The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene, is “the definitive book on decoding the behavior of the people around you“.

Even though we are all human, we often don’t understand what drives people to feel and behave the way they do. In The Laws of Human Nature Robert Greene looks at several laws that explain certain irrational behaviors, like why we self-sabotage, behave differently in groups, want the wrong things, and so on.

Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene shows how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people’s masks, and how to resist conformity to develop our singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defense.

Robert Greene is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power.


“In nineteenth-century India, under British colonial rule, authorities decided there were too many venomous cobras in the streets of Delhi, making life uncomfortable for the British residents and their families. To solve this they offered a reward for every dead cobra residents would bring in. Soon enterprising locals began to breed cobras in order to make a living from the bounty. The government caught on to this and canceled the program. The breeders, resentful of the rulers and angered by their actions, decided to release their cobras back on the streets, thereby tripling the population from before the government program.” ― Robert Greene

“we tend to think of our behavior as largely conscious and willed. To imagine that we are not always in control of what we do is a frightening thought, but in fact it is the reality.” ― Robert Greene

“The ability to gauge people’s true worth, their degree of loyalty and conscientiousness, is one of the most important skills you can possess, helping you avoid the bad hires, partnerships, and relationships that can make your life miserable. ” ― Robert Greene

“We have a continual desire to communicate our feelings and yet at the same time the need to conceal them for proper social functioning.” ― Robert Greene

“Like everyone, you think you are rational, but you are not. Rationality is not a power you are born with but one you acquire through training and practice. ” ― Robert Greene

“Feeling superior and beyond it is a sure sign that the irrational is at work.” ― Robert Greene

“In the end, people want to hear their own ideas and preferences confirmed by an expert opinion. They will interpret what you say in light of what they want to hear; and if your advice runs counter to their desires, they will find some way to dismiss your opinion, you so-called expertise. The more powerful the person, the more they are subject to this form of the confirmation bias. ” ― Robert Greene

“Man will only become better when you make him see what he is like. —Anton Chekhov” ― Robert Greene

“Whenever you experience unusual gains or losses, that is precisely the time to step back and counterbalance them with some necessary pessimism or optimism. Be extra wary of sudden success and attention–they are not built on anything that lasts and they have an addictive pull. And the fall is always painful.” ― Robert Greene

“He increasingly spoke of himself in the third person, as if he had become an impersonal revolutionary force, and as such he was infallible. If he happened to mispronounce a word in a speech, every subsequent speaker from then on would have to pronounce it that way. “If I’d said it right,” confessed one of his top lieutenants, “Stalin would have felt I was correcting him.” And that could prove suicidal.” ― Robert Greene

“Because we are not really relating to women and men as they are, but rather to our projections, we will eventually feel disappointed in them, as if they are to blame for not being what we had imagined. The relationship will often tend to fall apart from the misreading and miscommunications on both sides, and not aware of the source of this, we will go through precisely the same cycle with the next person.” ― Robert Greene

“Throughout history we witness continual cycles of rising and falling levels of the irrational. The great golden age of Pericles, with its philosophers and its first stirrings of the scientific spirit, was followed by an age of superstition, cults, and intolerance. This same phenomenon happened after the Italian Renaissance. That this cycle is bound to recur again and again is part of human nature.” ― Robert Greene

“Your eyes must be on the larger trends that govern events, on that which is not immediately visible. Never lose sight of your long-term goals. With an elevated perspective, you will have the patience and clarity to reach almost any objective.” ― Robert Greene

“In the backgrounds of almost all deep narcissists we find either abandonment or enmeshment. The result is that they have no self to retreat to, no foundation for self-esteem, and are completely dependent on the attention they can get from others to make them feel alive and worthy. ” ― Robert Greene

“when people overtly display some trait, such as confidence or hypermasculinity, they are most often concealing the contrary reality.” ― Robert Greene

“Nonverbal communication cannot be experienced simply through thinking and translating thoughts into words but must be felt physically as one engages with the facial expressions or locked positions of other people. It is a different form of knowledge, one that connects with the animal part of our nature and involves our mirror neurons. ” ― Robert Greene

