elow is the transcript of a speech Robert did at Yale in October along with the Q&A that followed. For those of you who would prefer to listen to an mp3 of the speech, you can do that here. Host: Welcome everybody. So, it’s a pleasure to have all of you here, and a particular pleasure to welcome our honored guest, Robert Greene. He is, well, you are all here, so I think you probably know a lotabout his books, his writings. I’ll state just a few words. He has trained in classical literature. And then had a very shifting career for some early period of his post-college life. And then settled in to write a series of extremely fascinating books that draw on the classical training and readings that he did. The books that the lives and writings of a number of the major figures. He’s writtenabout power, about seduction, about war. With that background, of course, it is not surprising that he also made a wonderful connection with the hip-hop crowd. He became a guru of them for a while. He set up a collaboration with them. We were talking beforehand, it is clear that he enjoyed that collaboration. And it is not bad to be a guru, from what he said. But, it also achieved some of his otheraims about who he was hoping to help empower. I thought what we would do is, after we give him a big applause for welcome, I will ask him to say a bit about himself and what he is working on, and then we will open it up for questions. But, why don’t we start with giving him a nice, warm welcome. Robert: Is it better if I stand or if I sit? Or what is the protocol? Host: Whatever is comfortable.Robert: Okay. Host: It is informal. You’re welcome to sit. Robert: Well, I come from Los Angeles. I was actually born in Los Angeles. And I don’t mean to disparage California, or Los Angeles, particularly, or any of the people from there. But I will say that the IQ levels in a place like that are generally a little bit lower than what I find here. So, I’m actually a little bit intimidated by all ofthese very smart people here. So, I’m a little bit nervous. I hope you understand. Basically, I started writing back in 1996. I’ve been writing my whole life. But I met somebody, we were in Italy together at the same time, working on a project, and it was a really awful Machiavellian environment, in Italy, if you can imagine that. And all of these terrible political games were being played. And wewere just miserable and depressed. This was actually 1995. He was a book packager and he asked me if I had any ideas for books. And all of this pain that I had been through in the work world with all of these political, conniving figures, it just came up out of me. It was a beautiful day in Venice, Italy, and I sort of improvised this idea for a book, and he loved it. He basically paid me to livewhile I wrote “The 48 Laws of Power”. And that’s where it started.
For 15 to 16 years, I’ve had this weird position in life that I don’t know how many other people have had where I have been able to devote all of my attention to studying what I consider to be the most powerful, charismatic, successful, Machiavellian characters in history and contemporary figures, like, 50. I may not be goodat many things. I can’t build things with my hands or anything like that. But I have this one expertise — why some people excel, why some people are superior in the political game or in their creativity or whatever it is. In figuring out what I wanted to talk to you about today, I was talking with Casper, who I want to thank for helping to organize this. There is sort of a philosophy that all ofthese figures that I’ve studied share. And I am often asked, or people say, “I want to become powerful. What’s the secret to it?” I don’t believe in that kind of glib four sentence or one book answer about how to be powerful. But there is an attitude towards life, a way of looking at things, a way of thinking that all of these people that I have been studying they all share this way of looking at...
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