful. But with just a little reflection, the connection sort of falls apart. The lessons don't really match the stories--and the lessons aren't all that new. I read it not in one sitting--just here and there when I was in the mood and that was not a bad way to read. Just interesting reminders to pay attention to what drives other people.
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  • Jonathan Metze
    January 1, 1970
    must read if you have to interact with... anyone
  • Natalia
    January 1, 1970
    I don't think I've ever highlighted as much in a book as in this one. It gave me answers to probably 90% of questions concerning humans that I have floating around my mind.
  • Gary Beauregard Bottomley
    January 1, 1970
    See if you can spot the flaw with this: The law of aggression is universal. Everyone has aggression. Those who don’t admit to their own aggression are frustrated. The frustrated are angry and therefore become aggressive. Obviously, it’s tautological (the conclusion is within the premise), it’s pseudo-scientific (there is no way to refute the assertion), it sounds so wise and meaningful until one considers it says nothing of substance and there is no way to refute such nonsense unless one removes See if you can spot the flaw with this: The law of aggression is universal. Everyone has aggression. Those who don’t admit to their own aggression are frustrated. The frustrated are angry and therefore become aggressive. Obviously, it’s tautological (the conclusion is within the premise), it’s pseudo-scientific (there is no way to refute the assertion), it sounds so wise and meaningful until one considers it says nothing of substance and there is no way to refute such nonsense unless one removes oneself from the epistemological closure inherent within the tacit paradigm. Those italicized sentences sum up one of the ‘real human laws of nature’ as presented in this book. This book as a whole reads as if it was written in 1973 at the full swing of the Jungian/Freudian psychological mumbo jumbo meaningless way of describing the world. I had thought we were out of that false paradigmatic way of wrongheaded thinking; the obvious success of this book and the high ratings most people give this book show me that I was wrong. Archetypes are a dangerous thing. This author loves simplifying the complex and making them part of his narrative as if a universal type should be obvious and as if archetypes are real. All of his vignettes would follow the same simplistic pattern and then he would say ‘let’s interpret’ what we heard. Almost all of the stories were ‘interpreted’ (that’s his word, btw) in such a way that the person’s father was too domineering, or too lenient, or the mother was smothering or distant, or that their childhood was with too many hardships or not enough and that explains why they were the way they were as illustrated by his vignettes. That kind of thinking lead to autism being blamed on ‘refrigerator moms’ in the 60s and 70s, moms who were told to blame themselves for something they should never have been blamed for at all. He would take a complex person, say Howard Hughes, Walt Disney, Coco Channel or Mao Zedong, and summarize that person’s live to illustrate a neurosis of some kind such as envy, pride, anger, or narcissism, or an imaginary power that we don’t possess and interpret that in terms of his false narrative and make them archetypal to a greater whole, and then say that each of us have that characteristic within us but usually not to such an extreme degree as laid out in the vignette and for which we all deny and need to accept in order to solve the problem that we all have thus making the denial itself worthy of a solution too. I mentioned autism above because I wanted to illustrate how I saw the first half of this book. The author was writing a handbook for neurologically typical people (i.e., people w/o aspergers, w/o autism), the masses of people who can be characterized as having an unhealthy preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and an obsession with conformity at least that’s how a neurologically diverse person sees the behavior of neuro-typicals. Or in other words the author was writing a handbook for conformists who always play mind games while interacting with other conformists and tries to use non-verbal cues to manipulate and mind read another person and the author was rationalizing that kind of behavior and asserting that it was the more proper way to function in the world while never realizing just because most people already behave in that typical fashion doesn’t necessarily mean it is the correct way to behave. The author had a section on ‘mirror neurons’ and alluded to ‘theory of mind’ in one of his many self help sections, and was really advocating for a person to learn mind reading, use their intuition and fake sincerity when it would serve them. For example, instead of letting people be ‘envious’, one should not necessarily tell the truth about their good fortune; the author recommend the person lie in order to avoid jealousy from others. Don’t get me started on how he wanted people to flatter those around them as if they were dealing with King Louis XVI, and he suggested one should do it in such a way that it was not alienating to the King or threatening to fellow flattering courtiers. Flattery is ‘thought without content’, and as Immanuel Kant said ‘thought without content is empty’, and I tend to agree with that, and I would have a hard time with recommending empty gestures for their own sake as this self help book explicitly advocates. This book is not void of worth, but even when he was onto something, he would lose me with nonsense such as ‘the Jazz music captured the spirit of the 1920s and the young people who returned from the Great War where participating in the zeitgeist of the times and needed to tap into that’. The author was correctly getting at we are thrown into a world not of own making and the culture that surrounds us contributes to who we become and that our culture, way of thinking, history we come from and the hopes we hold for the future we get from our caring determines how we experience the world. But, this author muddled his own points with Jungian spiritual archetypes leading to silliness bordering on incoherence by invoking a Jungian spirit and a collective consciousness that is as unreal as the Hundredth Monkey Effect . The author wants us to reclaim pride back in to ourselves. Pride is a one of the seven deadly sins and I’ll note that Dante made it foundational to all the other deadly sins within purgatory. The author wants us to take credit and be arrogant when time, chance, and circumstances favor us and luck breaks our way (in contradiction to his advice on envy, btw). Pride can lead to exclusive patriotism that morphs into tribalism that excludes others from our empathic zone when we see the world principally and prideful from our own vantage point and through our own priors. Oddly, I seemed to remember that the author was warning against an over reliance on our own vantage point and warning the reader correctly that we often over-estimate are own self nature. But, whatever, if one feels pride is a good thing, one should just go ahead and indulge; it’s your epistemic bubble that you’ll be trapped in. One last criticism on something else the author said. He thinks that meaning is apparent in this world beyond our selves and that there is a purpose and a meaning not from our selves but outside of our selves. Oddly, the author had a lot of good quotes from Nietzsche scattered throughout this book, but I don’t think he understood Nietzsche on nihilism. To cut to the quick, Nietzsche would really say that our meaning must be discovered by ourselves and for us as individuals and that an outsourced meaning beyond ourselves is no meaning at all. Hence ‘the death of God’ or the death of outsourcing our meaning is the only way for us to overcome the angst of nihilism and lead a potentially meaningful life here on earth. Oops, one more last criticism, as I reading this book I kept on thinking that at least this author was not going full on Ernst Becker ‘The Denial of Death’ on me. I should have waited until the end of the book before I thought that, because by Jiminy he did. Note that book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and that’s why I said this book reminded me of 1973. This author (as well as Becker) thinks that there is a death drive and in order for us to lead a full authentic life we need to always be conscious of our own immortality. This author illustrated his point by sketching out a biographical vignette of Flannery O’Connor and then interpreting her life into his archetypal narrative ‘proving’ his law of human nature and the necessity for all of us to be aware of our own impending doom. Double plus oops, my final-final criticism and I mean it this time: His discussion on personality and character was deceptively misleading, and his conscious and unconscious discussions just lead him into more of his tautological never-never land where he’d put his ‘human nature’ within an inaccessible spot while suggesting we all have something that needs fixing but aren’t aware of it so therefore we are in a denial of it therefore proving it needs to be fixed. The author will confound personality and character, and Ideas and Values in unhelpful ways and put them through a conscious unconscious mumbo jumbo loop and thinks he’s giving great insights while actually giving the reader misdirection. I suffered living through the 1970s already with this kind of existential psychoanalytical Jungian/Freudian mumbo jumbo world view and I really don’t feel the need to go back to those substance free days in order to explain human nature and read a useless self help book in the process. In general, I seldom like self health books. Not only is this book at its core a self help book it also enters into the realm of pseudo-science (non-falsifiable hypothesis) for explaining the world, advocates relying on ones feelings, intuition and one’s ability for ‘theory of mind’ or what I prefer to say ‘mind reading’ instead of one’s reason or logic; the book thinks faking ones sincerity is required for success (‘sincerity is the easiest thing in the world to fake’ – Oscar Wilde); deals with Jungian Archetypes as if they were real things and always saw the world in terms of false dichotomies interpreted within a blame the childhood for ones current set of imaginary problems. I could go on, but why bother. This book would have won accolades if he wrote it in 1973, but he didn’t. For those who learned things from this book, more power to you. Get your meaning and purpose any way you can.
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  • Sambasivan
    January 1, 1970
    The latest book of Robert Greene is bound to become a classic. The author of 48 laws of power, Seduction, Mastery and Power has brought out a near comprehensive study of the human dimensions. These are complex at the same time contradictory and changing as well. The author delves deep into the life story of select individuals who had reached the pinnacle of their careers. Distils the essence of their human nature. And also summarises the actions one needs to take as an apprentice while being com The latest book of Robert Greene is bound to become a classic. The author of 48 laws of power, Seduction, Mastery and Power has brought out a near comprehensive study of the human dimensions. These are complex at the same time contradictory and changing as well. The author delves deep into the life story of select individuals who had reached the pinnacle of their careers. Distils the essence of their human nature. And also summarises the actions one needs to take as an apprentice while being completely observant. Must read.
