Robert Greene quotes page 1
born May 14, 1959; American author and speaker
Always Say Less Than Necessary
When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you
appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if
you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by
saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.
You cannot repress anger or love, or avoid feeling them, and you should not try. But you
should be careful about how you express them, and most important, they should never
influence your plans and strategies in any way.
The feeling of having no power over people and events is generally unbearable to us - when
we feel helpless we feel miserable. No one wants less power; everyone wants more. In the
world today, however, it is dangerous to seem too power hungry, to be overt with your
power moves. We have to seem fair and decent. So we need to be subtle - congenial yet
cunning, democratic yet devious.
Enter Action With Boldness
If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will
infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you
commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold;
no one honors the timid.
In the game of power, you are surrounded by people who have absolutely no reason to help
you unless it is in their interest to do so. And if you have nothing to offer their self-interest,
you are likely to make them hostile, for they will see in you just one more competitor, one
more waster of their time.
The incurably unhappy and unstable have a particularly strong infecting power because their
characters and emotions are so intense. They often present themselves as victims, making it
difficult, at first, to see their miseries as self-inflicted. Before you realize the real nature of
their problems you have been infected by them.
Strike The Shepherd And The Sheep Will Scatter
Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual - the stirrer, the arrogant underling,
the poisoner of goodwill. If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to
their influence. Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate
with them - they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them.
Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.
If deception is the most potent weapon in your arsenal, then patience in all things is your
crucial shield. Patience will protect you from making moronic blunders. Like mastering your
emotions, patience is a skill - it does not come naturally.
Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new
identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your
own image rather than letting others define if for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your
public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem
larger than life.
Keep your friends for friendship, but work with the skilled and competent.
Everyone has insecurities. When you show yourself in the world and display your talents, you
naturally stir up all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity. This is
to be expected. You cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others. With
those above you, however, you must take a different approach: When it comes to power,
outshining the master is perhaps the worst mistake of all.
Never Appear Too Perfect
Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to
have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display
defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and
approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.
Think As You Like But Behave Like Others
If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and
unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon
them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend
in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those
who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.
Play A Sucker To Catch A Sucker – Seem Dumber Than Your Mark
No one likes feeling stupider than the next persons. The trick, is to make your victims feel
smart – and not just smart, but smarter than you are. Once convinced of this, they will never
suspect that you may have ulterior motives.
Self-interest is the lever that will move people. Once you make them see how you can in
some way meet their needs or advance their cause, their resistance to your requests for help
will magically fall away.
An appeal to the emotions is far more powerful than an appeal to reason.
Remember: The key to persuasion is softening people up and breaking them down, gently.
Seduce them with a two-pronged approach: Work on their emotions and play on their
So Much Depends On Reputation - Guard It With Your Life
Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win;
once it slips, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your
reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they
happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations.
Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.