This is an article series dissecting the best-selling book "The 48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene.
In business, strategic planning is an integral part of any company’s success. An effective business strategy is one devised with an operating plan based on a company’s short and long-term goals. At the heart of the strategy, is a clear picture of what the company will ideally look like in the future.
“Strategy is a mental process in which your mind elevates itself above the battlefield.” - Robert Greene
As they develop plans to implement their strategy, they will focus on leveraging their strengths, filling the gaps where they demonstrate weakness and establishing an organizational design that builds upon their skills and expertise. Additionally, they will take stock of their finite resources and decide the best way to utilize them (especially against their competition.)
Before they execute, they will think ahead; identifying potential opportunities and potential risks, as they are equally important. Risk analysis helps a company understand the environment of their business, foresee challenges they may face ahead and determine where they are positioned within their market. For strategic plans to be successful, the company must have an accurate perception of their reality.
This strategic development gives a company as much control of their destiny as possible. Powerful companies are aware and prepared; they develop and implement their business strategy so flawlessly that no one even notices they’ve waged war until they’ve won (Hello, Apple?). Do you have a strategy for your life? Are you aware and prepared? Are you in control of your destiny?
“Power is not power if you don’t know you have it.” Shonda Rhimes
The same elements of a successful business strategy can be applied to a successful strategy for life. Think long-term, plan from start to finish, be proactive and not reactive, be a realist. Robert Greene wrote a best-selling book, extremely popular among infamous business leaders and celebrities, called “The 48 Laws of Power.” A book that is controversial for having an amoral and somewhat harsh perspective. It is, in short, a ‘how-to guide’ on obtaining power, understanding it and protecting yourself from it. Robert Greene is a realist; as he says, true strategists are.
“Realists can look at the world and themselves with a higher degree of objectivity than others.” Robert Greene
Power is Amoral
It is important to remember that power, is not immoral or moral. How you use power is what defines the morality of it. No matter what you think regarding the morality of power, there will always be people who have it. Therefore, it’s critical for survival and victory to learn when to attack with your sword and when to pick up your shield.
There is a social reality that Greene describes as a Machiavellian reality, one he believes is simply a result of human nature. He explains that there are 3 different types of people in the world; the deniers, the Machiavellian obsessed and the radical realists. He suggests that we adopt radical realism; we need to acknowledge that there are political games at play, that there are conniving and manipulative people in the world and to accept that as reality. By accepting this reality, we are not condoning it.
In this article series, we will unpack each of Greene’s laws. We will reflect on the examples he makes from history, make connections to the current business environment and provide the best practices for exercising some of these laws while protecting ourselves against the manipulation of other laws. The purpose is to analyze these laws objectively but to apply them ethically.
What You Will Learn
The benefits of understanding Greene’s laws are that they will help you develop a strategic plan for your life (especially for your career) and help you implement that plan with discipline. Greene’s book is an excellent resource for coming to terms with reality, mastering emotion, being objective and victorious against adversaries, and protecting yourself against deceitful and manipulative people. Remember, the same principles that apply in business strategy apply to you; to be a powerful person and take charge of your life, you must be aware and prepared.