48 Laws of Power
A fascinating book, and a wake up call to those who hold ideals of transparency, playing nice, openness, helping others, and in general contributing to the distribution of power far and wide. This book describes precisely the opposite: how to be a power-grabbing a-hole, which is how history until present has largely been written. An honest subtitle would indeed be How to be a power-grabbing a-hole.
The book is useful in that it helps the reader understand how power plays and con-games are executed. This is a good study of common human character - though the book appears to endorse such character and does not discuss more enlightened or 'nice' ways of achieving power. There is nothing wrong with power - that is part of life - the question is how one gains their power.
The book appears to be written as if the author himself values the various techniques and value systems of power concentration exemplified in the book. This is a sad case of how many people behave - which is depressing for the human spirit and not a good sign for human advancement. For the author is short on his discussion of honorable ways of power capture.
The benefit to the student of the distributive economy and a better world is understanding laws of power - so that one is not a victim of these - and in fact can transform these patterns to the benefit of the world. This means a transition from motives that help only oneself or one's immediate group - to global consciousness and thus inclusion not only of those who immediately give them power.
In summary, 4 of 5 stars, and would give it 5 stars if the author did not propose to his audience that others do the same in their ascent to power. The book is missing a discussion on the distinction between power based on merit, vs power based on force and unethical behavior.
Note: MJ submitted this review on Amazon -