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  • Kair Käsper
    January 1, 1970
    Welcome to the Dark Side. This book is written by a man who lives in a hostile world where every day is a power struggle with other divisive beings like yourself. If you think manipulating with others to get what you want is morally wrong, you are detached from reality… and lazy (yep, the author actually says this outright).What you’ll find in this book are Greene’s interpretations of human tendencies uncovered by psychoanalysts 70-100 years ago spiced up with captivating mini-biographies of fam Welcome to the Dark Side. This book is written by a man who lives in a hostile world where every day is a power struggle with other divisive beings like yourself. If you think manipulating with others to get what you want is morally wrong, you are detached from reality… and lazy (yep, the author actually says this outright).What you’ll find in this book are Greene’s interpretations of human tendencies uncovered by psychoanalysts 70-100 years ago spiced up with captivating mini-biographies of famous people that serve as proof. Most of all however, this book aims to teach you how to take advantage of these tendencies and use them to influence others to get what you want. Here’s a quote from the author that pretty much sums up the book: “All of this works best if the feelings are not completely faked.”I genuinely feel bad for the author who has wandered so far into the darkness that it seems that's all there is. "In the end, being good at influence is more socially beneficial than the moral stance. By having this power, we can influence people who have dangerous or anti-social ideas." Think about this paradox for a second - by wavering your moral stance, aren't you the one who has become a danger to the society? Especially if you're in a position of power.What I despise however is that many of the manipulative techniques he talks about, he also practices in the book. Here are my main problems with it:- none of this is scientifically backed. I admit that psychoanalysts are definitely on to something and many of the things the author brings out can be observed when looking around, but these are by no means LAWS of human nature. Tendencies, observations, theories… maybe. By calling them laws the author opts to use strong words that distort reality, a theme that's prevalent throughout the book.- author does mention some psychotherapists, but fails to disclose that the entire book is a blend of their theories. He does that again knowingly, as otherwise the reader would understand that this is only one of the many ways to approach the subject.- although the mini-biographies are extremely interesting (especially if you haven’t heard of them before), the interpretation part is very, very dubious and in some cases outright wrong (Steve Jobs’ case).- by presenting the book as Greene is presenting it, he does much more harm than good. Even if many of the tendencies exist, the author makes the reader believe that just by reading this one book they can go off interpreting peoples facial micro-expressions, tone of voice, behaviour etc. This is not only bad advice, but dangerous and can wreak havoc on one's relationships.Even more disturbing than the book itself is the undeserved 4.4 rating in Goodreads. Ironically, it is human nature that makes Greene’s excellent storytelling and authoritative style so likably persuasive.Edit: changed 2 stars ("it was ok") to 1 star ("did not like it"), because well... I did not like it.
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  • Oleg
    January 1, 1970
    Another great work by one of my favourite authors. Honestly, the book could finished on page 400, what follows is a fascinating narrative told through many seemingly random stories to prove certain points of human nature. Never have I expected to find an elaborate biography of Chekhov or a 40-page French Revolution 101 course in this book. A must read for all the fans of 48 Laws of Power.
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  • Andy
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe Greene's whole oeuvre has been an elaborate plot to decrease chaos in the world. He has written some of the most popular apologies for cynicism since Machiavelli, but then his last book was a brilliant manual for competent creative people on how to be productive despite all the unethical jerks out there. This newest book, while still full of interesting historical anecdotes, is something of a mess. Some of the comments Greene makes indicate that he has understood that a culture of corrupt Maybe Greene's whole oeuvre has been an elaborate plot to decrease chaos in the world. He has written some of the most popular apologies for cynicism since Machiavelli, but then his last book was a brilliant manual for competent creative people on how to be productive despite all the unethical jerks out there. This newest book, while still full of interesting historical anecdotes, is something of a mess. Some of the comments Greene makes indicate that he has understood that a culture of corruption and incompetence winds up being bad for everyone. As a result, he seems to be trying to reverse the ruthless amorality he was encouraging in his first books. As cautionary tales, he uses Mao, Nixon, Eisner, etc. Fair enough.He tries to sell this to all readers with psychological jargon about how we are all a little narcissistic, egomaniacal, insecure, cruel, envious, murderous, etc. Whatever. I'm skeptical that this sort of advice will help people to stop self-destructive behaviors, but I hope I'm wrong. Maybe Greene has so much credibility with his audience that they will absorb the message and help the world by helping themselves.
