Robert Greene (@RobertGreene) is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers on power and strategy. His latest book is The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy, and Human Nature. [This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two can be found here!]
What We Discuss with Robert Greene:
- The one simple reason why Robert Greene’s work resonates among the hip-hop community’s most accomplished artists.
- How seeing the world through a lens of radical realism allows you to be prepared for the worst life can throw your way.
- What we can do to uncover a career path that aligns with what has brought us joy in the past (hopefully before working 80 jobs we hate like Robert did prior to writing his first bestseller).
- Why we shouldn’t fret if we haven’t found our calling early in life — the experiences we’ve had and lessons we’ve learned along the way combine to give us a unique edge when we finally do find it.
- Always stick to what makes you strange and weird. What made you a “weird” kid makes you an interesting adult.
- And much more…
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Who doesn’t want to be more powerful? More in control? The best at what they do? Power and strategy expert Robert Greene rejoins us (make sure to check out his last appearance here) to discuss how we can meet all of these targets as outlined in his latest book, The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy, and Human Nature — which offers a page of refined and concise wisdom for each day of the year. Each month centers around a major theme: power, seduction, persuasion, strategy, human nature, toxic people, self-control, mastery, psychology, leadership, adversity, or creativity.
Some might find digging into the Machiavellian levers of human behavior something of a dark art that should be buried away from those who would abuse its potential, but we take the other approach: this is information to which everyone should have access. It allows us to better know ourselves and explain why we behave the way we do, it gives us valuable insight into the mechanisms by which others operate, and it gives us the tools to resist manipulation by others for their own ends. Listen, learn, and enjoy! [This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two can be found here!]
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Miss the show we did with The 48 Laws of Power author Robert Greene? Catch up here with episode 117: What You Need to Know about the Laws of Human Nature!
Thanks, Robert Greene!
If you enjoyed this session with Robert Greene, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy, and Human Nature by Robert Greene | Amazon
- The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene | Amazon
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene | Amazon
- Other Books by Robert Greene | Amazon
- Robert Greene | Website
- Robert Greene | Instagram
- Robert Greene | Facebook
- Robert Greene | Medium
- Robert Greene | Twitter
- Robert Greene | Discovering The Laws of Human Nature | Jordan Harbinger
- The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Greene | Amazon
- Rick Ross | How to Boss Up and Build an Empire | Jordan Harbinger
- Zeitgeist | Merriam-Webster
- Unleashing Your Real Self | Neuro-Semantics
- Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard E. Gardner | Amazon
- Allison Hope Weiner | Twitter
- Ramit Sethi | I Will Teach You to Find Your Dream Job | Jordan Harbinger
581: Robert Greene | The Daily Laws Part One
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to our sponsor Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky. For the last few weeks, you've heard me talk about Glenfiddich, the highly recognizable stag icon in their new body of work that aims to challenge traditional notions, commonly portrayed in culture, of what it means to be wealthy and live a life of riches. Glenfiddich believes that beyond the material, a life of wealth and riches is about family, community, values, and fulfilling work — sound familiar. These are the values that led Glenfiddich to become the world's leading single malt scotch whisky. This week's guest Robert Greene exemplifies these values and you'll find out why later on in the episode. More from our partners at Glenfiddich coming up later in the show.
[00:00:34] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:37] Robert Greene: You get something out of everything. Combining your skill sets is very powerful because we live in a world where you have such access to information. That the best entrepreneurs are combining things that nobody ever thought of and starting a kind of business that involves a kind of very strange skill sets that is so unique that it takes off. So never give up, never say that this was wasted time. Nothing is wasted.
[00:01:08] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories of secrets and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts, entrepreneurs, spies, psychologists, even the occasional journalist turned poker champion, Russian spy, or music mogul. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:36] If you're new to the show, or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about it, we've got those episode starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on this. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started or to help somebody else get started. I always appreciate it. When you do that.
[00:01:56] Now, today, I'm always, always so excited to talk to my friend, Robert Greene. His work has not only been a perennial seller, but it's stamped its influence everywhere from Russian parliament to the US prison system. And when I interviewed Robert for the seventh anniversary of my last show so this is going back probably seven years or eight years now. He strongly encouraged me to keep going with podcasting and really master the craft. And I took his advice to heart.
[00:02:22] Now, I am more proud than ever to bring him back on the show for his newest book, The Daily Laws. If you haven't heard of this book yet, everywhere, you will. The book is one of those, each chapter is a new day of the year kind of thing. So this conversation doesn't follow the book because it kind of can't, and it's a little bit all over the place. I picked out some of the more, in my opinion, interesting bits of daily advice for this discussion. So it's going to seem like a conversation that doesn't quite have a map or a through line, which is hopefully okay with you. It seemed to work for us.
[00:02:52] Today, Robert and I cover some deep insight into our own nature as humans, what makes us so easy to manipulate, how our dark side built as the result of our upbringing and creeps into everything that we do as adults. Now, if this sounds familiar, it's because I almost always cover similar topics with Robert. We even got into some career advice on this one, because I want it to break the mold and get a bit of a different interview from Robert, since he's been on so many podcasts recently. If you've ever been manipulated, have seen deep dysfunction and others, and possibly even in yourself, this episode will really open your eyes. There's a lot to cover, so let's get started.
[00:03:26] And if you're wondering how I managed to book guests like this, it's because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. And most of the guests on the show subscribe to the course and contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:03:42] Now, here's part one with Robert Greene.
[00:03:48] So we did a show about two years ago, and I went through a lot of the laws of human nature. And your newest book is kind of, I don't want to say a calendar, but it's daily. It's meant to be consumed day by day. And of course, like any kind of weirdo interviewer, I plowed through the whole thing in about two days in audio form which was—
[00:04:06] Robert Greene: Do day by day.
[00:04:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:04:08] Robert Greene: This should have taken 365 days. I guess we didn't have that much time though.
[00:04:12] Jordan Harbinger: No. I was going to say, I could have taken a year to prep it, but it would have been a really, really slow and grueling process. I'll mention this in the intro to the show. This is going to be a little bit of an all over the place conversation.
[00:04:22] Robert Greene: That's what the book is.
[00:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: That's what the book is, right.
[00:04:24] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:04:24] Jordan Harbinger: And there's pieces where I'm like that had nothing to do with the previous day, but oh, well. So that's why the show is going to be a little weird. It's a PSA for the audience.
[00:04:33] Robert Greene: Okay.
[00:04:33] Jordan Harbinger: I do want to start with why you write these books because I think and I've looked at some of your negative reviews on Amazon and elsewhere.
[00:04:40] Robert Greene: There are negative reviews?
[00:04:41] Jordan Harbinger: Believe it or not, there's at least one or two. And people will say, "This guy is a sociopath and he's creating more sociopaths. This guy has evil on his mind because otherwise, why would he create this monstrosity that people are reading to learn how to hurt other people." And I know that that's not why you wrote these books.
[00:05:00] Robert Greene: Well, they're not evil, obviously, in my opinion, You know, when I first came up with the 48 laws of power way back in 95, I wasn't writing from a position of power. I never had any power up into that point. I had been, kind of a failure in life, to be honest with you. I had 60, some different jobs. I tried journalism—
[00:05:23] Jordan Harbinger: 60?
