If you are interested in the non-altruistic modes of human interaction, then The 48 Laws of Power is an absolute Must Read for you! While the cover text attributes "Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive ..." are certainly true, it is much more than that.

Here are those laws in summary, just to give you a sample of the style. Yet, in the book, each of those timeless rules is expanded in a set structure over several pages. For instance 35 Master the Art of Timing is set in Observance of the law, Interpretation, Keys to Power, Reversal. In the observance or transgression sections (of which there are often up to three), you get historic examples of the law in action, spanning from ancient Chinese, Persians, Greek to Japanese tea masters, Macchiavelli (of course), Gracian, Louis XIV, Madame de Pompadour, Napoleon I vs. III, up to early 20th century con artists. There's a wealth of stories there! These examples are set in relation to the law in the Interpretation section.

The Keys to Power section gives you the parameters of the law and explains what context it may be applied in and where it is overly risky. This is the manual section, if you like. Finally, in the Reversal section, the author demonstrates how, if at all, the law may be applied in the reverse, which very often is surprisingly true as well. To sum, it is a comprehensive guide to human interaction as qualified above. In its amorality (which is not the same thing as immorality), it is a worthy contemporary successor to Macchiavelli's Prince.

I should also mention that it is exceptionally well designed with its classical red & black type colour scheme and the small stories, fables and quotations set in the margin in red. And maybe, it would be wise not to tell people that you have read the book ...

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