Analyzing Robert Greene’s Octagram 

Robert Greene is one of the most prolific authors of our generation. “Prolific” not in the quantity of his work — his 7 books published over 25 years is hardly comparable to the likes of, say, Stephen King, and his 70 some books — but prolific in quality. “Quality” is depth. “Quality” is impact and resonance. And “Quality” is, above all — as Greene’s type knows best — influence.   

Greene’s Seven books:  

  • The 48 Laws of Power 
  • The Art of Seduction 
  • The 33 Strategies of War 
  • The 50th Law
  • Mastery 
  • The Laws of Human Nature  
  • The Daily Laws  

Greene’s seven books stand as a striking example of an authoritative body of work set in a broad set of fields. I refer to Greene as an “Independent scholar,” who has created his own unique educational voice without leaning on the usual academic structures where so many “intellectuals” find their footing.  

Blending philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, economics, history, and any number of other applicable fields, Greene has already left an undeniable impact on our culture and has been solidified as one of the most important scholarly voices of our time.    


Greene’s Relevance to This Psychology 

In our psychology content on personality and personal development, Chase has cited Greene’s work consistently in the five years since he began teaching publicly. People of all fields and pursuits have resonated with Greene’s work and have found it applicable in many walks of life. Here, in the realm of Jungian Analytical Psychology, Greene’s work certainly has a voice and has incredible value to offer.  

In Greene’s work, there are also clear connections between some of his insights and this psychology. Take Law 33 in the 48 Laws of Power, “Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew,” as a clear example of how to apply the understanding of psychological type. Knowing what a person’s Inferior or Nemesis function is, for example, informs you exactly where someone is most vulnerable to pressure — just as you become aware of where you are most vulnerable to pressure.  

Law 1 of The 48 Laws of Power, “Never Outshine the Master,” has nuanced applications when it comes to dealing with bosses or authorities who Te or Fe users. Extraverted Thinking bosses are much more sensitive and aware of “credit” and status.  

Competing directly with this status would be, according to Law 1, a violation of the law of power. Applying the first law would require an even more delicate hand if you are interacting with a Te user boss who is also a Reverence type — an INTJ or ESFP

An Fe user boss, however, wants to feel that they are helpful and perhaps a good teacher and educator to their workers. They tend to prioritize being “liked” and appreciated over being “respected” — the Te counterpart. Not acknowledging or making space for the Fe user boss to contribute, help, and teach would be a violation of law 1.  

In his book Mastery, Green lays out the stages and strategies to become a master in any field. Knowing your own type, and others, allows you to adjust the tools for mastery according to what a given type’s educational and experiential needs are.   

Se users tend to learn best by watching others perform a skill and then mirroring it themselves. And while Si users can benefit from this, they are less effective a mirror and wind up learning it through trial and error mostly. Giving them the space to for their own trial and error is essential.   

Te users need to put a higher priority on research as a road to mastery, while Ti users need figure out what they can on their own before their research can be more targeted.  

Greene’s work both deeply informs and is informed by this psychology and the knowledge of personality type.  

There is so much more insight to be gained from Greene’s work when you combine a knowledge of personality type with Green’s own approach to his work. He takes the most powerful and successful figures from history and “breaks them down” to examine them in depth. He also takes the catastrophic — and also sometimes the subtle — failures from history, to examine what not to do. 

Armed with the knowledge of personality type, a well-informed reader can understand how many of history’s figures rose or fell due to their predisposed psychological weaknesses. Whether it was the hubris of their Hero or the paralyzing fear of their Inferior, our stories are written in our psychology. We just need to develop the careful eyes to see.  

Green is often accused of being Machiavellian and pushing the tools that lead to usury of others. Many criticisms leveled at him are not dissimilar to the criticism levied leveled at Chase — particularly for his work in Social Engineering. People tend to interpret people who educate on how to use these “tools” as the same as “advocating” that you use them —  and use them for your own gain. 

We will spend some of this article exploring these criticisms, including why they are unique for someone of Green’s personality type — as well as how his Octagram contributes. 

For now, with Greene’s work, what comes to mind for myself is the famous scripture: “I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” I think of this verse often when studying Robert Greene.  

As our own Robert Potts said of Greene’s books:  

“There’s an unspoken instruction here that to me symbolizes everything you need to know about what your approach to reading Greene’s books needs to be. It says the pursuit of knowledge is dangerous, but you can be intellectually innocent (aka pure, unbiased, and open minded), even while taking the practical actions needed to protect yourself and grow.” 


