Join us as we begin our exploration of Robert Greene’s provocative and compelling study of The 48 Laws of Power, in which he lays bare the history, practice, psychology, and philosophies of power that ultimately shape all human relations. Often seen as a handbook for the ‘modern Machiavelli’, we take a closer look, beyond the hyperbole, and discuss how understanding and implementing these Laws can actually enrich your life personally, professionally and spiritually.

Jon and Dre aim to get to the heart of each of the Laws, grapple with their sometimes disturbingly amoral nature, and discuss what the Laws mean in everyday life (often revealing their own experiences – good and bad – when they’ve either observed or transgressed them).

This episode delves into Law 1: ‘Never Outshine the Master’, uncovering some fascinating issues:

  • Why you don’t get to choose whether you play the game of power.
  • How can you avoid letting your own desire to succeed make other people feel insecure and resentful?
  • How transgressing the Law can come back to bite you years down the line.
  • How can we create a personal code that’s moral as well as effective?
  • Why you should take care of other people’s emotional needs before you get what you want from them.
  • How powerful people teach you not to behave like them.
  • The difference between who you are and what you think.
  • How you brain keeps changing your memories when your expectations are upset.
  • What happens when you outgrow a mentor? Can the relationship survive, or does this always end in bitter clashes and resentment?
  • And, in the end… why it’s logically impossible to outshine the master.

Mentioned in the Episode:

  • Robert Greene’s superb book, Mastery
  • David Foster Wallace on advertising: ‘It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase‘, from Infinite Jest
  • Bruce Lee’s ‘Be like water‘ insight.
  • Geoff Thompson’s work.


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