Triple Q&A of Power & Machiavellianism

Modern Machiavelli iAMA

 

Welcome, this is a summary of the Triple Q&A commenced at the start of May, a day after Machiavelli’s birthday, featuring me, Illacertus and IllimitableMan on http://reddit.com/r/the48lawsofpower.

 

I have summarised the most valuable parts and separated them into the following categories:

  1. Business & Career Warfare
  2. Politics & Propaganda
  3. Charisma & Seduction
  4. Power, Philosophy, etc.
  5. Guest Content

NOTE: Since this exceeded 10.500 words I have yet to have found time to correct spelling mistakes and put the questions into the right order. It will follow soon. Thank you for your understanding.

Since all three of us have answered questions, I decided to add the acronyms of the person responding to the question. They are as follows:

MM = me, Lionel Fox from http://modernmachiavelli.com

IL = Illacertus from http://illacertus.com

IM = IllimitableMan from http://illimitablemen.com.

 

A little background for those of you who have missed the Q & A session and don’t know us:

  • Lionel Fox, Politician, PR & Political Consultant. Two-time Entrepreneur. Profound knowledge of Social & Power Dynamics acquired since early childhood. Started a Blog dedicated to Machiavellian schemes this Year.
  • IllimitableMan, legendary Blogger and Strategic Mastermind, External Advisor for various companies, known for his sharp and incredibly comprehensive Analyses on Human Behaviour and Power Plays.
  • Illacertus, Eastern European Polyglot, excellent YouTuber, Historical Strategy Enthusiast with experience in the Trading Business working for reputable Natural Resource Companies. Like the rest of us, he studied law.

Part 1: Career Warfare

Question: What is the best & fastest way to get ahead and promoted at work?

Answer (MM): You won’t like this answer but “it depends”. Since you didn’t give us much to work with, here are the basics:

Get accustomed to the specific workspace politics, know what is looked upon with favour or disfavour. Find out who the important people are and learn about their character, strengths, needs and weaknesses.

As soon as you have a basic overview, you want to web a net of allies. Especially but not limited to the bosses. Adhere the law 1 of never outshining your master. It is important to stroke the ego of your boss and present him in a good light. Yes, he is sometimes going to steal your credit, but this must not concern you. You must also make sure that your co-workers are on your side and not actively working against you behind your back. Don’t put too much trust into them though, and try to keep your private and professional life separated. Don’t believe that you are all loyal friends when you are going out, getting drunk and acting out of order.

This especially applies to company parties. Never get too drunk and make a clown out of yourself. Unfortunately many people break this rule.

You need to make sure that your reputation stays untainted from such mistakes. Guard your reputation with your life.

When shooting for the promotion, it is a wise move to conceal your intentions to not arouse envy in your co-workers who might sabotage you. Unless you are certain that they are allies on your side and most likely going to help you. Again keep in mind that it is good to trust people, but not doing so is better.

Lear to keep people depend on you, yes, but do not become the person who does his job so great that he cannot be promoted without a significant hit to the department’s productivity.

A thing I pay attention to is to court attention at all costs. Try to get a desk as near to your boss as possible. Make your name brand itself into the conscious mind and be associated with positive traits.

 

Question: How can you convince socially unprotected workers in the care for the elderly, to cooperate for their own good and work together to fight getting exploited. They are suspicious of each other and their reaction is to defend themselves aggregating according to nationality, family, religion, bit many are isolated and there is an entire culture of acceptance of a miserable life which nourishes sentiments of despair, hatred, depression, self-abuse, victim-like mentality, sometimes delinquent.

Note: there is no money to pay them for it, no promise of power over them, no immediate reward.

Answer (MM + IL): Sounds like you don’t need manipulation, but leadership skills. Obviously, you want them to work together as a team, but they’re unmotivated. Have you tried explaining to them how and why it’s in their own best interest to work together? In other words, do they fully grasp the mission at hand and what lies in it for them? I’m afraid we do need more insight to give more precise answers.

How do you convince people to work together?

Either you create an outside enemy. Tell them that they must work against a common enemy and for a shared goal.

Or you find out what they want and let it dangle in front of them like the carrot on a stick.

You win some; you lose some. People with such a fatalistic attitude are difficult to motivate. Them forming groups is an obvious reaction since this is human behaviour 101.

I would try to create the vision of a beautiful goal in their heads and tell them that to achieve said goal, they will need to work together. Or do the same with negative disaster scenarios. Fear is an excellent motivator.

Then your leadership and mediation come into play. Organize events where you make sure that they come in contact and realise that they share a lot in common.

Over emphasise the commonalities and ignore the differences.

Maybe thinking about what motivates people will lead you to achieve your goal. The biggest factors are:

  • The possibility of benefits & recognition
  • The fear of loss & pain

 

Question: If you engage yourself in office politics related places, how do you understand who is not a psychopath?

Answer (IM): You analyse for who has affective empathy, and who does not. Psychopaths do not have affective empathy so they have to mimic it, which requires acting ability.

Some are good actors, some are mediocre, and others do not bother acting at all. Check out a book called Snakes in Suits; it explores the premise to your question in more depth.

Related question: Is it sometimes like person A is seriously ill, affective empathy would be: person B is sad because person A is ill.