[00:05:23] Robert Greene: Yeah, I counted one day. We got up to like 64 and then I said, I know I'm forgetting some things. There's is probably more like 80, but we counted 64. She commented because she knew me back then. She said, "God, you've had so many different jobs in the three years I've known you." I said, "Well, you should just go back further."
[00:05:40] So anyway, I never had any positions of power, right? But I had observed, I was a very keen observer. I had some of the worst bosses you can imagine, what we might classify today as psychotic bosses. I had every variety of it. And I'd seen all of these power moves going on. And it struck me that this world is intensely hypocritical. It really, really pissed me off that this is what goes on in almost every single office. You put three people together, politics takes over, egos take over. The person who has the power and the leverage tends to go as far as they can with it. They use their power, they intimidate, they manipulate to do all these things. Not every boss. Don't get me wrong but a lot—
[00:06:23] Jordan Harbinger: I don't do that with my team. Right, guys?
[00:06:27] Robert Greene: Okay. Well, I'll talk to them later.
[00:06:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:29] Robert Greene: But you know, my experience has been this. But the books don't describe that. The books describe power as if it's all about being compassionate, empathetic, being a team player, cooperating. This is what management and self-help books were all about, going like, "This isn't my real. This isn't the reality of the world." That's bullsh*t. It really pissed me off that no one was writing about the truth about the kind of power games that go on particularly in Hollywood, where I was working.
[00:06:57] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[00:06:58] Robert Greene: But I worked in a detective agency. I worked in a hotel in Paris. I worked for newspapers, magazines. You name it. I did all sorts of different kinds of jobs. And this was what I had seen. This was the truth. And nobody really wanted to write a book about that. So I wanted to rip away the curtain and show people that this is what really goes on in the world of power. Because I had been on the wrong end of it. I had suffered — because of my naivete, my natural naivete after graduating university and thinking everybody was just so interested in ideas and getting things done. And then I had this rude awakening that no. People are just in their egos and kind of promoting themselves. So I wanted to show the reality of what goes on in this world. And sort of help people like myself who are naive deal with these kinds of power games that are going on.
[00:07:51] And so I wrote from that perspective, but there is a level of irony involved, which tricks people and makes people make those kinds of comments. So when I say, "Play on people's need to believe to create a cult-like following," people are going, "Robert is teaching people how to create a cult?" Well, nobody's going to use that chapter to actually literally create a cult. What I'm telling you is the world we live in now, there are cults, everywhere. Political groups are cults. All kinds of organizations are formed like a cult. It's part of our 21st century. And so I'm showing you, I'm opening your eyes up to the nature of the world right now.
[00:08:30] When I say, "Always get other people to do the work, but take the credit for it," you know, realistically people who do that, which is the nature of a lot of jobs, you know, in Hollywood.
[00:08:40] Jordan Harbinger: I've done great with that. Just look at this podcast, yeah, so far so good.
[00:08:43] Robert Greene: Yeah, exactly. So in Hollywood, I would do all the writing for a screenplay, the bits of dialogue, my name was never put on it, never, right? So that's kind of the nature of things. When politicians give a speech, they never write the speech.
[00:08:58] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:58] Robert Greene: You never know who wrote the speech, right? This is the nature of the world. I'm just revealing it to you. And in the chapter, I describe how you deal with that when somebody does it to you. And I know from the emails I've gotten, since that book came out, 23 years ago.
[00:09:14] Jordan Harbinger: You're talking about 48 Laws of Power. Is that how old the book is?
[00:09:17] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:09:17] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:09:18] Robert Greene: I know. It's older than a lot of my readers.
[00:09:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, it is.
[00:09:22] Robert Greene: So since 1998, when it came out, I've received thousands of emails from readers. And occasionally there'll be someone who'll say, "I'm certain that my boss read your book and did this bad maneuver to me," and I feel kind of bad. But 98 percent of them were saying, "I didn't realize that I was out shining the master, law number one. Your book opened me up to that reality and saved me." So most of the readers coming to my book, the real sharks out there don't need to read a book like that.
[00:09:51] Jordan Harbinger: This is their nature already.
[00:09:52] Robert Greene: It is their nature already. The people who need it are people who are like myself who kind of came out of the universe and who's kind of naive by nature and needed some awakening, needed to learn the rules, the laws of power so that they could play the game. And the other thing is — I'll shut up in a minute.
[00:10:08] Jordan Harbinger: No, no, you're good.
[00:10:08] Robert Greene: The other thing is a lot of the power game traditionally was kind of older white men. These are my experience in Hollywood, right? And so I wanted to open the doors up and show everybody how the power game worked. And which kind of affirms what I'm saying here today or right now is that among the first readers of the book, the ones who loved it the most, who gave its kind of popularity were hip-hop artists and people in the African-American community. Because they had traditionally been locked out of the game of power and people like 50 would tell me — I wrote a book with 50 Cent would tell me later that—
[00:10:45] Jordan Harbinger: You don't call him Fiddy. You call him 50.
[00:10:47] Robert Greene: I don't want to sound like a fake.
[00:10:49] Jordan Harbinger: That's pretty, pretty weighty, Robert, Robert Greene.
[00:10:52] Robert Greene: I don't even call him Curtis. I just say 50, 5-0, whatever you want. I'm a nerd. He knows that I know.
[00:10:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think as long as all the cards are on the table, it's fine.
[00:11:01] Robert Greene: Okay. Anyway, he said, you know, he dealt crack on the streets of southside Queens. He said, "Nothing prepared me for the music business." That was the most hardcore power games he'd ever seen. And the book, The 48 Laws of Power really, really helped him navigate that world. So I think that kind of shows that that's really kind of the essence of the book. It's sort of a handbook for those who've never had power, how to deal with this kind of environment.
[00:11:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, rappers like Rick Ross do use your material and love it. I interviewed him a few weeks ago.
[00:11:31] Robert Greene: He's pretty amazing.
[00:11:32] Jordan Harbinger: He's really smarter than I would have kind of expected just based on the music. I mean, not that you can really assess someone's intelligence, but I figured anybody focused on this is not really going to be thinking about, no, he's looking for chicken places to buy and looking for cars that are going to go up in value.
[00:11:47] Robert Greene: He is an entrepreneur, the highest order. I'm going to be doing an event with him in December.
[00:11:51] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, really.
[00:11:51] Robert Greene: It's a live talk here in LA.
[00:11:54] Jordan Harbinger: He mentioned your stuff in his newest book and/or on my show. I can't remember which one it was.
[00:12:00] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:12:00] Jordan Harbinger: I heard your books are banned in prisons. And I remember writing you an email about this a long time ago. Are they banned or is it just popular?
[00:12:06] Robert Greene: Both.
[00:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: Both.
[00:12:07] Robert Greene: It depends on the state and the particular prison.
[00:12:10] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:12:10] Robert Greene: So like the state of Utah, if I believe correct, has banned it. The state of Pennsylvania, I believe, has banned it.
[00:12:17] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:12:17] Robert Greene: Certain states. I don't think like The Art of Seduction is banned because nobody in prison is going to be, I hope, reading—
[00:12:24] Jordan Harbinger: Well, you never know.
[00:12:26] Robert Greene: You never know. I hope not, but I believe The War book and The Power book are banned, right?
