Book Review: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

For those who seek to dominate modern-day politics (on an individual, societal, and state level), aficionados of psychology, and others who seek the pleasure of reading an intriguing book, this book is definitely for you.

The author, Robert Greene, is already considered a credible and authentic source on political matters due to his unbounded knowledge about this field and due to the success of his recent books such as “The 48 Laws of Power”, “The Daily Laws”, “The Art of Seduction” and “Mastery”. It is imperative to note that all of the aforementioned books including the book being reviewed in this article are strictly factual and are very much applicable in the contemporary world.

Usually, you would expect a book of such a theme to start by explaining the importance of dominating or gaining significance in the world through actions and words however, as unorthodox as it may be, the first chapter of The Laws of Human Nature is titled, “Master your emotional self”. The phrase “emotional self”, here, refers to the many actions that we perform, daily, solely based on our emotional impulses. According to Robert Greene, decisions made due to impulses or in the heat of the moment often lead to predicaments or disadvantages which may impact our lives in negative ways. This behavior is called irrational behavior and hence this law is called “The law of irrationality”. The best part of this book is that despite its non-fiction and factual theme, by including a compendium of incidents from the lives of many prominent people in history, not only does the author manage to garner the interest of most readers by making the text more interesting, but the quoted incidents also corroborate the laws themselves. To elucidate upon the law of irrationality, ancient Greece during the time of Pericles (also known as the golden era of Athens) was used as an example. When the war was on the verge of breaking out between Athens and Sparta, the Spartans, having warlike tendencies, tried to instigate a full-fledged war by engaging in belligerent and continuous skirmishes. Pericles, being entirely rational, told his people to avoid adopting a strategy based on an offensive course of action and to lure the enemy in the city and engage in a war of attrition using Athens’ well-developed navy. This way, the enemy would grow tired and differences would develop between the different groups in the enemies. In addition to this, by using this strategy, Athens would be able to win this war with minimal losses and casualties. The people however did not cognize the prudence behind this suggestion and considered it cowardly. Thus opposition developed against Pericles. Later after Pericles’ death, the imprudent Athenian leaders engaged in an offensive campaign against the Spartans and suffered immense losses as predicted by Pericles. Since the other leaders acted on impulses rather than thinking about the optimal solution, they suffered. Thus using this example, Robert Greene successfully supported the concept of the law of irrationality.

Other laws such as the “the law of narcissism” are divided into different subsections and the teachings of each subsection are corroborated by incidents or teachings by individuals such as Stalin who was the former Soviet premier, Ernest Shackleton who led the endurance expedition, and my personal favorite, Milton Hyland Erickson, who was a renowned American psychiatrist.

These stories not only support the purpose of the book itself but tie all the teachings of a certain law together by indicating their use in the real world.

Another praiseworthy attribute of this compendium is the writing style of the author. At first, it seems entirely opinion based but supporting the teachings by using incidents such as those aforementioned, allows the reader to realize the importance of the laws. In addition to this, every statement makes you remember an incident from your past that either supports the statement itself or is an example of the application of the law. This attribute makes the book very interesting and the teachings, very believable.

In the world that we live in, communication and socialization skills are, undoubtedly, important in achieving worldly success, and to that end, it is important to realize that communication is not limited to just words or visible actions. We need to see beyond what is shown to us. That is where the truth lies. According to the book, during the times when languages didn’t exist, people used to communicate using the second language which is usually referred to as body language. Robert Greene states that even the subtlest of signs such as the aversion of eyes and micro-expressions if noticed can indicate a great deal about the target person and his/her opinion about us.

At the end of the day, the main purpose of this book is to develop leadership qualities in a person by inducing prudence, rationality, observational skills, and the ability to come up with unconventional yet coherent strategies. All of these qualities are essential to succeed in the contemporary world.

With that, I have given a partial explanation about some of the many apt contents of this book. I hope that all of you will give this a read and I assure you that it will be worth your time.

Order the “Laws of Human Nature” and other books written by Robert Greene using the links given below. Embark on the journey towards self-betterment.

​Books by Robert Greene

Amazon Order Links

The Laws of Human Nature

The 48 Laws of Power

The Daily Laws


Reviewer: Tabish Ahmad

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