A: Yes but you would be sad because you like that person and don’t want bad things to happen them, not sad because they were a piece in your plan and you’re frustrated your plan is fucked up. That’s the distinction between being upset something isn’t going your way and being upset somebody is hurt/not ok.

Psychopaths get upset because the nature of transactionality is being fucked up, not because they care for the person involved. If said person were no longer part of their plans, their condition/death would have no effect on them.

Some psychopaths are good at using the frustration of having their plans messed with and presenting it as faux affective empathy, but most are rubbish at such façades and so if you know what you’re looking for it becomes blatantly obvious if you’re dealing with a psychopath. They’re all about the transaction, never about the people.

Answer (MM): Don’t focus on the right hand, only to get knocked out by a left hook.

Psychopaths do not necessarily have many motives to do something. Some do, others don’t. The size of the tool (Machiavellianism) is important.

If you give a functioning psychopath no reason to hate you and don’t expose vulnerable parts, he is most likely not going to take a stab at you. Keep the people in close sight who are competing with you for affection, credit, promotion etc.

Machiavellians are also proven by multiple peer-reviewed studies to be very paranoid. But again this is not a trait exclusive for Machiavellians & Psychopaths.

 

Question: How do you put yourself in a good mindset in order to boost your creativity when there is social pressure against it?

 

Answer (MM): Creativity is snake oil and does not exist.

Creativity is a function of knowledge, experience, intelligence, mindset and your current mood.

How do you get comfortable? Stoicism & Confidence

 

Question: @ MM: You have two businesses, why did you start blogging?

Answer (MM): Because of some macro-environment related reasons I had to sell Company 1 and Company 2 is only active duringa few months.

Though this is not the reason why I started blogging. If you start blogging because you want to make money and get rich, you are in for a bad surprise according to studies analysing the blogging potential.

ModernMachiavelli.com is mainly there to entertain myself and to philosophise and get my thoughts down on paper. If I wanted to make money, I would write like a brain amputated crack monkey (Good Looking Loser comes to mind), keep my posts short and post frequently.

I am a rather stoic. I had some serious shit happen to me and people around me but never once do I torment myself with thoughts about things I can not change. I do not let such things drain my energy. Energy and motivation is a consequence of discipline & anger. Develop self-discipline (for example take a cold shower every morning, cut out various activities, etc.) and a state of constant anger. I have found a vision, an obsession with a goal combined with anger to be the most effective tool for getting things done.

My supplement list: Vitamin pills, creatine/beta-alanine mix. Sometimes nootropics and good old self-medication.

I held 20% of the LLC I was forced to sell. The other company is a limited partnership business entity and I only hire girls for the 2 months it is active.

Time is easy to come by if you spend it wisely. I don’t watch TV, except for football, news and politics, neither do I play video games.

Also, I try to limit sex to one girl every 10 days but sometimes more is unavoidable. Rarely ever do I party anymore. Maybe twice a month if I come across some good tickets.

Barely any meditation, no yoga.

And the last pillar of my efficient time schedule is a short workout routine. 2-3 times a week, maximum of 30 minutes. Greyskull LP with modifications.

That’s how I use my time efficiently. Effectiveness comes from the Pareto Principle combined with the Pomodoro method.

In the rare cases where I do lack energy for the day, I still manage to get by with a little help from my friends. Modafinil is great stuff, so is green tea as well as short deep breaths through the nose. But don’t overdo it. Too much oxygen can be loco for the brain. ;)

Politics is very appealing and I do enjoy consulting, giving advice and crafting schemes. Also I do have an excellent network, so starting my own business is as certain as the allahu akbar in a Jihadi John video.

Maybe get a master in psychology or master of advanced international studies (diplomacy).

But currently my whole libido is dedicated to a political plot that requires meticulous preparation, so I focus a lot of energy on that.

 

Question: What exactly is Career Warfare?

Answer (MM): Career Warfare refers to everything related to getting ahead in the workplace. The term was coined by David D’Alessandro who wrote books like Career Warfare, Brand Warfare and Executive Warfare. He explains the importance of playing the game of office politics and personal branding in the workspace. While there are many books written about “Office Power”, these books are regarded as top notch. I have yet to read Brand & Executive Warfare, but Career Warfare is an excellent, insightful read, helping people survive the rat race.

 

Part 2: Politics

Question: What is the best way to get started in Politics and to gain power, maintain power and survive in this environment?

Answer (IM): Learn Machiavellianism and become likeable, or someone people love to hate due to reprehensible behaviour but find absolutely charming. Charm does a lot to mitigate the adverse effects of dubiousness, and will allow you to get away with murder should you be sufficiently charming. Charm makes you likeable regardless of your ethics, remember this and incorporate it into your persona, it will do much for your personal power.

There are no “wikihow” style bullet points you can rote memorise to get power, if it were that easy, everybody would have power. Power is a cut throat game where only the most cunning thrive. Deciding to study power is taking the first step from pawn to player, but the rest is ultimately up to you. Study, learn charm, fuck up, and learn from your failures. Fuck up some more, then tell everybody about your fucks up one day so your enemies can’t use them against you. Do it with charm, and those who feel betrayed won’t be able to stay mad for long – many will forgive you. “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” The game is a dirty yet beautiful thing, the shades of grey within it surpass more than a mere fifty.

Most of the senior politicians have read Machiavelli, you should too.

