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Talks with American Students. Morcelo, Puerto Rico

Talks with American Students, Chapter 4 1st Talk at Morcelo, Puerto Rico 14th September, 1968

I do not know if you have looked at those hills, dotted with houses, looking very peaceful and rather beautiful. They are not built by the mind, they just happen to be there. And you come here to be told, to be talked at, to be informed, to be persuaded, to be indoctrinated with certain ideas. You want to be persuaded and I am afraid I am not going to do anything of that kind. You have sat here quietly, most unnaturally, before the meeting; somebody must have said, `Sit quiet, don't talk; this is a serious meeting' and you promptly became quiet; I heard from that house where I am staying, the noise before and after someone said to you, `You must be quiet' you all became suddenly quiet; this is quite terrible! You want to be told what to do. If you were at all serious, you would naturally be quiet for a little while, without being told to sit quietly, not to applaud, not to do this or do that. If we are natural and serious we instinctively are quiet, faced by those hills and those lovely clouds and open space and blue sky. So please do not be persuaded, talked at, do not wish to be indoctrinated by a new set of ideas. Let us rather talk things over together, like two friends meeting together who are fairly serious and who want to explore the many problems that everyone has. These two friends are not trying to convince each other of any particular point of view or trying to persuade the other that he alone is right. I think that must be clear, that you are free to discuss, free to say what you like, free to observe, not only the hills and the clouds and the blue sky, but also to look at yourselves openly. Otherwise you become hypocritical. You think one thing, feel something else and put on a mask of silence, or of seriousness, or of various types of pretensions, which you do not feel at all.

I would like to go into certain problems and perhaps, if you are also willing, we could explore them together, not only the beauty of the problems but also their complexity and, if it is possible, resolve them. That is why we are here. st of all, let me say: we are so easily persuaded, we so easily obey and conform. That is one of our conditionings imposed on us by society, by the various forms of religious sanctions and social inhibitions, so that we do not know for ourselves what our own problems are nor what are our own feelings, our own clarity of thought. So, to become conscious of what we actually are - not what other people tell us, nor what society or the churches throughout the world have forced man to think along a particular line, but stripping ourselves of all that, denuding ourselves of all the various forms of masks and cloaks that have been put upon us - to become aware of ourselves as we are. That is one of the problems.

You know what I mean by `aware'? This is an ordinary English word which means to be conscious, to see, to observe everything outside you, these leaves in the wind, the hills, their shape, those shoddy houses, those ugly roads, scarring the hills, just to observe outwardly. Please do this as we go along. And see the colours, the shape of the clouds, the cypress, these two cypresses standing there, and the colour of the foliage, and those blue and yellow butterflies. To observe all this, to observe the people sitting next to you, the coats, whatever the ladies wear, the colours and your reaction to everything. To observe outwardly, to be aware of things externally, and then be aware, if one can, of one's own reaction to all this, why you like this and you do not like that, why you like that particular colour or that particular hill, and the curve and fold of those hills, to observe your reactions. And to find out why you have those reactions, just to observe not to say, `This is right or wrong', condemn it judge it or evaluate it, but just observe your reactions; this is only fairly difficult because in looking at a tree or those hills one can be aware without any judgment, because they do not personally touch one deeply. But if one looks at oneself and the reactions that one has and observes this, then this is very personal, subjective, very intimate, and so one is not capable of looking quite objectively.

That is one of our problems, to look at the world outside oneself, the politicians, their absurdities, their inanities, their promises, their personal ambitions. To observe everything about you externally and then become aware of yourself and your reactions, and to watch those reactions without any judgment, which is quite arduous. Because you know when you look at anything, when you look at one of those trees - instinctively you name the tree, don't you? You say, `That is a cypress, that is an orange tree, that is a banana plant'. The very naming of the objects you see prevents you from looking at them. Do please do it as we are talking - it can be quite fun.

