Book Review: The 50th Law

The 50th Law — 50 Cent and Robert Greene

This is one of my favourite books. I’ve read it numerous times. Sometimes I give it a read just to get my head back on straight and this was one of those times. I love Robert Greene’s books, but was a little surprised when this one turned out to be my favourite. I guess I assumed 50 Cent was just another famous, arrogant rapper. He may be, but his story and insights also reveal him to be a fierce willed, intelligent, incisive and formidable man of some considerable depth as well. A subject worthy of Greene’s skilled analysis.

The real poetry and beauty in life comes from an intense relationship with reality in all its aspects. Realism is in fact the ideal we must aspire to, the highest point of human rationality.

The 50th Law

With 50, Greene seems to distil his most ruthlessly practical, reality embracing, Machiavellian side. It’s a headspace produced by a background I feel deep affinity with. Poverty and violence were the most defining aspects of my childhood. In my case though, thankfully, there were no guns involved. Plenty of fists, knives and flammables though. I know from up close experience that there are violent ways to die other than being shot, and there’s a veritable buffet of ways to suffer. I find 50’s account of being shot, surviving, and coming back stronger than ever particularly inspiring.

Facing the facts of reality from a young age leaves deep scars on a person. The temptation to escape into my imagination, as you may gather from my art, has been pretty strong. But it could have been as deadly for me as I have seen it be for others. So, as this book advises, I turned myself outward, to perceiving as clearly as I could imagine deeply. It is pure survival instinct. I’ve been accused more times than I can count of being too cold, too real and too brutally honest. It’s the best way I know how to be. I will not look away from what is, in as much as I can. I refuse to bow to other people’s bullshit or get lost in my own. This book understands and nurtures that spirit in me. 5/5

The empire fell well before the invasion of the barbarians. It collapsed from the collective softness of its citizens’ minds and the turning of their back on reality.

The 50th Law

6 comments

  1. Good grief, that final quote nails the state of society (in this part of the world anyway) going into 2022 doesn’t it? :-/ I’ve not read this one but it’s been high on my “to read” list for a while, I think your review has just bumped it up a bit. I’ve read some of Greene’s other books and enjoyed them a lot, and funnily enough I was listening to some of 50 Cent’s music the other day; I’m not really a rap fan but that was cracking. I do find a lot of people are very unwilling to just look reality in the eye, which always seems weird to me. You’ll see none of the danger, and none of the beauty, if you go around in a dream.

    • Re the final quote: Yes, sadly it does.

      Green’s books are excellent, I highly recommend all of them. “Many Men” is a definite favourite by 50 Cent.

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