Answer (MM): Starting in politics is unbelievably easy. I didn’t start getting (seriously) involved with politics until my mid-twenties and am constantly moving up in the food scale, with the highlight of recently having been promoted to the speaker for something.

You need to be aware of the skillset required to become successful as a politician. Without the following most important skill to possess as a politician, you are lost. No reason to even try. It is:

Be able to drink at least 2 bottles of wine without getting drunk.

You will probably believe that this is a joke. Well, 50/50. I want to stress the importance of networking.

There is not a single skill more important for rising the ranks. Study Social Interactions, know what types ofCharisma exist and which one is best suited for you. Learn to speak well. With authority, demanding respect. Confidence & Narcissism are beneficial and you should try to look your best.

I can not stress the importance of networking enough. Find out what activities your party has planned and do everything. Hand out flyers, sit in the voting booth, attend speeches, help prepare events, etc.

This brings me to another topic. Clothing style. I am in a “worker” party where the grunts dress casually. How do the ministers, parliament members & chancellor dress? They wear suits. Even if I wouldn’t trade in my own mother for Zegna suits, I would still make sure to dress like a king, to be treated like a king.

Of the utmost importance is a proper knowledge of the human psyche. 90% of everyone is out to prison rape you, given the chance. Maybe not at first, but the higher you move up, the more political schemes are involved. Master the art of strategic thinking and again, trust nobody.

In every party there are recruitment sections. My party for example has 5 different ones and they are all eagerly looking for fresh blood. Do some research about which party currently is in power and about the expected trends and choose your party based upon it. Or go with your “principles” or whatever that is and choose a bad party that aligns with your interests. Cognitive dissonance is overrated and it is a good exercise defending a point of view that goes against everything you stand for. Write them, phone them or show up at a meeting and introduce yourself to everyone. Remember their names, be likeable, connect with them on facebook and especially important, a mistake that many newcomers make: open your mouth. Too many newbies are too scared to voice their opinions and therefore never stand out. Of course, I know, at first it might be intimidating if some people who have been in the party their whole life speak without points and commas, but you need to give your input and if someone tries to interrupt you, don’t let them.

 

Question: Have any of you read “Trust me I’m lying: Confessions of a media manipulator” and if so would you reccomend it, and what are your thoughts about the current US elections?

Answer (MM): Over at /r/illimitablemen we recently had a little discussion about manipulating the media. Since this subreddit is confidential I can not share what I wrote but here is the little part about the book:

I haven’t read the book and have no intention of reading it, since I am not the biggest Ryan Holiday fan. He recommends to start with the smallest companies and work your way up? Sounds fucking retarded and not a valuable strategy if you really want to leave a dent. I haven’t been aware that Ryan Holiday is supposedly THE guru to turn to for political PR. Gave me a good laugh. Anyway, what I do have is [… little later someone posted his concept of trading up the chain A joke of an Wikipedia article that should be removed as soon as possible since it is obvious that this was solely written for the backlinks and poses no relevance to nothing]

Choose the smallest platform and pray for it to get whispered down the lane? Marvellous idea! Someone give that guy a Nobel Prize. Of course, there are numerous cases where this did happen. But you must be one huge retard to rely on it. This is the last resort and only valuable if you have 0 connections and no inclination to build any.

Listen to people who have real and not merely theoretical knowledge. They all believe Ryan to be an imbecile, which is even worse considering that Ryan is the apprentice of Robert Greene. […] Yesterday I watched the (amazing) football game with [someone] and I asked for their PR book recommendations, having this thread in mind. 5 out of 5 said that they never read PR books on a regular basis. [one guy] said that he hasn’t even read a book about PR since his studies. PR is interesting in the sense that it is is nothing you can really learn from books. The books that come closest are books about war & strategy.

Anyway, we did come up with some good books, especially propaganda minister Joseph Goebbel’s favourite: Edward Bernays, Propaganda (get this even if not employed in the PR sector). Other good books by him: Public Relations, Crystallizing Public Opinion & Engineering of Consent.

Number 2 is Ansgar Zerfaß, though his books are way too expensive for the average, mentally healthy person. Edit: Pirates yohaaay [link removed]. All of the Zerfaß books are excellent and he covered a wide range of topics and you should choose the book accordingly. Be it trends, research, crisis communication, strategic communications, Online PR, spin doctoring etc.

I would not recommend him if you merely want to get your feet wet, since he has very advanced material and charges accordingly. This excellent book about strategic communication for example. Look at the price tag…

and the third one is Guerilla PR 2.0. by Michael Levine. Comprehensive and updated for the modern environment.

Answer 2: People have been slinging dirt at Hillary for years, so she is used to it. But I have the feeling that Donald Trump, unlike the rest of us, is not cooking with water, hence his dirt just might stick. On the other hand he is pretty far behind in the polls. Polls that are prone to errors and can drastically change given certain circumstances. Obama having Clinton’s back is terrible and will most likely influence the outcome to a certain degree.

Me, personally, I hope that Trump wins since it is better for Russia and therefore better for Europe. I am sick of seeing European farmers, as well as many other professions, lose their job, just because the fucking American elite wants to play Cold War 2.0, and use a trade embargo against Russia.

All because of what? The Crimea? Fuck that, I couldn’t care less. Split the Ukraine up, give the part up to Lviv to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the rest to Russia.