When you name a thing, the very word acts as a distraction from observation. When you use the word `cypress', you are looking at that tree through the word; so you are not actually looking at the tree. You are looking at that tree through the image that you have built up, and so the image prevents you from looking. In the same way, if you try to look at yourself without the image this is quite strange and deeply disturbing. To look when you are angry, when you are jealous, to look at that feeling without naming it, without putting it into a category. Because when you put it into a category or name it, you are looking at that present state of feeling through the past memory. I don't know if you are following this. So you are actually not looking at the feeling, but you are looking through the memory which has been accumulated when other similar types of feeling arose. So one is never in contact with the tree or with oneself. Is this fairly clear? Because this is important, as you will see presently if you go into it sufficiently deeply. The word, that is the symbol, the description, is not the thing described. The word `tree' is not the actual tree, and we are likely to be caught in the word. The word prevents us from being in very close contact with the tree. And when we look at ourselves, if we ever do, and if we say, `That is wrong or right, I have every right to be jealous or envious', these words prevent the actual contact with that feeling, and hence there is a division between the observer and the thing observed. Is this fairly clear? When there is a division between the observer and the observed, that division creates conflict, doesn't it? I am angry; the word anger is already condemnatory word; so when I say, `I am angry' I have separated myself from that feeling that I have called anger. There is a division between the observer and the thing observed, which is anger. In that division all other forms of complexities arise. I will show you what I mean. When I say, `I am angry', I have externalized my anger; so there is a division between the observer and the observed. In that division I condemn anger. In that state of separation there is condemnation or justification and hence conflict; you try to suppress it or to justify it. So the reason of conflict in the human mind is this division between the observer and the observed. And as long as there is conflict, struggle in any form, there is distortion of the mind.

To eliminate distortion or lack of clarity, and hence conflict, to be free of conflict, is to have no division between the observer and the observed. And therefore the mind is capable of looking at things without the distance of time. Is this Greek to you? When one speaks of anyone as a Communist, or a Russian, or of what the Russians have done in Czechoslovakia, and when one gets angry about it or justifies it, when you are the observer and the Russian is the observed, then your particular ideology and his prevent both of you from looking at the other without division.

You know, people have taken L.S.D. and various forms of drugs. I have never taken it because I feel that this would be too immature and childish. But when one has talked to a great many of those who have taken it - this is actually what takes place - the space between the observer and the observed disappears; therefore you see the tree with an astonishing clarity, you see the colour as you have never seen it before, you move in a different dimension chemically. And that is why it is so popular. It gives you an elan, a feeling of tremendous vitality, of observation; what is seen is much more acute, much more intense, colours are incredible. Because there is no conflict, there is no division, there is immediate perception. In the same way, when one can look at oneself with clarity in which there is no division as observer or thinker and the thoughts observed, then you see what actually is, and in that state all conflict disappears.

If one could do this, one would discover for oneself that understanding is not a mental process, is not an intellectual, verbal statement. For the moment that is enough. Shall we discuss that, and then finish with that and go on to something else?

Questioner: Are you identifying yourself with the tree? Are you identifying yourself, subjectively, with anger, and so on.

Krishnamurti: I wonder what we mean by that word identify? To identify oneself with something; that is, to identify myself with India, with the things that happen in India, the poverty, the corruption and the misrule, the appalling state of that poor country, to identify myself with that, as you identify yourself with this country or with Christianity or with whatever it is. Why do we want, first of all, to identify ourselves with anything? This is quite important to discuss. Why do we want to identify ourselves with `my wife', `my house', `my country', `my God', with anything at all? Why?

First of all, why do I want to identify myself with something? If I do not identify myself with my country, what takes place? I am rather lost, am I not? I feel lonely, I feel an outsider, I am rather afraid, left out, I might lose my job. Therefore I identify myself with my country, which gives me a certain vitality, certain forms of resistance and I feel I belong to the herd. To be alone is very difficult because it invites a great many problems. Now that is the process of identification with something externally, which is really the internal action of identifying oneself with something in order to be secure. That security gives you a certain satisfaction.

Now, when I observe that tree, is it identification with that tree? I am not that tree, obviously, that would be too stupid. I am not that pig that is going by. I observe, I watch, and the space between the observer and the thing observed disappears and I see the thing much more intimately, I see it more, with greater energy, vitality, and intensity. This does not mean that I identify myself with it.

Questioner: Are there degrees of awareness?

