How to Keep Your Head: Saturday Read #4

Let’s roll into this week’s edition of Saturday Read with a quote on our theme for the week: Learning.

The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

Source: T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Business Motivation is the category from which our top 5 best-selling books emerge this week. Which is really exciting because I have a review of  book # 3 The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

Some of these books on the list are not new, but perennial best sellers you’ve probably heard of.

With out further ado, here is this week’s list.

Top 5 Best Selling Business Motivational Books for the Week Ending

April 5 2014


1. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change
by Adam Braun

2. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J Stanley Ph.D.

3 The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

4. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

5. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don?t by Simon Sinek

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Starting with the first law of power: Never Outshine the Master through to the last law: Assume Formlessness, you are immersed in a grand adventure that will lead you deep into the our past where you will meet a cast of characters that helped shape and form the world today. These are not dull histories but brilliant examples of how each law works under the title of “Observance of the Law or how each law shouldn’t be applied under the heading Transgressions of the Law. Each law is illustrated in this way with actual examples from history. No one era is highlighted. You get to meet a varied cast many of whom lost their heads with their miss use of the Laws of Power.

But that is only one dimension of this amazing book.

Another dimension is the side bar material. The side bar also illustrates the point the author is making through the use of quotes , fairy tales, parables or fables from a deliciously interesting mix of sources.

Then there are the summations and the end of each law: Keys to Power, with some interesting use of text graphics. (Not only is the material radical, so is the design of the book.)

This isn’t a book to sit down and read in one day. It took me a while but I developed a strategy for reading the book. Once I settled in I would read a chapter a day, but sometimes the material took me off on a tangent leaving the chapter unfinished until the next day. I also began to read the side bar information first before I got into the text. I found it less interuptive   that way. Let me rephrase that, allow a smoother flow to the material. You’ll understand what I’m trying to say if you read the book.

Have your Evernote open and your cell phone camera ready, your highlighter pencils and your tab makers you are going to need them.

This is a big book. It will delight you, anger you, frustrate you, make you laugh, astonish you. At times you will disagree violently to some of the material but it does force open your mind to see things from a different angle even if you don’t care for what you are reading. Some of my favorite parts where about the con artists down though time and how they used the laws of power to pull off their scams. You will get an entirely different view of history from a unique perspective. The book will make you itch to learn more and fortunately there is a good bibliography at the end of the book which serves as a reference tool to delve further.

I wanted to give you a quote from the book but there is a danger that it doesn’t accurately convey the vast breadth of Robert Greene’s exploration.

So I will leave you with this Quote from the ‘Yellow Kid” a notorious con artist of the modern age:

“This desire to get something for nothing has been very costly to many people who have dealt with me and with other con men…When people learn-as I doubt they will-that  they can’t get something for nothing, crime will diminish, and we shall all live in greater harmony.” source The Yellow Kid a.k.a Joseph Weil from The 48 Laws of Power.

I recommend you use this book as a daily reader. If you don’t have such a thing, this is a good place to start.

Nick Grimshawe

Here is an interesting interview with Robert Greene who explains how the idea for 48 Law of Power came into being.



Nick’s Book Shelf Recommendation

Since I’ve just finished   the book I was reading I’ve decided to go back and reread the book that really gave my life a new spark and a new direction many years ago. How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael J. Gelb. It’s my new daily reader. The book offers some great insights into Leonardo but also into the brain, and into journaling.

Reading Quote of the Week

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Source:  Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Well that’s a wrap for this week.

Enjoy your brilliant weekend.

Go on an adventure; Read a Book.



Leave a comment
  • Nick, you are absolutely on fire. This is one of the best book reviews I have ever read, and I have read more than just a few. So much so that I am leaving here to order the book at Amazon. And I’m going to order it in paper so I can highlight and mark in the margins….

    I have, on my trusty Kindle, a copy of the translations of Leonardo da Vinci’s Journals. It is tough sledding at times, but the genius of the man shows through at every point. I read a few days from it, and then let it sit. But I always go back…

    Thanks Nick, just another terrific post from you!
    Tom Wacker recently posted…Saturday Shortstop: Robin YountMy Profile

  • If I could be humble but with ego, I’d have to admit I was pretty please with this post. It took a little longer than normal, but I loved every minute of writing it. Thanks for reading and commenting on this column.


  • Nick, this helped me understand the point of 48 Laws a whole lot more.

    I have been listening to the audio version and I just find myself getting mad at all the manipulation and underhandedness.

    I’m only on Law 12 – Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm Your Victim

    Even what he calls proper use of the law, I have found very disheartening so far.

    I had to turn it off. Perhaps when you add in all the sidebar notes etc. you get a more rounded picture.

    I may give that a try.

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