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  • fewpagesmore
    January 1, 1970
    I've enjoyed Robert Greene's previous books immensely. The 48 Laws of Power was my introduction to the Machiavellian world of power and intrigue. Each page of the book was filled with useful ways to create an aura of power and become a more powerful social creature. His later book, Mastery focused more on an improvement of the self. In this book Greene explored the ways one can learn from the various Masters who have lived before us and have made a profound impact in various areas. And it was wi I've enjoyed Robert Greene's previous books immensely. The 48 Laws of Power was my introduction to the Machiavellian world of power and intrigue. Each page of the book was filled with useful ways to create an aura of power and become a more powerful social creature. His later book, Mastery focused more on an improvement of the self. In this book Greene explored the ways one can learn from the various Masters who have lived before us and have made a profound impact in various areas. And it was with this same interest and hope that I approached this book. Just like his other books, this one is massive. Running at a never-ending 624 pages, it is by no means a quick read. And after reading through a few chapters, I realized that the book has fallen prey to the oft tried and tested trend in self help literature. Anecdotes, anecdotes and more anecdotes. Mind you this is a safe method. That is why most self help literature heavily rely on this structure. But it is something that I greatly abhor. Yes successful stories do strengthen the conviction of a particular theory. But they also tend to suffer from confirmation and selection bias. It is almost as if Greene made a rough outline of the laws and then searched for examples that would fit these theories. Moreover it feels like that some of the anecdotes are greatly simplified or even modified to suit the narrative.He might have done the same in his other books as well. But for some reason these anecdotes don't work here. After a couple of chapters, I found myself skipping the anecdotes directly to the part where he explained a particular law. But by the time I reached the fifth law, I found it quite impossible to carry on. And hence I closed the book, abandoning it for good. I very much would have wanted to like this book and learn from it. But unfortunately the denseness of the material really put me off. The author has rambled on and on to fill up the book with feel-good stories and then propose a one-page full fount of self-help advice. I feel a better idea would be to go through the bibliography that the author has given at the end and instead peruse some of those works. That would be a more productive and focused use of your time.===Read more of my book reviews at https://www.fewpagesmore.com
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  • Bishop
    January 1, 1970
    "If you come across any special trait of meanness or stupidity you must be careful not to let it annoy or distress you, but to look upon it merely as an addition to your knowledge-a new fact to be considered in studying the character of humanity. Your attitude towards it will be that of the mineralogist who stumbles upon a very characteristic specimen of a mineral." --Arthur SchopenhauerUnderstand. Like everyone, you think you are rational, but you are not. Rationality is not a power you were bo "If you come across any special trait of meanness or stupidity you must be careful not to let it annoy or distress you, but to look upon it merely as an addition to your knowledge-a new fact to be considered in studying the character of humanity. Your attitude towards it will be that of the mineralogist who stumbles upon a very characteristic specimen of a mineral." --Arthur SchopenhauerUnderstand. Like everyone, you think you are rational, but you are not. Rationality is not a power you were born with but one you acquire training and practice. Understand. The first step toward becoming rational is to understand our fundamental irrationality. Your first task is to look at the emotions that are continually affecting your ideas and decisions. Learn to question yourself. Why this anger or resentment? Where does this incessant need for attention come from? Under such scrutiny, your emotions will lose their hold on you. You will begin to think for yourself instead of reacting to what others give you. Emotions tend to narrow the mind, making us focus on ideas that satisfy our immediate desire for power retention, ideas that usually backfire. Now, with calm spirit, you can entertain a wide range of options and solutions. You will deliberate longer before acting to reassess your strategies. The voice of Athena will become clear.Whenever anything goes wrong in our life, we seek an explanation Best generally emphasizes our helplessness., So we can then wallow in self-pity and feel bad for ourselves. But what causes us to go astray is our deep-rooted irrationality, the extent to which our minds are governed by emotion. To some extent the rationality is a the structure of our brains and is wired into our nature. Being irrational is almost beyond our control.Greene is the 21C Machiavelli. Last year, I recognized some unpleasant truths and common delusions affecting myself and others, so I turned to psychology books to better understand humans. Greene organizes the psychology and philosophy that I have studied, and he demonstrates his "Laws" with illustrations from history and literature, so his book takes on a much larger scope and depth that transcends the tyrannous present. Many books of psychology/self-help consist of a few common-sense principles, fluffed up with long and boring case-studies about the authors' patients/clients that seem too individualistic to have universal application. Greene, with writing shorn of academic jargon, delivers a punchy culmination of his lifetime of reading people, history, and the classics. Thus, this ruthless psychological study of oneself and others will especially appeal