Is This Book Really Banned in Prisons?

Lester Love
2 min readJan 3, 2022
Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

Recently, I’ve seen one too many posts on Instagram claiming this book is banned in prisons: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

The frequency of these posts got me curious. Was it really banned in prisons?

For starters, The 48 Laws of Power is actually an amazing read — some may argue otherwise.

It’s a non fiction book about gaining power and understanding why different situations turn out the way they do. The laws stated in the book, though backed by reasoning, proof and history, can be complex, and on occasion contradict each other.

From the book, you learn to

  1. Plan all the way to the end
  2. Always say less than necessary
  3. Work on the hearts and minds of others
  4. Learn to keep people dependent on you
  5. Avoid the unhappy and unlucky (infection)
  6. Use absence to increase respect and honor
  7. Win through your actions and never through arguments
  8. Guard your reputation with your life
  9. Cultivate an air of unpredictability by keeping others in suspense
  10. Learn to use your enemies and never put too much trust in friends
  11. Know who you are dealing with so as not to offend the wrong person
  12. Act like a king to be treated as one

The general consensus in my research, scanning and browsing multiple websites and articles, was that it is banned in some prisons. As a matter of fact, Robert Greene’s other popular book, The Art of Seduction, is also banned.

The reasoning behind this is actually simple: it is a security measure.

Power, seduction and war are the central themes of the book. Learning how to manipulate and control people is essentially what one derives from reading. This knowledge is indeed power and prison establishments don’t want inmates possessing this kind of power.

If you haven’t read The 48 Laws of Power, I’ll suggest you do so and form your own opinions. You may either like it, find it useful, or think of the stated laws as archaic and irrelevant.

But like I read somewhere, you may come to realize that each law you fail to apply will be used against you by others.

I am writing 50 short form articles in January, this is article #1.

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Lester Love

Entrepreneurship + Lifestyle. On a Mission to Inspire and Educate