Krishnamurti: No. Either you are aware of that tree or you are not aware of it. You see, we give to that word an extraordinary meaning. I am `aware' of that tree. It is there and I am here. I am aware of that tree only when I give my attention to that tree. But I can look at it casually, or pass it by. Let us be quite simple about these things. I observe the politician, the promises, the vanity, the ambition, the drive for power - he does not believe a thing of what he is talking about; he is out for himself. I observe him, and I see what e is. If I want to be like him, a politician, then I identify yourself with him. As most of us are politicians at heart it is quite easy to identify. But if I see the absurdity, the tricks, the inanities of all he says, then there is no relationship. Questioner: Do you become the object?

Krishnamurti: No, you do not become the object. Oh, my God, just think of it!

Questioner: ...the observer and the thing observed are one.

Krishnamurti: No, Sir, I did not say the observer and the observed are one. I said, when the space disappears between the observer and the observed, a quite different dimension comes into being. I cannot become the tree, I am much too intelligent to become that tree. I think this is quite difficult, Sir, you are quite right to persist in asking that question, because we really do not experience, or come to the feeling that the observer and the observed are one.

Questioner: When I do not justify or condemn, space disappears.

Krishnamurti: Look, Sir, let's put is more directly, then you will, perhaps, see it more closely, intimately. If one is married and has a wife or a husband, then you identify yourself with your wife or with your husband; you identify with that person and what actually takes place? When you identify yourself with your wife do you become her?

Questioner: ...you become a slave to her.

Krishnamurti: I don't know - you know about this better than I do. (laughter) Please do observe a little more, don't say `I'll become a slave, she dominates me, she is this and she is that; observe first. Why do I identify myself with my wife or with my husband? what does that mean?

Questioner: It is for security, or pleasure.

Krishnamurti: Consider it for yourself for a minute, you will see it. Go into it for yourself. When I say to myself, `This is my house', I have identified myself with that house. It is my house; legally I possess it. But why do I give this identifying insistence to it? That is my house. When I say it is my house, the house is more important than myself. The furniture in the house is my furniture. The furniture is much more important than me. So all possessions are much more important than the possessor. And that is what we are. It is my horse and the man who rides it is smaller than the horse itself, both in stature and in his dignity. I don't know if you have observed all this - you must have.

So, our question is, when I identify myself with my wife or with my house, I do it because - I mustn't say it - you tell me why do I do it?

Questioner: We seem more important.

Krishnamurti: No, no. Do look at it a little more. I have just now said, when you possess something, which is a form of identification, the thing you possess becomes far more important. No? Then tell me, please - I may be wrong. I may be wrong, Madame. When we identify with goodness, which he may have or she may have, that identification is the recognition of my lack of it and I want it. Is that it? Then why do I not identify myself with her when she nags me? You identify yourself with something which you call good and you do not identify yourself with what you call bad.

Questioner: I try to fix that feeling...

Krishnamurti: Sir, look, all this implies non-freedom, doesn't it? `My family', `my house', `my country', `my God', `my belief' - obviously identifying myself with something is the state of being a prisoner, it does not give you freedom to look. When the Russian identifies himself with his government, he cannot possibly look at what he is doing in Czechoslovakia. And I cannot, if I identify myself with my wife, see what she is. Which means that I am not free. It is not a case of not being free from her, but that there is no state of freedom in me. Questioner: Inaudible.

Krishnamurti: Of course, Sir, that is implied. So, from that you can see that only in freedom can you look.

Questioner: What then is the reality of time and space?

Krishnamurti: Some philosophers say that that is a thing of the mind. Perhaps Sir, we can take that up after we have finished this, after we have finished this question of observing.

Questioner: What impedes us from having this freedom?

Krishnamurti: I think nothing impedes you except yourself.

Questioner: ...call things by their names...

Krishnamurti: That is just it, Sir, there is an automatic reaction to things by calling them immediately by name. How can we prevent it? You cannot. You have to realize how you are conditioned, when you meet a black man or pink. Whatever it is, your reaction is immediate, because your culture, your education, has so deeply conditioned you. You know, in India, this conditioning has been going on, not for two thousand years as here, but for some ten thousand years. And the conditioning is tremendous, centuries old. To be free of it is not a question of time; we can cut through it, finish with it; and when we see its absurdity, we end it.

Questioner: Can we go into the question of time here?

