Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded - or been victimised by - power.
(From the Playboy interview with Jay-Z, April 2003)
PLAYBOY: Rap careers are usually over fast: one or two hits, then styles change and a new guy comes along. Why have you endured while other rappers haven't?
JAY-Z: I would say that it's from still being able to relate to people. It's natural to lose yourself when you have success, to start surrounding yourself with fake people. In The 48 Laws of Power, it says the worst thing you can do is build a fortress around yourself. I still got the people who grew up with me, my cousin and my childhood friends. This guy right here (gestures to the studio manager), he's my friend, and he told me that one of my records, Volume Three, was wack. People set higher standards for me, and I love it.