The 50th Law is written by Robert Greene in conjunction with 50 Cent. There’s a little bit of 50 Cent life here, but mostly it’s a Robert Greene’s book on power moves and what it takes to acquire power and be successful.
- Power requires fearlessness
- To acquire power you must have a thirst for self reliance (and hate depending on others)
- Look at reality and love reality
Dealing With Fear
Greene says there are two ways to dealing with fear:
- Avoiding what we’re afraid of
- Confronting what we’re afraid of
Greene says that when we’re forced to face our fears we often find out we’re stronger than we thought we were. These moments are therapeutic. But if we have the chance, we go back to our safe shells.
The author says there are people though who have been forced to continuously face their fears. And they have grown fearless. He says the many examples of celebrities and successes coming from the ghettos have been schooled in fearlessness.
I really enjoyed the chapter on realism, which I found a bit similar to what Ray Dalio says in Principles: Life and Work. Greene says you must learn to look at reality and stay as close as possible to it.
Sharpen your curiosity and openness, never turn your back to reality. Dreamers waste time and do the biggest mistakes. The real inventors and innovators are realists.
Greene says that to learn to live well and fearlessly you need to appreciate your mortality. People who had a brush up with death get a sense of urgency that leads them to work hard, accomplish more and enjoy life. When their turn of dying will come, they’ll have no regrets and will have lived a happy life.
The author says you don’t need to risk your life to become fearless, but you can reflect and meditate on it. And then structure your life going backward.
I couldn’t agree more, and it’s funny a few weeks before reading The 50th Law I had actually written my own post exactly on this. Read: leveraging death to live.
We come into this world with the only real possessions that matter:
- Your body
- The time you have to live
- Your energy
- Thoughts and ideas
And yet you give it all away. You spend years working for other, you listen to experts and lose your unique ideas to embrace the majority.
And I really loved this part: don’t think your boss cares about you. He will drop you as soon as he doesn’t need you anymore or someone cheaper comes along.
True ownership can only come from within yourself. It comes from rejecting anyone who limits your mobility, it comes from confidence in your own decisions and by using your time in constant pursuit of growth and education.
You Are Alone
You’re alone in this world. Everyone is pushing and pursuing their own agendas. It’s not a thought you should fear, you should use it to push yourself towards full self reliance and freedom.
Aggression: Know When to Be Bad
This chapter reminded me both 12 Rules of Life and the spirit of The Power Moves, this website.
Greene says we are often naive, believing people are peaceful and desiring good for us. We are too good, and avoid conflict, and sell our real self away in the process. He says that we need inner strength to deal with conflict. And that has nothing to do with bad or good but with strength and fear.
If people feel like they can take from you, they will take from you, says Greene.
Be a Feared Leader
Greene says that many leaders take the wrong route when they decide to be benevolent leaders. A leader will oftentimes be in a position to ask people to do things they don’t wanna do. And when he’s too nice, people will rebel.
Much better, he says, being a ruthless leader. No issues in getting your orders executed, and when you make a compliment, people will really cherish it.
The example is John Ford, and I invite you to get the book for the details.
Belief in Your Leadership
Appear is if you always know where you’re going. Pretend you’re driven by a God, a destiny, or a vision nobody else can see (examples of Joan d’Arc and Moses).
Greene talks a bit about the freedom of choosing our own reaction to any event we encounter. Similar to The 7 Habits of Effective People, the more we focus on what we can control, the more our control zone expands.
He also goes a bit into weak ego and strong ego. Check the book for more or read my post “building an antifragile ego“.
Real Life Applications
Don’t work for others
Your time is one of the most precious things in your life, don’t squander it on someone else’s dream.
Despise anybody limiting your freedom
To become successful, I indeed believe it’s a great asset when you despise anything and anybody limiting your freedom.
Reality VS Stories: doesn’t add up to me
50th says he was trying to go provoke Ja Rule but Ja Rule didn’t take the bait. So he started dissing Supreme, a former druglord friend of Ja Rule, who in turn put pressure on Ja Rule to “destroy” 50th.
This doesn’t add up to me. Why would a druglord ask a rapper to “destroy” a rapper with nothing less than a… Diss track? A diss track which would only bring him more attention?
Also the fact that Ja Rule had to “prove his toughness” with a song… Hmmmm.
Social sciences are a bit of an art and not pure sciences. Yet there’s quite a bit of inductive reasoning fallacy in The 50th Law.
For example, Robert Greene has a theory that ghetto life makes people fearless, which in turn drives to success. Yet just because you see a few successes coming from the ghetto doesn’t necessarily mean ghetto life makes you fearless (and more likely to succeed).
I’m not a big fan of 50 Cent and probably I approached this book with a bit of lower expectation thinking it was mostly marketing. Boy I was wrong. I loved The 50th Law. Absolutely recommended.