to those who are well-versed in history and art, and who disdain bloodless writing of academic journals. After a first read, I believed that this book comports with my own observation and experience, and, as of today, I plan to re-read this book multiple times until I can prove it wrong or until I memorize these Laws. At this stage of my life, I view it as my Bible, to which I will commit a daily devotional. I am tempted to NOT recommend this book. My selfish shadow, now informed by reality, wants others to continue walking in a cloud of ignorance and thus to be unilaterally disarmed and blind and naked.A key insight is that most people can be categorized, despite their claims to the contrary. They are readable. Observe and classify them accordingly. Ignore their words. Focus on their actions. Listen to their declarations to see if they are unconsciously describing themselves when they criticize others. Contrarily, listen to their ideas with open-mindedness. They may know something that you can learn.Another insight. Think strategically not tactically. Victory consists of NEVER allowing a difficult person to disturb your equilibrium. Never lose your cool. Never show your temper. Instead, like Shopenhauer's mineralogist in the opening quotation, chalk it up to the human comedy or catastrophe and laugh it off. Take notes and reorganize. STOP feeding the narcissistic and neurotic fires of others with your oxygen. These rules apply not just in your professional dealings but in your personal relationships, especially romantic ones. I started online dating, which exponentially increases opportunities for meeting people. Having dated more women this past year than I have in my entire life, I have come to see all varieties of narcissism, neuroticism, and sociopathy in potential partners--like my dates have seen in the men that they have previously dated or married, so I have the added bonus of listening to women's experiences. Men and women are equally cunning, selfish, and manipulative. People delude themselves if they imprison themselves in gender stereotypes--irrationally taking sides with their own gender or assuming that they themselves are pure-hearted. (Something I see repeatedly on GR reviews.) Self-enlightenment awaits only the lucky, informed, fearless, and resilient. See the world as it is, not as you wish it to be. Pry yourself off the fucking crucifix to which you have nailed yourself. Stop playing the martyr and acting a whiney little bitch. If you feel befuddled and victimized, and you come to believe that others have shit all over you your entire life [just like you yourself shat upon others], start acting like a soldier. "Dog-One Exit is Open!"***I will add an outline as time permits.MASTER YOUR EMOTIONAL SELFThe Laws of IrrationalityYou like to imagine yourself in control of your fate, consciously planning the course of your life. But you are largely unaware of how deeply your emotions dominate you. They make you veer toward ideas that soothe your ego. They make you look for evidence that confirms what you already want to believe. They make you see what you want to see, depending on your mood, in this disconnect from reality is the source of bad decisions and negative patterns that haunt your life. Rationality is the ability to counteract these emotional effects, to think instead of react, to open your mind to what is really happening, as opposed to what you are feeling. It does not come naturally; it is a power we must cultivate, but in doing so we realize our greatest potential.The first step toward becoming rational is to understand our fundamental irrationality. The most common emotion is the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Our thoughts almost inevitably revolve around this desire; we simply recoil from entertaining ideas that are unpleasant or painful to us. We imagine we are looking for truth, or being realistic, when in fact we are holding onto the ideas that bring the release from tension and soothe our egos and make us feel superior. This pleasure principle in thinking is the source of all of our mental biases. Confirmation bias- To hold an idea and convince ourselves we arrived at it rationally, we go in search of evidence to support our view, and we manage to find the evidence that confirms what we want to believe.Conviction bias--I believe that this idea so strongly. It must be true.Appearance bias--We see people not as they are, but as they appear to us. Appearances are usually misleading. People have trained themselves in social situations to present the front that is appropriate. We take these masks for reality. Group Bias--My ideas are my own. I do not listen to the group. I am a nonconformist. We are social animals by nature. The feeling of isolation, difference from the group, is depressing and terrifying. We experience tremendous relief when we find others who think the same way we do.Blame bias--Mistakes and failures elicited the need to explain. We want to learn the lesson and not repeat the experience. But in truth, we do not like to look too closely. Introspection is limited. Our natural response is to blame others, circumstances, or a momentary lapse of judgment. It is too painful to look at our mistakes.Superiority Bias. We cannot see our faults and irrationalities, only those of others. Few of us will ever admit that we have resorted to deception or manipulation. Everything we've got comes from natural talent and hard work! But with other people, we are quick to ascribe to them all kinds of Machiavellian tactics. This allows us to justify whatever we do, no matter the results. We feel a tremendous pull to imagine ourselves as rational, decent, and ethical.2. Beware the Inflaming factorsTrigger Points from Early Childhood In early childhood, we were at our most sensitive and vulnerable. Our relationship with our parents had a much greater impact on us the further back in time we go. The same could be said for any early powerful experience. These vulnerabilities and wounds remain buried deep within our minds. Sometimes we try to repress the