[00:12:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:33] Robert Greene: And I've gotten a lot of emails from people in prison who said, "Robert, thank you. This book has helped me," because if you think about — I mean, I'm saying Hollywood is bad. I'm saying the music is bad, but imagine being in prison.
[00:12:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:47] Robert Greene: That makes Hollywood look like kindergarten, to be honest with you, right?
[00:12:50] Jordan Harbinger: I would imagine it does. I don't have that much experience in prison.
[00:12:53] Robert Greene: That we know of.
[00:12:54] Jordan Harbinger: Hollywood is, yeah, that I'm willing to talk about in public. Hollywood is bad. You know, I'm not a movie star or anything like that. Well, I guess it's worse for people who aren't, right? I suppose if you have power and leverage, it's great.
[00:13:04] Robert Greene: Yeah. But you know, in prison, all gloves are often. It's not just violence. It's all kinds of weird mind games going on to kind of create a hierarchy. I'm the dominant person in this block et cetera. And so people would write to me saying, "I was so confused and I just didn't know what to do or what, who was where, and the wardens were, which side people were on, and your book really helped give me some clarity." And sometimes somebody would rate and say, "I didn't quite feel comfortable with this. I used your book to take over cell block A." Well, okay, I don't know about that. Well, maybe, maybe you did do something good. Who knows?
[00:13:41] Jordan Harbinger: The emails from prison though should tell you that they're not following all the rules, because I'm not sure how that is.
[00:13:47] Robert Greene: Yeah. I think a lot of these people wrote to me after they got out.
[00:13:50] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense.
[00:13:52] Robert Greene: But a lot of people in prison — so like 50 had, 50, 5-0, had an assistant. His name will come to me in a minute because I want to give him a shout out. He's a great guy. Anyway, he'd been in prison for like 20 years. He was caught up in that New York law where if you had three drug offenses, you're put in prison, it was just ridiculous because he was like, not a dealer or anything. It was so unfair. And anyway. It was before my book came out. So we can't say, but he told me, you know, what kind of life was like in prison. And he said that your book really described. And he could understand why people would find it extremely helpful because he was not like the powerful person. He was kind of like this kind of small guy who was just not used to that kind of environment. And it was extremely frightening.
[00:14:44] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man, I can't even imagine.
[00:14:45] Robert Greene: So stay at a prison will you.
[00:14:46] Jordan Harbinger: Stay out of prison is the moral of the story.
[00:14:48] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:14:49] Jordan Harbinger: Third time's a charm. The book is designed to make you a radical realist or many of your books are designed to make you a radical realist. And that for me is — tell me what that means and why it's important.
[00:15:01] Robert Greene: Yeah, well, it's really the kind of the goal of the daily laws in a weird way, but the idea for me is we have to deal with so much illusion and bullsh*t and crap in our world. When we leave university, we're filled with all of these misconceptions about people from our parents, from our peers, from just the atmosphere of being in school, what professors teach us. So we don't have a real grip on reality. And then when we enter the work world, we're usually kind of b*tch slapped by it. Sorry for the expression.
[00:15:35] Jordan Harbinger: No, all good. You're the one who's going to get canceled. Not me.
[00:15:39] Robert Greene: That word is cancelable.
[00:15:41] Jordan Harbinger: Everything is. Yes, that one for sure. Yeah, of course.
[00:15:45] Robert Greene: Oh, Okay.
[00:15:45] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know. I'm not the arbiter — if I knew what could get canceled—
[00:15:49] Robert Greene: I can say that female-dog slap.
[00:15:52] Jordan Harbinger: It's even worse somehow.
[00:15:53] Robert Greene: Okay.
[00:15:54] Jordan Harbinger: Go ahead.
[00:15:55] Robert Greene: So suddenly reality is right in your face. And you don't know how to deal with it and you make a wrong step here and there you get involved in some kind of emotional drama that kind of creates a wound that lasts forever. You end up going down this rabbit hole that you can't escape into your late 20s, et cetera, and you started off on the wrong foot. So I tend to tell people. Imagine the following scenario, you have all these illusions about yourself, right? You think you're probably greater than you are. You have a bit of grandiosity.
[00:16:26] You don't really know what you're good at, what you're bad at, what you were meant to do in life, what do I call, your life's task. So imagine that you could be, have this radical realism where you understood who you were, what you really good at, what your strengths are, what you're not good at, what you were meant to accomplish in life. You had real deep clarity about what you were destined to create in this world. That would be incredibly powerful and liberating for you. Then imagine dealing with people in your life, your bosses, your peers, your children.
[00:16:57] Jordan Harbinger: Et cetera.
[00:16:58] Robert Greene: You're walk ing around and you have no idea what's going on in their mind. People wear masks. They pretend to love you. They smile. "I love your screenplay. Jordan's fantastic." What they're actually thinking, "God that guy's the worst writer I've ever met." I'm not saying this personally.
[00:17:12] Jordan Harbinger: No, I mean, it's true. I would never, if I had a screenplay, it would be terrible.
[00:17:15] Robert Greene: Okay. So you have no idea what's going on in the minds of people, right? It's our nature. We're born actors. So imagine also you have this radical realism where you could see into them. You could actually see through the opaqueness of people and understand what's going on. Not completely, we have a better idea if they really do like you, if they really are interested in your ideas, if they are planning to help you or planning to sabotage you. Think of all the mistakes you would avoid and all the powerful forms of connection you could create with people. It'd be awesome. And then finally think about the world at large. So the world has, what we call, the zeitgeists. Since you speak German, I'm going to use some German.
[00:17:54] Jordan Harbinger: Spirit at the times.
[00:17:55] Robert Greene: Yeah. Okay. We have a spirit of the times, right? And this thing is always changing. It's never static. So you walk through life. You don't really know where the world is headed. You don't realize that in two or three years, your career is going to be hitting a wall. You're going to be downsized. You're going to be out of work. You don't know what's the next step. What's the next move to make? And then also you start a business, not realizing that that businesses is not going to be viable in six months.
[00:18:22] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:18:22] Robert Greene: Imagine finally, that you had that ability to see what's going on in the world to see realistically the trends happen. So radical realism is the most powerful form of thinking that you can have in my world. It's not something that's depressing. Some people think realism is kind of ugly and crap. They think fantasy is wonderful and beautiful. And reality is kind of, ugh, but actually radical realism is very inspiring. It's a very beautiful way of looking at the world to sort of accept "this is the world as it is," as opposed to how I want it to be or wish it to be. It's actually profoundly moving and almost — I hate to use the word poetic — but you know, to see the world, to see things as they are, is very, very powerful and very inspiring.
[00:19:10] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Robert Greene. We'll be right back.
[00:19:15] This episode is sponsored in part by Peloton. In a perfect world, we'd all have one or two hours to spare to go to the gym every day. With just 24 hours a day, it's almost never enough time to fit in work, family and sleep, of course. So fitness and self care are often the first to get set aside when my schedule gets a little bit crazy. That's why I love Peloton because even if all you have is 15 minutes, you can seamlessly fit cardio and strength into your routine. I can often find 20 or 30 minutes for a quick cardio sweat session on the old Peloton bike, motivated by the famous Cody Rigsby. And now the original Peloton bike is $400 less. Choose from a wide range of classes like cycling, yoga, stretching. One of Jen's favorites, dance cardio. Moreover, you just need one subscription for your entire family. In fact, Jen and I, and my brother-in-law, all share Peloton's all-access membership, which is a family plan. No additional costs.
