735: Reputation and Robert Greene

In his book, πŸ““The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene coins the 5th Law:

So much depends on Reputation – Guard it with your life.

The book is intentionally Machiavellian in style, but Greene is a fascinating guide, drawing the 48 insights from amazing historical sources.

I first bought the book in 1999, but a recent reread had me looking at the 5th law in a new light. Reputation is, of course, related to ethos – persuasion by character.

Which is why it’s so important to tell our story.

Green quotes the 16th century Italian diplomat, Baldassare Castiglione.

“Therefore I should wish our courtier to bolster up his inherent worth with skill and cunning, and ensure that whenever he has to go where he is a stranger, he is preceded by a good reputation…. For the fame which appears to rest on the opinions of many fosters a certain unshak able belief in a man’s worth which is then easily strengthened in minds already thus disposed and prepared.” (Baldassare Castiglione, 1478-1529).

The last sentence is worth rereading until you have fully internalised it.

This is why we tell our story.

Episode home:


What about your story?