Extremely valuable book. As a female born and raised in the midwest, we were socialized to be transparent, to make way for others and remain completely (at times blindly) loyal. This all sounds nice, but it was to a level where I was pretty ineffective in my own life, where no one takes you seriously. As I became an adult, I would still allow others to choose first, share all of my plans in detail, keep ties that were clearly using me, etc etc. As one can imagine, I became extremely unhappy and frustrated. I could tell there was a game going on around me, and I was clueless.
When reading this book cover to cover, I had SEVERAL moments where I thought "yes! this has happened to me" or "that's what she was up to all along". Greene does an excellent job of demonstrating each law through story and analysis. The analyses are very poignant and I highlighted a LOT.
Biggest takeaway: don't show all of your cards. People don't have to know everything. There is some trend in American society to "be authentic" which has become misconstrued, and often results in immature emotional displays. Be authentic on the inside. This assumes one's aim is not evil, but to move forward with their goals.
Criticism: Almost all of the historical references are extremely old. Would be interesting to get some more examples in 20th century (although he uses Kissinger). Second, in virtually every female example, the woman's LOOKS are taken heavily into account. She had to "overcome" being unsightly or had extreme power because of her beauty. Come on. It was absolutely true for those times but there are plenty of contemporary women who I'm sure had to utilize many if not all of the laws of this book. Courtesans and mistresses, as you pointed out, never actually seal their power as the others had.