Saturday, September 15, 2007

The 48 Laws of Power

While on vacation in Vermont this August, I stumbled across a Unitarian Church book sale in a quaint town nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

I spent nearly an hour perusing the offerings before settling on a mix of about 60 fiction and non-fiction titles for $40. This particular bargain-bin book raid was heavy on non-fiction, with a number of works written by or about journalists and media figures (Bill O'Reilly, Donald Trump, Chris Mathews, Jim Hightower, Al Franken). I focused on this genre largely because I am requiring all students in my journalism class to read a 200-page minimum non-fiction book each quarter, and wanted to bulk up my classroom library.

I also picked up a handful of titles I thought might help me as a teacher, leader, and motivator of people. One such selection is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. While I've only read the first five chapters (on the first five laws), I am thoroughly enjoying the book, as it mixes maxim with history in an enlightening and entertaining fashion. Greene explains the theory behind each law, then culls from history both a transgression and observance of that law.

The 48 laws can be found here.

Not all the laws are applicable to classroom teachers. Some of them could even be considered contrary to our mission. But for anyone interested in viewing history through the lens of individualistic human behavior - and gaining insight on how to achieve and maintain power - 48 Laws is not to be missed.

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