I like the book. I have learned a lot about how to move in a room full of vultures
I don't think the lessons of this book pertain to our time. It is certainly good to know about these tactics so that you can avoid petty and dishonorable people that use them, But anyone espousing the use of these tactics is certainly dishonorable. And although certainly a colorful depiction of history, I suspect that most stories i've been bent by the author to fit the lessons, as we certainly do not have accurate records from those past times. Another caution: some of the tactics are contradictory.
Power is power.
I liked the predictive structure of the book - how each chapter was broken into the following parts: 1) The identification of the Law of Power, 2) a description of the law, 3) an historical story demonstrating how the power has been applied in the past, in addition to the consequences of the power play, and 4) caution regarding how the law might backfire.
I'm not drawn to practicing the 48 Laws of Power to gain personal or professional power, and because of that I didn't really enjoy Don Leslie's gravelly, sometimes sneering voice. However, I'm not sure that a better narrator could be chosen to convey the darkness/shadiness that power-hungry people can operate with. His sneering tone helped me to listen more closely, and to be mindful about how others might be trying to apply such laws of power to our personal/professional relationship, and when I pick up on such instances I sometimes "hear" Leslie's voice warning me to be cautious.
Having an awareness of another's attack plan is not unfair play.
Some might not like this book because they might see it only as an instruction guide about how to manipulate and hurt people. I would encourage people in this boat to re-read the book and try to use it as a manual about how to protect oneself from being manipulated and hurt. I have worked in a variety of industries - from retail to higher education, and production to social services - and I cannot think of an industry where the information shared would not be applicable. Politics are everywhere, and one can use the Laws of Power to gain political prowess, or at the very least to prevent others from holding them back.