Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

Keep your friends for friendship, but work with the skilled and competent.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

An appeal to the emotions is far more powerful than an appeal to reason.
– Robert Greene

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
intellectual weaknesses.
– Robert Greene

A Prince asked the dying spanish statesman, “Does your Excellency forgive all your enemies?”
“I do not have to forgive all my enemies,” answered the stateman, “I have had them all shot.”
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

Nothing is stable in the realm of power, and even closest of friends can be transformed into
the worst of enemies.
– Robert Greene

If the game of power is inescapable, better to be an artist than a denier or a bungler.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

Win through your actions, never through argument.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

There is nothing more intoxicating than victory, and nothing more dangerous.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

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.
– Robert Greene

For the future, the motto is, “No days unalert.”
– Robert Greene

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
– Robert Greene

Related to mastering your emotions is the ability to distance yourself from the present
moment and think objectively about the past and the future. Like Janus, the double faced
Roman deity and guardian of all gates and doorways, you must be able to look in both
directions at once.
– Robert Greene

Outwardly, you must seem to respect the niceties, but inwardly, unless you are a fool, you
learn quickly to be prudent, and to do as Napoleon advised: Place your hand inside a velvet
– Robert Greene

If the world is like a giant scheming court and we are trapped inside it, there is no use in
trying to opt out of the game. That will only render you powerless, and powerlessness will
make you miserable. Instead of struggling against the inevitable, instead of arguing and
whining and feeling guilty, it is far better to excel at power.
– Robert Greene

As a leader you may imagine that constant diligence, and the appearance of working harder
than anyone else, signify power. Actually, though, they have the opposite effect: They imply
weakness. Why are you working so hard? Perhaps you are incompetent, and have to put in
extra effort just to keep up; perhaps you are one of those people who does not know how to
delegate, and has to meddle in everything. The truly powerful, on the other hand, seem
never to be in a hurry or overburdened. While others work their fingers to their bone, they
take their leisure.
– Robert Greene

A Chinese proverb compares friends to the jaws and teeth of of a dangerous animal; if you
are not careful, you will find them chewing you up.
– Robert Greene

The opposite sex is a strange country we can never know, and this excites us, creates the
proper sexual tension. But it is also a source of annoyance and frustration. Men do not
understand how women think, and vice versa; each tries to make the other act more like a
member of their own sex.
– Robert Greene

The Crown. Place it upon your head and you assume a different post – tranquil yet radiating
assurance. Never show doubt, never lose your dignity beneath the crown, or it will not fit. It
will seem to be destined for one more worthy. Do not wait for a coronation; the greatest
emporers crown themselves.
– Robert Greene

Remember: Seduction is a game of attention, of slowly filling the other person’s mind with
your presence.
– Robert Greene

The Sun. It can only be appreciated by its absence. The longer the days of rain, the more
the sun is craved. But too many hot days and the sun overwhelms. Learn to keep yourself
obscure and make people demand your return.
– Robert Greene