In The Laws of Human Nature, we learn about human psychology. Each chapter is backed up by theories from prominent psychologists.
Like The 48 Laws of Power, this book does not attempt to discover new truths about human nature, or to offer a breakthrough idea that will put all other ideas to rest, it is a synthesis of what different psychologists have discovered. And in typical Green style, each chapter begins with an anecdote that has an underlying psychological theory. By learning about the lives of other people, we learn plenty about ourselves.
For example, we learn that we have a shadow, we have hidden aggressive instincts, but many of us choose to deny this about ourselves, and by doing so, we either internalize this aggression or we unconsciously externalize it against other people. We tend to be too drawn to short-term pleasures and short-term news events, distracted by inconsequential noise, when we should be more focused on long term patterns and trends.
We should know when to be patient, and when to concentrate our forces and invoke a sense of urgency.
When dealing with others, we should learn to do two things. The first is to accept how little control they have over their behavior and to become more understanding of them, the second is to learn how to identify the tyrants and manipulators among us – to know which people are trying to use us as tools for their own ventures, and which people genuinely care about us.
And to find out what people are truly motivated by, don’t listen to their empty words, but examine their repeated patterns of behavior and non-verbal cues.
Finally, we learn how to operate within a group, how tribal thinking is innate and how to avoid its downfalls.
The book is filled with brilliant quotes, Greene is a master at finding the perfect quote for every idea, and there are many ideas that anyone can benefit from.
Wolves are often dressed in sheep’s clothing, and everyone is a wolf in their own way, everyone is trying to manipulate someone to do something – either overtly or covertly. The idea is not to think of yourself as a saint, and to go out looking for other saintly people – it is to understand the games that are being played, and to know how to play those games better.