 

Question: How would one go into building a cult of personality?. I know it has a lot to due with laws 5 ( Protect Reputation at all cost) and law 27 (Cultlike Following), as well as a host of other laws (4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, 25, 30, 32, 35-37, 40, 43 are all honorable mentions). Any books that could add to this?

Answer (IL): Study Apple (the cult) & Steve Jobs (the personality).

Also read;

  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • Primal Branding by Patrick Hanlon

You’re better off building a “cult-like” following instead of a cult. One is building a personal brand with an audience – the other is creating a new religion. Basically, learn how to build a business.

It’s about entrepreneurship & your best bet is creating something valuable that will add to people’s lives. Be a great leader and people will follow you based on your actions.

Answer (MM):

Step 1) Unde Venis?

Where do you come from? Analyse your strengths and weaknesses. Do an SW Analysis

Step 2) Analyse the Terrain

Do an TO Analysis. Carefully evaluate the threats and opportunities, both on the micro- as also in the macro- environment

Step 3) Quo Vadis?

Where are you going? Decide exactly how you wish to be perceived.

Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see, but only a few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are.

Perception is reality

Step 4) Craft your Backstory

It has to be appealing to the public and give them a reason to like you. Terrific examples of background stories (you can combine them) are:

  • Reluctant Hero (Actually you do not want to be famous or have responsibility, but it was forced upon you nevertheless. You reluctantly agreed to accept the call of duty)
  • The Underdog (Everyone hates you, nobody gave you a chance)
  • Us vs. Them Dynamic (You have a mutual enemy and only you can save them)

Step 5) Spread your Message

Start the engine of the propaganda machine and spread your message via Marketing & PR channels and techniques.

Step 6) Evoke Emotions

  • Social Proof – Show that other people love you. Especially influential people
  • Trust – Bond and connect with others
  • Credibility & Expertise – If you don’t have it, borrow it from others
  • Repetition – Repeat that you are the greatest and soon both you and others will believe it. Repeat it often enough and you will be the double greatest

 

Question: Politics vs Business? Which one do you think is more powerful in America (or the world) or are they both equal in influence/power?

Answer (IL): That was a question I asked myself at some point and my decision-making boiled down to this. I would rather try and build my own business focusing on creating something positive & helpful, rather than fighting something negative & hurtful. Now, either way one is fighting for a good cause, however I prefer to do business. Although in many regards both are very similar. There’s plenty of things fucked up in the world like real injustice between races & the genders (not the ones pushed by the PC culture narrative & supported by the media, which in and of itself is a highly destructive movement / organized attack). One could engage in politics and try to make things right by weakening the parties who are the at the root of the problem or one builds a new structure through entrepreneurship that provides an alternative, something that is missing, but desparately needed in today’s world. The more you grow the more intertwined politics and business become, unless you’re on the business side of things and make a concious effort to stay away from politics like many companies do. They just back down, fire employee’s based off of a tweet, regardless of it being a joke. They’re all about profit, only. As always it depends on you and your goals.

 

 

Part 3: Charisma

 

Question: One of the important points of Law 24 (Play the perfect courtier) is to make others fear your power. How do you make others fear your power while maintaining a friendly vibe with others?

So far in life I have been able to usually accomplish this decently well but I would love to get your three’s take on this and hopefully obtain a deeper understanding.

Answer (MM):Always be nice, until it is time to stop being nice. I am certain that you are aware of the old saying “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” and I guess you agree with it?

I don’t. If someone takes my eye, it take both of his. Always be friendly and easy going, praise, approach people in a sycophant way, be suave, be the perfect gentleman and courtier but hone the reputation of being a fear-inducing enemy.

Be aggressive, even if you fake it. Studies have shown that even if you fake being angry & aggressive and people are aware that you fake it, they will still get scared.

If someone cuts you off, cut his tongue off. Never allow yourself to be interrupted by equals and inferiors (please don’t use these techniques with your superiors, unless they are lying on the ground).

If someone starts an ad hominem attack against you, stare into his eyes. Open your eyes as wide as possible, don’t blink and never for one second look away. Here is an example of a perfect stare and keep in mind… the Duce is happy in this picture. Imagine the soul draining stare he gave his enemies. Also make sure that you are facing him in a straight line and not from an angle.

Also use sugar bread and whip. Reward and punishment. Condition people like Pavlov conditioned his dog. Related Law: http://modernmachiavelli.com/law-12-use-selective-honesty-and-generosity-to-disarm-your-victim/

 

Question: What if you want to take both the eyes of your enemy but your enemy is not trying to take yours?

Answer (MM): Convince yourself and the public that he is secretly planning to take your eye. -> Take his eyes.

 

Question: If you’re just starting out. What training system for learning to read people, channel emotion, become more mindful and present. Do you recommend?

Answer (IL): Study people in real life like you would observing a lab rat. Micromovements in the face, body posture and tone give away everything. I believe most of it is in the eyes, no matter what circumstance a person is in. You could read What everyBODY is saying, but there’s plenty of other good books on the subject. Tbh, I haven’t learnt any of this through books, rather through silent observation.

For full control of your emotions & for mindfulness read & practice stoic philosophy. For presence meditate & read Eckhart Tolle. I’d apologize for a short answer, but I do think it’s that simple.

