The best books on power are out there. You’ve found the right place. This website is all about power dynamics, strategies, and practical self-improvement.
This is a complete list of the best books and resources you can use to learn more about power in all its forms. It will help you improve your “power quotient,” which will make you more likely to win in life.
The Prince By N. MachiavelliSummary | Amazon
The book with the most power. It’s at the end of the list because it’s been around for a while, but it’s also at the top of this list of powerful people. Hundreds of years later, Machiavelli’s book is still a wake-up call for generations of people who thought they knew everything.
The Dictator’s Handbook is a modern guide to how to stay in power as a despot. It’s based on data and great wisdom.
The Power Nugget:
They try to stay in charge at all costs by using lies, manipulating people and sometimes even fear to stay in charge of things.
Don’t Think of An Elephant by G. LakoffSummary | Amazon
Have you ever heard this:
It was the most important trick the devil used to get people to vote against their own best interests. I made this up. But how else could you explain that Warren Buffet’s secretary pays more taxes than his own boss, one of the richest men in the world, who is his boss? We’re not going to try to figure this out.
Because George Lakoff does it in one of the best books on framing, reframing, and political persuasion, and he does it in the same way (or manipulation, if you prefer). The political discourse to which it’s geared isn’t the only reason it’s important. It also affects the general public. Caveat: This one is very partisan (liberal).
The Power Nugget:
I think facts can be important, but only when they are framed in a moral way. When it comes to making your own, you should either find one that already exists, or have the tools to make one from scratch.
In Sheep’s Clothing by G. SimonsSummary | Amazon
Another book that is important both for power and for this site. Simons makes a big difference between “fighting,” which everyone does, and “fighting unfair,” which is what manipulative and aggressive people do. In addition, this is a great book to read to learn about covert aggression, which isn’t the same as passive-aggression. If you want to be more powerful, you might use covert aggression or micro-aggressions. That’s why Simons is one of the best people to look at human nature and why he was the only one to figure out this important rule for manipulators and power-hungry people:
Manipulators and people who want power don’t internalize social rules because obeying social rules is the same as being submissive. They can’t stand to be told what to do. The Power Nugget:
People who are out to win and dominate have very clear goals: winning and dominating. They may also have a bad conscience, so don’t be the fool who expects support and allegiance from them. Bonds with them are short-term, and they’ll let you go the moment they don’t need you any more (see Michael Cohen, first-order sucker to Trump). Power by itself doesn’t have the power to change someone’s character. Because people already have character flaws, they want to get power and abuse it when they get it.
Influence By R. CialdiniSummary|Amazon
Power comes from being able to influence and persuade people. Not because it’s a well-known book, but because it is very good. If you want to read more, click here. There are a lot of good books on persuasion, and I can recommend Pre-Suasion by the same author, Methods of Persuasion, and all these other great books here. And while you’re here, learn some sales skills (from Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins for example).
The Power Nugget:
Salesmen and persuaders of any kind all use the same kinds of triggers. Learn what they are so that you can stop being tossed back and forth, which could be against your best interests (and maybe you can start doing some influencing yourself, instead). “Where everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks very much.”
Career University by L. BuffalmanoSummary | Amazon
When it comes to politics and power in the workplace, it sums up the best research, books, and personal experience.
The Power Nugget:
It’s not that companies don’t care about you. They care about how well their employees do. Employment is a contract based on only transactional values. Ethics and morality are not part of the deal. To get inside someone else’s head, you have to get out of your own.
How to Lie With Statistics by D. HuffSummary
It’s better to know than not know. As long as your statements sound like they can’t be disputed. We can do it with data and science, and what better way is there than that?
Our society is very fond of science. All of us should learn how science can be used to manipulate people, and that’s why we should.
Not just manipulation, but also other things, such as:
See “Replication Crisis” for more.
A lot of the myths (see “Self-Help Myths” and “Pop-Psychology Myths”) are bad. Theories I came up with on my own (evolutionary psychology is a favorite because it lends itself well to all kinds of theories)
See Nazism, utopian societies backed by “science,” and all kinds of political movements. They all work out well for the people who run the country.
The Power Nugget:
As with science, numbers can be manipulated to support almost any argument you want to make, just like they can with science. And because it is “data-driven” and “scientific,” it has a lot of power because it doesn’t lie. It is better than Hitler’s “big lie,” but it can’t be blamed on you.
No Logo By N. KleinSummary|Amazon
It’s still hard for me to believe that this pearl isn’t more popular. Sometimes, how much it’s been hyped. “No Logo” was the theoretical and intellectual foundation of the anti-globalization movement, and I know why: It was called that.
I know this because I was a protesting, “no global,” clueless teenager with a dyed faux-hawk who, of course, hadn’t even read the book. However, let’s look at the ideas on their own. No Logo is the best book I’ve ever read to show and explain how powerful brands and marketing can be on people who are easily influenced by what they see and hear. The new myths are brands. They become a way to be yourself and show off your own personality to the world.
If they cost more, who cares?
People are willing to pay 10 times the value of a product to show and defend “who they are” (see Family Guy brilliantly spoofing this phenomenon). Later on, Simon Sinek will expand on this theory in his book “Start With WHY,” which is also a great book.
The Power Nugget:
You don’t know how powerful the best marketing and brands are until you see them in action. The “freedom of choice” ethos of capitalism hides how powerful they are.
In No Logo, you learn not only about the power of marketing and brands, but you also learn how to free yourself from their chains.
Secrets of Power Negotiating by R. DawsonSummary|Kindle
When you negotiate, you can become rich because of how the power is shared at the table. Or, you could be poor. That’s why you should learn the power moves of the best negotiators so you can get what you want. Lest you pay them to teach you in real time: with the money you leave on the table when you negotiate. This is by far the best book on how to use power to get what you want.
20 ways to manipulate your way into a deal
The Power Nuggets:
Before you learn the tricks of the trade, don’t try to negotiate anything important (and the power dynamics of negotiations). If we can help you, what can you do for us?
48 Laws of Power by R. GreeneSummary | Amazon
You don’t need to start with this book. “The 48 Laws of Power” may have made people who want power even less powerful. Why?
Because to get the book, it’s important for people to be able to put the laws in the context of social dynamics and power dynamics.Without basic social skills and emotional intelligence, “The 48 Laws of Power” doesn’t do very much to help you learn. And if you don’t put them in context, the laws are meaningless on their own. At best, they are funny stories and powerful anecdotes. At worst, they are confusing and not very useful. How did I answer this question?
And here is an example of someone who doesn’t have basic social skills:
People who have good social and emotional skills can use “The 48 Laws of Power” as a guide.
Even better from Greene is “33 Strategies of War,” which is also very good. War is a lot like this one, but this one is even better.The Power Nugget:
To make the world go around, you need to be self-interested.
Appealing to one’s own self-interest is one of the most important and easy to forget laws in the world (see freeloaders-approaches). It’s best to start with self-interest (see “WIIFM” and “laws of social exchanges”). When you have the power, you can switch to intrinsic motivation.
Quote: People who are powerful speak less to impress and intimidate.