TITLE: The 50th Law
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins Publisher
PUBLISHED DATE: September 8, 2009
A coworker of mine put me onto The 48 Laws of Power and the Art of Seduction by Robert Greene. These are classic books that have become prerequisite reading on the syllabus at the School of the Hard Knocks. I have read and reread the Art of Seduction many times - the audiobook is the stuff of legend. I'd hard that rapper 50 Cent and Robert Greene had collaborated on this book, and I put off reading it because I thought it would be some gimmicky mess.
I was wrong.
Just as good as Greene's previous books, "The 50th Law" is a street book for everyone from 50's fans, to the philosopher, to the hardened street soldier. It wasn't perfect, but it had enough to simmer on, so I enjoyed it for what it was.
Mogul, 50 Cent and author Robert Greene have collaborated to create a book that's very much in the tradition of Greene's popular works, The 48 Laws of Power and the Art of Seduction. Greene's style is to pull examples from the titans of history to explain principles that he calls laws - that direct society and human behavior. True to his style, Greene continues to use the format, but includes 50's lived lessons as examples of how 50 Cent was able to turn his life of poverty into a financial success beyond his wildest dreams. The two include stories about Frederick Douglass and Jack Johnson - among others, to drive home the message. Some of my key take-aways from this book:
50 Cent's biggest advantage is fearlessness. Because he came from such a disadvantaged background and was shot in the face and lived, he has a heightened survival mode that made him able to take risks that most are afraid to do.
Don't be afraid to change. 50 Cent recognized rather quickly that as a performer in the music industry, he was a pawn. Instead of relying on the record labels and executives, he decided to diversify his income revenues. As technology changed the landscape of the music industry, 50 was able to be flexible with the change in tides, while many of his former bosses were not, and took down a lot of people who'd depended on them.
Don't take things too personally. The world is harsh and is indifferent to your needs and pain. Don't waste your energy on trying avenge every slight. Handle life's situations from a position of strength and don't get stuck taking every slight or injustice personally.
Work for yourself. Working for others and having to constantly ask for permission is demeaning. There are greater rewards and a better sense of pride in yourself and your work, when you work for yourself.
Be self reliant. People find crutches in family, friendships, relationships, stable jobs that make them unable to be flexible. Be as self reliant as you can, so that you aren't always expecting others to provide you with scaffolding or a safety net to do the things you want to do.
Be opportunistic. always be willing to do a Beyoncé and make lemonade out of lemons. Don't wait for opportunities, make them.
Don't be a people pleaser. Follow your instincts and stay true to yourself.
Be open minded and try to learn from people who are different than you.
The process of mastering something is boring grinding that happens when consistency is applied in order to improve process and knowledge. Keep at it, don't falter.
Death is a part of life. Examine that aspect of life in order to tap into a deeper level of fearlessness.
I listened to the audiobook for this one, and it was narrated by both Robert Greene, and a little by 50 Cent. I would have hoped 50 would have read all of it, but Greene did a good job of reading it. The language is straightforward and accessible. I enjoyed the stories, and though I enjoyed 50 Cent's life examples, some of them were redundant. All in all, the voice and the message was strong.
This book is full of anecdotal wisdom. Depending on how you want to read it - it's a self help, Bible, textbook, Chicken Soup for the Soul type book! It's all that!
This book goes from history to present and all around the world to borrow examples from throughout history that prove The 50th Law to be the gospel.
"You were born with the greatest weapon in all of nature—the rational, conscious mind. It has the power to expand your vision far and wide, giving you the unique capacity to distinguish patterns in events, learn from the past, glimpse into the future, see through appearances. Circumstances are conspiring to dull that weapon and render it useless by turning you inward and making you afraid of reality.”
“WHEN YOU WORK FOR OTHERS, YOU ARE AT THEIR MERCY. THEY OWN YOUR WORK; THEY OWN YOU. YOUR CREATIVE SPIRIT IS SQUASHED. WHAT KEEPS YOU IN SUCH POSITIONS IS A FEAR OF HAVING TO SINK OR SWIM ON YOUR OWN. INSTEAD YOU SHOULD HAVE A GREATER FEAR OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU IF YOU REMAIN DEPENDENT ON OTHERS FOR POWER. YOUR GOAL IN EVERY MANEUVER IN LIFE MUST BE OWNERSHIP, WORKING THE CORNER FOR YOURSELF. WHEN IT IS YOURS TO LOSE-YOU ARE MORE MOTIVATED, MORE CREATIVE, MORE ALIVE. THE ULTIMATE POWER IN LIFE IS TO BE COMPLETELY SELF-RELIANT, COMPLETELY”
“True ownership can come only from within. It comes from a disdain for anything or anybody that impinges upon your mobility, from a confidence in your own decisions, and from the use of your time in constant pursuit of education and improvement."
“We live in a culture that offers you all kinds of crutches—experts to turn to, drugs to cure any psychological unease, mild pleasures to help pass or kill time, jobs to keep you just above water. It is hard to resist. But once you give in, it is like a prison you enter that you cannot ever leave. You continually look outward for help and this severely limits your options and maneuverability."
“Remember: your bosses prefer to keep you in dependent positions. It is in their interest that you do not become self-reliant, and so they will tend to hoard information. You must secretly work against this and seize this information for yourself.”
“You must remember that when people give you things or do you favors it is always with strings attached. They want something from you in return—assistance, unquestioned loyalty, and so forth. You want to keep yourself free of as many of these obligations as possible, so get in the habit of taking what you need for yourself instead of expecting others to give it to you.”
“Understand: you are one of a kind. Your character traits are a kind of chemical mix that will never be repeated in history. There are ideas unique to you, a specific rhythm and perspective that are your strengths, not your weaknesses. You must not be afraid of your uniqueness and you must care less and less what people think of you.”
"When you complain and rail against circumstances, you fall out of balance with the natural state of things; you wish things were different. What you must do instead is accept the fact that all events occur for a reason, and that it is within your capacity to see this reason as positive."
“All human activities involve a process of mastery. You must learn the various steps and procedures involved, proceeding to higher and higher levels of proficiency. This requires discipline and tenacity—the ability to withstand repetitive activity, slowness, and the anxiety that comes with such a challenge.”
"When you raise your opinion of yourself and what you are capable of it has a decided influence on what you do."
“Understand: people judge you by appearances, the image you project through your actions, words, and style. If you do not take control of this process, then people will see and define you the way they want to, often to your detriment. You might think that being consistent with this image will make others respect and trust you, but in fact it is the opposite—over time you seem predictable and weak.
I love it. It's classic. And they even sell the original in an imitation leather! It's so hood rich! I love it!
Recommendation: Read it!
Audience: Young Adults and Up (It's not labeled as YA...but come on... Seriously...)
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