General

Strategies and tactics to live better

T.T. Srinath | Updated on: Nov 30, 2021
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The author gives a nudge to live out our life with the passion that we can command

If you Google Robert Greene, it shows up 'Robert Greene, American author'. His most important book quoted is The 48 Laws of Power.

The short explanation for the book provokes: 'If you want to remain naive (don’t read this book) go watch Netflix.' This entices. It almost sounds cocky and tells us, that if we do not read Robert Greene, we will ‘miss the woods for the trees.’

The book being reviewed here, The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy and Human Nature , spells this out.

Well then, what is alluring about a book that reads like one more self-help book?

The opening words of the preface tell us, 'this is a self-help book with a difference.'

Like Dickens who began his famous book The Tale of Two Cities , with arresting words 'it was the best of times and the worst of times' Greene’s emphasis that 'from the beginning of our existence as a species, we humans have depended on our connection to reality for our very survival and success', sets the tone of what follows in the 366 'meditations' he offers for rumination.

The book is 453 pages, each page covering one day of a month. Greene suggests two ways to read this book, rapidly in one go or day by day page by page.

New thought and ideas

The latter seems more plausible for each page and each day surface a new thought, a new idea of how a reader can examine one's life, assess the choices one makes and appreciate the consequences of those choices. Most days begin with a quote followed by an idea that we can mull over.

Self-help books believe they are giving the reader ‘sagely wisdom’ and thus become prescriptive. The Daily Laws, I think, also tends to suffer mildly from this malaise.

Yet if one wishes to read it as a book of affirmation and not as a book of homilies then there is assured gain for the reader. The book propagates both strategies and tactics to live in this world and among people. There are months dedicated to handling power dynamics, working with our higher self and ultimately reaching a state of cosmic sublimation.

January 1 begins by suggesting that we commence the year by 'reconnecting with our innate force'.

Steve Jobs was purported to have said, 'if your dream list is shorter than your achievement list, it means you have grown old.' This book testifies to that by sharing stories of many who dreamed about what they wanted long before they got it because the dream they dreamt was compelling and powerful.

Possibility thinking

Robert Schuller wrote about possibility thinking many years ago. This book emphasises such thought, and when Greene asserts, again in January itself, that 'you don't want to abandon the skills and experience you have gained, but to find a new way to apply them,' our buffet of opportunities increase.

Howard Thurman said, 'Don't ask the World what it needs ask yourself what you need to feel alive, then go and get it for what the World needs are people who are alive.'

Greene says in one of his Daily laws, 'Do something that makes you feel at the peak of your being today'. Though a prescription, it is a nudge for each of us to live out our life with the passion that we can command and draw upon from within.

Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, often talked about ‘our shadow side’ that part of us which we may know little about and may have also disowned.

Confront your dark side

Greene says with immense conviction, 'confront your dark side.' In not doing so, we lose a part of who we are, and as Scot Peck, another eminent writer and psychologist, says so well in his book ‘People of the lie’, we live a 'lie'.

When we confront who we are, Greene points out in his daily brief, that ‘the obstacle is the way' will we break through the self-imposed glass ceiling.

Greene’s book, is in some ways, an amalgam of much of the body of work that social scientists worked and developed over the years. The Daily laws is a synthesis of the many ideas and theories that innumerable and eminent practitioners of applied behavioural science developed over time. The tagline that Greene employs to help us navigate our lives is ‘become a radical realist.’

Therefore, the Daily laws is e a day-by-day guide, a reckoner that each of us can keep beside us as we retire for the night and begin our day by waking up to the page of the day.

(The writer is a visiting professor at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, and is an organisational and behavioural consultant.)

Book review – ‘Daily Laws’ by Robert Greene.

Published by: Profile Books

Pages 464; Price: ₹540

Check out the book on Amazon here

Published on November 30, 2021

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