Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding, and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all – understanding people’s drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves.
We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people’s masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose.
Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defence.
The Laws of Human Nature – PDF
Last year, I recognized some unpleasant truths and common delusions affecting myself and others, so I turned to psychology books to better understand humans.
Greene organizes the psychology and philosophy that I have studied, and he demonstrates his “Laws” with illustrations from history and literature, so his book takes on a much larger scope and depth that transcends the tyrannous present.
Many books of psychology/self-help consist of a few common-sense principles, fluffed up with long and boring case studies about the authors’ patients/clients that seem too individualistic to have universal application. Greene, with writing shorn of academic jargon, delivers a punchy culmination of his lifetime of reading people, history, and the classics.
Thus, this ruthless psychological study of oneself and others will especially appeal to those who are well-versed in history and art, and who disdain bloodless writing of academic journals.
After a first read, I believed that this book comports with my own observation and experience, and, as of today, I plan to re-read this book multiple times until I can prove it wrong or until I memorize these Laws.
At this stage of my life, I view it as my Bible, to which I will commit a daily devotional. I am tempted to NOT recommend this book. My selfish shadow, now informed by reality, wants others to continue walking in a cloud of ignorance and thus to be unilaterally disarmed and blind and naked.
A key insight is that most people can be categorized, despite their claims to the contrary. They are readable. Observe and classify them accordingly. Ignore their words. Focus on their actions. Listen to their declarations to see if they are unconsciously describing themselves when they criticize others. Contrarily, listen to their ideas with open-mindedness. They may know something that you can learn.
Another insight. Think strategically not tactically. Victory consists of NEVER allowing a difficult person to disturb your equilibrium. Never lose your cool. Never show your temper. Instead, like Schopenhauer’s mineralogist in the opening quotation, chalk it up to the human comedy or catastrophe and laugh it off. Take notes and reorganize. STOP feeding the narcissistic and neurotic fires of others with your oxygen.
These rules apply not just in your professional dealings but in your personal relationships, especially romantic ones. I started online dating, which exponentially increases opportunities for meeting people. Having dated more women this past year than I have in my entire life, I have come to see all varieties of narcissism, neuroticism, and sociopathy in potential partners–like my dates have seen in the men that they have previously dated or married, so I have the added bonus of listening to women’s experiences.
Men and women are equally cunning, selfish, and manipulative. People delude themselves if they imprison themselves in gender stereotypes–irrationally taking sides with their own gender or assuming that they themselves are pure-hearted. (Something I see repeatedly on GR reviews.) Self-enlightenment awaits only the lucky, informed, fearless, and resilient.
See the world as it is, not as you wish it to be. Pry yourself off the fucking crucifix to which you have nailed yourself. Stop playing the martyr and acting a whiney little bitch. If you feel befuddled and victimized, and you come to believe that others have shit all over you your entire life [just like you yourself shat upon others], start acting like a soldier. “Dog-One Exit is Open!”
Download The PDF
|Book Title||The Laws of Human Nature|