Robert Greene’s Personality Type   

“We want to feel like we have some degree of ability to influence other people, that we can control our own career and learn more and develop greater skills and have more power and influence in our lives. The feeling that I cannot have any power or influence over my children, my spouse, my colleagues, my boss — my career in general — is deeply, deeply unsettling to the human animal.”Robert Greene 

“The feeling that I cannot have any power or influence … is deeply unsettling.” There are times in this psychology when you have to subtly interpret language in the context of a variety of vectors, including accounting for human nurture, to determine a person’s psychological type. But there are other times when their speech reveals their type on a silver platter.  

It may have been surprising to some when Chase, in several of his early videos, said that Robert Greene is an INFP.

One quick Google search reveals that the internet overwhelmingly believes Robert Greene is an INTJ. A supreme researcher, and appearing to have an independent streak, as well as sharing information that is very pragmatic in nature, many have typed Greene an INTJ based on these broad strokes of personality attributes. 

Indeed, Greene does seem more “pragmatically” oriented than most INFPs do. The reason for that, we maintain, is due to his Octagram development, which we will get to shortly.  

Even in a short interview with Greene, his language is littered with words like “power” and “influence,” and he shows a constant awareness of the tension of powerlessness vs. power. It is a combination of both being primarily “interest-based” AND being an authority type. 

The other Authority Type, the ESTJ, is aware of the more overt manifestations of power — who has the resources, who makes the rules, who holds the immediate sway, etc. But INFPs are aware of the more covert interactions of power.

INFPs are more aware of the strategies people use to subtly guide others, or how people approach a negotiation to indirectly manipulate the other. INFPs, due to Te Inferior, are the most aware of the subtleties of power dynamics, just as they are the most painfully aware of how powerless they really are.   

In a talk Greene gave at Yale, he described this very transition of learning to accept the world as the struggle that (he) views it to be. In his own words, after quitting a job for seemingly being punished by his boss for doing a good job, Greene changed his perspective on power dynamics: 

“It was kind of the turning point in my life. I said, ‘I’m never going to let this happen again.’ I’m never going to get emotional. Because that’s what happened, I basically reacted emotionally to her touting me and developed an attitude. I’m never going to let that happen again … I’m just going to become a master observer of these games of power. I’m going to watch these people as if they were mice in a laboratory, with some distance.” 

Greene’s response to the corporate and professional world was to slightly distance himself, and to study the themes and the subtle movements of power dynamics. He became a student of observing the strategies that others used for acquiring and leveraging power in their everyday lives. 

Greene moved from a “rat” in the rat race and a “cog” in the machine to the watcher. And as we said in Octagram Article on Jordan Peterson  — an INTP — the 4 NP types (ENFP, INFP, ENTP, INTP) are the watchers for the human race. Robert Greene, the INFP, is a watcher too.  


Analyzing Robert Greene’s Octagram  

“When you enter the real world, you’re suddenly blindsided by this whole [power] realm that exists. It’s like our ‘dirty, little secret.’ People will talk about their sex lives … but nobody talks about all of those power games that are constantly going on in the world.”  Robert Greene  

I think the most important question to ask about Robert Greene is the following: What kind of person would write the 48 Laws of Power?  

And not far behind in importance:  What would someone’s life experiences have to have been to be motivated to understand and articulate power in the way Robert Greene has? I momentarily leave you with these questions. 


Robert Greene’s 4 Sides of the Mind + Nature





INFPs are a part of the Mind Temple (the ESTJ, ENFJ, and ISTP being the other types), who value education and imparting the right knowledge and skills to succeed. The Mind Temple believes that the world will be a better place when people have the right knowledge and can perform useful skills. 

The colors in the above diagram demonstrate how the other Temples — Soul, Heart, and Body — influence the INFP’s four sides of the Mind. 


  • The INFP Ego is Green because it is home to the Mind Temple.
  • The ESTJ Subconscious is Blue because the Soul Temple influences the INFP through their Subconscious. 
  • The ENFJ Shadow/Unconscious is Orange because the Body Temple influences the INFP through their Shadow.
  • The ISTP Superego is Red because the Heart Temple influences the INFP through their Superego. 

A given type can be Cognitively Developed in one of the other personality types in their mind (Subconscious or Shadow/Unconscious specifically). An INFP can be developed in their ESTJ or ENFJ side. “Developed” means where you have grown roots in your psyche — and where your mind goes when pressure is applied. 

A given type can also be Cognitively Focused — looking to grow — either the Subconscious or Unconscious. This is our present and future orientation, representing which side of our mind we are looking to develop further. 

This development vs. focus vector leads us into human nurture.


Robert Greene’s Temple Wheel + Nurture




The Temple Wheel and the 4 Sides models overlap totally. Using the ENFJ Shadow is associated with the pole of Manifestation. Using the ESTJ Subconscious is associated with the pole of Credulity.  

 From the combined models, there are 4 variants of each type, based on where they are Developed, and where they are Focused. There are 4 options for what Robert Greene’s Octagram could be.