“If people with natural gifts also possess a good work ethic and have some luck in life, envy will follow them wherever they go.” ― Robert Greene

“Take notice of people who praise or flatter you without their eyes lighting up. This could be a sign of hidden envy. ” ― Robert Greene

“It is impossible to not have our inclinations and feelings somehow involved in what we think. Rational people are aware of this and through introspection and effort are able, to some extent, to subtract emotions from their thinking and counteract their effect. Irrational people have no such awareness. They rush into action without carefully considering the ramifications and consequences.” ― Robert Greene

“People with consummate acting skills can better navigate our complex social environments and get ahead.” ― Robert Greene

“We often notice a similar sensation of confusion and helplessness when it comes to ourselves and our own behavior. For instance, we suddenly say something that offends our boss or colleague or friend—we are not quite sure where it came from, but we are frustrated to find that some anger and tension from within has leaked out in a way that we regret.” ― Robert Greene

“People will tend to leak out more of their true feelings, and certainly hostile ones, when they are drunk, sleepy, frustrated, angry, or under stress. They will later tend to excuse this, as if they weren’t themselves for the moment, but in fact they are actually being more themselves than ever. ” ― Robert Greene

“We are continually judging other people. We want others to think and act a certain way. Usually, the way we think and act. Because this is impossible, we continually get upset. Instead, we should see other people as phenomena, as neutral as comets or planets. They come in all varieties, which makes like rich and interesting.” ― Robert Greene

“Since your success depends on the people you work with and for, make their character the primary object of your attention. You will spare yourself the misery of discovering their character when it is too late. ” ― Robert Greene

“In knowing yourself, you accept your limits. You are simply one person among many in the world, and not naturally superior to anyone.” ― Robert Greene

“Nobody likes to believe that they are operating under some kind of compulsion beyond their control. It is too disturbing a thought. ” ― Robert Greene

“The Relentless Rebel: At first glance such people can seem quite exciting. They hate authority and love the underdog. Almost all of us are secretly attracted to such an attitude; it appeals to the adolescent within us, the desire to snub our nose at the teacher. They don’t recognize rules or precedents. Following conventions is for those who are weak and stodgy. These types will often have a biting sense of humor, which they might turn on you, but that is part of their authenticity, their need to deflate everyone, or so you think. But if you happen to associate with this type more closely, you will see that it is something they cannot control; it is a compulsion to feel superior, not some higher moral quality.” ― Robert Greene

“But it would be wise to practice instead the opposite, what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called Mitfreude—“joying with.” As he wrote, “The serpent that stings us means to hurt us and rejoices as it does so; the lowest animal can imagine the pain of others. But to imagine the joy of others and to rejoice at it is the highest privilege of the highest animals.” ― Robert Greene

“The quality of attachment that we had in our earliest years will create deep tendencies within us, in particular the way we use relationships to handle or modulate our stress. ” ― Robert Greene

“As Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” ― Robert Greene

“People will never do something just once. They might try to excuse themselves, to say they lost their heads in the moment, but you can be sure they will repeat whatever foolishness they did on another occasion, compelled by their character and habits. In fact, they will often repeat actions when it is completely against their self-interest, revealing the compulsive nature of their weaknesses. ” ― Robert Greene

“It is estimated that over 65 percent of all human communication is nonverbal but that people pick up and internalize only about 5 percent of this information.” ― Robert Greene

“So often we think that power has changed people, when in fact it simply reveals more of who they are. ” ― Robert Greene

“What if we could find out what causes us to lie about who we are, or to inadvertently push people away?” ― Robert Greene

“Another realm to examine is how people behave in moments away from work. In a game or sport they might reveal a competitive nature that they cannot turn off. They have a fear of being overtaken in anything, even when they are driving. They must be ahead, out in front. This can be channeled functionally into their work, but in off hours it reveals deep layers of insecurities. ” ― Robert Greene

