If one seeks power of any kind, it is necessary to have a goal and a path toward that goal. While tactics used along the way are in flux, the strategy will largely remain the same. So careful attention must be paid to devising a strategy. The right strategy can make all the difference in the world when it comes to when—or even if—the ultimate goal is arrived at.

Many great men have written on the process by which strategy should be arrived at. The art of the general is as applicable to our own struggles as it is on the battlefield. This is why so many who have never even been in the same room as a weapon have studied The Art of War.

The ultimate aim of virtually anyone striving in such a way is power, whether we mean power over the self or power over others. Once power is acquired, the question is how one chooses to exercise it. This is a class of wisdom all its own and one that is best studied well in advance of actually acquiring power, lest one be unprepared for its exercise when power does finally arrive.

The following are some crucial musings on proper strategy and the nature of power. Use them as a starting point for your own quest for power — whatever that means to you.


Quotes About Power and the Effects Power Can Have


“The measure of a man is what he does with power.”

– Unknown, often misattributed to Plato

Plato on Power & Strategy Quotes

Attributed to Plato but with uncertain origins, the quote “The measure of a man is what he does with power” encapsulates the essence of moral character and responsibility. It suggests that true worth lies not in the possession of power but in the manner it’s exercised. Whether one employs power for selfish gain or for the betterment of others defines their essence. This statement prompts reflection on the ethical implications of wielding influence, emphasizing that actions taken with power determine one’s true nature. It serves as a timeless reminder to use authority judiciously, with integrity, and for the collective good.

Napoléon Bonaparte

“To do all that one is able to do, is to be a man; to do all that one would like to do, is to be a god.”

– Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoléon Bonaparte on Power & Strategy Quotes

Napoleon Bonaparte’s quote, “To do all that one is able to do, is to be a man; to do all that one would like to do, is to be a god,” delineates the distinction between human capability and divine omnipotence. It suggests that fulfilling one’s potential reflects humanity’s essence, while achieving desires beyond mortal limitations embodies a godlike status. This statement highlights the aspiration for self-actualization within human confines, while acknowledging the allure of transcending them. It encapsulates the relentless pursuit of excellence tempered by the acceptance of human limitations, resonating with the enduring quest for personal fulfillment amidst earthly constraints.

Robert Greene

“Power rarely ends up in the hands of those who start a revolution, or even of those who further it; power sticks to those who bring it to a conclusion.”

– Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene on Power & Strategy Quotes

Robert Greene’s quote from “48 Laws of Power” dissects the dynamics of revolution and power, unveiling a harsh reality. It suggests that while revolutionaries may initiate change, it’s often those who navigate the tumultuous journey to its end who seize power. This observation underscores the treacherous nature of political upheavals, where initial idealism gives way to Machiavellian maneuvering. Power gravitates towards those who orchestrate its culmination, highlighting the pragmatic nature of success in the political arena. It serves as a cautionary tale, revealing the intricate interplay between idealism, ambition, and the ruthless pursuit of power in the turbulent landscape of revolutions.

Ram Dass

“The most exquisite paradox…as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power, you’ll have more than you ever dreamed possible.”

– Ram Dass

Ram Dass on Power & Strategy Quotes

Ram Dass’s profound insight delves into the paradoxical nature of desire and attainment. He suggests that true fulfillment arises when one relinquishes the relentless pursuit of power. By letting go of the craving for control, one opens the door to abundance beyond imagination. This paradox underscores the liberation found in surrendering to the flow of life, rather than clinging to the illusion of power. It’s a transformative invitation to transcend the ego’s grip and discover boundless possibilities in relinquishment. In embracing this wisdom, one finds that in releasing the desire for power, they attain a richness of life far surpassing their wildest dreams.

Robert A. Heinlein

“Consider the black widow spider. It’s a timid little beastie, useful and, for my taste, the prettiest of the arachnids, with its shiny, patent-leather finish and its red hourglass trademark. But the poor thing has the fatal misfortune of possessing enormously too much power for its size. So everybody kills it on sight.”

– Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land

In Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land,” the black widow spider serves as a poignant metaphor for the consequences of possessing disproportionate power. Despite its small and seemingly innocuous nature, adorned with striking aesthetics, the spider faces immediate destruction due to the fear of its potent venom. Heinlein highlights society’s tendency to fear and eliminate entities perceived as overly influential, regardless of their intrinsic value. This reflection prompts consideration of the complexities surrounding power dynamics and the often unjust fate of those who unwittingly possess immense strength within constrained confines. It’s a sobering reminder of the precariousness of power in the eyes of the fearful.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Power is given only to him who dares to stoop and take it … one must have the courage to dare.”