Still, let me add to your question on emotions. Emotions can be so powerful that we just can’t suppress them at times. You can use this to your advantage and add it to the list of things that make people easily readable. At the same time, you want to practice your poker face. When you play a prank on someone and can’t keep yourself from laughing you’re fairly bad at it. The victim of the prank will sense that something’s up since you’re acting weird. It does not matter what you’re feeling on the inside, a good poker face handles all emotions.

I used to get angry a lot at my old job, sometimes to the point where I could feel my temperature going up to fiever-like symptoms, where I feared my head would look pepper-red on the outside. I also learnt to avoid making fists & have my hands open instead. I could’ve blown up and it would’ve felt good at that moment, but you remind yourself that the temporary satisfaction you get from releasing that tension would have consequences. If someone fucks you over, calm yourself down with the thought of taking revenge or sort things out in the future on your own terms. Same thing with emails. Never write them in anger or atleast save them as a draft in order to review them at a later date. Most often you will find that you were too emotional and thankful you didn’t click send.

I once reached a moment where I was ready to quit my job right then and there. I decided to give my decision another three days & things turned around. My problem was solved for me and I had nothing to do with it.

Answer (MM): I highly recommend you to read this book. It gives you an excellent overview of the body language signals and non-verbal communication. While humorously written it is a science based, no bullshit approach to the topic, backed by many examples and pictures to properly understand the dynamics behind body movements. We learn how to detect our own body language missteps and also why Hitler liked to cover his crown jewels with his hat, as well as cultural differences.

The Full Facts of Cold Reading is another great book, unfortunately I don’t have it listed in the books Machiavelli would read, so I can’t provide you with a link.

 

Question: I’ve been reading up on the Art of Seduction and I noticed that Greene mentions that you can mix different seducer archetypes. This seemed interesting to me cause I’ve seen people do this irl with great results. This one person I know mixed certain aspects of the rake with the charismatic, which seems like great deception to me, because of the mix of a life’s purpose and no purpose/immorality, danger and leadership. It’s hard to figure out. Another person I know has mixed the charmer and the natural, with the result of being a very enjoyable person to talk to, but still very powerful. I’m fairly new to the game, so I’m still brainstorming, and thought this would be a good question not only for me but the whole forum: which seducer archetypes have you seen that mix well, and which fail completely?

Answer (IL): I love Greene. I like the Art of Seduction. I dislike personality categorisations. Is it possible to mix different seducer archetypes? Yes, absolutely. The ones that don’t mix are usually polar opposites. Since you’re new to game you’re not doing yourself any favors in my opinion studying these archetypes in such detail with such seriousness. Trying to emulate any of these types in a way that doesn’t feel natural to you will prove counterproductive and you’ll be asking yourself what you’re doing wrong. You see, what I’m trying to say is, this isn’t a perfect science. You could do anything with it and figure out your own style. You could be a rake on Monday and a natural on Tuesday. These archetypes aren’t set in stone.

That being said I believe I’d consider myself a good cross between a rake and a natural. In serious relationships I switch to the ideal lover. One that doesn’t naturally fit me is the dandy, the Russell Brand and Oscar Wilde type. They’re usually very articulate and cultured. They have a tendency to be gay, too. I have to add, though, unless you’re trying things out in the real world, constantly analyzing how well you’re doing with a certain approach, you’re wasting your time philosophizing. Plus, if you’re male and heterosexual, stay the fuck away from women who read books like this one, especially the coquette. Study the female archetypes to spot them, proceed at your own risk. You might be thinking you’ll just have a one-night stand and end up being falsely accused of rape or you might think you’re fooling around with her, friends-with-benefits-like and she punctures the condom to lock you down.

 

Question: What is charm, and how can you develop it? Any good resources?

Answer (MM): Charme and Charisma are closely tied together but there still are a few differences, though so minor that we are going to ignore them for the sake of this post.

Charme is important to charm your opposite, be it male or female, into agreeing with you. One could say that charme makes people say yes. Even if you didn’t ask a question.

There are a few things that play together:

  • Your attractiveness level, including grooming, smell, clothing.
  • Your power & status, but also knowledge and expertise fall under this category.
  • Authority & calmness
  • Your body language & confidence.
  • Your humour.
  • Empathy & your presence in the here and now. Ergo listening without becoming distracted.
  • Your agreeability and likableness.

There is no denying that a powerful person always has more charme than his inferiors. There have been studies where actors assumed the same body language and were equally attractive, were paired up against a powerful person. The effects of charme and humour were measured and it turned out that the powerful person scored much better.

Now how can you learn to be more charming? My book recommendations that cover every important aspect would be:

This covers everything except for humour but I fear I can not help you with that. In my opinion, you either have humour, or you don’t but many people claim that humour is a learnable skill. Anyway, it was never of interest to me but I am sure that you will find some sources teaching the art of humour.

 

Question: What is a good resource for learning the different types of charisma?

Answer (MM): They are all explained in The Charisma Myth. I didn’t get a lot out of reading it and in my opinion, it is a little hyped, but still makes for a good read since there are few reliable sources (not talking about 7 step self-help hippie bullshit gurus) about Charisma.

Question: What is the difference between Blue Pill & Red Pill guys and what is your take on How to win Friends & influence People?

Answer (IL): The main difference is – a “bluepill nice guy” (see Dr. Robert Glover’s work No More Mr Nice Guy for more information on the latter term) is not in the least attractive to women.