Krishnamurti: The question is, that we may cut it immediately, but does this last? Now, can we go into this question of time which you previously raised, time and space? Now, he said, I can cut it immediately but it does not last. The `lasting' is a question of time. Time is duration, isn't it? That is, I can be instantly non-angry, but this state does not last, I may be angry again next minute. So, one has to find out what time is; not what some philosophers say - because I do not know what they say, I do not read books at all, fortunately for me. One can see what time is. What is time? There is time by the watch, chronological time, the time it takes to go from here to a house; time involves the covering of that space between here and your house. The house is a fixed object - please listen to this carefully - the house is a fixed object and the time that it takes to cover that distance is measurable. So there is time according to the watch. That is clear. There was time as yesterday, today and tomorrow, which again is part of chronological time; yesterday I was in London, today I am here, tomorrow I am in New York. Again, this covers distance through time by the watch. That is clear. I am not a philosopher therefore please forgive me. (Laughter) Is there any other time??

Questioner: The time we spend in life?

Krishnamurti: That is, what? The days you spend in living? The time, growing old, dying, covering a space and ending? Please, I am asking something, do listen to it. Is there any other time except chronological time.

Questioner: Psychological time.

Krishnamurti: There is a time which is called psychological. So there are two times, the time of yesterday, today and tomorrow, the distance, the time you take between here and your house; that is one kind of time. It takes time to learn a language, collecting a lot of words, memorizing them; that will take time. Learning a technique, learning a craft, learning a skill - all that implies time - chronological time. Then there is psychological time, the time that mind has invented. The mind that says, I will be the President, tomorrow I will be good, I will achieve, I will become successful, I will be more prosperous, I will attain perfection, I will become the Commissar, I will be this, I will be that. There, time is between the goal and the present state. That goal which I have set myself to achieve, will take time - I must struggle, I must drive, I must be ambitious, I must be brutal, I must push everybody aside. These are all projections of the mind and what it wants to achieve; they create psychological time. So we have these two kinds of time, chronological time and psychological time.

Questioner: Is there any difference? I do become the President or I do learn Italian and this say takes six months or six years.

Krishnamurti: Yes, is does take time. I recognise these two states, the chronological and the psychological. But is psychological time true or is it an illusion? You haven't understood, Sir? I am asking myself, does psychological time exist at all

Questioner: Inaudible.

Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, I understand, but we have to go into it very deeply, we must go very slowly. Don't let us assert anything. Do not say, it is an illusion, it is not an illusion, it is like this or like that, do not let us fall into that absurdity. Here are two facts, one, I am this, the other that I want to be that, whether it is a big thing or a little thing. And that also implies space and time. And the other is getting from here to the house, distance to cover, involving time say to myself, both seem to be true, true in the sense that I have a goal, I want to be powerful, I want to be rich, I want to be famous, and I drive towards that. To become famous takes time, because the image which I have created of fame is there in the distance and I must cover it, through time, because I am not that image now, but I will be in the future. I am not at the house now. I am here. It will take time. And now I want to be famous. Psychologically, that is my projection, the image which I have created of fame. You see that, there it is. I have projected it, it is my image because I have compared other famous people and I want to be like them. And that implies struggle, competitiveness and ruthlessness. it is an actual thing I want, do I not? I want that and I struggle to get it. I do not question why I have created that image. I do not question what is involved in arriving at that image. I just say, `I must be that image'. So in this there is a great deal of conflict, pain, suffering, and brutality. And that is my conditioning, because people have told me from childhood that I must be this, I must pass my exams, I must be a great man, I must be a business man, a lawyer, a professor, whatever it is.

So I have created that image and I have not found out why I have done so. If I see the absurdity of that image, if I see the futility, the pain, the agony, the anxiety, everything that is involved in it, I do not create the image, therefore I abolish

Questioner: What is wrong with learning Italian in time?

Krishnamurti: No, please, do not mix up the two, please keep it...

Questioner: Two psychological states, I am nobody and tomorrow I will be somebody.

Krishnamurti: I am nobody and tomorrow I will be somebody. The `tomorrow' is there in my mind. I am waiting for tomorrow to happen. So there is time (or I think there is). I will be famous. The words `will be' are in the future. So, I ask myself, is there a tomorrow at all? Tomorrow exists only when I want to be something.

Questioner: Can I be free of psychological time?

