Robert Greene (American author)

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Robert Greene
Robert Greene B&W.jpg
Born (1959-05-14) May 14, 1959 (age 59)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Notable works

Robert Greene (born May 14, 1959) is an American author known for his books on strategy, power, and seduction. [1] [2] He has written six international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power , The Art of Seduction , The 33 Strategies of War , The 50th Law (with rapper 50 Cent), Mastery , and The Laws of Human Nature . [3]

An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play, and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.

Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. In the sense of the "art of the general," which included several subsets of skills including tactics, siegecraft, logistics etc., the term came into use in the 6th century C.E. in East Roman terminology, and was translated into Western vernacular languages only in the 18th century. From then until the 20th century, the word "strategy" came to denote "a comprehensive way to try to pursue political ends, including the threat or actual use of force, in a dialectic of wills" in a military conflict, in which both adversaries interact.

Seduction process of enticing a person, to engage in sexual behaviour

Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to engage in a relationship, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour. Strategies of seduction include conversation and sexual scripts, paralingual features, non-verbal communication, and short-term behavioural strategies. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "leading astray." As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation. Famous seducers from history or legend include Lilith, Giacomo Casanova, and the fictional character Don Juan. The emergence of the Internet and technology has supported the availability and the existence of a seduction community, which is based on discourse about seduction. This is predominately by "pickup artists" (PUA). Seduction is also used within marketing to increase compliance and willingness.


Early life

The younger son of Jewish parents, [4] Greene grew up in Los Angeles and attended University of California, Berkeley before finishing his degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in classical studies. [5] Before becoming an author, Greene estimates that he worked 80 jobs, including as a construction worker, translator, magazine editor, and Hollywood movie writer. [6] In 1995, Greene worked as a writer at Fabrica, an art and media school in Italy, and met a book packager named Joost Elffers. [1] Greene pitched a book about power to Elffers and wrote a treatment which eventually became The 48 Laws of Power. He would note this as the turning point of his life. [7]

Jews ancient nation and ethnoreligious group from the Levant

Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

University of California, Berkeley Public university in California, USA

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system. Berkeley has since grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.


The 48 Laws of Power

Greene's first book, The 48 Laws of Power , first published in 1998, is a practical guide for anyone who wants power, observes power, or wants to arm themselves against power. [8] The laws are a distillation of 3,000 years in the history of power, drawing on the lives of strategists and historical figures like Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Haile Selassie I, Carl von Clausewitz, Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, and P.T. Barnum. [9] [10] Each law has its own chapter, complete with a "transgression of the law," "observance of the law," and/or a "reversal."

<i>The 48 Laws of Power</i> book

The 48 Laws of Power (1998) is the first book by American author Robert Greene. The book is a bestseller, selling over 1.2 million copies in the United States, and is popular with prison inmates and celebrities.

Niccolò Machiavelli 16th-century Italian politician and writer

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, humanist, writer, playwright and poet of the Renaissance period. He has often been called the father of modern political science. For many years he served as a senior official in the Florentine Republic with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned by Italian scholars. He worked as secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his best-known work The Prince in 1513, having been exiled from city affairs.

Sun Tzu ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher from the Zhou Dynasty

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an influential work of military strategy that has affected Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking. His works focus much more on alternatives to battle, such as stratagem, delay, the use of spies and alternatives to war itself, the making and keeping of alliances, the uses of deceit and a willingness to submit, at least temporarily, to more powerful foes. Sun Tzu is revered in Chinese and East Asian culture as a legendary historical and military figure. His birth name was Sun Wu and he was known outside of his family by his courtesy name Changqing. The name Sun Tzu by which he is best known in the Western World is an honorific which means "Master Sun".

The 48 Laws of Power has sold more than 1.2 million copies. [11] It is popular with well-known rappers, entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes and actors including 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, DJ Premier, Drake, Dov Charney, Brian Grazer, Andrew Bynum, Chris Bosh, Michael Jackson, [12] Courtney Love [13] and Will Smith. [1] [3] [6] [10] [14] [15]

50 Cent American rapper, actor, businessman and television producer from New York

Curtis James Jackson III, known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, television producer, entrepreneur, and investor. Born in the South Jamaica neighborhood of the borough of Queens, Jackson began selling drugs at age twelve during the 1980s crack epidemic. He later began pursuing a musical career and in 2000 he produced Power of the Dollar for Columbia Records, but days before the planned release he was shot and the album was never released. In 2002, after Jackson released the compilation album Guess Who's Back?, he was discovered by Eminem and signed to Shady Records, under the aegis of Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records.

Jay-Z American rapper, entrepreneur, record executive, songwriter, record producer and investor

Shawn Corey Carter, known professionally as Jay-Z, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. Considered one of the best rappers of all time, he is regarded as one of the world's most significant cultural icons and has been a global figure in popular culture for over two decades.

Kanye West American rapper, singer, and record producer from Illinois

Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. His musical career has been marked by dramatic changes in styles, incorporating an eclectic range of influences including soul, baroque pop, electro, indie rock, synth-pop, industrial, and gospel. Over the course of his career, West has been responsible for cultural movements and progressions within mainstream hip hop and popular music at large.