“Everything we’ve got, or so we think, comes from natural talent and hard work. But with other people, we are quick to ascribe to them all kinds of Machiavellian tactics. This allows us to justify whatever we do, no matter the results.” ― Robert Greene

“Once you understand you are dealing with someone of the other variety than yourself, you must reassess their character and not foist your own preferences on them. ” ― Robert Greene

“We imagine we’re acting of our own free will, unaware of how deeply our susceptibility to the emotions of others in the group is affecting what we do and how we respond.” ― Robert Greene

“People of real strength are as rare as gold, and if you find them, you should respond as if you had discovered a treasure. ” ― Robert Greene

“Our continual connection to social media makes us prone to new forms of viral emotional effects. These are not media designed for calm reflection.” ― Robert Greene

“Instead of focusing on what you want and covet in the world, you must train yourself to focus on others, on their repressed desires and unmet fantasies. ” ― Robert Greene

“Be extra careful in the work environment with those who like to maintain their position through charm and being political, rather than by getting things done.” ― Robert Greene

“More and more people have come to believe that others should simply desire them for who they are. This means revealing as much as they can about themselves, exposing all of their likes and dislikes, and making themselves as familiar as possible. They leave no room for imagination or fantasy, and when the man or woman they want loses interest in them, they go online to rant at the superficiality of men or the fecklessness of women. ” ― Robert Greene

“If they come from another culture, it is all the more important to understand this culture from within their experience.” ― Robert Greene

“If you are observing someone you naturally dislike, or who reminds you of someone unpleasant in your past, you will tend to see almost any cue as unfriendly or hostile. You will do the opposite for people you like. In these exercises you must strive to subtract your personal preferences and prejudices about people.” ― Robert Greene

“Instead of constantly chasing after the latest trends and modeling our desires on what others find exciting, we should spend our time getting to know our own tastes and desires better, so that we can distinguish what is something we truly need or want from that which has been manufactured by advertisers or viral effects. ” ― Robert Greene

“Related to this is what is known as Othello’s error. In the play Othello by Shakespeare, the main character, Othello, assumes that his wife, Desdemona, is guilty of adultery based on her nervous response when questioned about some evidence. In truth Desdemona is innocent, but the aggressive, paranoid nature of Othello and his intimidating questions make her nervous, which he interprets as a sign of guilt. What happens in such cases is that we pick up certain emotional cues from the other person—nervousness, for instance—and we assume they come from a certain source. We rush to the first explanation that fits what we want to see. But the nervousness could have several explanations, could be a temporary reaction to our questioning or the overall circumstances. The error is not in the observing but in the decoding.” ― Robert Greene

“Avoid deep contact with those whose time frame is narrow, who are in continual react mode, and strive to associate with those with an expanded awareness of time. ” ― Robert Greene

“Keep in mind that there are generally more extroverts than introverts in the world.” ― Robert Greene

“Put the focus on others. Let them do the talking. Let them be the stars of the show. Their opinions and values are worth emulating. The causes they support are the noblest. Such attention is so rare in this world, and people are so hungry for it, that giving them such validation will tower their defenses and open their minds to whatever ideas you want to insinuate. ” ― Robert Greene

“Ït is always better to praise people for their effort, not their talent. ” ― Robert Greene

“Pay attention to those above you for signs of insecurity and envy. They will inevitably have a track record of firing people for strange reasons. They will not seem particularly happy with that excellent report you turned in. Always play it safe by deferring to bosses, making them look better, and earning their trust. Couch your brilliant ideas as their ideas. Let them get all the credit for your hard work. Your time to shine will come,” ― Robert Greene

“People often won’t do what others ask them to do, because they simply want to assert their will. ” ― Robert Greene

“Our continual connection to social media makes us prone to new forms of viral emotional effects. These are not media designed for calm reflection. With their constant presence, we have less and less mental space to step back and think.” ― Robert Greene

“When it comes to the ideas and opinions you hold, see them as toys or building blocks that you are playing with. Some you will keep, others you will knock down, but your spirit remains flexible and playful. ” ― Robert Greene

