in conversation with Ryan Holiday
discussing his book,
The Laws of Human Nature
at the Moss Theatre, in Santa Monica.
Robert Greene is an author and speaker known for his books on strategy, power and seduction. He has written five international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law and Mastery. He is an indispensable guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, influence and mastery. His seminal book The 48 Laws of Power continues to inspire business leaders, political figures and hip-hop moguls alike, nearly two decades after its original publication
In his sixth book, The Laws of Human Nature, he turns to the most important subject of all – understanding people’s drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves. The book is a brutally realistic appraisal of our species, dissecting who we are so we can operate with more awareness. He aims to answer the question: What if we could dive below the surface and see deep within, getting closer to the actual roots of what causes human behavior in order to avoid toxic relationships, bad hires at work, and our own demons that continue to sabotage our lives? Drawing from the ideas and examples Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control. He shows 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.
We have never been more in the thrall of human nature and its destructive potential than now. With the majority of human interaction happening online, our ability to read human emotion and non-verbal cues has weakened considerably, and our ignorance of the underlying forces behind certain behavior can affect our lives both at home, with friends, and in the workplace. We only need to look at the anger and vitriol that permeates social media to see that it has affected our capacity to control our emotions. The Laws of Human Nature teaches us to face flaws in our human nature head on and take steps not only to recognize our own behavior but to see it in others and use it to our benefit. Greene draws on figures from history, literature and Greek mythology to give clear examples of each Law of Human Nature.
Greene addresses how social media has played on the darkest parts of how human nature, from tribalism, envy and aggression, and how to use the laws to overcome the propensity to let our demons run rampant online.
— How to survive and thrive in the workplace and to execute on your ideas and dreams.
— How today’s political landscape has been taken over by toxicity, and how these laws can guide you to making clear, smart choices in the voting booth.
— How to spot signs of grandiosity and deceptive displays of confidence to avoid falling under someone’s spell.
— How to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control and how to develop the empathy that leads to insight.
— How to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose.
— How to read non-verbal cues so you can instantly recognize a thought or feeling someone is trying to hide and react accordingly.
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying; The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; Conspiracy and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multiplatinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world.