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[00:20:12] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Marshall headphones and speakers. Nothing has been compromised when expanding the Marshall amp's heritage of big stage performance to the individual enjoyment of music with Marshall's line of headphones and speakers. Don't let cords get in the way of your journey. Grab the Emberton. It's a compact portable Bluetooth speaker, loud and vibrant sound, only Marshall can deliver. This thing doesn't rattle even at high levels. I tested it. The Emberton has Marshall's iconic vintage look and heavy duty durable field. This thing is solid. It is really, really kind of heavy to the hand. I like it. Plus 20-plus hours of playtime. It doesn't burn out. You know, you don't have to change the batteries. You're not plugging it into an external thing all the time. It's water/booze resistant. Again, I tested it. You can take it to the pool, poker night, working in the yard, exercising, cooking at home. We're impressed with the sound that comes out of this little beast. It's become our favorite outside the house speaker. Got a great bold finish that sort of screams rock and roll. If that's your aesthetic. And the design speaks to the brand's heritage and makes a statement.
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[00:21:37] And don't forget, we have worksheets for many episodes if you want some of the drills the exercises talked about during the episodes of the show. Those are all in one easy place as well. That link is in the show notes, jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:21:50] Now back to Robert Greene.
[00:21:53] It's like a superpower, the way that you phrase it though as well, right? Because no one can see the future, but if I have a conversation with my boss and I say, "I think that went really well. He's going to support my ideas," but really it's become so clear to somebody who's trained to read your work, for example, that what he's going to do is use this conversation against me, the first chance he gets. It would pay if I knew that, right?
[00:22:14] Robert Greene: Right.
[00:22:14] Jordan Harbinger: I would, I should already be looking for another job based on what I know and how that conversation went. But a lot of us, we get blindsided. Every Friday we give advice on our Feedback Friday episodes, people write in with problems, and there's a lot that can't be foreseen or foretold, so to speak. But there's a lot where I think, I've read this, and it's really clear from the details that this person sees the writing on the wall. Maybe they read your book, not quite sure, but they just go, "I don't, can't put my finger on it, but this happened before and that happened before and now with this happening, I'm pretty sure that I'm on the outs."
[00:22:49] Robert Greene: Right.
[00:22:49] Jordan Harbinger: And I say, Look, you don't know, you don't know if that's true, but you should plan almost as if that were true. And, you know, we give them strategies for that. And it sure pays to be ready, especially if you're going to get let go from a job or you're going to be forced to move, or you're dealing with something in a relationship. So yeah, it's almost like a superpower.
[00:23:05] There's so many notes that I have about allaying people's insecurities and so-called dark side stuff that we kind of talked about in the beginning of the conversation, but maybe we actually flip the script a little bit, or change gears and start with some positive career advice, because it is tempting to stay with the dark side of the force when we have conversations about power and influence, I think. And not a lot of people probably go with the positive stuff when you're sitting in front of them, right? I don't know. I could be wrong.
[00:23:31] You do mention in some of The Daily Laws, they're chapters about reconnecting with your childhood passions. I would love to talk about this because I think the majority of people, like you said, even go to school and through school, having no idea what they should do and reconnecting with your childhood passion seems like a really good way to at least get started on the path of figuring that out.
[00:23:52] Robert Greene: Well, the first chapter in mastery was called discover your life's task. And so the first month of The Daily Laws is about that the month of January, because really, if I had to say it, Jordan, it's the most important thing in your life right now, particularly if you're younger, if you're in your 50s or 60s, it's getting a little bit late. I'm sorry to say, but it's never really too late. But if you're a younger, man, that is the most important thing you can learn. I can't emphasize it enough because I've studied throughout my years and the thousands of books I've read for my research, biographies of the most successful, famous creative people, and I've done consulting with people on the highest levels. So I've seen this firsthand and I've done it in my research. And inevitably, these are people who understood at some point in life that this is what I was destined to follow. This is the path for me.
[00:24:45] For most people, it's like a zig-zag. You don't have a straight line. This is what I was meant to do. It's never like that. It wasn't for me, but you kind of have an idea and it becomes clearer and clearer and you find that path and it leads to so much power to become so creative and so energized because you enjoy your work. You learn faster. You're engaged emotionally with what you're doing. It is so important. And a lot of people who were successful had a clear idea when they were five or six. Some people discovered it at the age of 12 or 18. I really didn't discover it until I was about 35.
[00:25:19] Jordan Harbinger: Is this 60 jobs later or 80 jobs later?
[00:25:21] Robert Greene: Probably 80 jobs later. When I got to write The 48 Laws of Power. But anyway, it's not easy. And a lot of people get confused. And why do you get confused? Well, the psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who studied a lot of children, for instance, he said that children — and you'll maybe know this with your two-year-old. They have what he calls impulse voices. And these are voices that say, "I like this. I don't like that. I like this kind of food. I hate this. I'm going to spit it out. I like this person. I don't like that person." They're very clear. They know what they like and what they don't like. It's so obvious to them in almost proverbial sentences.
[00:26:01] Jordan Harbinger: It's like binary, yeah. Yeah, there's almost no lukewarm with my kid, anyway. He's either open-minded or it's not happening.
[00:26:07] Robert Greene: Yeah, exactly.
[00:26:09] Jordan Harbinger: On and off and that's it.
[00:26:10] Robert Greene: That's exactly. So everyone had that because it's the nature of being an infant in this world, right? Because it's natural, it's a voice that's naturally inside all of us. And then as you get older, you start listening to Mr. Harbinger and Mrs. Harbinger telling you, "Don't do this, Jayden, do this. You know, this is what you should behave like. Don't behave like that."
[00:26:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:31] Robert Greene: And the kid starts getting a little confused. So they say, "Well, my voice tells me to do this, but I'm told not to do that." And slowly you go through a process where you're not hearing it anymore. You're hearing what teachers tell you. You're hearing what parents tell you. You're hearing what peers are telling you about what's cool, what's not cool. You're hearing with social media, nowadays, is telling you. I'm talking about like your career, what you were meant to do. And when you arrive you're 18, 19 years old, and you haven't a clue because you can't hear that voice anymore. And you're going to try this, that, that, the other, not based on things that are deep inside of you, but based on what other people have told you, you should do or what they think is cool.
[00:27:10] And you're going to end up trapped. You're going to end up choosing a career path that seems seductive and interesting and lucrative. And five years down the line, you realize, "It doesn't really interest me." And you hit a wall and you go, "F*ck, man, what's going on with my life." You start maybe drinking, and I'm giving a little exaggerated scenario, but you started drinking.
[00:27:30] Jordan Harbinger: I thought you were just narrating my exact life story. Continue. So far, spot on.
[00:27:34] Robert Greene: You're addicted to online porn, you know, on and on and on and on and on, right?
[00:27:38] Jordan Harbinger: That's funny.
[00:27:39] Robert Greene: Okay. And then you're 30 and then it's starting to get a little late, right?