“After all, you might argue, we are now so sophisticated and technologically advanced, so progressive and enlightened; we have moved well beyond our primitive roots; we are in the process of rewriting our nature. But the truth is in fact the opposite—we have never been more in the thrall of human nature and its destructive potential than now. And by ignoring this fact, we are playing with fire.” ― Robert Greene

“The world simply exists as it is–things or events are not good or bad, right or wrong, ugly or beautiful. It is we with our particular perspectives who add color to or subtract it from things and people. ” ― Robert Greene

‘You are not a pawn in a game controlled by others; you are an active player who can move the pieces at will and even rewrite the rules. ” ― Robert Greene

“To this day, we humans remain highly susceptible to the moods and emotions of those around us, compelling all kinds of behavior on our part—unconsciously imitating others, wanting what they have, getting swept up in viral feelings of anger or outrage.” ― Robert Greene

‘How to view the world: See yourself as an explorer. With the gift of consciousness, you stand before a vast and unknown universe that we humans have just begun to investigate. ” ― Robert Greene

“Although adversity and pain are generally beyond your control, you have the power to determine your response and the fate that comes from that. ” ― Robert Greene

“The first step toward becoming rational is to understand our fundamental irrationality. There are two factors that should render this more palatable to our egos: nobody is exempt from the irresistible effect of emotions on the mind, not even the wisest among us; and to some extent irrationality is a function of the structure of our brains and is wired into our very nature by the way we process emotions. Being irrational is almost beyond our control.” ― Robert Greene

“We want to learn the lesson and not repeat the experience. But in truth, we do not like to look too closely at what we did; our introspection is limited. Our natural response is to blame others, circumstances, or a momentary lapse of judgment.” ― Robert Greene

“In order for enviers to feel entitled to take harmful action, they must create a narrative: everything the other person does reveals some negative trait; they do not deserve their superior positions. ” ― Robert Greene

“Gratitude is the best antidote to envy. ” ― Robert Greene

“We want to feel significant in some way, to protest against our natural smallness, to expand our sense of self. What we experienced at the age of three or four unconsciously haunts us our entire lives. We alternate between moments of sensing our smallness and trying to deny it. This makes us prone to finding ways to imagine our superiority. ” ― Robert Greene

“On the internet, it is easy to find studies that support both sides of an argument. In general, you should never accept the validity of people’s ideas because they have supplied “evidence.” Instead, examine the evidence yourself in the cold light of day, with as much skepticism as you can muster. Your first impulse should always be to find the evidence that disconfirms your most cherished beliefs and those of others. That is true science.” ― Robert Greene

“Weakness comes from the inability to ask questions and to learn. Lower your self-opinion. You are not as great or skilled as you imagine. This will spur you to actually improve yourself. ” ― Robert Greene

“Experimenting with the skills and options related to your personality and inclinations is not only the single most essential step in developing a high sense of purpose, it is perhaps the most important step in life in general. ” ― Robert Greene

“If necessary, manufacture reasonably tight deadlines to intensify your sense of purpose. ” ― Robert Greene

“Always break tasks into smaller bites. Each day or week you must have microgoals. This will help you focus and avoid entanglements or detours that will waste your energy. ” ― Robert Greene

“No matter the type of culture, or how disruptive it might have been in its origins, the longer a group exists and the larger it grows, the more conservative it will become. This is an inevitable result of the desire to hold on to what people have made or built, and to rely on tried-and-true ways to maintain the status quo. This creeping conservatism will often be the death of the group, because it slowly loses the ability to adapt. ” ― Robert Greene

“We are all self-absorbed, locked in our own worlds. It is a therapeutic and liberating experience to be drawn outside ourselves and into the world of another.” ― Robert Greene

“Today, in our modern sophisticated world, you will notice this very ancient dynamic continually at play: any group will reflexively focus on some hated enemy, real or imagined, to help bring the tribe together. ” ― Robert Greene

