80 pages 2 hours read

Robert Greene

The 48 Laws Of Power

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1998

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Key Figures

Robert Greene

The book’s author, Robert Greene, stumbled on the theme of his work while working as a writer in Hollywood. Prior to writing his bestseller, Greene travelled around Europe, struggling to find an appropriate channel for his writing. Interestingly, Greene, who had to work low-wage jobs to support his writing, had relatively low status until he turned his attention to the study of power. This topic proved irresistible to the public, as Greene predicted that despite the social expectation to “seem fair and decent,” those who lacked power over others were “miserable” and hungry for a manual that would teach them how to reverse their fortune (24).

While the book was a bestseller, Greene’s emphasis on the amorality of power meant that some influential people did not want to be seen as openly promoting the book for fear of gaining a reputation for power-hunger. Some critics even assumed that Greene himself lacked morality, as they confused the message with the messenger. Greene, for his part, believes he is neither good nor evil, only a realist. In a Guardian interview, he maintained that he “described a reality that no other book tried to describe […] I felt all the self-help books out there were so gooey and Pollyanna-ish and nauseating” (Lynskey).