SD | SF — Credulity + Initiative

  • Subconscious Developed, Subconscious Focused INFPs utilize Credulity and Initiative to obtain Authority. They occupy the top right of the Temple wheel. SD | SF INFPs are externally focused on their goals, with a propensity for leadership, and utilize pre-existing authority structures (or people) in order to cultivate power. 


SD | UF — Credulity + Sloth 

  • Subconscious Developed, Unconscious Focused INFPs utilize Credulity and Sloth to preserve Authority. SD | UF INFPs are seldom concerned with “expanding” their leadership role and have a higher focus on maintaining their influence. Maintaining their internal “status quo” is of supreme importance to them.  


UD | SF — Manifestation + Initiative  

  • Unconscious Developed, Subconscious focused INFPs utilize Manifestation and Initiative to create Authority. UD | SF INFPs tend toward the metaphysical, believing they can create their authority through belief. They often are leaders of educational and/or spiritual regimes. 


UD | UF — Manifestation + Sloth 

  • Unconscious Developed, Unconscious focused INFPs utilize Manifestation and Sloth to build Authority.  UD | UF INFPs have a preoccupation with belief — often drawing their desired influence to them, and siphoning in the potent ISTP Superego to manifest their own authority.



Robert Greene’s Octagram 

Which variant is Robert Greene? 

When I started researching Robert Greene for this article, I believed he was SD | SF. I thought he was using his “Initiative” living virtue to write his books and bring his work to light.  

But SD | SF types obtain their Cognitive Origin with a certain kind of optimism — with a confidence that their Origin is readily attainable.   

Someone could argue he is a UD | SF or UD | UF type, utilizing his Manifestation pole to bring about his authority. My first response would be to compare Robert Greene to other INFPs.  

Alan Watts had a certain optimism to his teaching. Life wasn’t about “power” as much as surrender and spiritual wisdom.  

Eckhart Tolle is a clear example of the UD INFP, Manifesting his influence as a spiritual and metaphysical teacher. The presence of the ENFJ, “teacher”, Shadow is evident.  

Whereas Alan Watts, who could be SD, feels more “professorial,” as if he was supremely comfortable moving between his INFP and ESTJ sides.  

I think what is surprising when encountering Robert Greene is his flavor of underlying cynicism and realism. He doesn’t seem preoccupied with lofty ideals or spiritual pursuits. He hardly seems the “Dreamer” or “Mystic” that represents the INFPs’ energy.

Greene seems, and confirmed through his own words, focused on the intensely practical. His work helps us cultivate skill in the “real” world. It is hard for most to adjust the cultural stereotypes for the “INFP” to make space for someone like Robert Greene.  

The 48 Laws of Power is not about what Greene believes the world should be like, but how he believes the world works.

It is my opinion that this is the biggest hang-up that Greene’s moral critics have toward him. They assume that the 48 Laws of Power or the Art of Seduction are pure recommendations or manifestos of how one should act and be. For Greene, the 48 Laws should be accepted because they are real, not because they feel good. To use them or not to use them, I think Greene leaves up to us. But to be aware of them, at the very least, that is his manifesto.

It was a moment when I was talking to Chase about Robert Greene when I realized Greene was not SD | SF. Chase said this of Robert Greene: “He did NOT write that book [The 48 Laws] from a place of joy.”    

Consider this quote from Greene about writing his book: “And all of this pain I had been through in the work world with all of these political, conniving, figures, it just came up out of me … I sort of improvised this idea for a book [The 48 Laws of Power].” 

No, this motivation for writing is not about joy or about an optimist. It is about a stark realism bordering on the pessimistic. But there is an element of shock in Greene’s personal life experience. Consider the quote I opened the section with: “When you enter the real world, you’re suddenly blindsided by this whole [power] realm that exists. It’s like our ‘dirty, little secret.’ People will talk about their sex lives … but nobody talks about all of those power games that are constantly going on in the world.”  

When you enter the “real” world … what does that sound like? That sounds like a person who realized that the life they had come to believe was real — their upbringing, etc. — was not the actual reality. This “rude awakening” moment is the revelation of the SD | UF Octagram.  

 We believe Robert Greene is Subconscious, ESTJ, Developed (Credulity) and Unconscious, ENFJ, Focused (Sloth). Robert Greene is a SD | UF INFP. 


Exploring the SD | UF INFP — Credulity + Sloth 

Consider why the internet believes Robert Greene is an INTJ. The incredible proclivity toward research, and digging deep into history to draw from a wide variety of compelling figures and events, is evidence of the presence of Extraverted Thinking (Te).  

