The Laws of Human NatureBy Robert GreeneProfile Books The parable of the scorpion and the frog is no doubt one of author Robert Greene’s favourites. In the fable, the scorpion convinces the frog to carry him across the river, despite the frog’s fears of getting stung. Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog, leaving both to die. The sting in the story’s tale is that we must understand the true nature of others, and it illuminates the primary law of human nature, which is “to deny that we have human nature. We think, ‘I’m not irrational, I’m not aggressive, I don’t feel envy, I am not a narcissist’.” In fact, people are riddled with anomalies and absurdities, foibles and fallibilities, which we constantly try to mask. As Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It, “all the world’s a stage”. We’re all actors. We just can’t help ourselves. Except, with Greene directing, maybe we can. His five previous books, covering the gamut of human affairs from love to hatred, wisdom to warfare, purp...

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