The 5 Power Games

Throughout his books, Greene explores different kinds of power games a person will often find him or herself. Each of Greene’s books explores one type of game you’ll often encounter and strategies and principles for winning these games. Though they are laid out here separately, you may often find yourself playing multiple games at a time.

The Court Game

Book

The 48 Laws of Power

Main Players

  • Opponents – these can include co-workers, business rivals, competing candidates, or personal enemies
  • Master – this could be a boss, a prospective client, a mark (if you’re a con artist), the public, or an audience

Objective

To outmaneuver your opponents and/or gain the favor of your master

Examples

  • Political campaign
  • Getting a promotion
  • Winning a client
  • Conning someone
  • Securing a position at work

Primary Weapon(s) for Gaining Power

Deception and indirection


The Attraction Game

Book

The Art of Seduction

Main Players

The Target – the person whom you are trying to attract and influence

Objective

To reduce your target’s psychological defenses and make him or her open to your influence

Examples

  • Political campaign
  • Marketing a business
  • Developing a fan-base
  • Getting a date with someone

Primary Weapon(s) for Gaining Power

Non-verbal communication and attentiveness to details


The Aggression Game

Book

The 33 Strategies of War

Main Players

  • Enemies – these may be people who are actively trying to bring you down
  • Subordinates – these are people whom you must inspire and lead to help you deal with conflict
  • Allies – these are people whom you could use to win conflicts

Objective

To utilize your subordinates, allies, and your personal skills to resolve personal and interpersonal conflict to your advantage

Examples

  • Winning a political battle
  • Helping a psychotherapy patient
  • Dealing with a resistant child or student
  • Leading a team
  • Competing against another company
  • Dealing with uncooperative or adversarial co-workers
  • Dealing with uncooperative leaders or allies

Primary Weapon(s) for Gaining Power

Grand thinking


The Domination Game

Book

The 50th Law

Main Players

  • Fear – this is what keeps you from taking bold action and harnessing a bold attitude; the most important factor to overcome
  • Competitors – these are direct or indirect aggressors who want to keep you under their control
  • Subordinates – these are people whom you must inspire and lead in order to help you dominate
  • Audience – these are people whose attention and resources you need in order to dominate

Objective

To overcome fear and utilize subordinates in order to gain or increase your control over your personal, social, and professional environment and circumstances

Examples

  • Starting a business
  • Rising up in an organization
  • Creating a new style of art or entertainment
  • Confronting aggressive or passive-aggressive co-workers

Primary Weapon(s) for Gaining Power

Bold action and attitude


The Innovation Game

Book

Mastery

Objective

To produce on a consistent basis lasting and effective innovation in your field of study or industry

Examples

  • Starting a business
  • Developing a new field of study or industry
  • Mastering a new skill or field of study
  • Developing your professional career

Primary Weapon(s) for Gaining Power

Focus and passion

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