Robert Greene quotes page 2
A Prince asked the dying spanish statesman, "Does your Excellency forgive all your
"I do not have to forgive all my enemies," answered the stateman, "I have had them all shot."
Only create associations with positive affinities. Make this a rule of life and you will benefit
more than from all the therapy in the world.
By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a
form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact
that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid
and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes.
An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that
will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your
feelings. Emotions cloud reason, and if you cannot see the situation clearly, you cannot
prepare for and respond to it with any degree of control.
Are you acting too obsequious? Are you trying too hard to please? Do you seem desperate for
attention, giving the impression that you are on the decline? Be observant about yourself and
you will avoid a mountain of blunders.
Nothing is stable in the realm of power, and even closest of friends can be transformed into
the worst of enemies.
Never Outshine The Master
Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress
them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite -
inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will
attain the heights of power.
If the game of power is inescapable, better to be an artist than a denier or a bungler.
Angry people usually end up looking ridiculous, for their response seems out of proportion to
what occasioned it. They have taken things too seriously, exaggerating the hurt or insult
that has been done to them. They are so sensitive to slight that it becomes comical how
much they take personally. More comical still is their belief that their outbursts signify power.
The truth is the opposite: Petulance is not power, it is a sign of helplessness.
Preach The Need For Change, But Never Reform Too Much At Once
Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level
people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you
are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of
respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle
improvement on the past.
Win through your actions, never through argument.
Power is a game - this cannot be repeated too often - and in games you do not judge your
opponents by their intentions but by the effect of their actions.
When Asking For Help, Appeal To People's Self-Interest, Never To Their Mercy Or Gratitude
If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance
and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your
request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all
proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.
There is nothing more intoxicating than victory, and nothing more dangerous.
Disguise your cunning. Like a billard ball that caroms several times before it hits its target,
your moves must be planned and developed in the least obvious way. By training yourself to
be indirect, you can thrive in the modern court, appearing the paragon of decency while
being the consummate manipulator.
Stir Up Waters To Catch Fish
Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive. You must always stay calm and
objective. But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a
decided advantage. Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through
which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.
Playing with appearances and mastering arts of deception are among the aesthetic pleasure
of life. They are also key components in the acquisition of power.
Do not leave your reputation to chance or gossip; it is your life's artwork, and you must craft
it, hone it, and display it with the care of an artist.
For the future, the motto is, "No days unalert."
Concentrate Your Forces
Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point.
You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow
mine to another - intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power
to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to
A woman never quite feels desired and appreciated enough. She wants attention, but a man
is too often distracted and unresponsive. The Rake is a great female fantasy figure - when he
desires a woman, brief though that moment may be, he will go to the ends of the earth for
her. He may be disloyal, dishonest, and amoral, but that only adds to his appeal. Unlike the
normal, cautious male, the Rake is delightfully unrestrained, a slave to his love of women.
There is the added lure of his reputation: so many women have succumbed to him, there has
to be a reason. Words are a woman's weakness, and the Rake is a master of seductive
language. Stir a woman's repressed longings by adapting the Rake's mix of danger and