[00:27:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:43] Robert Greene: Okay. So the problem is how do you clear away all of that noise, that white noise that's drowning out your impulse voices and actually hear what was your voice when you were two years old, right? And so it's a process. I've done it in consulting with people trying to help them figure it out. People will say, "I haven't had a clue what I was meant to do in this world. You talk about my early childhood. I can't remember anything." Okay, so for a lot of people, it's not obvious or easy. And I understand that. But then we go through a process. If I'm able to do that with them, you know, online or in person sometimes, where we reconstruct some of the early memories of things that really excited them when they were a kid and things that they hated. And a book that I always recommend to people — it's on the shelf somewhere right behind you, I don't see it right now — called The Five Frames of Intelligence by Howard Gardner, really good book.
[00:28:38] Jordan Harbinger: We'll link to that in the show notes.
[00:28:40] Robert Greene: Okay. The idea is we normally associate intelligence with kind of book learning and intellectual learning. But he says there were five different kinds of intelligence and each is equally valid and important. One of them will be, obviously, words and language, which was something that I was attracted to. Some of it will be with figuring out patterns and it leads to like a mathematician or somebody interested in statistics. In other ones, a little more abstract. I can't remember which one, that leads to like music. Then, there's kinetic intelligence—
[00:29:11] Jordan Harbinger: Like athletes.
[00:29:11] Robert Greene: Yeah. It's all about your body. And that's a very high form of intelligence. We don't think of it that way, but it is a form of intelligence. There's a social intelligence where it's all about people. And he makes the point that a child has one of those forms of intelligence that dominates inevitably. Some people might have a sub, another one that's kind of in the background, but one of them inevitably dominates them. And if you choose a career, that's not really in alignment with what you're naturally, your brain was wired in a particular way. It's genetic. And if you're not following that, forget it. You'll never get anywhere.
[00:29:50] So we go through a process of trying to figure out what is just in the most general way. Let's not get so specific about your actual career choice. What is that form of intelligence that you're inclined towards? You know, it's not difficult. Were you really attracted to sports and movement? Do you find you're most joyous when you're like dancing or running and that's what gets you excited and you think about that? Okay. Well, that's probably in some ways where your brain is wired. Is it words or just the sound of words that kind of obsess you and fascinate you? Like it did when I was a kid. You should probably be involved in some form of writing, right?
[00:30:29] So we go through that process. What is your frame of intelligence? We kind of determine that, and then we kind of reconstruct certain key moments in your childhood where you did something and it felt right. Now, a lot of people don't have that. I maintain that everybody has it. You just have to kind of dig, but you did something. And in the process of doing it, it felt like there was kind of an ease to it as opposed to learning math. When you don't like math, there's no ease involved, right? For some people that ease is in math. Let's talk about that. Let's put our finger on that for a little, on and on and on. And then as we get older, I like to look at what people hate.
[00:31:09] So when I was 23, I discovered that I hated working for other people. Well, that's why I had 60-some different jobs.
[00:31:17] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense.
[00:31:18] Robert Greene: You know, I don't like political games. I don't like all the bullsh*t. I don't like all the stuff, all the things you have to play and pretend. I'm an entrepreneur. It took me a long time to figure it out because I never had a job more than 11 months in my entire life.
[00:31:33] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:31:33] Robert Greene: It took me time. Okay, I should be working for myself because I don't like working for other people. So if we detect in this person that they don't like that. And that's a lot of people in the world today. You should be an entrepreneur, you should be working for yourself, eventually. So that's part of the process that we go through. It's more complex than that, but that gives you an idea of what it's like.
[00:31:54] Jordan Harbinger: I love this. When I was a kid, I learned how to build, out of like little parts from RadioShack, an FM radio transmitter.
[00:32:03] Robert Greene: Wow.
[00:32:03] Jordan Harbinger: And it was kind of interesting because I would solder these little things in and my dad was a mechanical engineer and he goes, "Wow. I wonder if my kid's going to be an electrical engineer." And then when I built it and it didn't work, it was frustrating, but someone helped me fix it. And then I could transmit my voice to the radio, probably like, you know, 50 feet away. And that was the part that was the most interesting. And I realized I didn't really care about making the thing as much as I can somehow being able to talk to my friends and things like that. So I wanted to turn the power up on this thing. And I learned that you could do that by like breaking federal law and attaching a high gain antenna—
[00:32:39] Robert Greene: And then communicating with the Russians.
[00:32:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Accidentally communicating with the Russians. Yeah, this is like an '80s Disney movie or something like that, like a Cloak and Dagger. But I said, "I want to be able to talk to everyone in the neighborhood on their radios." And they were like, "That's super illegal. You can't do that." And my mom sort of put a kibosh on that project. Then I go through this whole path and I'm good at studying. And I go through college and I get good grades. And I decided, I guess I should go to law school because more school is better. So then I became a lawyer, but I already knew I didn't want to become a lawyer. And then I started the podcast in my second year of law school and I ended up on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
[00:33:14] Robert Greene: Wow.
[00:33:15] Jordan Harbinger: Then I quit law and I came back to this and I didn't remember that when I was a kid, I wanted to be on the radio.
[00:33:21] Robert Greene: Wow.
[00:33:21] Jordan Harbinger: I only remembered it probably eight years plus after doing this.
[00:33:26] Robert Greene: It's a perfect example, yeah.
[00:33:27] Jordan Harbinger: If I freaking listen to myself, I could have gone to broadcasting school—
[00:33:31] Robert Greene: No, no, no
[00:33:31] Jordan Harbinger: —or whatever.
[00:33:32] Robert Greene: Everything is for a reason. It was better that way. First of all, your law career taught you some interesting things that you're never going to forget.
[00:33:38] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:33:39] Robert Greene: There's some skill sets that were created then. And then if you had found your way to podcasting too early, it wouldn't have the same meaning to you.
[00:33:46] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:33:46] Robert Greene: Now, you're so excited that you found the right thing because you kind of hated law and law school. It means much more and you actually are more motivated to follow it through. Like, if I had been offered to write a book when I was 24 as opposed to 35, 36, it would've never worked. I didn't have that experience. I didn't have the desperation, et cetera.
[00:34:05] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. I mean, I didn't even get into podcasting because I thought it would be fun to do a show. I got into podcasting because I was recording a lecture of a course that I was teaching and I needed to put it online.
[00:34:14] Robert Greene: Wow.
[00:34:15] Jordan Harbinger: And podcasting was the only way to put—
[00:34:17] Robert Greene: You've had like 80 different jobs.
[00:34:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I mean, this was during law school. I was teaching a networking class. I think I'm doing the same damn talk every week. I need to record it on my Sony MiniDisc player—
[00:34:28] Robert Greene: Wow.
[00:34:29] Jordan Harbinger: —take it and then get it to my computer, make an MP3 file and put it on the Internet. But there was no SoundCloud. There was no YouTube, you know. So my friend said, "Hey, there's podcasting you can put these files online," and that was the beginning of the show.
[00:34:40] Robert Greene: What year are we talking about?
[00:34:41] Jordan Harbinger: 2006.
[00:34:42] Robert Greene: That was just the beginning of podcasting.
[00:34:45] Jordan Harbinger: I think we're one of the first 800 or first thousand.
