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The 48 Laws of Power Summary

Here’s The 48 Laws of Power summary. Learn how to gain power through timeless principles. Learn those principles also so you can protect yourself from control.


The 48 Laws of Power author Robert Greene explains how powerful people reached their status. He also explains how people met their ruin because of the violation of certain principles.

Some of the laws of power are controversial. But some people practice them still. They might work but you should be ready for the costs. They might lead to personal decay or conscience destruction.

About the Author

Robert Greene has a degree in classical studies. He studied historical figures and learned how they reached success and power.

Aside from The 48 Laws of Power, he also wrote Mastery, The Art of Seduction, and The 33 Strategies of War. From his books you will learn about human nature and strategy.

Main takeaways: The 48 Laws of Power Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Always say less than necessary.
  2. Guard your reputation.
  3. Be bold.

Always say less than necessary

We have a tendency to talk a lot. Most people do that. That’s why we will appear common if we also say more than is necessary.

Saying everything makes us common and obvious. But if we withhold some information, we look mysterious. People will ask questions. They want to satisfy their curiosity.

Saying more than is necessary will do more harm than good. Why? Your words will reveal your plans and agenda. You might also offend people with what you tell. You also might appear proud and arrogant.

More opportunities for mistake appear when you talk more. You might say something that is simply wrong. Or you say something that doesn’t make sense.

Let people get curious about you. There are times you should say vague words so you attract them. They will think endlessly because of what you say. You gain their attention. That’s one step closer to gaining power.

Guard your reputation

This is related to saying less than necessary. What you say will somehow build your reputation. If you always talk, that says something about you.

Aside from refining how you talk, you should also observe your actions. Your reputation is the one thing that will help you keep your power. And your actions will reflect that.

Guard your reputation as if your life depends on it. This is important especially when you want to rise high in your organization or field.

If someone tries to ruin your reputation, respond appropriately. Don’t let people think that you have a bad reputation.

People also use reputation to destroy others. They attack the other person’s reputation for personal gain. It often happens in political and business areas.

Worse is they spread black propaganda to destroy their enemy’s reputation. Some of the info released in TV or social media are just false. It’s just for destroying a person’s reputation.

If you want to win, use reputation as your advantage. Your reputation alone can make or break you. That depends on how you use it.

Be bold

There’s no room for the timid. Be bold and you’ll attract a lot of people.

That’s why many people promise big things. It wins them attention (and somehow respect). Other people flock to them. Big promises never fail to catch attention.

Aside from garnering attention from the public, being bold also gives you extra confidence and motivation. You feel the compulsion to act. Even if you know it’s not a real promise, you still feel the need to fulfill it.

Boldness also helps you become decisive. People are attracted to the few who can make quick and big decisions. If you’re decisive, you become the center of attraction. People will gravitate towards you.

Set big goals. Say big promises. People will pause and think about what you say. You will give them hope. You will energize the whole team. You might be surprised that you can actually achieve those big goals.

Aside from saying less than necessary, guarding your reputation, and being bold, you will also learn the following from The 48 Laws of Power:

  • Why make your accomplishments seem effortless
  • Why you should despise the free lunch
  • Avoid appearing perfect
  • Why you should concentrate your forces
  • Winning through actions, not argument

My personal takeaways

The 48 Laws of Power is full of stories from historical figures. The author mentioned how people used the laws of power to keep themselves wealthy and successful.

Times change. But the principles remain the same. Human nature has been the same for thousands of years. We can use some of the principles without much negative results.

If we apply the controversial tips (such as Crushing your enemy totally, Letting others do the work for you but always take the credit), we should be ready for the consequences.

The same laws can also be applied against you. If you’re aware of the laws of power, you’ll know the times when people try to take advantage of you.

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