Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.
Contents of the 7th Summary of the 48 Laws of Power (by Robert Greene)
Part 1: Video Summary
Part 2: Real Life Applications
Part 3: Negative Example
Part 4: Spirit of the Law
Part 5: Most Important Learnings
Video Summary of the 7th Law of Power
Real Life Application #1
While being a rather controversial example, Steve Jobs always showed tendencies of taking credit for the work of others. Not outright theft though. And in his case, doing so was a noble thing to do, and can not be viewed as negative. Taking the credit for someone else’s work also has its merits, as we can see in his example.
It might be a stretch to say that Steve Jobs only stole other people’s work & credit. He is a highly driven individual and one of the best motivational speeches was given by him. While this has nothing to do with this Law, I highly recommend you to watch it, if you don’t already know it. Here is the YouTube Link.
He co-founded Apple, was forced out, founded Pixar and NeXT, and after his success he was brought back to Apple to turn it into the dominating company it is today.
While he never wrote a single line of code, and never was involved in the technical details, his charismatic leadership, drive and Machiavellianism lead him to become a person with a cult following. You don’t need to be able to turn back a speedometer, if you have other people who know how to do it. (Law #26, keep your hands clean, is related).
He was a tyrant, demanding other people to work their butts off, with highly Machiavellian tendencies, but also a visionary & effective leader. As you can see, stealing other people’s work and credit can be used for the greater good of everyone, providing the world with exceptional products. Of course with the exception of Finnland and Nokia, who contributed 25% of the Finnish GDP. But there can be no winners without losers, this is the course of life.
If you are interested in his life and why he achieved what he achieved, I can recommend you his comprehensive biography.
Real Life Application #2
Getting someone to do the work, but always taking credit is as old as work itself. Even older than concept of modern work. I am pretty sure that our ancestors made other people hunt, and subsequentially stole their prey. Our world has always been an Eat or be Eaten world, and evolution took care of those who have been eaten.
Shakespeare is said to have plagiarized and taken credit for many a great work by other authors and playwriters. Some people even accuse him of not having written everything himself. Still his name is eternal and will continue to life on and leave footprints. Plagiarizing (Shakespeare, DTMan) Greene making a derivative of The Art of Worldly Wisdom
Robert Greene stole the work of Baltasar Gracián, Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and others, and created the 48 Laws of Power. I no way I am judging, rather I am thankful that Robert Greene had the opportunity to steal from other great minds in history to deliver one of the finest books ever written. Plagiarizing (Shakespeare, DTMan) Greene making a derivative of The Art of Worldly Wisdom
The line between plagiarizing and a derivate work is a narrow line to work on anyway. I plan to compile the summaries of the 48 Laws of Power into a book, merging laws together, calling it The 30 Rules of Power (current working title), and focus on aspects different to Greene’s main focus. People are going to say that this is plain plagiarizing, but let me ask you… where is the problem? If you do help people by plagiarizing, it can not be a bad thing, as long as you don’t hurt the people you steal from in the first place. The American poet Audre Lorde rightfully said:
“There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.”
Having read The 48 Laws of Power, Dumbo Pretendiavelli followed it to the point. Whenever possible he stole the credit not only from his subordinates but also from his fellow managers. A severe mistake, since one should only take the credit for someone else’s work, if one’s own reputation and position is heavily fortified and unshakeable.
Not only that, but he decided to become a living carbon copy of his boss, emulating everything he did, walking like him and stealing his quotes, as well as writing and speaking like him. Soon afterward everyone is his company became tired of the copycat and they started actively working against him, eliminating him from the company.
Don’t get greedy and don’t be an asshole unless necessary or if it is highly beneficial for you. Otherwise, you will build the reputation for being sneaky and untrustworthy.
Negative Example #2
The best (or worst) example is undoubtedly the Austrian scientist Nikola Tesla, as seen in Law #6. Nikola Tesla always had a vision, was a driven person with a definite and noble goal. Thomas Edison only cared about money and furthering his own glory and has a history of fucking people over. Nikola Tesla has a history of getting taken advantage off, not only by Edison.
One example would be the improvement of the unsophisticated Edison dynamos. Instead of the promised $50.000, Nikola merely received a little raise, despite making a huge sum of money for his master.
Being as trusting as he was, when he invented the alternate current system, also known as “AC”, his investors stole his patent and credit, making an estimated 12 million dollars, while Tesla looked through his fingers and only received $216.000.
In 1897, he filed a patent for inventing the radio, but that didn’t stop Guglielmo Marconi to steal the credit and becoming known as the inventor of the radio.