[00:34:47] Robert Greene: I can only remember my first podcast was like in '08. And I was like, "Whoa, what is this?
[00:34:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's like a downloadable radio show.
[00:34:54] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:34:54] Jordan Harbinger: And here we are. So you're right. It sort of makes sense because if someone said, "Hey, you should start a podcast." I'd probably go, "Well, I'm not going to be some guy recording stuff in his basement. That's dumb." And then I did that for a long time. And here we are.
[00:35:07] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:35:07] Jordan Harbinger: What do we do when we've realized we've chosen the wrong career? Like if we just get up when we realized, "Look, I'm not just burned out. I'm not just tired. I'm doing something I hate. I've known it for years. I'm finally going to do something about it." What is that thing that we do?
[00:35:20] Robert Greene: Well, just to backtrack a minute here, one thing I left out. The reason why you want to follow this path isn't just because it's some kind of mystical destiny sort of idea. The human brain works best, we learn fastest when we're emotionally engaged, when we're interested and excited by something. The brain opens up where it becomes like a sponge because we want to learn and our attention is much deeper and so we learn faster.
[00:35:48] So if you choose the wrong career for whatever reason, like you go to law school and you're kind of half listening as the professor is droning on you. You're kind of half reading the books. You're not involved in it and so you're not learning it fast enough, right? And if you don't learn fast enough, creativity, which is what we all know, is a function of the intensity of your knowledge, of the information you've absorbed. The faster you absorb information, the more thoughts and associations you create in the brain. It starts going through all the time and ideas are coming to you. If you take five years to learn something, that stuff going on in the brain won't have. So that's why we want to do it.
[00:36:28] So you're going to find out in your career that you are not emotionally engaged, that isn't happening. The gears aren't connecting, you're tuning out. You're not paying attention. And you kind of realize that. So that's, you have to be able to realize that. And a lot of people are going through their 20s for instance, because they're going after a big paycheck. They're unaware that they're actually not really attuned to what they're supposed to be learning.
[00:36:53] But once you have that moment, it kind of depends on how old you are. So there's not like a single formula for what you should do. So if you're 24 and you realize you made the wrong choice, that's great. Now we can go through a process and you can make a fairly radical shift in your career decision because you haven't wasted — I'm not saying wasted, that's too harsh a word, but you haven't spent 15 years in something not relevant to you. It's only been a couple of years. All right. Let's go through the process of figuring out what you should do and let's kind of change your skill set, right? Let's start heading towards that direction of what you intended to do. You can make a more radical shift.
[00:37:34] But if you're in your 30s, I wouldn't recommend that because you need to make a living. You have learned things, you have learned certain skills. So what I recommend is not a radical shift, but a more subtle shift, heading more in that direction. And that might include, keeping the job that you have, but at night, going to school or online, learning some new skills that you now can quit. Your plan is to quit this job in two or three years, but you will have learned things that will allow you to quit and go onto this other path. Or you figure out a way to kind of shift it.
[00:38:08] So I knew a woman, Allison Hope Weiner. I don't know if you know her. She has a podcast.
[00:38:13] Jordan Harbinger: Many have thought that but there are two-point-whatever million—
[00:38:16] Robert Greene: I thought everyone knew each other.
[00:38:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we all hang out. It's a really, really big cafe.
[00:38:22] Robert Greene: Anyway, like you, she studied law and then she'd realized that she wanted to be a writer. And so what she did is she went into legal journalism. That was how she made a shift because she could still make a living. She could become a writer and then she learned true writing skills. And then she could maybe write a novel if she wanted to at that point. So that's the kind of more gradual shift. If you're in your 40s—
[00:38:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:38:46] Robert Greene: It's even more gradual that you have to do. But the thing is, all your life you've been accumulating experience. You have to keep that in mind. So even when I was working in Greece because I landed on the island of Crete one summer and I got very sick and they ran out of money and I was in a hospital.
[00:39:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:39:06] Robert Greene: And then I came out and I had no money to get back to Paris, wherever I was living. I had to go work in construction.
[00:39:12] Jordan Harbinger: You were literally stranded in Crete?
[00:39:15] Robert Greene: Crete.
[00:39:15] Jordan Harbinger: Is that where the minotaur lives?
[00:39:19] Robert Greene: Yes. Knossos, yeah.
[00:39:21] Well, he doesn't live there anymore, but he was from there.
[00:39:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's where he was from. And this is not — there's no Internet at this point, you can't just be like, "Hey, somebody wire me some money."
[00:39:31] Robert Greene: If I told you what year was, you'd be shocked.
[00:39:34] Yeah, I don't want to make you feel—
[00:39:36] We're talking, you know, prehistoric period. No Internet, nothing. I mean, I could've made a phone call and had money wired. Sure. But I was embarrassed. I didn't want to have to involve my parents. I didn't even tell them I was in a hospital.
[00:39:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow.
[00:39:49] Robert Greene: So I'm working in construction. And it was a really weird world where the boss was Greek and all of the people working for him doing the construction work were like Australians and Americans and English, all blonde, blue eyes, blue hair, it was like the reverse of here. Because we were all people who were stranded.
[00:40:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, everyone here had gotten out of the hospital.
[00:40:13] Robert Greene: Yeah. So I was like ripping nails off of boards, et cetera. Man, I hated it. It was the worst job. I know that I'm not destined to doing construction. So the long-winded point of this anecdote is that I learned, everything taught me what I'm good at, what I hate, I know I'm not good with my hands that only made it clearer to me, et cetera.
[00:40:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You went through a long process of elimination to get there.
[00:40:39] Robert Greene: So the point is don't just say, "Oh, I did this job. I got nothing out of it." You get something out of everything. And if you're in your 30s, for instance, combining your skill sets, combining writing with law, is very powerful because we live in a world where you have such access to information. That the best entrepreneurs are combining things that nobody ever thought of.
[00:41:05] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:41:06] Robert Greene: And starting a kind of business that involves kind of very strange skill sets, that is so unique that it takes off. So never give up, never say that this was wasted time. Nothing is wasted.
[00:41:21] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Robert Greene. We'll be right back.
[00:41:25] This episode is sponsored in part by Headspace. Are your thoughts running in endless circles in your mind? With the stresses of the last year and what life throws at you in general, it's important to practice living healthier and happier lives. What if a few minutes was all it took to change your relationship with stress and anxiety. That's the power of meditation with Headspace. Headspace is your convenient dose of meditation, mindfulness, sleep, exercises, all in one app to help with stress and anxiety and get you a better night's sleep. You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to meditate. Headspace makes it easy to catch your breath and decompress, especially after a long time. If you have trouble sleeping, try their sleep casts, which is audio content that helps your mind wind down and transports you to a sleepy environment.
[00:42:00] Jen Harbinger: Find some headspace at headspace.com/jordan and get one month free of their entire meditation library. This is the best Headspace offer available. So go to headspace.com/jordan today, headspace.com/jordan.
[00:42:14] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Shopify. That's the sound of another sale on Shopify, the all-in-one commerce platform to start, run and grow your business. Shopify gives entrepreneurs the resources once reserved for big business. So upstarts, startups, and established businesses alike can sell everywhere, synchronize online and in-person sales and effortlessly stay in form. I love how Shopify has the tools and resources that make it easy for any business to succeed from down the street to around the globe. Reach customers online and across social networks with an ever-growing suite of channel integrations and apps, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and more. Shopify instantly lets you accept all major payment methods, gain insights as you grow with detailed reporting of conversion rates, profit margins, and beyond. More than a store, Shopify grows with you.
