Robert Greene and his old apprentice Ryan Holiday have collaborated to create a coin based on the concept of amor fati – love of fate. Inspired by Nietzsche and Stoic philosophy, the coin serves as a reminder not simply to accept reality, the good and the bad, but to embrace it.
A concept from The 33 Strategies of War and The 50th Law. Tactical hell refers to a situation in which you are simply reacting to events and circumstances in life, instead of actually taking control of the situation. Your reactions may be clever (i.e. tactical), but you are only barely keeping your head above water. For example, you may have a sly, witty, or biting retort when a rival says something negative to or about you, but such a retort does little to actually resolve the conflict.
To get out of tactical hell, you must think strategically. You must develop what Greene calls “strategy-in-depth.” This is the ability to see above the fray, about the situation, and get a clear view of where you are going. Here you can decide what battles to fight, what battles to avoid, and how to move forward.
Concept from The 33 Strategies of War. Strategy-in-depth refers to the ability to gain a sense of proportion over your situation by focusing on the bigger picture – what’s going on and where are you headed. Greene opposes strategy-in-depth with what he calls “tactical hell” – a situation where you are just reacting to what life gives – what people say or do, a disruptive event that occurs.
With strategy-in-depth, the idea is to get above the reactiveness and actually gain a sense of control over your situation – by peering into the future and seeing where everything is headed.
THE NEW PRINCE
A concept stemming from Machiavelli and referenced in The 50th Law. For Machiavelli, the New Prince is someone who, through dint of ingenuity and boldness, rises up to power from the bottom. They were not born with advantages; rather, they seized opportunities, acted quickly and with courage, adapted to the times, and overcame obstacles.
For Greene, a classic example of the New Prince is Napoleon Bonaparte, whose deep penchant for military strategy and strong ambition to be in power allowed him, despite humble beginnings, to rise through the ranks and become Emperor of France.
Strategy 12 from The 33 Strategies of War. Greene calls grand strategy “the art of looking beyond the battle and calculating ahead.” It involves constructing a plan with a clear goal in mind and adapting to the circumstances while keeping that goal in mind.
Creating a strong grand strategy is one of the toughest, yet most important skills to achieve power. In war, it means differentiating between fighting and winning, between contending for every advantage and being willing to lose some battles for the greater good you’re trying to achieve.
A symbol from Machiavelli’s The Prince. When a leader comes to power, it is important that he or she knows when to act like a fox – cunning, deceptive, indirect. The best time to play a fox is in the face of toughness or aggression – when someone is openly aggressive, or a situation is clearly unfair. Learn the ways of the fox, using deception and indirection to hide your intentions from the people around you and trap them without their knowing.
THE DARK SIDE
A concept that Greene explores throughout all his books, especially The Art of Seduction. Akin to Carl Jung’s “shadow,” the basic premise is this: we all have a dark side, a part of our personality that no one ever sees, but we all know is there. It is the part of our personality that we hide from the world, but which comes out in glimpses – in little lies we tell or maneuvers we make, or in strong emotional reactions to something.
Typically the dark side is filled with a lot of aggression and insecurity. If you pay attention to people – to their body language, to their reactions, to what they say when they are vulnerable – you can form a better picture of what their dark sides are.