Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. This bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers. Some laws teach the need for prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master") and the virtue of stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"); many demand the total absence of mercy ("Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally"). But like it or not, all have applications in real life. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded, or been victimized by, power, these laws will fascinate any listener interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.