As the title would suggest, this book in itself is very powerful!
It can be described as a manual to learn how to gain power over people. Sometimes, it is definitely a guide for "How to manipulate people", but more often it is simply a detailed explanations on how some people in History gained their power. Hence, this book can also be used to understand powerful people's behaviour, which can sometime be a difficult task.
Divised in 48 chapters, each of them addressing a particular rule to follow, the author explains with factual examples why this particular rule is important, how historical figures manage to gain power by observing it, and how other lost power by transgressing it.
For general culture, as well as for understanding how power works in our complex human society, this is a must read. It digs deep in human psychology, what drives people, what scares them or what pleases them. Some people are often quote as examples to follow if one wants to gain more power in his circle, ie Henry Kissinger, Talleyrand, Louis XIV or Bismarck to name a few. Some anecdots about them really worth the read, amazing and funny.
I now understand why some politicians act as they act, despite any sense of moral, respect toward their people, or even ridiculousness. The psychological trigger they pull over people might seem stupid for someone who try to understand beyond apearances (as I like to do), but for the vast majority this is the right move to do for controlling them or scaring them.
Wether you'd like to be more powerful over some people in your life, understand how human psychology works as far as influence is concerned, or entertain yourself with fascinating historical facts (even though some Antic Greek or Chinese anecdotes may just be legend or mythology), I strongly recommend this book.