Robert Greene is the author of many best-selling books, including The Laws of Human Nature, Mastery, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 48 Laws of Power, which is the primary subject of our conversation.
During our conversation, Robert talks about his definition of power, why humans crave power, how a lack of power affects human beings, how individuals might increase their power in their own life, and how his own increase in power has affected his life. He also talks about American's reluctance to speak openly about power, Carl Jung's concept of "the shadow" and how it may apply to that collective reluctance, whether power is fundamentally neutral - neither good or bad - and the relationship between love and power.
The 48 Laws of Power is more than twenty years old, yet it is consistently in the top 10 of Amazon's best-seller list. Robert's work can help people understand power's role in human affairs, and with more knowledge and honesty, perhaps individuals can use power both to improve one's life, live with self-awareness, and hold oneself to high standards. As I noted during our conversation, one of my favorite quotes from history comes from Lincoln:
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”
(00:11) ‘Power’ as explained in The 48 Laws of Power
(03:44) Robert's depression before writing The 48 Laws of Power
(08:14) Why are people reluctant to talk about power?
(12:55) The link between the desire for fulfillment and power
(17:09) From powerless to powerful: Robert’s story
(21:41) Human's desire to gain power through autonomy and authenticity
(26:30) How to live a life that increases one's power
(32:11) The importance of self-mastery
(37:14) Lincoln's quote about power
(43:33) Is power inherently neutral, neither good or bad?
(47:00) Carl Jung's quote on "the shadow"
(51:31) What are examples of America's shadow?
(55:18) The importance of integrating one's shadow
(01:04:07) How can the American center hold, given our polarization?
(01:11:18) Four laws of power for modern times
(01:13:55) The relationship between power and love
Connect with Robert: