Written By: Robert A. Greene
Narrated By: Paul Michael, Robert A. Greene
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Date: October 2018
Duration: 28 hours 30 minutes
Greene’s sixth book, The Laws of Human Nature, was released in October 2018. The book examines people’s conscious and unconscious drives, motivations, and cognitive biases.
Laws of Human Nature Audiobook Summary
From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power comes the definitive new book on decoding the behavior of the people around you
Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all – understanding people’s drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves.
We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people’s masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defense.
Greene lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend Anna Biller, who is a filmmaker. Greene can speak five languages and is a student of Zen Buddhism. He is an avid swimmer and mountain biker. Greene supported Barack Obama in the 2012 United States presidential election and identifies with liberal politics.
Greene suffered a serious stroke before launching his new book The Laws of Human Nature in 2018. It was caused by a blood clot in his neck and has currently left him without the use of his left hand and leg.
Laws of Human Nature Audiobook Reviews
There is a scene in Hamlet when Polonius, the self-important elderly adviser of the king, offers rather meandering and useless advice to his son. In the twenty-first century there are plenty of Polonius-like figures offering advice to the young on how to adapt to the rapidly changing world. Thankfully, Robert Greene is not one of them.
While entitled the Laws of Human Nature this book is more of a practical guide on how to use a proper understanding of human nature to gain success socially. Greene summarizes insights from leading psychologists, biologists, anthropologists and other cognitive scientists and then embodies these ideas in role models from ancient and modern history.
The intention is to guide the reader from someone who is potentially a slave to their own nature into someone who understands human nature in themselves and can use this knowledge to influence and outsmart others.
For example, Greene summarizes Daniel Kahnemann’s insights into rational biases so that you can recognize these potential errors and avoid them in your own thinking. Another section summarizes contemporary biological theory on the emotions and shows how to use these to catalyze rather than impede your purposes.
In the section discussing human beings’ need for a meaning to their life, Greene shows how Martin Luther King transformed from a intellectual minister into the charismatic leader of the civil rights movement. He also dips into the more distant past for role models such as Augustus Caesar. His use of case studies saves the book from seeming like a long lecture in human psychology.
Greene could have relied more on disciplines like neuroscience but then the narrative would not have dovetailed so well with his biographical sections. It seems like it would be hard to explain, for example, how a certain role model exemplified the correct dopamine balance.
If you are looking then for a scientific/theoretical exposition of human nature there are already many books written by scientists providing this theory (Behave by Robert Sapolsky is a particularly good one.) But if you are young, or just young in mind, and looking for a practical guide to success in society which connects modern culture with its predecessors you will be hard pressed to find a better guide.
Strongly recommended to all those who want a thorough grounding for understanding and then implementing what contemporary science has to say about human nature.
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-Page 29 |
“In his conception, the human mind has to worship something, has to have its attention directed to something it values above all else. For most people, it is their ego; for some it is their family, their clan, their god, or their nation. For Pericles it would be nous, the ancient Greek word for “mind” or “intelligence.” Nous is a force that permeates the universe, creating meaning and order. The human mind is naturally attracted to this order; this is the source of our intelligence.”
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