The 50th Law

Power is greater than happiness, contends Robert Greene inĀ an online discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky about Fear, Power and Mortality (quality summary thereof), as happiness is fleeting and unremitting.

Also discussed in this conversation is strategistĀ Robert Greene’s latest book, The 50th Law: 10 Lessons in Fearlessness, which is the result of an unlikely collaboration with hip hop artist 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson).

Initially (very) sceptical of such a collaboration (hip hop and its culture is completely alien to my tastes), I’ve heard The 50th Law called a “hip hop bible” and a “how-to for applying The 48 Laws of Power” and so had to look deeper.

With the life of Curtis Jackson as the narrative, the book looks at “how to succeed in life and work based on a single principle: fear nothing”. Based on the text of the chapter headings, there’s an ebook introduction available on Slideshare that gives you a good idea of what the book is like.

I found the following excerpts rather inspiring on multiple levels and wanted to share them:

On self-reliance:

When you work for others, you are at their mercy. They own your work; they own you. Your creative spirit is squashed. What keeps you in such positions is a fear of having to sink or swim on your own. Instead you should have a greater fear of what will happen to you if you remain dependent on others for power. Your goal in every maneuver in life must be ownership, working the corner for yourself. When it is yours, it is yours to lose – you are more motivated, more creative, more alive. The ultimate power in life is to be completely self-reliant, completely yourself.

On opportunism:

Your lack of resources can be an advantage, forcing you to be more inventive with the little that you have. [ā€¦] Do not let fears make you wait for a better moment or become conservative. If there are circumstances you cannot control, make the best of them. It is the ultimate alchemy to transform all such negatives into advantages and power.

On calculated momentum:

In the present there is constant change and so much we cannot control. If you try to micromanage it all, you lose even greater control in the long run.

On connection:

Most people think first of what they want to express or make, then find the audience for their idea. You must work the opposite angle, thinking first of the public. You need to keep your focus on their changing needs, the trends that are washing through them.

On mastery:

To [build the foundations for something that can continue to expand], you will have to serve an apprenticeship. You must learn early on to endure the hours of practice and drudgery, knowing that in the end all of that time will translate into a higher pleasure – mastery of a craft and of yourself.

Thanks, Ryan



2 responses to “The 50th Law”

  1. Alex

    Robert Greene and Eliezer? Never in a million years… Who do you feel like came out on top in the transhumanist part of the debate?

  2. Exactly my thoughts when I heard Eliezer Yudkowsky and Robert Greene were going to have a filmed discussion. What an unexpected pairing!

    Since watching it for the first time I haven’t been able to load the BHTV discussion, and wanted to do so to answer your question;, on who came “out on top in the transhumanist part of the debate”.

    Thinking back, however, I recall being of the opinion that Greene, while interested in the topic, was dealing with it almost as a novelty while Yodkowsky truly believes in the ‘triumph’ of transhumanism.

    From this I felt that Greene approached this section of the debate quite openly, evenly and, dare I say, rationally, while Yudkowsky’s thoughts felt tainted by his belief. You could say each of his thoughts were a product of the confirmation bias.

    I wouldn’t mind hearing your (or anyone’s) views on this? Hope you check back.