The 48 Laws of Power (1998) is the first book by American author Robert GreeneThe book is a bestseller, selling over 1.2 million copies in the United States. Greene initially formulated some of the ideas in The 48 Laws of Power while working as a writer in Hollywood and concluding that today’s power elite shared similar traits with powerful figures throughout history.

“When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.” 

“Power is essentially amoral and one of the most important skills to acquire is the ability to see circumstances rather than good or evil. Power is a game; this cannot be repeated too often; and in games, you do not judge your opponents by their intentions but by the effect of their actions.”

“When you show yourself to the world and display your talents; you naturally stir all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity… you cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others.”

“Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.”

“Keep your friends for friendship, but work with the skilled and competent” 

“The most important of these skills, and power’s crucial foundation is the ability to master your emotions. An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings.”

“Do not leave your reputation to chance or gossip; it is your life’s artwork, and you must craft it, hone it, and display it with the care of an artist.” 

“Never be distracted by people’s glamorous portraits of themselves and their lives”

“When you meet a swordsman, draw your sword: Do not recite poetry to one who is not a poet.”

“Hide your intentions not by closing up (with the risk of appearing secretive, and making people suspicious) but by talking endlessly about your desires and goals-just not the real ones.”

“Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.” 

“He who poses as a fool is not a fool.”

“If for example, you are miserly by nature, you will never go beyond a certain limit; only generous souls attain greatness.” 

“Without enemies around us, we grow lazy. An enemy at our heels sharpens our wits, keeping us focused and alert. It is sometimes better, then, to use enemies as enemies rather than transforming them into friends or allies.”

“Understand this: The world wants to assign you a role in life. And once you accept that role you are doomed”

“Do not leave your reputation to chance or gossip; it is your life’s artwork, and you must craft it, hone it, and display it with the care of an artist.” 

“Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions; your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.” 

“Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies.” 

“Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of others; that is too high a price to pay.” 

“You choose to let things bother you. You can just as easily choose not to notice the irritating offender; to consider the matter trivial and unworthy of your interest. That is the powerful move. What you do not react to cannot drag you down in a futile engagement. Your pride is not involved. The best lesson you can teach an irritating gnat is to consign it to oblivion by ignoring it.”