Thursday, November 26, 2009

Book Review: The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Greene

Rapper 50 Cent’s life as a hustler (aka drug dealer) in Queens and subsequent rise to fame as a rapper and entrepreneur served as the inspiration and the framework for the book The 50th Law.  So what is The 50th Law? The back cover of the book bears the imprint “Nihil timendum est.”, Latin for “fear nothing” and that’s the gist of The 50th Law's message. Fiddy, a fan of social science writer Robert Greene's 1998 book,The 48 Laws of Power, approached Greene to work on a possible project. The result was the The 50th Law, a street-smart primer on power and self improvement.

Greene’s prose and research hinges on historical and psychological underpinnings interspersed with tales of Fiddy’s life on the streets. Napoleon, explorer Andrew Selkirk, and the philosopher Seneca have a lot more in common with a rapper like 50 Cent (and other successful modern people who’ve overcome adversity) than you might think.

Touchy-feely self-help books and the “everyone’s a winner” mumbo jumbo favored by women’s TV talk shows and California psychic/chakra types may make people feel good temporarily, but they don’t spur the complacent into action. Robert Greene ‘s  rational, proactive approach in this book, as in his previous works,The 33 Strategies of War and The 48 Laws of Power  will do just that. I discovered Greene’s work after reading a list of The 48 Laws of Power on some random website. I noticed that I had unwittingly followed some of those laws during several happy and productive times in my life. So there is something relatable about Greene’s writing for people from all walks of life.

The 50th Law distills the doctrine from Greene’s other books, including the brilliant The Art of Seduction. While The Art of Seduction brimmed with examples (and quotes) from the lives of European courtesans and philosophers, The 50th Law quotes Malcolm X, James Baldwin, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I knew very little about 50 Cent before reading this The 50th Law and have only a cursory knowledge of the rap world, but I have utmost respect for him as a businessman and artist after reading this book. Now as for all those controversial feuds with other rappers mentioned in the book, that’s way over my head. Maybe a rap expert can clarify all that for me.

The fact that 50 Cent is a co-author might scare away middle of the road types looking for some life coaching, but that would be a mistake. There’s a lot of good advice here. Whether you seek fame or fortune or just want to live life on your own terms, The 50th Law will shake you into repositioning yourself for success. The book isn’t sugarcoated or simplistic, but it’s not Machiavellian either. I know many people use that term to describe Greene’s work, but I don’t agree. The 50th Law is a dose of reality, assertiveness and common sense.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:43 AM

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