Robert Greene

Robert Greene

Bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, The 50th Law, and now, MASTERY

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 28, 2015

Discussion

Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
I’m the author of five books: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law (with 50 Cent), and my latest book Mastery. Right now, I'm working on my next book The Laws of Human Nature (working title), which deals with social intelligence and how to understand the people you deal with on a much higher level. I'm here today with Brutus, my cat, to talk about whatever you like. Ask me anything.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Robert! Welcome :) Some people say that people don't only care about attaining the object (power, the seduced) but the _way_ they attained the object in the first place - and they feel somewhat insecure about using tactics to attain it (especially in dating) as a part of just "being themselves" what do you say to this?
Keith WP
Keith WP@dynamox5 · Student
@robertgreene How do you inspire yourself to keep working on a project after the drudgery and loss of motivation sets in?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@dynamox5 Another good question. I arrange it so that this never happens. I do extensive research before I begin writing, and that is always fun. But I leave my ideas open. When I am writing the chapter I know that ideas will constantly come to me. I allow that to happen. I listen to music to put me in the mood. Like a football player getting himself up for a big game, I pump myself up before writing. It has to feel alive for me. Of course there are days that this can't happen and it's frustrating. But by now I know this is temporary. When the work starts to feel like it's drudgery it will time for me to retire and play golf, which I don't play.
Sam Parr
Sam Parr@thesamparr · Roommates
@robertgreene Your books are the most well researched books I've ever read. Can you talk about the process you go through to get the info and put it down in a coherent way?
Chris Schelzi
Chris Schelzi@schelzi3 · Director of Marketing @ AppSumo
@robertgreene what 3-5 books would you recommend to every ambitious young man (25 years old)?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@schelzi3 Hello everyone. Thanks for coming. I read so many books that I find it hard to find three to five to recommend. I could say my own books, but that is rather egotistical. I could recommend Ryan Holiday's The Obstacle is the Way, but I was his mentor so that's not fair. Machiavelli's The Prince. The Art of War. The Book of Five Rings. Something like that.
Chris Schelzi
Chris Schelzi@schelzi3 · Director of Marketing @ AppSumo
@robertgreene @schelzi3 Thank you, Robert!
Sam Parr
Sam Parr@thesamparr · Roommates
@robertgreene After writing a book, do you ever think "this is a hit...this is great." Or is it always "I'm scared. People are going to hate this. This sucks." and then you're pleasantly surprised when it goes over well.
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@thesamparr I usually feel like it probably will suck. I'm born that way. Maybe being Jewish has something to do with it—we are natural pessimists. On the other hand, it always makes me try harder to make the next book even greater. If I were always happy with what I do I would not be able to challenge myself. But I do wish I could be a little more positive. Maybe some day, before I die.
Sam Parr
Sam Parr@thesamparr · Roommates
@robertgreene @thesamparr Good stuff, thanks. I'll most certainly buy your next book. BTW every book of your's has been fun. 33 Strategies was only OK, but still fun. The rest have been hits.
Chris Schelzi
Chris Schelzi@schelzi3 · Director of Marketing @ AppSumo
What blogs and people do you follow online?
pooplingpo
pooplingpo@pooplingpo
@robertgreene What is the relationship between power and happiness?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@pooplingpo It depends on your definition of power and of happiness. In my book, people are often unhappy because they feel no power in their lives. This means they have no control over their fate, their career, their girlfriend or wife, their boss. A miserable feeling. Also the sense that you have never quite reached your potential in your work is another misery-inducing factor, which is also tied to power. But just becoming Mark Zuckerberg will not make you happy. It's not about the position you reach, but the sense that you have realized what you were meant to accomplish in life and have the freedom to do so. That's how I see power.
vytas
vytas@v22k6 · manager
I recently read Napoleon: a life by Andrew Roberts. I find it interesting that in his letters Napoleon often talks about "having energy and activity" and says that "the like quality is necessary to successfully wage war". Any comments on how the analysis of Napoleon's personality influenced your own work?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@v22k6 I love Napoleon. What a fascinating man. Yes, he thought the secret to success and life is energy, and he felt like he had an overabundance of it. When I wrote my book on Warfare, Napoleon was to be the main character and inspiration. He is truly the Mozart of strategy. I gave myself a simple task—to figure out what made him click, why was he so superior? And in the end, I decided he was more organized than others. He amassed more information but kept it extremely well organized. He was a genius at structure, how to make the most of an army by dividing it up properly. He had a mind like a computer. He used note cards as well. Organization and creativity go hand in hand. When you know more than the opposing general and have a mind that categorize this information, you have a supreme advantage on the battlefield or in life.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