“One faction to pay particular attention to is the one that is formed by those in the higher echelons, which we can identify as the elites in the group. Although elites themselves sometimes split into rival factions, more often than not, when push comes to shove, they will unite and work to preserve their elite status. The clan tends to look after its own, all the more so among the powerful. ” ― Robert Greene

“You can recognize deep narcissists by the following behavior patterns: If they are ever insulted or challenged, they have no defense, nothing internal to soothe them or validate their worth. They generally react with great rage, thirsting for vengeance, full of a sense of righteousness. This is the only way they know how to assuage their insecurities. In such battles, they will position themselves as the wounded victim, confusing others and even drawing sympathy. They are prickly and oversensitive. Almost everything is taken personally. They can become quite paranoid and have enemies in all directions to point to.” ― Robert Greene

“We must understand the fundamental task of any leader–to provide a far-reaching vision, to see the global picture, to work for the greater good of the group and maintain its unity. That is what people crave in their leaders. ” ― Robert Greene

“Learn to question yourself: Why this anger or resentment? Where does this incessant need for attention come from? Under such scrutiny, your emotions will lose their hold on you. You will begin to think for yourself instead of reacting to what others give you.” ― Robert Greene

“As the leader, you must be seen working as hard as or even harder than everyone else. You set the highest standards for yourself. You are consistent and accountable. If there are sacrifices that need to be made, you are the first to make them for the good of the group. This sets the proper tone. ” ― Robert Greene

“You have a responsibility to contribute to the culture and times you live in. ” ― Robert Greene

“We see people not as they are, but as they appear to us. And these appearances are usually misleading.” ― Robert Greene

“Human aggression stems from an underlying insecurity, as opposed to simply an impulse to hurt or take from others. ” ― Robert Greene

“If you come across any special trait of meanness or stupidity . . . you must be careful not to let it annoy or distress you, but to look upon it merely as an addition to your knowledge—a new fact to be considered in studying the character of humanity. Your attitude towards it will be that of the mineralogist who stumbles upon a very characteristic specimen of a mineral. —Arthur Schopenhauer” ― Robert Greene

“We must see this hypersensitivity to criticism as a sign of great inner weakness. A person who is truly strong from within can endure criticism and open discussion without feeling personally threatened. ” ― Robert Greene

“If you stop focusing on people’s words and the facade they present, and concentrate on their actions and their nonverbal cues, you can almost sense the level of aggressiveness they emanate. ” ― Robert Greene

“The denial is stronger than ever–it is always the other person, the other side, the other culture that is more aggressive and destructive. We must finally come to terms with the fact that it is not the other but ourselves, all of us, no matter the time or the culture. We must own this fact of our nature before we can even begin to consider moving beyond it. It is only in our awareness that we can start to think of progress. ” ― Robert Greene

“In general, be wary about people’s promises and never completely rely on them. With those who fail to deliver, it is more likely a pattern, and it is best to have nothing more to do with them. ” ― Robert Greene

“The more clearly you see what you want, the likelier you are to realize it. You ambitions may involve challenges, but they should not be so far above your capacity that you only set yourself up for failure. ” ― Robert Greene

“this is so important to the human animal, people will do almost anything to get attention, including committing a crime or attempting suicide. Look behind almost any action, and you will see this need as a primary motivation.” ― Robert Greene,

“What makes anger toxic is the degree to which it is disconnected from reality. People channel their natural frustrations into anger at some vague enemy or scapegoat, conjured up and spread by demagogues. They imagine grand conspiracies behind simply inescapable realities, such as taxes or globalism or the changes that are part of all historical periods. They believe that certain forces in the world are to blame for their lack of success or power, instead of their own impatience and lack of effort. There is no thought behind their anger, and so it leads nowhere or it becomes destructive. ” ― Robert Greene

“We think we are judging the younger generation in an objective manner, but we are merely succumbing to an illusion of perspective. It is also true that we are probably experiencing some hidden envy of their youth and mourning the loss of our own.” ― Robert Greene

