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THE MILLION COPY INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded - or been victimised by - power.
(From the Playboy interview with Jay-Z, April 2003)
PLAYBOY: Rap careers are usually over fast: one or two hits, then styles change and a new guy comes along. Why have you endured while other rappers haven't?
JAY-Z: I would say that it's from still being able to relate to people. It's natural to lose yourself when you have success, to start surrounding yourself with fake people. In The 48 Laws of Power, it says the worst thing you can do is build a fortress around yourself. I still got the people who grew up with me, my cousin and my childhood friends. This guy right here (gestures to the studio manager), he's my friend, and he told me that one of my records, Volume Three, was wack. People set higher standards for me, and I love it.
Greene and Elffers have created an heir to Machiavelli's Prince, espousing principles such as, everyone wants more power; emotions, including love, are detrimental; deceit and manipulation are life's paramount tools. Anyone striving for psychological health will be put off at the start, but the authors counter, saying "honesty is indeed a power strategy," and "genuinely innocent people may still be playing for power." Amoral or immoral, this compendium aims to guide those who embrace power as a ruthless game, and will entertain the rest. Elffers's layout (he is identified as the co-conceiver and designer in the press release) is stylish, with short epigrams set in red at the margins. Each law, with such allusive titles as "Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy," "Get Others to Do the Work for You, But Always Take the Credit," "Conceal Your Intentions," is demonstrated in four ways--using it correctly, failing to use it, key aspects of the law and when not to use it. Illustrations are drawn from the courts of modern and ancient Europe, Africa and Asia, and devious strategies culled from well-known personae: Machiavelli, Talleyrand, Bismarck, Catherine the Great, Mao, Kissinger, Haile Selassie, Lola Montes and various con artists of our century. These historical escapades make enjoyable reading, yet by the book's conclusion, some protagonists have appeared too many times and seem drained. Although gentler souls will find this book frightening, those whose moral compass is oriented solely to power will have a perfect vade mecum. BOMC and Money Book Club alternates. Author tour.