‘Imperium’ | Robert Harris
A friend gave me a copy of this almost a year ago and strongly recommended it. I finally got around to reading it earlier this summer and it blew me away.
Imperium is the first book of Harris’ Cicero trilogy but it works perfectly as a stand alone novel. The plot is based on real events, places and characters taken from Ancient Rome however replace the extravagant names and the togas and this book could easily be comparable to any modern day courtroom thriller.
What astounded me was that even though it was set in Ancient Rome, this tale of corruption, politics and power showed me that democracy has not exactly come very far since its infancy. There even was a subplot that entailed the passing of dubious laws in reaction to terrorist threats!
I loved this, it even had a few references to Stoicism in there, and my father also devoured it in a couple of days. Needless to say, we have the other two books in the series, Lustrum and Dictator, already at hand.
The Concise Guide to Robert Greene’s 48 Laws Of Power | Joost Elffers
I previously referenced this book in a post titled Three Short & Sweet Books For Your Brain. I think it is the ideal simple gift idea that everyone can take something from. It is great little book to have in your handbag or back pocket.
I loved this book from the moment it caught my eye. Robert Green’s The 48 Laws of Power is a classic of it’s genre and overflows with many deliciously devious strategies to ‘get on top and stay there.’ The full tome is a sizeable 480 pages, but this tidy little edition is a pocket-sized 195 pages. Each chapter is only about three pages in length but the wisdom within will stay with you much longer.
What I like most about this book is the brutal honesty. There is less of a focus on positive, flowery language and more of an emphasis on cold, hard realities. Green uses plenty of material from history, fables and traditional tales to keep the book both thought provoking and fun to read.
The Art Of War | Sun Tzu
It brought me great joy recently to spot Wesley Snipes reading the same edition of The Art Of War that I have in the classic thriller Passenger 57.
Because this book is a classic, it is easily available online for free. However, investing in a good translation in hard copy would probably make it an easier and more enjoyable read.
Even though this was initially written as a guide to war, this book’s sage advice transfers just as well to the everyday. It is well worth a read for a different perspective on how to manage your relationships with others. Hilariously, I once had a particularly difficult group of seven-year-olds to deal with and this book help me turn a corner!
‘The Prince’ | Niccolo Machiavelli
Another classic of the genre. Renaissance man Niccolo Machiavelli was one of the first to honestly write about what virtues were required to be successful in life. Nicknamed ‘Murderous Machiavelli,’ this book was banned by the Church for centuries due to its diabolical nature. Machiavelli coined the phrase:
‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’
I was required to read this book as part of my history studies in college and it stuck with me. I must root out that old essay I did on Machiavelli and his works.
Once again, because this book is a classic, it is readily available online for free but a good translation is key to understanding and enjoying it.
Do you have any favourite books when it comes to the theme of politics and power? If so, please share in the comment box below!