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The 50th Law - Robert Greene

Philip Morris IV

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This is more of an overall "Robert Greene" post, as his other books are worth looking into.  In order of latest to earliest:



[amazonsearch]The 50th Law[/amazonsearch]

[amazonsearch]33 Strategies of War[/amazonsearch]

[amazonsearch]Art of Seduction[/amazonsearch]

[amazonsearch]48 Laws of Power[/amazonsearch]


Has anyone read Greene? A primer for those unaware:


Robert Greene is like a modern mix of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu.  He's known for distilling social power concepts into defined laws or rules, and showing how they were clearly used by players in historical events.  His chapters typically take on a formula whereby he will briefly define a concept, then tell an anecdote of a historical figure who executed that concept in practice, then interpret the story in detail for the reader.  Figures range from Louis XIV to JFK to Victor Lustig (con artist who successfully sold the Eiffel Tower to a scrap metal dealer... twice) to Napoleon to Elvis Presley to Julius Caesar to Alfred Hitchcock to Charles Darwin and several others.


I made this thread because it occurred to me that The 50th Law is useful to contrarian personas and therefore the value investing business.  In bits and pieces (so not biographical) it tells the dramatic rise of Curtis Jackson (50 Cent) in the context of several clever displays of entrepreneurship, business acumen and total fearlessness.  The book instills certain business social dynamics that could be helpful to understanding businesses, being a fund manager, raising capital, interacting with investors and managements, etc.


All of his books are written to be practical and amoral.  I initially judged 33 Strategies of War by its title, but he defines war in relation to all social relationships.  It turned out to be my favorite so far.


The last thing I want to mention is Greene's masterful writing style.  He is an enormously deft storyteller, and his writing ingrains a vague yet potent sense of power on the reader - almost like a drug.  Personally no other author has had this effect to me.  He rewrites his selected anecdotes such that you feel emotionally charged, and then his interpretation sections play into that pent up emotion.


Thought the board might find value in his work, even if it's not directly about investing.

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I thought the same about War, but you'd be surprised.


48 Laws is a good application of Machiavellian thought.  If you like reading about powerful people and how they think/act, you'll like it.  He's also very big on the long-term.  No law or rule is a quick fix.


Another spin on his work is its usefulness in detecting and thwarting other people's attempts to deceive you.

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