In The Art of Seduction, you pose some interesting ideas about what you call "the most subtle and effective form of power." I keep wondering— Is 'seduction' a skill to be practiced and honed, or are we better off just focusing on becoming the kinds of people we hope to be? Another take on this question is: Do we end up being more powerful if we're skilled at getting people to do what we want them to do—or skilled at helping others do what THEY want to do?
Patrick
Patrick@fransmcfarlane · Student
What advice do which you had gotten before becoming a journalist?
Patrick
Patrick@fransmcfarlane · Student
How do you balance being aloof and present while seducing?
Patrick
Patrick@fransmcfarlane · Student
What is the greatest mistake you have ever made ?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@fransmcfarlane My greatest mistake? I generally have the philosophy, that I described in The 50th Law, that is known as amor fati. Everything happens for a reason. No need to stress over this decision or that one. Just accept and learn. But I did take one job in Hollywood that still haunts me to this day. I worked for a film director. I thought it was a great, sexy job. Instead, it was a nightmare because it really put me off working in Hollywood. I couldn't stand al of the fakeness. I came home every day so depressed. But as I said, in the end it taught me a great lesson—I was not meant to be a screenwriter.
Sam Parr
Sam Parr@thesamparr · Roommates
@robertgreene What were some exercises and routines you did early on to perfect your writing?
Michael Hwan
Michael Hwan@michaelhwan · Building the future @UberATG
@robertgreene have you discovered additional laws since the publication of 48 Laws of Power?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@michaelhwan If I have I will never share them. I like to give people the impression that the 48 cover about everything. No one yet has told me of another law I missed that I could not account for, but I myself have tried out a few possibilities. It will remain my secret.
j
j@iseethrusmoke1
What is a good way to mute your internal monologue while in conversation with someone?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@iseethrusmoke1 It's a subject I'm covering in my new book, but you will have to wait about two more years for that. As with anything, baby steps. It is really really difficult. So don't get down on yourself if you find it so, you are not alone. Try for small progress. Try to give yourself five minute blocks of time in which you listen so intently to what someone is saying you can't hear yourself anymore. Even if what they are saying is really boring, focus on the non-verbal stuff which is fascinating. Their gestures, the feeling tone in their voice, the look in their eyes. Practice a little by watching something on television, such as the news, and do the same thing. It's a matter of developing focus. I've been meditating now for over five years, and I have made progress but not as fast as I would have thought. It takes time.
Shawn Bolour
Shawn Bolour@shawnbolour
@robertgreene @iseethrusmoke1 Can you provide some more detail on what other subjects you will be covering in your next book, The Laws of Human Nature? Perhaps the title of each chapter, if you have already decided what they will be. Thank you!
j
j@iseethrusmoke1
Do you go back to the books you researched during your writing process?
Rodrigo Martínez
Rodrigo Martínez@rmtzcabello · Lawyer
What is the best way to know what you were born to do? I love my career but I've always wandered if I had another passion to persue and if so how to find what that is?
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@rmtzcabello Do you feel you're mind wandering in your job? Does it feel like you're not quite connecting? There is a difference between someone who is always dissatisfied and looking for an excuse to change careers just because you are perpetually bored, and someone who is in a bad fit. It's something you should feel in your gut. You start hate coming to work. You research things slightly unrelated to your field. You first have to decide if your wanderlust is real before you can figure out what exactly you should be doing. Until you're thirty I would experiment a little and try different things.
Chris Schelzi
Chris Schelzi@schelzi3 · Director of Marketing @ AppSumo
@robertgreene what did you learn from your biggest mistake?
Ingimar
Ingimar @ingimar90
@robertgreene What topic have you changed your mind on the most and on what topic have you found that your initial thoughts were on point
Robert Greene
Robert Greene@robertgreene
@ingimar90 I'm always adjusting my way of thinking and try to keep my mind open. I never really feel like the books I wrote somehow missed the mark. So if I were to write the 48 Laws now, it would probably be a little different because I am a little different, after some 18 years. But the essential idea about power, and how people form courts and are more manipulative than they appear, I believe that is timelessly true.