It seems every time someone important mentions the book that guided them through life, they'll mention Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power.
Critics have described Greene’s advice as being downright Machiavellian, and it does make for some chilling reading.
Still, A-list advocates of Greene's "Laws" include Jay Z, 50 Cent and even, er, Fidel Castro. Fancy a taste?
Here are our 10 favourite tips...
Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents, or you might accomplish the opposite - inspiring fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.
Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defence. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realise your intentions, it will be too late.
You can die from someone else's misery - emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.
Knowing about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead. Better still, play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.
People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasise enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organised religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.
The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere - everyone has to protect themselves. A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from; it cuts you off from valuable information, plus it makes you conspicuous and an easy target. It's better to circulate among people, find allies and mingle. You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.
Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions - your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.
Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.
Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can use to your advantage.
Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.