[00:42:57] Jen Harbinger: Go to shopify.com/jordan, all lower case, for a free 14-day trial and get full access to Shopify's entire suite of features. Grow your business with Shopify today. Go to shopify.com/jordan right now, shopify.com/jordan.
[00:43:12] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by Glenfiddich. Glenfiddich breaks from the single malt scotch whisky norm, and helps redefine what it means to be rich. It's easy to get bogged down in material success when the currency of the new rich is getting more time and enjoyment out of what we've already got. Although I'll take being rich as well. I won't lie. Glenfiddich is sixth generation. So that 's 130-plus years, independent family run business. One of the few single malt distilleries to remain entirely family-owned and still produced in the same distillery in which William Grant and his children hand-built. Probably some rusty pipes over there, but not really because they have their own coppersmith as I've mentioned in previous reads. Despite the common belief at that time that it would never work, Glenfiddich was the first company in 1963 to export single malt scotch whisky and brand it as such outside of Scotland, effectively creating the global category. It's no wonder Glenfiddich is the number one selling single malt scotch in the world.
[00:44:01] Jen Harbinger: Skillfully crafted, enjoy responsibly. Glenfiddich 2021 imported by William Grant and Sons Inc. New York, New York.
[00:44:08] Jordan Harbinger: And now for the rest of part one with Robert Greene.
[00:44:12] I love the tip, for lack of a better word, of the instruction that you can compare the moments that you did, what others wanted you to do, versus what you felt in the moments when you did what you wanted to do, especially if you can remember those as a kid, to bring out the ideas, or at least an idea of what might be right for you.
[00:44:29] Because if I look back, my parents go, "Oh my gosh, you bugged us. And you rode your bike to RadioShack 500 times, and you bugged us for money to buy these extra pieces. And you wanted to take the antenna off the house that we use to get cable and connect it to your device." You know, that was the stuff that was really lighting me up and later on getting in trouble, messing with the phone system and things like that.
[00:44:50] Robert Greene: Ooh.
[00:44:50] Jordan Harbinger: People thought you're going to become an engineer, but really I liked the communication element. It just didn't really occur to me because I was too busy stealing long distance calls from Ma Bell.
[00:44:59] Robert Greene: You could have been a criminal too.
[00:45:01] Jordan Harbinger: I was pretty well. I was just a juvenile and didn't get caught, right? I did get caught once, but that's a different story that I'll have to bring out on another show. But the advice, I think, that you wrote about in The Daily Laws, I think you phrased it, "Always stick to what makes you strange and weird," and that's surprisingly really good advice.
[00:45:18] Robert Greene: Yeah. I mean, the people that really kind of reached the apex of power, like Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or a rock star or people in politics who we kind of hold as like icons, you can honestly say that there's nobody else like them. They're one of a kind, they're weird. They're strange. And it's because they're not afraid of what makes themselves different. So what happens when you're younger, when you're four or five, you know, something strange about you. You're kind of connected. You're in a dream world.
[00:45:49] And then you enter school and people start saying, "Ooh, that's weird." The idea of being different kind of gets a negative connotation, right? And you want to conform, you want to be part of the group. You want it, you can, you know, there's peer pressure. And so the idea of being different and strange kind of has a negative tint. Although we might ostensibly say, "Ooh, it's good to be different and weird." We actually are afraid of it deep down inside, because it comes with criticism. It comes with people kind of making fun of us et cetera. So your source of power in life is actually what makes you weird and strange. It makes you different.
[00:46:27] So I make the point in mastering in The Daily Laws. That there's never going to be another Jordan Harbinger in this world. Your DNA has never occurred before and will never occur again. And your parents and how their DNA and their genetic component and how they raised you will never be replicated. So you are one of a kind by nature. It's irrefutable. So there's something so very different about you. And it's hard to put into words because some of it's genetics, some of it's early education. And that what makes you different is the source of what you want to lean into. Because if we can say that there are 20 Jordan Harbingers out there. They all have the same idea. There's no power behind it, right? You can be replaced by 19 other Jordan Harbingers who are doing the same thing. But if you're the only one thinking of this thing, if you're the only one creating it, that is the ultimate power.
[00:47:26] Now, that's the ideal. It's hard to reach, right? With the degree that you know it makes you different and you lean into it and you exploit it. That's where the realm of power lies.
[00:47:36] Now, I don't want to seem egocentric here. So I have to be a little bit careful, but to talk about myself here for a second.
[00:47:43] Jordan Harbinger: Go for it.
[00:47:44] Robert Greene: As I said, my arc was, I kind of had a failure. I was a bit of a loser by the time I was 35. 36. I tried all sorts of different things. And then, I was asked if I had any ideas for books, and I kind of described this process in The Daily Laws. And this is very interesting manual stuff for us, it was a book package. We were in Italy at the time and I kind of improvised this idea that turned into The 48 Laws of Power. It was sort of a nice chance encounter. It was a beautiful day in Venice, Italy, and I gave a really great pitch. And so when I created the book, because he got so excited, he said, "Robert, I'll pay you to live while you write half the book and then we'll sell it."
[00:48:22] So when I started the process, naturally my mind gravitated towards other books out there.
[00:48:28] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:48:28] Robert Greene: Right? And then I just wasn't comfortable with that. And I just sort of thought, I want to tell stories. I love telling stories. When I first pitched the idea to this man, I told him a story. That's how I naturally am. I'm actually more of a novelist in some ways. I like creating drama and stories. And so I started writing stories, like little parables for The 48 Laws of Power. And then I thought, I want to be able to tell the meaning of this story and not just leave it out there. So I wrote this as what's known as the interpretation of the story.
[00:49:00] Jordan Harbinger: Is this like the director's cut on a DVD where they're narrating how they made the movie?
[00:49:05] Robert Greene: A little bit.
[00:49:06] Jordan Harbinger: A little bit?
[00:49:06] Robert Greene: Even what I'm doing right now?
[00:49:07] Jordan Harbinger: No, the meaning of the story because you know, as a non-writer, I'm not super familiar with that.
[00:49:13] Robert Greene: Well, I didn't know what I was doing.
[00:49:14] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay.
[00:49:15] Robert Greene: I just groping in the dark and basically, the short end of it is, I was kind of creating my own thing. Kind of in a haphazard way, I was falling in this. That was me. That was weird, creating stories, kind of interpreting them, then giving you some theory, then having quotes that were in kind of shapes. And then having things on the side, side material with passages from fairytales and fables. You know how? Right?
[00:49:43] Jordan Harbinger: You sort of those like boxes, sidebar, or whatever they're called.
[00:49:47] Robert Greene: We call it side material. Anyway, I ended up creating this book that you could hate for very many reasons. But you can say there's nothing else out there like it. It doesn't look like another book page by page. It doesn't read like another book because the structure is something that one has ever done before. You know, it's my own idea. And so it's like one of a kind. And then the publisher, when they first got the book, they loved it. They gave us an advance. Then somewhere in the process, they said, "You know, Robert, I think this book is just a little too weird. Let's kind of soften it a little bit. Let's make it more like other books. So that business with the story and the interpretation, get rid of that. Just write a story and kind of talk about it."