The Art of Seduction

Greene's second book, The Art of Seduction, was published in 2001 and is a handbook on the most subtle and effective form of power, seduction. [16] The book profiles the nine types of seducers (e.g. The Rake, The Siren, and The Charmer) and details aspects of attraction, authenticity, storytelling, and negotiation. [17] [18] Greene uses examples from historical figures such as Cleopatra, Giacomo Casanova, Duke Ellington and John F. Kennedy to support the psychology behind seduction. [19] [20]

Cleopatra Last active pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt

Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, nominally survived as pharaoh by her son Caesarion. As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great. After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the Hellenistic period that had lasted since the reign of Alexander. While her native language was Koine Greek, she was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.

Giacomo Casanova Venetian adventurer and writer

Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was an Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice. His autobiography, Histoire de ma vie, is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century.

Duke Ellington American jazz musician, composer and band leader

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.

The Art of Seduction is mentioned in Neil Strauss' book The Game as a recommended book in the seduction community. [21] It has sold more than 500,000 copies. [22]

Neil Strauss American writer

Neil Darrow Strauss, also known by the pen names Style and Chris Powles is an American author, journalist and ghostwriter. He is best known for his book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, in which he describes his experiences in the seduction community in an effort to become a "pick-up artist." He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and also wrote regularly for The New York Times.

<i>The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists</i> book

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists is a non-fiction book written by investigative reporter Neil Strauss as a chronicle of his journey and encounters in the seduction community.

The 33 Strategies of War

The 33 Strategies of War is the third book by Greene and was published in 2007. [23] The book is divided into five parts: Self-Directed Warfare, Organizational (Team) Warfare, Defensive Warfare, Offensive Warfare and Unconventional (Dirty) Warfare. [23] The book is a guide to the campaign of everyday life and distills military wisdom from historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Sun Tzu, Alfred Hitchcock, Alexander the Great and Margaret Thatcher. [24] [25] [26]

The Sunday Times called the book "an excellent toolkit for dealing with business and relationships," and The Independent claims that Greene is "setting himself up as a modern-day Machiavelli" but that "it is never clear whether he really believes what he writes or whether it is just his shtick, an instrument of his will to shift £20 hardbacks." [27] [28] NBA player Chris Bosh stated that his favorite book is The 33 Strategies of War. [14] [29] [30] It has sold more than 200,001 copies. [22]

The 50th Law

The 50th Law is the fourth book by Greene—written collaboratively with rapper 50 Cent—and was published in 2009. [31] [32] [33] The book mixes talk of strategy and fearlessness by supplementing anecdotes from 50 Cent's rise as both a young urban hustler and as an up-and-coming musician with lessons from various historical figures. [34] [35] [36] Each of the 10 chapters in the book explains a factor of fearlessness and begins by telling how 50 learned this "Fearless Philosophy" in Southside Queens. [37] [38] [39]

The book debuted at #5 on The New York Times Bestseller list and was a USA Today bestseller. [40] [41] [42] [43]


Greene's fifth book, Mastery , was released on November 13, 2012. [44] Mastery examines the lives of both historical and contemporary figures such as Charles Darwin, Paul Graham, the Wright Brothers, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Mozart, and distills the traits and universal ingredients that made them masters. [45] The book is divided into six sections, each focusing on essential lessons and strategies on the path to Mastery. [45] [46] [47] [48]

Mastery reached #6 on The New York Times Bestseller list and was featured in CNN Money , The Huffington Post , The New York Times , Business Insider , Forbes , Management Today , and Fast Company . [44] [46] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54]

The Laws of Human Nature

Greene's sixth book, The Laws of Human Nature , was released in October 2018. The Laws of Human Nature examines people's conscious and unconscious drives, motivations, and cognitive biases.

Influence and controversy

The 48 Laws of Power has been referenced in songs by Jay Z, Kanye West, and Drake. [3] [55] [56] Busta Rhymes used The 48 Laws of Power to deal with problematic movie producers. [6] Greene has claimed former Cuban President Fidel Castro has also read the book. [1] The 48 Laws of Power is one of the most requested books in American prison libraries. [57] Several American prisons have banned The 48 Laws of Power and The 33 Strategies of War. [58]

Greene's books are sometimes described as manipulative and amoral. The Sunday Times noted that The 48 Laws of Power has become the "Hollywood back-stabber's bible" and that although the book is reportedly used by some business executives, it is difficult to find people who publicly acknowledge its influence because of the book's controversial nature. [59] [60] Greene responds to this sentiment by stating, "These laws… people might say, 'Oh they're wicked', but they're practiced day in and day out by businesspeople. You're always trying to get rid of your competition and it can be pretty bloodthirsty, and that's just the reality." [5] [10]

Greene's work has been featured in The New York Times , USA Today , CNN, The New Yorker , Newsweek , the Los Angeles Times , Forbes , Huffington Post , Business Week , Business Insider , Fast Company , Slate , and XXL . [1] [6] [10] [19] [34] [49] [61] [62] [63] [64] Greene has also appeared on The Today Show , CNBC, ABC, and MTV News. [65] [66] [67] [68] [69]

Personal life

Greene lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend Anna Biller, who is a filmmaker. [6] Greene can speak five languages and is a student of Zen Buddhism. [5] He is an avid swimmer and mountain biker.

Greene suffered a serious stroke before launching his new book ( The Laws of Human Nature ) in 2018. It was caused by a blood clot in his neck and has currently left him without the use of his left hand and leg. [70]


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