“Think of yourself as the enemy of the status quo, whose proponents must view you in turn as dangerous. See this task as absolutely necessary for the revitalization of the human spirit and the culture at large, and master it. ” ― Robert Greene

“Some people have even come to entertain the idea that through technology we can somehow overcome death itself, the ultimate in human denial. In general, technology gives us the feeling that we have such godlike powers that we can prolong life and ignore the reality for quite a long time. In this sense, we are no stronger than our most primitive ancestors. We have simply found new ways to delude ourselves. ” ― Robert Greene

“You like to imagine yourself in control of your fate, consciously planning the course of your life as best you can. But you are largely unaware of how deeply your emotions dominate you. They make you veer toward ideas that soothe your ego. They make you look for evidence that confirms what you already want to believe. They make you see what you want to see, depending on your mood, and this disconnect from reality is the source of the bad decisions and negative patterns that haunt your life. Rationality is the ability to counteract these emotional effects, to think instead of react, to open your mind to what is really happening, as opposed to what you are feeling. It does not come naturally; it is a power we must cultivate, but in doing so we realize our greatest potential.” ― Robert Greene

“By connecting to the reality of death, we connect more profoundly to the reality and fullness of life. By separating death from life and repressing our awareness of it, we do the opposite. ” ― Robert Greene

“Let the awareness of the shortness of life clarify our daily actions. We have goals to reach, projects to get done, relationships to improve. This could be our last such project, our last battle on earth, given the uncertainties of life, and we must commit completely to what we do. ” ― Robert Greene

Robert Greene

Robert Greene (born May 14, 1959) is an American author known for his books on strategy, power, and seduction. He has written six international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of PowerThe Art of SeductionThe 33 Strategies of WarThe 50th Law (with rapper 50 Cent), Mastery, and The Laws of Human Nature.

BUY ON AMAZON: The Laws of Human Nature


Top 30 Best Quotes from “The Organized Mind”

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload is a bestselling popular science book written by the McGill University neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, and first published in the United States and Canada in 2014. It is…

Top 40 Best Quotes from “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World”

In his book, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, former Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy argues that loneliness is the basis of the current crisis in mental wellness and is responsible for the increase in…

Top 50 Best Quotes from “Permanent Record” by Edward Snowden

Permanent Record, Book by Edward Snowden Revealing state secrets is hard, but revealing yourself in a memoir might be even harder. As Edward Snowden writes in the preface of “Permanent Record”: “The decision to come forward with evidence of government wrongdoing was…

Top 25 Quotes From The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

Robert Iger’s book The Ride of a Lifetime is a memoir of his career, leadership and success. It became the #1 New York Times Bestseller. Throughout the book, The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger shares the ideas and values he embraced during his fifteen years as Disney CEO, leading its 200,000 employees, while reinventing one of the world’s most beloved companies. Robert Iger was nominated Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year.

John P. Kotter’s Top 48 Best Quotes

“Most US corporations today are over-managed and under-led. They need to develop their capacity to exercise leadership.”

Top 85 Best Quotes from “Quiet: The Power of Introverts”

In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so

Top 40 Quotes from The Coddling of the American Mind

In The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, the authors make the case that our culture has embraced three Great Untruths in the past ten years or so: The Untruth…

6 Interesting Facts and Best 40 Quotes From Martin Luther King Jr.

6 Things You May Not Know About Martin Luther King Jr. 1. King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin. Martin Luther original name was Michael King Jr. In 1934, however, his father, a Baptist pastor, traveled to Germany and was inspired by the life of…

60 Insightful Quotes From The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge

Peter Senge is the author of the book “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.” The Fifth Discipline is focused on group problem solving using the systems thinking method to convert companies into learning organizations.

100 Powerful Quotes From President Russell M. Nelson

“Over my nine and a half decades of life, I have concluded that counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems.” – Russell M. Nelson

The 90 Best Warren Buffett Quotes

Warren Edward Buffett is considered one of the most successful investors in the world and has a net worth of over US $78.9 billion as of August 2020, making him the world’s fourth-wealthiest person. Buffett was born…



Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)