Poor Nikola Tesla was maybe the biggest genius the world has ever seen, but was deprived of the reputation and respect he was due, because he lacked the Machiavellianism required to defend himself against the vultures.
Spirit of the Law
Taking credit as the Leader
As a leader and master it is your responsibility to take credit for the work of your employees. There is nothing wrong with it and nothing noble if you go out of your way to reject taking credit for the work your subordinates deliver. This in no way constitutes the advice to steal from them and not appreciate them. Praise is a powerful motivator that should be given out lavishly. But you might want to do so in private or in front of his co-workers instead of in front of your superiors. Don’t overdo it and anger the people achieving results for you; pay attention to cues of disappointment and adjust your course. Start giving out more praise or reward them to silence the voice in their head, telling them that they deserve more credit. If you are unable to properly reward them, for example if you are financially incapable of paying them a bonus, or a natural born asshole and doing or saying nice things to someone causes you physical pain… Make use of the Ben Franklin Effect, basically the opposite of the rule of reciprocation taking a vacation in Stockholm.
If people do you favors or give you credit, despite hating you, they are going to rationalize their actions and talk themselves into believing that they did so because they like you and are happy to surrender their credit to you.
Taking credit for another person’s work must not be a bad thing. As your business grows, in case you are an entrepreneur, you will or at least you should meet a point where it becomes mandatory to hire employees. Profit from their expertise, experience and ambition to grow your business. If you are a perfectionist and insist of doing everything on your own, you will soon find yourself among the ranks of the burned out founders. A good read on this topic (hiring people for your business) is the Inventor’s Dilemma.
If you find yourself in a position to work for someone, don’t be afraid to let your master steal your credit. Abide to Law #1 and make your master seem more magnificent than he actually is. Don’t complain, instead attach yourself to your master and make yourself indispensable.
“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him” – Niccolò Machiavelli
The legendary business magnate Henry Ford found himself questioned in court. He sued a newspaper for libel because he was called an “ignorant pacifist”. During the trial, the attorney of the newspaper tried to frame Henry Ford as an ignorant imbecile; asking him questions about various history-related topics and testing his common knowledge. Despite undoubtedly being an ignorant, Henry Ford was the smartest ignorant possible. When asked how many troops the Crown sent to pacify the American troops during the revolution, he artfully answered: “I am not sure about the exact numbers. What I do know though, is that less returned than boarded the invasion fleet.” As the questions continued, Ford constantly got angrier until he met the boiling point. He threw his fist on the table, when faced with another fruitless question, and yelled: “If I want to know such a thing, I have a couple of buttons in my office, and if I press one, I summon an employee who can tell me the answers.” Point brought home, victory by knockout.
What this story shows us, is that you do not need to do all the work and know everything, if you have people you can rely on, equipped with that knowledge. No reason to clutter your mind with information not beneficial to your success.
Plagiarizing or “Using”
Buying the right to use the works of someone else too is a probate tool to further one’s glory. A lot of musicians hire songwriters or buy beats, claiming them to be their own creation, while all they do is smile into a camera, move their lips and collect a cheque.
DJ Khaled used this technique to become one of the best-known producers, because he bought great beats and used them for his clients.
Steal credit to make your efforts seem effortless
An overlooked fact is how well this aligns with the law of “Making your efforts seem effortless”. If works and credit is attributed to you, people will see you in a different light and adore you. We don’t have to talk about the big scheme of things all the time. A smaller example would be taking credit for living in a very clean house, merely because of the fact that you employ a cleaning maid. If someone praises you for your tidiness, claim the credit for it and collect bonus points. No reason to credit your cleaning maid, instead say something along the lines of “yes, I like living in a tidy environment”.
Learn from other’s mistakes
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” – Otto von Bismarck
Pretty self-explanatory. Doing mistakes and failing is a very underrated and unnecessarily feared aspect of life, but it is much better to avoid mistakes by studying other people.
Most Important Learnings
- Hire a team of experts, possessing skills that you lack, use their experience & expertise to further your glory
- Publically take credit for the work of your employees, but praise them in private
- A friendly way to take credit, is attaching yourself to a hard worker/master
- Don’t fear making mistakes, but prefer to learn from other people’s mistakes
- Steal other people’s works, improve them and create something new & better
I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of the law and if you have more examples of the possible applications or questions of any kind or wish to share your thoughts and experiences, please feel free to do so. Grab the book here and support the author if you don’t already own it.
Go ahead and share it with your friends & on social media. Until next time, fellow Machiavellians.