For almost 20 years, author Robert Greene has been studying what it means to be powerful.
His books “The 48 Laws of Power,” “The Art of Seduction,” “The 33 Strategies of War,” “The 50th Law,” and “Mastery” all explore how some of history’s most famous — and infamous — figures managed to exert control over others and make their desires reality.
They’re written like hyper-rational, Machiavellian guides to becoming successful, with the implication that while you may not become the next Napoleon, you could make your way up the corporate hierarchy using some of Bonaparte’s favourite philosophies.
We asked Greene for his definition of “power.” He said:
Power is the measure of the degree of control you have over circumstances in your life and the actions of the people around you. It is a skill that is developed by a deep understanding of human nature, of what truly motivates people, and of the manipulations necessary for advancement and protection. Power works best when it is indirect — never coercing people; instead, getting them to voluntarily align with your interests.
Ultimately, Greene describes power as having influence, over your environment and the people around you.
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