The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, is essentially a manual on power dynamics. Greene uses examples from history, psychology and strategy to explain the laws that he says govern power relationships between individuals. If you’re running a company with multiple stakeholders, you want to know about these laws. The book was published in 1998, sold over 1.2 million copies in the United States alone, and has been translated into 24 languages. Learn how to apply its teachings to get more of what you want in work and life.
The 48 laws can be split into 7 key themes, each with application to business strategy and success. Select the prompt for whichever theme relates to your specific business goals right now and copy, paste and edit the square brackets in ChatGPT.
ChatGPT prompts to use the 48 Laws of Power in your business
Understand human psychology
If you know the underlying motivations and fears of your business partners, employees and competitors, you’ll have a strategic advantage in business decisions. Laws including law 1, “never outshine the master,” law 9, “win through your actions, never through argument,” and law 32, “play to people’s fantasies” are incorporated in this theme and accompanying prompt, to give you ideas on how to adapt your behaviour to win the support of those around you.
“I want to apply these three rules from Robert Greene’s book, 48 Laws of Power, to my business: (1) Never outshine the master. (9) Win through your actions. (32) Play to people’s fantasies. My business is [describe your business] and I work with [include information on your team, clients and direct reports]. Specifically applied to [name one of these relationships], how could I use the book’s insights to create a successful outcome with the goal of [describe your intended outcome].”
Use manipulation and control
You might not want to run your business using manipulation and control, and that’s totally understandable. However, you probably don’t want to be manipulated and controlled yourself. Know how this law is used to prevent it being used against you. Laws including 9, “conceal your intentions,” 7, “get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit,” and law 11, “learn to keep people dependent on you” focus on the hidden motives of other people that can help them get their way. See how this law could be used in practice with this simple prompt.
“I’m interested in applying three rules from Robert Greene’s book, 48 Laws of Power, to my business: (3) Conceal your intentions, (7) Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit, and (11) Learn to keep others dependent on you. My business is [describe your business]. Specifically with regard to [name one of these relationships, for example a team member or client], how can I utilize these laws to achieve a successful outcome in [describe your intended business goal or situation]?”
Build and protect your reputation
Your reputation does more than precede you. It can win you better clients, more capable team members and a higher standard of living. It opens doors, it brings opportunities, it’s tough to get back once it’s gone. Laws of power including law 5, “so much depends on reputation—guard it with your life,” and law 46, “never appear too perfect” concern the way you are seen by others. Put your reputation first to keep it delivering on your behalf.
“I’m looking to safeguard and enhance my business reputation using insights from Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, specifically (5) Guard your reputation with your life and (46) Never appear too perfect. My business specializes in [describe your business sector and main activities]. In my day-to-day operations and when facing situations involving [mention a particular scenario such as negotiations, public relations, customer interactions, etc.], how might I apply these laws to maintain and possibly improve my reputation, ensuring it aids in attracting and retaining [state whether you mean partnerships, investments, customers, or another aspect of business relationships]?”
Have impeccable timing
There is a right and a wrong time to do most things. Knowing when to launch a product, make an investment, or step away from a business partner can make a huge difference to your entrepreneurial success. Laws including law 28, “enter action with boldness” and law 35, “master the art of timing” are here to guide you on your way to perfectly-timed achievements on your terms.
I’m considering the strategic importance of timing as outlined in Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, focusing on (28) Enter action with boldness and (35) Master the art of timing. I’m currently faced with a decision regarding [describe the specific decision or action you are contemplating, such as launching a new product, entering a new market, hiring a key team member, etc.]. Given the complexities of my business in the [briefly describe your industry or sector], and considering factors like [mention any relevant factors like market conditions, competitive landscape, internal readiness, etc.], how could I determine the most opportune moment to act? Furthermore, once I’ve decided on the timing, how might I implement this decision boldly to maximize the impact on my [state the goal such as sales, growth, market presence, etc.]?”
Use strategic withdrawal
For ultimate power, you should be easy to find but difficult to reach. Withdrawal can create demand for your attention and services, win you more respect from your peers, and give you time to recalibrate your strategy and actually do the work. Hiding away in hermit mode is probably a good idea every now and again. Laws including law 4, “always say less than necessary” and law 16, “use absence to increase respect and honor” can help you here. Sometimes less is more.
“In line with Robert Greene’s Laws of Power, particularly (4) Always say less than necessary and (16) Use absence to increase respect and honor, I am contemplating a strategic withdrawal from certain aspects of my business in the next three months. In my business I [describe your role and day-to-day involvement]. Considering the potential benefits of creating a stronger demand for my services and gaining a refreshed perspective, what strategies could I employ to effectively become more absent while ensuring it leads to increased respect and productivity?”
Preserve your interests
If everyone looked after number one, everyone would be looked after. So look after number one. Laws including law 19, “know who you’re dealing with—do not offend the wrong person” and law 20, “do not commit to anyone” ensure you safeguard your personal interests and don’t create dependency on people who might let you down. Even though you’re working with partners, suppliers and team members, not neglecting your own needs will ensure you can show up as the best version of you more often than not.
“In adhering to the principles of Law 19, ‘Know who you’re dealing with—do not offend the wrong person,’ and Law 20, ‘Do not commit to anyone,’ from Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, I aim to reassess where my business might be overly reliant on others. My business operates within the [insert industry], and I collaborate with [describe typical partnerships, suppliers, or team arrangements]. Can you help me identify areas where I may be depending too much on someone else, and propose strategies for re-establishing my autonomy while still maintaining healthy professional relationships? Additionally, how could I apply these laws to place my interests first, ensuring that my business is protected and that I can consistently be the best leader for my team and company?”
Play the social game
Your network is your net worth. The two are intrinsically linked. Elevated social capital brings opportunities reserved for those who are known, liked and trusted by other people. If you have limited reserves of social capital, start building them now. Law 6, “court attention at all costs,” and law 24, “play the perfect courtier,” concur. Figure out how to get seen, make a plan for meeting more people, and find doors that were previously closed start to open.
“As I focus on expanding my professional network and increasing my social capital, in accordance with Law 6, ‘Court attention at all costs,’ and Law 24, ‘Play the perfect courtier,’ from the 48 Laws of Power, I’m looking for innovative ways to elevate my visibility within the [insert your industry] industry and beyond. Can you suggest actionable steps I can take to attract more attention to my personal and brand presence, as well as strategies for organizing my weekly schedule to maximize opportunities for new meetings and connections? After, suggest how I incorporate these laws to not only extend my network but also ensure that I’m creating genuine and mutually beneficial relationships.”
48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: how to apply it to your business
Applying these 7 themes from the 48 Laws of Power could give you an edge in business. At the very least, it will stop others from getting an edge over you. Use these prompts to explore the teachings in your own entrepreneurial endeavours. Thinking through every situation to find the hidden meaning brings strategic benefits, as does being a few steps ahead of everyone else. With complete understanding of human psychology and the complex dynamics of power, you’ll be able to craft every situation to your will while beautifully adhering to law 30: make your accomplishments seem effortless.