A blue piller is someone taking the easy way out, choosing to ignore the harsh reality and live in blissful ignorance, as seen in the matrix. He’d rather live believing comfortable lies, than embracing reality.

A nice guy is a lesser man who lacks ability and confidence when it comes to women. He will often find himself in the so-called “friend zone” because he submissively obeys women like a slave. He unintentionally kills the sexual and romantic interests of women ironically through the very actions and behavior that he thinks will make them fall for him. He wants to listen, understand and comfort women, while also sharply contrasting this by doing his best possible to avoid sexual tension or making a move on them. He avoids differing opinions / interests thinking that would make them have “less in common” and thus less compatible. When mistreated he won’t be able to tell a woman she is behaving wrong and/or improperly no matter how clearly she is.

How to Win Friends & Influence People is sugarcoating office politics & interpersonal relationships, where Greene is very blunt about it, but it is nonetheless one of the best self-improvement books. I personally recommend it. Out of 150’000 TRP subscribers some are going to be off every now and again, but they may just be on point when it comes to the topic of getting laid. I might apply Carnegie’s advice when talking to the CEO of our prime customer, but take a different approach with the hot waitress at the bar.

Answer (user JohnDoeDude): If I may add an answer I’d say the difference between a blue pill mice guy and a charming red pill man is on the quality of the transaction they engage in.

The blue pill guy does not have real power, so he uses kindness and generally being nice hoping to receive something back because of it. A blue pill nice guy heavily relies on the principle of reciprocity. He gives, but he can only hope to receive something back. Hence the motive for he always give more than he receives. People see that he has small power and also they see there are no real consequences for not giving back to the nice guy, he’s so nice how can he ‘punish’, right?

The charming red pill man has generally more real power than a nice guy, and even if he has small real power he knows how to better manage it.

He always knows he will receive something back for his niceness. He charms to improve the bargains he is in.

A blue pill man has to give all his commitment (read power) to the woman so he can hope to receive his good once-every-ten-days starfish sex.

The red pill charming man has to only open his mouth, say the things that must be said to charm his victims, heamplifies his positive traits and he amplifies the ego of the other person, so the other person is less rational, for the end result of: the other person which the charming man is bargain with perceives the charming man as higher as he actually is and at the same time the other person, being now less rational, will demand less than he would demand if he were more rational, hence a better bargain for the red pill charming man.

It’s like if a blue pill nice guy man wants to borrow some money he has to give everything to assure he will return them.

For the red pill charming man, he is able to borrow even more money, giving less assurances.

The core concept is about the transactional quality of every interaction humans engage in. The red pill charming man knows how to optimise the bargain always in favour of his side.

 

Part 4: Misc Power

 

Question: What books about Power & Manipulation can you recommend?

Answer (IM): The Craft of Power, The Prince & 33 Strategies of War are great texts for this purpose. Also, check out my reading list and Illimitable’s to find an abundance of suggestions.

Answer (IL): I’d add to IllimitableMan’s great picks;

 

Question: Robert Greene once said “In the end, the more capricious you appear, the more respect you will garner.”

Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

Answer (IL): I disagree with the way you phrase that question. If I recall correctly that quote is from the 48 Laws of Power. The whole book is divided into 48 laws, which apply at all times, but at the right circumstances. Hence, it’s true, but not always. Whether or not that’s the right strategy for you to take is a different question. Almost every law has a reversal at the end of the chapter, which means it can all backfire and go horribly wrong if you fail to assess the situation correctly. To be unpredictable has its benefits as it has the power to intimidate, but there’s a lot of situations in which you want to appear predictable and harmless. So, it’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing.

 

Question: How do you decide when your attempts at attacking/ defending someone should stop? Is there a point where it would be wiser to give in keeping in mind that your reputation will not be affected(or maybe just a little) ? This is coming from the perspective that time is money which could be spent doing something else that would yield you a lot more value(as opposed to continuing your attack/defense) ?

Answer (MM): Base your calculations on experience and possible outcomes. Assess the risk and decide.

Read up on Game Theory and visit /r/gametheory/ as well as /r/gamesandtheory

Also follow /u/ridik_ulass who is an excellent game theorist and strategist as well as a mod for multiple useful subreddits.

 

Question: What so you think is the motive for law # 1 in Greene’s book to be Don’t outshine the master?

When he wrote the book he surely didn’t let some random function dictate the order of the laws. They say the first and the last elements of a list are those that are more remembered.

Answer (IL): As you rightfully point out the author starts and ends his book with much thought. Law #1 is the first law almost everyone seems to break. We get into the business world with much euphoria and the attitude that we’re going to prove ourselves one of the best employees available on the market. We’re going to rise up the ranks fast and have a career our parents can be proud of. We’re naive and to a certain extent arrogant.

We don’t realize that many authorities rise to their ranks for the thrill of control, which they falsely belive is power. They’re managers, they’re not leaders. Either way, they have fragile egos, lots of insecurities, failed dreams and here you come – the greenhorn. The young adult who always has a positive attitude, who outworks everyone and learns fast. You’re a threat and you will be dealt with. It’s our ignorance and belief in the lies we’ve been fed that makes most of us walk right into outshining our masters, may that be superiors or merely colleagues. You’ll face resentment without understanding it. It’s pathetic.

