The Laws of Human Nature

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By Robert Greene. Incisive, if not seminal, study of character told via noteworthy historical examples.

Chapter 15 - The Law of Fickleness

  • Respect of power is ambivalent. For example, history showed that it is normal for great leaders to be executed if they fail. Today, a leader may likewise fall. Unless they have Admired Leadership.
  • Character - produced by vision and empathy, creating admired leadership.
  • People need authority, otherwise it's the Lord of the Flies or Cultural Revolution.


  • The law of fickleness - people are always ambivalent about those in power.
  • Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups it is the norm. Paraphrased from Nietsche
  • The actual strength of a team is not that during fair weather - but that under pressure or when the going gets tough
  • Learning community for building a better world
  • Learning communities of practice for solving pressing world issues.
  • Communities of practice for solving pressing world issues. Via collaborative design...
  • Regenerative villages via collaboration for a transparent and inclusive economy of abundance.
  • Working with others at a high level
  • I'm a racist. I'm for the human race.-MJ
  • The Cultural Revolution in China - a groupthink experiment that went fubar at a scale much larger than the Lord of the Flies
  • Reality group - a herd, that unlike normal, brings the group to a higher level
  • Purpose chapter - "transcendence on the cheap"
  • Coco Chanel - Know when to disappear. Iconoclast who made people desire something progressive. Androgenous clothing to free women. Open source fashion designs. Point: desire comes from something you can't have
  • Examine character. Hughes Aircraft. Take off the masks. Tough experience, or being under pressure, doffs the masks.
  • Defusing defenses. Confirm peoples' self opinion. Lyndon B Johnson did it.
  • Anton Chekhov - . Attitude. Sakhalin Island. It's a Wonderful Life. Anton got out of himself, by reforming himself and helping others. Meaning. Sakhalin Island.
    • Postmodern is never too ambitious or optimistic
    • How to view others - don't take others' fuss personally. They are projecting.
  • Dark Side - Nixon. Also the Extreme Entrepreneur like Michael Jackson who reverts to complete dependence at the end?