[00:50:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:31] Robert Greene: And then, okay, and then fortunately, the man who I mentioned here, the Dutchman who paid me, he stood by me, because I said, I don't want to change it. So this will either sink or swim the way it is. It's a weird book, but weird sells. That's what makes it powerful.
[00:50:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:50:49] Robert Greene: So we stuck by it and we said, "No, we're going to do it our way." So the moral of the story is if I had tried to make it like other books, I wouldn't be here talking to you right now. My book would not have succeeded. So by sticking to what makes me different, to what opens me up to ridicule in fact, is what made the book so successful. So anyway—
[00:51:11] Jordan Harbinger: This point really is well taken because there's another guest on the show, Ramit Sethi. He talks about financial things. One of the points he made on an earlier podcast was — I'm going to butcher the quote here, but it was something along the lines of the market and people out there want to make you vanilla but as soon as you become vanilla, they dump you because they already have vanilla.
[00:51:31] Robert Greene: So you really want to be Tutti Frutti.
[00:51:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Or like Neapolitan at the very least.
[00:51:35] Robert Greene: That's the same thing.
[00:51:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Is that what that is?
[00:51:40] Robert Greene: I think I could be wrong.
[00:51:41] Jordan Harbinger: I feel like Tutti Frutti would be fruitier.
[00:51:44] Robert Greene: Yeah, it wouldn't have the chocolate.
[00:51:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. There'd be less chocolate.
[00:51:47] Robert Greene: Yeah, you're right, okay.
[00:51:48] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I don't know if I'm right. I'm just speculating.
[00:51:51] But the idea is, "Hey, you got to take those unique angles," because if somebody — and I've gotten lessons for interviewing and coaching and things like that, and I do sometimes discard the advice because they'll say, "You know, if you just do it this way. This is how most journalists do it," and I'm thinking, "Oh, that's good," and then I'll do it. And I'll go, "This is really boring. And my show now sounds like every other interviewer."
[00:52:13] Robert Greene: Exactly.
[00:52:13] Jordan Harbinger: And there's a reason for that because it's formulaic.
[00:52:16] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:52:16] Jordan Harbinger: And I'll get a lot of feedback, "Hey, just ask questions. Don't add any stories. Don't add any color, just ask the question." It used to make me feel bad, but I realized this is just people trying to make me vanilla, who will immediately stop listening to the show once I become vanilla. Those same people will write in and go, "The show just lost something that you had before. I can't quite put my finger on it," and I'm going, "I took your advice. That's the problem. I took your advice. I should have ignored you like I do everybody else."
[00:52:42] The book is supposed to be read chapter a day. Did you think about what you were going to put—?
[00:52:48] Robert Greene: A page a day.
[00:52:48] Jordan Harbinger: Oh a page a day? Did you think about what you would put for February 29? Did you agonize over what's going to go on that day?
[00:52:54] Robert Greene: I thought about it. I don't remember what was on that day.
[00:52:57] Jordan Harbinger: It's, adopt the hacker mindset.
[00:52:59] Robert Greene: Yeah.
[00:52:59] Jordan Harbinger: It's going to be read once every four years so I figured you put some—
[00:53:03] Robert Greene: To be honest with you, Jordan, I'd be lying if I said there was some incredible ulterior motive behind it, but I did think about it at the time. Like, I don't want to put a really common, powerful idea that everybody needs to read on February 29th.
[00:53:18] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:53:18] Robert Greene: Not to say that you don't want to read that, but maybe we read it only every four years.
[00:53:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's funny. I thought about that. I thought, "Oh, I bet this is something he thought. This isn't that important. I'll just put it in there. I'll put it on—"
[00:53:28] Robert Greene: Everything's important, but it's not as important.
[00:53:31] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah, it's the 365th most important concept.
[00:53:34] Robert Greene: 366.
[00:53:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah, 366, the most important concept.
[00:53:37] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's a trailer with our guest, Robert Greene.
[00:53:46] If we just sit in our inner tube with our hands behind her head and crack open a six pack of beer, the river of dark nature takes us towards that waterfall, the shadow.
[00:53:55] Robert Greene: Yeah. So when we're children, if we weren't educated, if we didn't have teachers or parents telling us to study, we'd be these monsters. We're all flawed. I believe we humans naturally feel envy. It's the chimpanzee in us. It's been shown that primates are very attuned to other animals in their clan. And they're constantly comparing themselves. Your dislike of that fellow artist or that other podcaster, 99 percent sure that it comes from a place of envy.
[00:54:27] Jordan Harbinger: For sure.
[00:54:28] Robert Greene: You are not a rational being. Rationality is something you earn. It's a struggle. It takes effort. It takes awareness. You have to go through steps. You have to see your biases. When you think you're being rational, you're not being rational at all. You go around, everything is personal. Oh, why did he say that? Why is my mom telling me this? And I'm telling you, it's not personal. That's the liberating fact. People are wrapped up in their own emotions, their own traumas. So you need to be aware that people have inner reality. People are not nearly as happy and successful as you think they are. Acknowledging that you have a dark side, that you have a shadow, that you're not such a great person as you think, can actually be a very liberating feeling. And there are ways to take that shadow and that darkness and kind of turn it into something else.
[00:55:20] Jordan Harbinger: If you want to learn more about how to read others and even yourself, be sure to check out episode 117 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:55:29] All right. Part two, coming up in a few days, links to everything, book-wise, will be on the website in the show notes, jordanharbinger.com. Please use our website links if you buy. A lot of you say, "Oh, I buy so many books from the guests on your show." "Did you use the links?" "Oh no. I just googled it." Come on, folks. It helps support the show. Worksheets for the episode are in the show notes, transcripts are in the show notes. There's a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. We've also got our clips channel with cuts that don't make it to the show, highlights from the interviews that you can't see anywhere else. jordanharbinger.com/clips is where you can find it. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:56:06] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using the same software systems and tiny habits that I use. That's our Six-Minute Networking course, which again is free, jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. And most of the guests you hear on the show contribute to the course as well. So come join us, you'll be in smart company. .
[00:56:26] The show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends if you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who could use Robert's advice or is a Robert Greene fan, please share this episode with them. I hope you find something great in every episode of the show. Please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:56:59] This episode is sponsored in part by Chinet. Chinet is a people-focused brand disguised as a premium disposable tableware brand. Chinet prides themselves on being part of an authentic human connection and playing an important role and togetherness. They've been a part of American culture for over 90 years, providing durable plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, and table covers. Chinet is the go-to brand for cookouts, holidays, birthdays, game nights, baby showers, and more. Chinet brand believes not only that everyone should have a place around the table, but that everyone should be welcomed with open arms and a full cup. Chinet Classic, Chinet Crystal, and Chinet Comfort products are all made in the USA with at least 80 percent recycled materials. Chinet brands products can handle anything from the sauciest ribs to the most generous slices of cake. Made to be microwave safe and leftovers' best friend, easy cleanup, environmentally conscious. Great for the upcoming holiday gatherings and perfect for all of life's get-togethers. Visit mychinet.com to find out more.
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