Krishnamurti: I am showing it to you, Sir. Can man be free from psychological time? Find out for yourself, Sirs; you can see it. If I want to be famous, I cannot be free from time. If I say, I am nobody, and I want to be somebody, I am a slave to time. Now I am nobody, why should I be someone? - I am nobody. Krishnamurti: No, the somebody has a bigger car, a bigger house. Don't let's mix up words. I am nobody, but I want to be somebody. There is in this the whole process of time. If I do not want to be anybody, is there psychological time? I am what I am. But if I want to change myself into something, then time begins. But I must change, I cannot remain as I am. Are you following all this?

Look, I am nobody. Please follow this step by step. I am nobody and I want to be somebody. In that is involved time, pain and the rest. The demand for being somebody, for change from being nobody, that kind of change I discard as it is absurd, unintelligent, immature. So I say, I am nobody. If I remain as nobody, there is nothing. I am nobody, there is nothing in me. But that quality must also change. Those poor chaps in those huts, (I do not know how you can stand those huts around here!) - that poor chap in that hut he is nobody. He cannot become anybody because he is uneducated, he is this and he is that. But he also wants to become somebody because he sees the house next door is a bigger house. So the wanting to be somebody is through comparison. We all look at this through comparison. Now, can the mind eliminate all comparison? Then I will not say, `I am nobody'.

Why should I project? I want to learn Italian and I will learn it. It will take time and I will work at it. I have to be in New York on the 23rd of this month. I will plan, I will buy a ticket. There is no projection, there is no image, I have to do the practical things that will get me there. But I might say to myself: `I am going to New York and it will be much more exciting than living here and all the rest of it'. Now is it possible for the mind not to compare and therefore - but you do not see the beauty of it - and therefore have no time at all. Am I answering your question, Sir? Questioner: Inaudible.

Krishnamurti: I said when you say you are nobody, you have already compared yourself with someone who is somebody. If you eliminate all comparison you will have completely changed. I am still living in that filthy little hut. So the man who lives in that filthy little house, if he comes to this point of saying, `All comparison has come to an end', will be out of that house.

Questioner: How?

Krishnamurti: He will work more intelligently.

Questioner: Why would he work if he had not seen the bigger house next door?

Krishnamurti: That is just it. If there is no comparison, what takes place? This is the first question; what actually takes place when you do not compare?

Questioner: You are not blocking yourself any more.

Krishnamurti: He says, you are not blocking yourself any more. Look, let us begin. Why do you compare? You begin at school, the teacher tells you you are not doing well, not as well as the other boy. The whole process of examinations, marks and all that is comparison. From childhood you are conditioned to compare, compare the little house with the big house; always comparing. That is your conditioning. And it brings about a series of struggles, of success and failure, of miseries, which society and yourself have imposed. That is your conditioning. You see the poor boy becoming President. That is a tremendous advertisement; and you say, `What a marvellous competitive society this is!' That is our conditioning. And we maintain it because sometimes it is profitable, sometimes it is painful, but it is incurable. We never question why we compare. Please question it now and find out.

Why do you compare? Questioner: One feels insufficient.

Krishnamurti: Take this up - when you feel insufficient you compare. But how do you know that you are insufficient, if you do not compare? Please go into this. Do we compare because we are insufficient? Do we compare because it is part of our conditioning? Every newspaper says, look, so and so is so powerful and you are nobody. So we accept comparison as the norm, as the inevitable process of existence. I do not. Why should I compare? If I do not compare, am I a nobody? I only compare with something superior and therefore I feel inferior. And if I have no comparison I am...

Questioner: Unique?

Krishnamurti: No, it has nothing to do with uniqueness. How do I know I am unique? Because I have compared with those people who are not unique? How do I know? To use this word - please Sir, stick to this, it is very interesting to go into it. Look, I compare two pieces of cloth when I buy a coat. Black and White. I compare. I compare this country, saying, `It is very hot here; but I can say that this is a very hot country without comparing. If I compare this country with a cooler country, I resist this heat, and then this heat becomes intolerable. Can one eliminate comparison, psychologically, and keep away from comparison with regard to big house, little house, bigger carpet...

Questioner: What is the mechanism of comparison?