Greene finished with Law 48 Assume Formlessness, which basically lets you understand not everything is set in stone and you have to know when to adapt to change and go with the tide, reforming instead of letting your rigidity be your downfall as we’ve seen with the Spartans. Simply put, you’re almost done reading the book and Greene tells you they’re different strategic moves on the chessboard. The experienced chess player will know the right move to make at the right time against the right opponent and alter his playstyle when necessary. You develop that ability through mastery.

Difference between Leader & Manager: One difference that will make you fill in the blanks would be that a manager will order a job to be done and the employee will obey, because he has to, out of fear and anxiety, always relying on his next paycheck. The leader inspires his followership to do something, because they want to do it. He does not micromanage, but lets them free under his guidance. They pursue goals based on their own will to do it. One forces you, the other does not decide for you and offers a take it or leave it approach. Leadership in the office is difficult to pull off, because of the structure one is in. You’re surrounded by people who don’t like their job, but depend on it. It does not matter what way you’d try to frame it. They can tell the difference between honey and salt.

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

If you can pull off to demonstrate to your victim that he in fact is delusional, then that would work. Normally they’re so deep into their own reality that one cannot reach them. Imagine telling Kanye West he’s an idiot by showcasing his failures to him. He wouldn’t fall out of the clouds, because of that.

 

Question: Do you have any morals you live by?

Answer (IL): Indeed, if we weren’t we wouldn’t be holding this AMA or doing the work that we do, that is beneficial to many. If it were all just about money, I would be doing something else. I began to educate people on these topics like a Kung Fu master trains his students in the hopes they would use it to protect themselves better. Maybe one of 50 will learn only to bully others, but if that means the other 49 can defend themselves I’m happy. Also, if someone needs precise instructions in order to be dangerous, they’re not a real threat to begin with.

One thing I know the three of us share is loyalty. Quite contradictory to Machiavellian beliefs, but what is a man worth, when he speaks unmeaning words even to his own brethren?

Answer (MM):

Politics have no relations to morals

  • Niccolò Machiavelli

 

Question: How would you describe how your perspective on life in general differs from what most other people believe?

Answer (IL): I’m quick to sense when someone’s trying to manipulate me, even when it isn’t obvious. It’s essential to one’s success in the office, where the other is always trying to advance and thus sees you as a viable threat, when you’re doing a good job. Although I’m able to read people’s actions, I’m fully aware of the fact that I can fall victim to manipulation any day.

A narcissist might at some point believe that they’re invincible and immune to the deception of others. That very sentiment blinds them & makes them so much easier to manipulate, since they don’t believe it could happen to them. We’re very fallible & biased. There’s this great quote by Shakespeare, who himself practiced Machiavellian tactics.

“The fool doth thinketh he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” I don’t think I’m that intelligent. However, when I take a good look around me I believe I’m a genius waiting to be discovered. I think it is a fact we’re surrounded by people who couldn’t be more incompetent and unqualified to do their jobs, many of them in authoritative positions. Plenty of them mistakenly assess their skill level to be much higher than reality suggests. The Dunning-Kruger effect is at full play. A common mistake I see people making is operating on the assumption that the first-in, last-out the office worker bee always gets their deserved promotion based on merit. It’s primarily about popularity.

 

Answer (MM): Realism.

Take the refugee crisis for example. Of course I feel like that most of them are poor souls that really require help. But some of them are bringing rape, criminality and terrorism into the heart of my country and this can’t happen. If you give me a bowl of smarties and tell me that 5% are poisoned, even if I would love smarties, how many do you think I am going to eat?

There is the common misconception that Machiavellians are worse than Hitler. They are not. Sometimes maybe…

I will share a great quote of my father with you: “Life is not about whether you drink a 2€ wine or a 100€ wine, it is about having the power to change things.”

And this is not a statement made by an unsuccessful bum trying to justify his failure in life, pretending that he has achieved the enlightenment because he does good deeds while living in a 1 room toilet-in-the-bathroom flat.

Power is sexy, it feels amazing and, just like the horny college student chases hot college tail, I chase power.

I am always looking out for my friends and family. Loyalty is my honour. This doesn’t mean that I am not prepared to cut off dead bodies dragging me down.

Some people are to be used as fuel in the furnace of power. That’s the way of life and having regrets or second thoughts only holds you back. You need to be realistic and pragmatic, no matter who you are or what you points of view are.

QuestionHow have you applied these laws to your personal life?

Answer (IL): I’m careful not to step on anyone’s ego, be that a colleague or especially someone with authority, who prides himself with his status/position. I stopped trusting most people. I talk less & let akward silences sit without feeling the need to fill it with unmeaning words. I’m not as kind anymore. Many see it as a weakness. You basically invite them to believe you’re a “nice guy” they can step on. I stopped talking about future plans or things I haven’t done yet. It eliminates the possibility of sabotage. Once they notice your actions / accomplishments, e.g. that you’ve successfully outworked them / gone about improving yourself beyond their skills, they’re powerless, no matter how much insecurities you stepped on.

I mingle with others more instead of seeking isolation. You’re better off at the front, building and guarding your reputation. I try to avoid attention, but shine in a positive light, when it is forced on me. I avoid parasitical losers. I’ve tried to help them in the past only to find myself affected negatively by their misery. I avoid gossiping / taking sides at all times. I refuse to take a side and always stay neutral. The effect is that everyone feels like they can come and talk to you, open up and within record time you accumulate so much dirt on everyone around you, you’re the most informed and up to date person at your workplace / class / group.