memory of these influences if they happen to be negative-great fears or humiliations. Sometimes, however, they are associated with positive emotions, experiences of love and attention that we continually want to relive. Later in life, a person or event will trigger a memory of this positive or negative experience, and with it the release of powerful chemicals or hormones associated with the memory. The way to recognize this in yourself and in others is by noticing behavior that is suddenly childish in its intensity and seemingly out of character.Sudden Gains or Losses Whenever you experience unusual games or losses that is precisely the time to step back and counterbalance them with some necessary pessimism or optimism. Be extra wary of sudden success and attention. They are not built on anything that lasts and they have an addictive pull.Rising PressureUnder stress, the cool mask of self-control comes off. We lash out in anger, reveal a paranoid streak, and become hypersensitive and often petty. Stress overwhelms our reasoning powers. Stress reveals flaws in people that they have carefully concealed from view. Observe people in such moments as a way to judge their true character. Never imagine that you are someone who can withstand rising stress without emotional leakage. It is not possible.Inflaming individualsThere are people in the world who by their nature tend to trigger powerful emotions (extremes of love, hatred, confidence, mistrust) in almost everyone they encounter. [King David, Alcibiades, Julius Caesar, George Danton, and Bill Clinton] These types have charisma and the ability to express eloquently emotions they are feeling, which stirs parallel emotions in others. This leads to profound feelings of attraction in some and repulsion in others. Remain indifferent to them. They have an obsessive quality, and they can lead you to extreme actions as a devoted follower or as an inveterate enemy. On either side of the spectrum-attraction or repulsion-you will tend to be irrational. Recognize their human traits and dismiss all of them.The Group EffectWhen we are in a group, we become different. Notice yourself and others at a sporting event, a concert, a religious or political gathering. It is impossible to not feel caught up in the collective emotions. Your heart beats faster. Tears of joy or sadness come more readily. Being in a group does not stimulate independent reasoning but rather the intense desire to belong. The group effect does not require the presence of others. It can occur virally, as some opinions spread over social media and it affects us with the desire to share the outrage. The appeal is to diabolical emotions, such as hatred of the other, for rabid patriotism, aggression, or sweeping worldviews. You need to inoculate yourself and see through the powerful pull as it works on you. It is often best to avoid a group setting in order to maintain your reasoning powers. Be aware of demagogues who exploit the group effect and stimulate outbreaks of irrationality. They rely on vague but loaded words full of the emotive quality such as justice or truth or patriotism. They talk of abstract, noble goals rather than the solving of specific problems with concrete action. Demagogues in politics or the media try to stir continual sense of panic, urgency, and outrage. Your defense is simple. Consider your reasoning powers your most precious possession. Resent any kind of intrusion upon your independent mind by others.Do not imagine that the more extreme types of irrationality have somehow been overcome through progress and enlightenment. The irrational simply changes its looks and its fashions. As long as there are humans, the irrational will find its voices and means of spreading. Rationality is something to be acquired by individuals, not by mass movements or technological progress. Feeling superior and beyond it is a sure sign that the irrational is at work.3. Strategies for bringing out the rational self.Know yourself thoroughly. Catch your emotional self and action. You must reflect on how you operate under stress. Look at your ineffective decisions. See a pattern. Any underlying insecurity that I'm help no and value what marks you as different.Examine your emotions to their roots.Increase your reaction time. Do not communicate while feeling emotion or resentment. Step back and give it a day.Accept people as facts. Stop thinking other people are like you. See people as phenomena, as neutral as comments or plants. They simply exist. They come in all varieties, making life rich and interesting. Work with what they give you, instead of resisting and trying to change them. Make understanding people a fun game, the solving of puzzles. the human comedy. Like Chekov, mythologize brutes and aggressors. Think like a writer in approaching the people you deal with.Find the optimal balance of thinking and emotion. The horse and rider.Love the rationalReason for Hope Number one the existence throughout history and all cultures of people of high rationality. To almost all of us at some point in our lives have experienced moments of greater rationality.Examples: Pericles, Athens, the Inner Athena, and the Peloponnesian War. Greene begins this chapter with the story of how Sparta defeated Athens despite the latter’s wealth and naval power.\ examples of rational people who have existed throughout history Pericles the ruler of Aśoka of ancient India, Marcus Relius Marguerite de Valois in medieval France, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Anton Chekov, Margaret Mead, Warren Buffett.Chapter 2Transform self-love into empathy.The law of narcissismEmpathy allows us the power to anticipate people's actions and lower their resistance. Empathy is blunted by our habitual self absorption. We are all narcissists, some deeper on the spectrum than others. We must come to terms with the self-love and learn how to turn our sensitivity outward, towards others, instead of inward. But we must recognize the toxic narcissists among us before getting enmeshed in their dramas and poisoned by their envy.
