The 48 Laws of Power is the book which has swept the world of hip-hop - Jay-Z and Kanye West have mentioned it in rap lyrics; Quincy Jones is making a documentary on it.
But could the book be useful to us advertising types?
Take Law 1 - Never Outshine the Master. “Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.”
Seems pretty sensible. Don’t outsmart your creative director. (Not that I could). He won’t like it.
Then there’s Law 4 - Always Say Less than Necessary. “When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.”
Now this is one I would like to see become more widespread. Imagine how much shorter meetings would be if everyone was determined to say less than is necessary!
You can find all 48 laws here.
My reaction? Well, I suspect author Robert Greene is basically a charlatan, who has simply cobbled together the best bits of Sun-Tzu and Machiavelli.
Then again, someone whose blog is called Power, Seduction and War can’t be all bad I suppose.