This is a naughty book. It teaches the would-be proponent of the power game, to be mean and nasty, and how to get ahead in life. To this end, the book sets out The 48 Laws of Power.
The 48 Laws of Power is highly common-sensical, realistic and practical. Notwithstanding the meanness of the 48 Laws, I found this book to be a valuable guide to getting on in life. Politics and human relations are inevitable matters which we have to deal with in life. The sooner one learns and masters the 48 Laws, the better.
Personally, I would not advocate actively practising the 48 Laws. But knowing what these 48 Laws are, is imperative. They more one is aware of these Laws, the better one is able to identify life's dangers and avoid or defend oneself from potential troubles.
I like how each chapter focuses on a specific Law of Power. The chapters follow a common systematic and organised template which makes reading easy. The chapters are packed with loads of lessons and historic examples, illustrating how each Law works. Beside learning the Laws of Power, I also learnt a great deal of history from this book. And if you are a student of Sun-Tzu, Machiavelli or Clausewitz, you will love this book.
When I first read this book back in November 1998, I had the opportunity to reflect on and observe the workings of The 48 Laws of Power. Dr Mahathir, Prime Minister of Malaysia had just then sacked his Deputy the charismatic Anwar Ibrahim. Interestingly, a copy of Asiaweek in or about that time showed a picture of Dr Mahathir, in his office, shaking hands with his new Deputy, Badawi - in the foreground of the picture, on Dr Mahathir's desk, a copy of The 48 Laws of Power could be found.