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  • 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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  • Geoff Bartakovics
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite kind of self-help read. The Robert Greene books are like Plutarch's Lives of famous people for the modern age: each "law" of human nature is demonstrated by an anecdote from history or literature. Not as good as Law of Power or Laws of Seduction, because this is much broader and therefore more rambling. But a lot of fun.
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  • Lady Jane
    January 1, 1970
    I am already a fan of Robert Greene's works, so naturally I had been anticipating the release of this book ever since he announced on Twitter that he was working on a new book on human nature. Laws of Human Nature didn't disappoint! It is an unabashed exposé of one of my favorite subjects, the contemplation of what it is to be human in all its wonders and inconsistencies. It is neither a critical judgment of nature nor a defense; it is simply a forthright and unaffected analysis of the human con I am already a fan of Robert Greene's works, so naturally I had been anticipating the release of this book ever since he announced on Twitter that he was working on a new book on human nature. Laws of Human Nature didn't disappoint! It is an unabashed exposé of one of my favorite subjects, the contemplation of what it is to be human in all its wonders and inconsistencies. It is neither a critical judgment of nature nor a defense; it is simply a forthright and unaffected analysis of the human condition and through the ages and stages under various passions and conditions, all which are deeply dissected through stories and analyses. All of Robert Greene's books are about the straightforward realities of human nature, but this one really focuses on this topic. I have always considered myself a student of human nature and my life as an experiment in the lab, so the book was ideal for me. I like how the author always references what we ought to do as "students of human nature" following the analyses of different stories that he shares under different topics. The book emphasizes mature inquiry, research and a perennial spirit of curiosity rather than a preachy how-to. The subject is study is OURSELVES, because homo sapiens is the most complex animal we will ever study, and the self is the most important person ever to get to know.
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  • Matt Cannon
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book that is meant to be studied. It explores the nuances of human nature in such a way that is very easy to understand, and very multifaceted and deep at the same time. The stories He uses as illustrations are quite memorable and show the lesson very well. He covers stories about people like Martin Luther King Jr, Queen Elizabeth and John D. Rockefeller to name a few. He uses real, historical stories then breaks down the law of human nature it demonstrates step by step. By the end of This is a book that is meant to be studied. It explores the nuances of human nature in such a way that is very easy to understand, and very multifaceted and deep at the same time. The stories He uses as illustrations are quite memorable and show the lesson very well. He covers stories about people like Martin Luther King Jr, Queen Elizabeth and John D. Rockefeller to name a few. He uses real, historical stories then breaks down the law of human nature it demonstrates step by step. By the end of each story and overview you can’t help but think, “how did I never notice that trait, especially in myself?” This is a book I’ll definitely have to reread and continue to study as I feel I’ve only scraped the surface of all it has to offer. His chapter on our own mortality was also very interesting and a stoic perspective on that reality we will all face one day. He himself suffered a serious stroke before the book was finished which made that chapter all the more authentic and revealing.
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  • Ev
    January 1, 1970
    I knew before I read this book that I would love it, because the topic of human nature naturally fascinates me. I knew about 1/3rd of the way through this book that it was going to be a "6/5" - a ranking which surpasses excellence, moving me on a deeper level. I knew 2/3rds of the way through this book that I would re-read it in the future, even when certain passages triggered an uncomfortable introspection. I read those pages slowly, digesting every word of discomfort to really understand mysel I knew before I read this book that I would love it, because the topic of human nature naturally fascinates me. I knew about 1/3rd of the way through this book that it was going to be a "6/5" - a ranking which surpasses excellence, moving me on a deeper level. I knew 2/3rds of the way through this book that I would re-read it in the future, even when certain passages triggered an uncomfortable introspection. I read those pages slowly, digesting every word of discomfort to really understand myself and others, and reap the benefits of this book. And like most books, its lessons become useful when you embody them, which will take practice.
