7 Rules of Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer - Summary and Notes

- 48 mins
7 Rules of Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer


Below is a short summary of the 7 rules of power outlined in this book –

  1. Get out of your own way. The singles biggest barrier to having power is ourselves. Sometimes imposter syndrome holds us back and one of the ways to get over is to push ourselves to situations where we are uncomfortable.

  2. Break the rules. Rules tend to favor the already strong. An easy way to break rules is to asking for things.

  3. Appear powerful. There is behavior that can be learned and adopted that can be associated with power. One key takeaway for me was the psychology behind apologizing. Read notes below for more details.

  4. Build a powerful brand. Having a narrative for your work and building a brand around it is important. This chapter is absolutely worth it just for story of how Deborah Liu (nopw CEO of Ancestry) sold her vision and plan to Mark Zuckerberg.

  5. Network relentlessly. The highlight of this chapter was the finding from the study that stated how casual acquaintances (weak ties) were more useful for finding a job than strong ties such as family, and close-friends. Meet a wide-variety of people

  6. Use your power. Power is not some scarce, limited resource that becomes depleted. The more someone uses their power to get things done, the more power they will acquire.

  7. Success excuses (almost) everything. Hard to swallow this pill of human nature – Your connections will protect you when you have success, but similarly when you have suffered setbacks, people assume you must have done something to deserve it.

Give this book a read! It has so many examples and stories that tie into each rule to re-enforce the principles behind that rule.

Favorite Quotes and Chapter Notes

I went through my notes and captured key quotes from all chapters below.

P.S. – Highly recommend Readwise if you want to get the most out of your reading.

In the Beginning: The Challenge of Power

Introduction: Power, Getting Things Done, and Career Success

Rule 1 | Get Out of Your Own Way

Rule 2 | Break the Rules

Rule 3 | Appear Powerful

Rule 4 | Build a Powerful Brand

Rule 5 | Network Relentlessly

Rule 6 | Use Your Power

Rule 7 | Success Excuses (Almost) Everything: Why This Is the Most Important Rule of All

Coda: Staying on the Path to Power

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