Robert Greene is almost certainly abstract in the eyes of most, with a preference for introversion. In a colloquial sense then, if you type a person using the limited MBTI letter strokes, you end up with an abstract introvert with a high propensity for Extraverted Thinking. There is only one: the INTJ.  

But with the tools of the 4 sides of the mind and the Temple wheels, we can understand why an INFP, with Te Inferior, can display such supreme dominance of their Extraverted Thinking: Credulity and the ESTJ Subconscious.  

Extraverted Thinking aspirational brings the INFP into their ESTJ Subconscious to be able to research, survey, and gather like a high Te user would. Their method is Credulity. Credulity is casting a wide net of intellectual perspectives. It is gathering far and wide, and a willingness to listen and to try and to be open too 

Think about Robert Greene’s own life story. He has reportedly worked at between 60-80 jobs and, in his own words, “I worked in every conceivable field.” This approach is much closer to the Ni Trickster of the ESTJ than the Ni Critic of the INFP.  

It’s not that the INFP suddenly becomes an ESTJ, but rather that when they push into their ESTJ Subconscious they move further away from their Ni Critic. Here they become directed even less by what they want than their UD INFP counterparts. They search out a variety of life experiences, sometimes for their own sake.  

The Credulous approach for the INFP is to try it all. To observe it all, to watch it all, and perhaps to do it all, and then to find their path which emerges from there.  

When Greene decided to be an observer, he really meant an active observer. He wasn’t necessarily directing his observations toward a specific conclusion. He was watching, recognizing, and gathering. And from that process, his work emerged.  

“I want to be the master observer of this world. And this suddenly allowed me to not only observe the power games going on in the many kinds of jobs I’ve had … suddenly I had power. I wasn’t emotionally involved, I had some distance and I could deal with things. And from that I developed the 48 Laws of Power.” 

Greene’s credulity is also compelling from the perspective of what he shares with his readership. The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction, especially, are two of his more controversial books. Many INFPs would shudder at the idea of publishing their own books with like titles. The risk of being labeled “scandalous”, “power hungry” — or “Machiavellian,” as Green has been labeled — would be too high for most INFPs. No type is more concerned with concealing their Cognitive Origin — the pursuit of power, authority, etc. — than the INFP is. The fear of external judgment is exceedingly high. 

But Greene reached a point where he let the facts speak for themselves. His Credulity and ESTJ Subconscious valued the facts ABOVE the perception of those facts. He has also This is the meaning of Extraverted Thinking aspirational. Robert Greene has steered into the skid, exposing the authority and expertise he’s searching for what he is searching for, and he has empowered millions as a result. 

Greene also presents these facts — or “laws” — devoid of moral judgment. It is an extreme, even pure, expression of Credulity for an INFP to provide information devoid of moral judgment. The dilemma for Fi users — especially Fi Hero — is to have the courage to spread valuable and controversial information that could undermine their status.  

It is an even bigger challenge for them to give information without commenting on the moral quality of that information. After Law 21, “Play a sucker to catch a sucker,” Greene could have made comments on the moral wrongness of using Law 21. But he doesn’t. And he hasn’t. He let’s the facts speak for themselves, sometimes to his own loss of reputation.  

By all appearances, Greene has not fallen into the trap that many INFPs do: electing themselves the gatekeeper of who gets to know what based on their “superior” moral judgment. Greene is wiser than that. Robert Greene has made it his work to expose these hidden power games of politics, seduction, and deception for all to see. His work forces us to face others, face the world, and face ourselves in a radically new way.  


The ENFJ Shadow and the Ti Demon 

In the aforementioned Yale talk, Greene also talked about “radical realism” as a way of interacting with the world. He felt that the power struggle within human nature was a reality to first accept, and then deal with. This is Greene’s encounter with reality, siphoning up through his ENFJ shadow.  

The movement of the SD | UF type is to begin integrating the wisdom available in the Shadow.  

I believe Greene has gone even further, not only embracing the teaching role of the ENFJ, which creates authority through being correct and helpful, but has gone to the ISTP Superego — home to Ti Demon

“Radical Realism” is the principle that the ISTP Superego — Ti Demon plus Se Trickster — is the highest lesson an INFP can learn. Accepting the truth (Ti) or reality (Se) is the harsh lesson that the ISTP Superego can empower the INFP with. Greene’s underlying pessimism and cynicism is, I believe, due to the constant pressure he acknowledges from his Ti Demon.  

But it is this pressure that has led him to gather up as many facts, stories, figures, and people as he has, and has empowered him to create principles — laws, strategies, etc. — that are built on the truth of reality.  

And through this incorporation of sharing the facts, devoid of his own feelings about them, he has exposed much of human reality. And restraining himself from condemning the facts he presents, Greene has only gained more authority as a thinker, scholar, academic, and — ultimately — teacher.  

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