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  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    Reads more like a textbook than a normal book. This book presents a wide scope of certain natural elements that pertain to humans in a universal sense. Greene talks of personality types, neuroses, empathy, narcissism etc. and after explaining these different elements of human nature he prescribes ways in which we can deal with them in ourselves and in other people. He presents the information through a mix of theory and historical anecdotes, which makes it not too bland. How you appreciate this Reads more like a textbook than a normal book. This book presents a wide scope of certain natural elements that pertain to humans in a universal sense. Greene talks of personality types, neuroses, empathy, narcissism etc. and after explaining these different elements of human nature he prescribes ways in which we can deal with them in ourselves and in other people. He presents the information through a mix of theory and historical anecdotes, which makes it not too bland. How you appreciate this book really depends on the amount of time and focus you are willing to give it. To really appreciate it, time for intense personal reflection must be spent, but if you just flick over it, it will add little value. This is book that I surely will come back to time and time again throughout my life to understand my own personality in a clearer light, but simply not something I can finish in one go, It just gets too tedious and cynical (all of Greene's books have an underlying tone of cynicism, he tries to present deep and dark truths of humanity).
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  • Bhagya
    January 1, 1970
    I am a 22 year old and was always looking for a book that would read my thoughts and make me realize the things i have thought about in sense of friendship,body language,love and etc are of the positive manner or not.This book just goes on to explain that i am indeed in the right lane of thought.Understand or getting access to all these points before hand is really a life changing experience in every field of life.I have folded a few pages just so that i can get back on them when i need to read I am a 22 year old and was always looking for a book that would read my thoughts and make me realize the things i have thought about in sense of friendship,body language,love and etc are of the positive manner or not.This book just goes on to explain that i am indeed in the right lane of thought.Understand or getting access to all these points before hand is really a life changing experience in every field of life.I have folded a few pages just so that i can get back on them when i need to read it. Although sometimes a few chapters are stretched but i feel they need to be in order for the reader to understand the point presented by the writer that human nature takes time to change and its not a just a quick process.The real life examples are just the cherry on top for all his theory he has presented in the book.i say anyone of any age who is willing to change themselves should read this book.
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  • Alexander Rivas
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a masterpiece that almost killed the author. If you have any interest in human nature, this is the go-to book. I love how he uses key social figures as examples of the particular law of human nature being played out. It goes to show the human nature that is embedded in all of us and this book should be used to recognize your flaws. To operate at a conscious level that recognizes your human nature and of others to make your life experience more pleasurable is a great goal to have.
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  • Michelle Jarc
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn’t get in to this book. Too many long, drawn out stories. If the author could just get to the point, this book would be half as long.
  • 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.
  • Arina Novik
    January 1, 1970
    The select man, the excellent man is urged, by interior necessity, to appeal from himself to some standard beyond himself, superior to himself, whose service he freely accepts. . . . We distinguished the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter the one who makes no demands on himself, but contents himself with what he is, and is delighted with himself. Contrary to what is usually thought, it is the man of excellence . . The select man, the excellent man is urged, by interior necessity, to appeal from himself to some standard beyond himself, superior to himself, whose service he freely accepts. . . . We distinguished the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter the one who makes no demands on himself, but contents himself with what he is, and is delighted with himself. Contrary to what is usually thought, it is the man of excellence . . . who lives in essential servitude. Life has no savor for him unless he makes it consist in service to something transcendental. Hence he does not look upon the necessity of serving as an oppression. When, by chance, such necessity is lacking, he grows restless and invents some new standard, more difficult, more exigent, with which to coerce himself. This is life lived as a discipline—the noble life. —José Ortega y Gasset
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  • 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. 😊
  • Chun Wong
    January 1, 1970
    All of Greene’s books I have read & all of his books are somewhere in my top 3-15 all time favourites. The Laws of human nature is no expectation. Greene writes in a humorous, dark intruging way for us to understand human nature & the power dynamics on a under surface level. This book uses historical stories, and analysis the power dynamic of human nature as well as the key lessons for us to understand. Many people consider Greene’s work and writing as evil because it’s the taboo side of All of Greene’s books I have read & all of his books are somewhere in my top 3-15 all time favourites. The Laws of human nature is no expectation. Greene writes in a humorous, dark intruging way for us to understand human nature & the power dynamics on a under surface level. This book uses historical stories, and analysis the power dynamic of human nature as well as the key lessons for us to understand. Many people consider Greene’s work and writing as evil because it’s the taboo side of human nature we don’t speak of that he writes about. he focuses on & a lot of things that we do as humans that is not glamorous & pretty (e.g. killing, raping, backstabbing, lying etc). But to ignore this side of our nature is ignorance, to understand & control it the way we want is power. The choice is yours.
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