The 48 Laws of Power , Greene puts a modern spin on wisdom that has stood the test of history, only this time his role model is Sun Tzu rath"/>

The 33 Strategies of War

Robert Greene, Author, Joost Elffers, Author . Viking $25.95 (469p) ISBN 978-0-670-03457-4

As in his bestselling The 48 Laws of Power , Greene puts a modern spin on wisdom that has stood the test of history, only this time his role model is Sun Tzu rather than Machiavelli. The argument is fairly standard: despite our most noble intentions, "aggressive impulses that are impossible to ignore or repress" make military combat a fitting metaphor for getting ahead in life. Greene's advice covers everything from steeling one's mind for battle to specific defensive and offensive tactics—notably, the final section on "dirty" warfare is one of the book's longest. Historical lessons are outlined and interpreted, with amplifying quotations crammed into the margins. Not all of the examples are drawn from the battlefield; in one section, Greene skips nimbly from Lyndon Johnson's tenacity to Julius Caesar's decisiveness, from Joan Crawford's refusal to compromise to Ted Williams's competitive drive. Alfred Hitchcock, he says, embodies "the detached-Buddha tactic" of appearing uninvolved while remaining in total control. The diversity of subject matter compensates for occasional lapses into stilted warriorese ("arm yourself with prudence, and never completely lay down your arms, not even for friends"). For those willing to embrace its martial conceit, Greene's compendium offers inspiration and entertainment in equal measure. (Jan. 23)

Reviewed on: 12/12/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
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