Strategies and tactics for better living
If you google Robert Greene, it appears “Robert Greene, American author”. His most important book cited is The 48 laws of power.
The book’s short explanation prompts, “If you want to stay naive (don’t read this book), go watch Netflix.” It appeals. It almost sounds arrogant and tells us that if we don’t read Robert Greene, we will ‘miss the woods for the trees.’
The book being reviewed here, The Daily Laws: 366 meditations on power, seduction, mastery, strategy and human nature, specify that.
Well, what’s so appealing about a book that reads like another self-help book?
The opening words of the preface tell us: “This is a self-help book with a difference. ”
Like Dickens who started his famous book The story of two cities, with startling words “it was the best of times and the worst of times”, Greene’s emphasis on the fact that “since the beginning of our existence as a species, we humans have depended on our connection to reality for our survival and success ”, sets the tone for what follows in the 366“ meditations ”he offers for rumination.
The book has 453 pages, each page covering one day of a month. Greene offers two ways to read this book, quickly all at once or day by day page by page.
New thinking and ideas
The latter seems more plausible on every page and brings up a new thought every day, a new idea of how a reader can examine their life, assess the choices one makes, and appreciate the consequences of those choices. Most days start with a quote followed by an idea we can think about.
Self-help books believe that they give the reader “wise wisdom” and thus become prescriptive. Daily laws, I think, also tends to suffer slightly from this discomfort.
However, if one wishes to read it as a book of affirmation and not as a book of homilies, then there is a certain gain for the reader. The book propagates both strategies and tactics for living in this world and among people. There are months spent dealing with power dynamics, working with our higher selves, and ultimately achieving a state of cosmic sublimation.
January 1 begins by suggesting that we begin the year by “reconnecting with our innate strength”.
Steve Jobs reportedly said, “If your list of dreams is shorter than your list of accomplishments, it means you’ve aged. This book bears witness to this by sharing the stories of many people who dreamed of what they wanted long before they got it because the dream they dreamed of was fascinating and powerful.
Possibility of thinking
Robert Schuller wrote about Thinking of Possibility many years ago. This book emphasizes such thinking, and when Greene asserts, again in January itself, that “you don’t want to give up the skills and experience you have acquired, but find a new way to apply them” , our buffet of opportunities is growing.
Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask the world what it needs, ask yourself what you need to feel alive, then go get it because what the world needs are people who are alive.
Greene says in one of his Daily Laws: “Do something that makes you feel at the top of you today.” Although this is a prescription, it is a boost for each of us to live our lives with the passion that we can command and draw from within.
Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, often spoke of “our dark side”, that part of us that we may not know much and that we may also have denied.
Face your dark side
Greene says with immense conviction, “face your dark side”. By not doing this we lose a part of who we are, and as Scot Peck, another eminent writer and psychologist, puts it so well in his book “The People of Lies”, we are living a “lie”.
When we confront who we are, Greene emphasizes in his daily memoir, that “the obstacle is the way”, are we going to break the self-imposed glass ceiling.
Greene’s book is, in some ways, an amalgamation of much of the body of work that social scientists have worked on and developed over the years. The Daily Laws are a synthesis of the many ideas and theories developed over time by countless and prominent practitioners of applied behavioral science. The slogan Greene uses to help us navigate our lives is “become a radical realist.”
Therefore, Daily Laws are a day-to-day guide, an account each of us can keep by our side as we retire for the night and begin our day by waking up to the day’s page.
(The author is a visiting professor at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, and a consultant in organization and behavior.)
Book Review – “Daily Laws” by Robert Greene.
Posted by: Profile Books
pages 464; Price: 540
Check Out The Book On Amazon Here