– Fyodor DostoevskyCrime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky on Power & Strategy Quotes

In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” the notion of power is intertwined with daring and courage. Dostoevsky suggests that power isn’t passively bestowed but rather seized by those bold enough to reach for it. The act of stooping implies humility and audacity, contrasting with conventional views of power as a privilege granted by others. This insight underscores the agency of individuals in claiming authority and effecting change. It emphasizes the importance of courage in challenging norms and pursuing one’s aspirations. Dostoevsky’s words serve as a call to action, reminding us that true power arises from the willingness to confront challenges and embrace risk.

John Steinbeck

“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.”

– John Steinbeck, The Short Reign of Pippin IV

Fyodor Dostoevsky on Power & Strategy Quotes

John Steinbeck’s assertion in “The Short Reign of Pippin IV” challenges conventional wisdom regarding the corrupting influence of power. He contends that power itself isn’t inherently corrupting; rather, it’s the fear associated with it, particularly the fear of losing it, that leads to corruption. Steinbeck’s insight delves into the psychological underpinnings of corruption, suggesting that it stems from insecurity rather than the possession of authority. This perspective prompts reflection on the interplay between power, fear, and morality, offering a nuanced understanding of the forces at play in human behavior and governance. It underscores the importance of addressing root causes, such as fear, in combatting corruption.

Robert Ingersoll

“If you want to find out what a man is to the bottom, give him power. Any man can stand adversity – only a great man can stand prosperity.”

– Robert Ingersoll, speaking about Abraham Lincoln

Robert Ingersoll on Power & Strategy Quotes

Robert Ingersoll’s reflection on the nature of man, particularly in relation to power, offers profound insight into human character. He suggests that true essence is revealed not in adversity, where resilience is common, but in prosperity, where the temptations of power are prevalent. Ingersoll implies that while anyone can endure hardship, it takes greatness to navigate success without succumbing to its pitfalls. This observation, applied to Abraham Lincoln, underscores the depth of character required to wield power with integrity and humility. It prompts contemplation on the transformative impact of power and the measure of greatness in individuals.

George Orwell

“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

– George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell on Power & Strategy Quotes

In George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece “1984,” this quote encapsulates the chilling essence of totalitarianism. Orwell dissects the insidious nature of power, portraying it not as a tool for noble ends, but as an end in itself. The quote exposes the inherent corruption within systems driven solely by the pursuit of power. It reveals the vicious cycle wherein revolutions are exploited to consolidate authority, and oppression is perpetuated for its own sake. Orwell’s stark portrayal serves as a cautionary tale, warning against the unchecked accumulation of power and the descent into tyranny where the very purpose of power becomes its own sustenance.

Henry Ward Beecher

“If any man is rich and powerful he comes under the law of God by which the higher branches must take the burnings of the sun, and shade those that are lower; by which the tall trees must protect the weak plants beneath them.”

– Henry Ward Beecher

Henry Ward Beecher on Power & Strategy Quotes

Henry Ward Beecher’s quote beautifully illustrates the moral responsibility inherent in wealth and power. He invokes the metaphor of nature, likening the privileged to towering trees that must shield and support those beneath them. Beecher emphasizes the duty of those in positions of influence to provide protection and assistance to the less fortunate, echoing principles of compassion and stewardship. This sentiment reflects a profound understanding of social interconnectedness and the notion that with privilege comes the obligation to uplift others. Beecher’s words serve as a timeless reminder of the importance of using power and resources to foster a more equitable and compassionate society.

Ayn Rand

“Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.”

– Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand on Power & Strategy Quotes

Ayn Rand’s quote from “Atlas Shrugged” vividly portrays the insidious nature of power-lust as a manifestation of intellectual emptiness. She likens the craving for power to a weed, thriving only in the barren landscapes of neglected thought. Rand suggests that those consumed by the pursuit of power lack purpose and depth, seeking validation and control in lieu of meaningful pursuits. This observation underscores the link between intellectual engagement and ethical conduct, highlighting the importance of introspection and moral clarity in resisting the allure of power. Rand’s words serve as a caution against the dangers of intellectual apathy and the unchecked pursuit of dominance.

Chinese proverb

“When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.”

– Chinese proverb

Chinese proverb on Power & Strategy Quotes

The succinct wisdom of the Chinese proverb “When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter” captures the essence of chaos and self-preservation. It illustrates how disruptions or upheavals can cause individuals to react instinctively, dispersing to avoid danger or consequences. Metaphorically, it speaks to the fragility of stability and the swift response to unforeseen events. This proverb encapsulates a universal truth about human behavior, reminding us of the primal instinct to flee when faced with sudden change or peril. It serves as a timeless reminder of the interconnectedness of cause and effect, and the inherent vulnerability within the fabric of life.