Krishnamurti: You can see why we compare because, for one thing, we are conditioned, and also through comparison we think we are living. It is part of our struggle; by comparing we feel that we are acting. We say, if I do not compare, if I do not become like Mr. Smith, my God, what shall I be? So comparison is the system in which we have been born, which either says, `You must be an executive, you must have millions', or on the other hand, `You must be a saint and have nothing'.

Questioner: Can one be satisfied with what one is and not be concerned with the neighbour?

Krishnamurti: Are you really concerned with the neighbour? That neighbour down below? Are you? Obviously not. And you are not satisfied with what you are. The moment you use the word `satisfied' and `not satisfied' there is comparison. Obviously. So, you eliminate altogether words like `better', `the more'. So you see, time, psychological time exists only when there is a state of comparison and that includes dissatisfaction, feeling of inferiority, feeling that you must achieve, that you must be - all that is implied in comparison. And when you say, `I am nobody', that word is a comparative word, otherwise you would not use that word. So time, psychological time exists when there is this comparative mind, the mind that measures psychologically. Now, can I, can the mind exist without measuring - exist, live, not just go to sleep - be tremendously active, alive to its fullest depth? That is only possible when there is no comparison.

Psychological time exists only when there is comparison, when there is a distance to be covered between `what is' and `what should be', which is the desire to become somebody or nobody, all that involves psychological time and the distance to be covered. So one says, is there a tomorrow, psychologically? And this you will not be able to answer. Is there tomorrow - `tomorrow' having come into being because I have had a moment of complete freedom, a complete feeling of something, and it has gone. I would like to keep it, to make it last. Making it last is a form of greed. We struggle to achieve that thing again. All this is implied in psychological time. When you have some experience of joy, of pleasure or whatever it is, live it completely and do not demand that it should endure, because then you are caught in time. So, is there tomorrow? That is, tomorrow is ahead and I have had a feeling today of great happiness and want to know if it will last. How can I keep it so that it will always last? Memory of that pleasure makes you want that memory to continue and if it continues, you prevent further experience altogether. It is fairly simple, this.

Questioner: (In Spanish)

Krishnamurti: If you speak Spanish slowly I can understand; I think you have said: `How can I understand resistance'? Again, what do you mean by that word `resist'?

Questioner: (In French)

Krishnamurti: First, let us look at that word, what it means, not what you feel or I think or somebody else thinks - first, see what the word `to resist' means. To resist involves time; to oppose, to resist, to put a barrier, to put it away from you. To resist - I resist the rain, I resist the sunshine, I do not like it, I resist temptation, I resist; I want a bigger house and I say `How stupid, I am not going to have it'. So I resist, rebel against something which I want, or don't want. Why should I resist at all? Please put this to yourself: `Why should I resist'? That has been all my life, I have resisted this and I have accepted that, I don't like this and I like that. So I have built a wall of resistance all round myself, obviously. I don't want to go into this too deeply but let's touch on it briefly; I have resisted everything, I have resisted this and that, so I have built a wall around myself, And the wall is the `me' and the `me' is the very essence of resistance. So why do I resist?

I resist. I resist temptation. But what I want to know is why there is resistance at all. Why can't I look at some. thing and understand it - why should I resist it? Do look at it, Sir - I resist only something which I don't understand. I say `Ecco' - I understand that. To maintain a particular state I resist; I was happy yesterday and I resist anything that will prevent me having that experience again. If I could look at everything with clarity, then there would be no resistance, would there? If I look with clarity at the process of the modern, or of the old world, there everybody wants to be somebody, or nobody, look at it, see everything involved in it, the pain, ugliness, brutality, failure, and bitterness of it all, if I understand it all then it is finished - I will no longer resist anything. Anything else, Sirs?

Questioner: We go from one conditioning to another...

Krishnamurti: Yes, is not freedom from one conditioning a form of another conditioning? If I understand or am aware choicelessly of my conditioning, would I fall into another? Then I recognise all conditioning, whether it is from this or from that, recognise it, understand it, look at it, go into it. You know, it is like those people who go from one religion to another, from one sect to another, and they think they are becoming tremendously religious. But that is childish.

14th September 1968


Talks with American Students. Morcelo, Puerto Rico

Talks with American Students, Chapter 4 1st Talk at Morcelo, Puerto Rico 14th September, 1968

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