These are my highlights from Dacher Keltner's article The Power Paradox which takes a more humane and positive look at the idea of power, contrary to the Machiavellian views of Robert Greene's The 48 Laws of Power.

[The belief] that attaining power requires force, deception, manipulation, and coercion ... [is] dead wrong.

Instead, a new science of power has revealed that power is wielded most effectively when it's used responsibly, by people who are attuned to and engaged with the needs and interests of others.

... once people assume positions of power, they're likely to act more selfishly, impulsively, and aggressively, and they have a harder time [empathising with others]. ... [this is] the paradox of power: The skills most important to obtaining power and leading effectively are the very skills that deteriorate once we have power.

... [we need to be ] vigilant against the corruptive influences of power.

... we must promote a different model of power, one rooted in social intelligence, responsibility, and cooperation.

Myth number one: Power equals cash, votes, and muscle. ... power is defined as one's capacity to alter another person's condition or state of mind by providing or withholding resources ... or administering punishments. ... [Power] is part of every social interaction where people have the capacity to influence one another's states. ... When we seek equality, we are seeking an effective balance of power, ... We use it to win consent and social cohesion, not just compliance.

Myth number two: Machiavellians win in the game of power. ... one's ability to get or maintain power ... depends on one's ability to understand and advance the goals of other group members. When it comes to power, social intelligence—reconciling conflicts, negotiating, smoothing over group tensions—prevails over social Darwinism. ... [Machiavellian ] individuals do not actually rise to positions of power.

Myth number three: Power is strategically acquired, not given. ... with increasing social intelligence, subordinates can form powerful alliances and constrain the actions of those in power. Power increasingly has come to rest on the actions and judgements of other group members. ... Machiavellians quickly acquire reputations as individuals who act in ways that are inimical to the interests of others, and these reputations act like a glass ceiling, preventing their rise in power. ... Lao-tzu [said] "To lead the people, walk behind them". ... Science gives the nod to Lao-tzu.

Power leads people to act in impulsive fashion, both good and bad, and to fail to understand other people's feelings and desires. ... more likely to rely on stereotypes when judging others ... to act on their own whims, desires, and impulses ... more likely to act like sociopaths.

When we appreciate the distinctions between responsible and irresponsible uses of power—and the importance of practicing the responsible, socially-intelligent form of it—we take a vital step toward promoting healthy marriages, peaceful playgrounds, and societies built on cooperation and trust.