Through my naive, innocent behaviour when first getting into the office I nailed that. You want to have people underestimate you. I’ll have my superiors take the credit for my work. They love you for it, become dependant on you & when push comes to shove, you already know exactly how to do certain parts of your boss’s job, since there’s nothing they love more, than delegate to someone who will deliver good quality work. I try to learn as much as possible from the managers & managers’ managers higher up in the hierarchy. Most of them are vain. Appeal to their self-interest, make them feel important. Don’t mistake this for arselicking. One is pathetic and will get you enemies among your coworkers, the other is subtle and best done when grabbing lunch together. You ask them, the last thing they’ll do is ask a lower employee for lunch without a reason. I control my emotions in public settings.

Can’t allow yourself to put your guard down. When people don’t appreciate you and you’re the one running shit, demonstrate that by taking a vacation leave. It has worked perfectly for me, when I had to deal with a parasitical coworker who tried to manipulate & cross me. I was very aware of what she was doing. She underestimated me. I dealt with her as subtly as possible. Some people, like her, dig their own graves and all you have to do is wait wth a smile on your face, when everybody hates working with them. It’s not a rarity. I want people to think I’m the innocent, young, naive, uninformed, little intern. They never suspect you could be a threat & as mentioned earlier, realize you’re outdoing them by miles, when it’s too late.

Be careful with appearances. People love to pretend they’re someone they’re not. Most people’s word doesn’t mean shit. They’re thinking something completely different. Also, I don’t answer honestly to personal questiosn like “What’s your plan for the future? Are you going to study?” I used to talk openly about my dreams, only to find out, I’d get resentment for not being the average joe who gets wasted every weekend. So, now I’m the average joe & repeat average joe shit to them, because I have to. I might be a bit of a romantic & think long-term relationships are possible, but the word “commitment” ends there. There’s no way I’ll let myself be trapped & just hand over all of my power to the naturally Machiavellian sex. See, there’s plenty of historical events where men used physical strength to fight with swords, but women, out of necessity, practiced the art of persuasion. There’s a power imbalance between the genders when it comes to sex. Commit & you’ve lost.

I always liked the idea of being royal in your own fashion. When I was an intern I gave no weight to my title. You don’t need a crown or a “senior” on your business card so people see who’s killing it. People choose a leader based on their actions. Your superiors might be managers, but that is not synonymous with leading. They have paid workers, not passionate followers. When something is for “free” I don’t want it. Even when you don’t pay with money, you will be expected to pay in another way. Most often that turns out to be a bigger struggle than the price you would’ve paid for it. Work on your connections. The more people like you the better off you are, always. Don’t build a fortress & lose sense of what’s going on around you. Be adaptable. Something doesn’t work out the way I planned, accept it, come to grips with it right then and there, then move on & work it out.

 

Question: How does one become a psychopath?

Answer (MM): Do you believe that every German who pulled the gas lever in Auschwitz was a psychopath? Absolutely not. A man can murder millions of people and not feel bad about himself if he is blessed with a certain skill.

Rationalization

Women are experts at rationalising and men will have to work a little harder to acquire the skill. Fortunately, it lies in our modi operandi to not think bad about ourselves, for we are blessed with both our best friend & worst enemy, the ego.

Criminals who murdered for no good reason will always believe that deep inside they are actually good people, forced only by the mean environment to commit atrocious crimes.

Another helpful ability is meditation to detach you from your feelings and stoicism to remain calm and emotionless.

Master these 3 skills, sprinkle in a little reckless bravery and you have the perfect dish for psychopathy.

 

Part 5: Guest Answers

Question: How does one get their mind in shape. Controlling their emotions, becoming mindful, mentally acute and self-disciplined. How do you control your facial expressions, body language and talkativeness.

Answer (user Seducer4Real):

Here are 3 things I do to achieve the above:

  1. Read books everyday. I do about 20-30 minutes daily. Sometimes more on other days. The key here is to keep it consistent. Even if you do 10 minutes a day, keep it consistent. Don’t try to start reading 1 book a day/week. Build it up.
  2. Work out. If your body is in shape, your mind will benefit from it as well. I recommend you workout at least 3 times a week. If you’re not the type that wants to build muscle, then look into doing other sports such as boxing/martial arts that will also keep you in shape.
  3. This is a tip I learned from one of the greatest copywriters and business strategist – Gary Halbert. Essentially, you walk 1 hour a day at least 5 days a week. First few weeks will be hard but once you are used to it you will crave it like a cigarette, and unlike a cigarette, it is healthy for you.

You should get started with the above 3 for now to achieve mental clarity. Once you have those 3 in place, you will come up with your own techniques. Also, don’t replace working out with walking or vice versa, you do BOTH. 1 Hour walking per day plus working out 3-5 times a week.

Facial Expressions: Look at yourself in the mirror. Have an imaginary conversation and see what facial expressions you produce. You’ll learn a lot this way.

Body language: Don’t fidget when talking to someone. When talking use your hands to emphasise what you are saying. This makes you look more attractive and can create more trust between you and the other person. Make eye contact when talking. Try not to touch your neck/face/hair as it makes you look nervous. Don’t be reaching to your phone/pockets every few seconds.

Talkativeness: Don’t overdo it and don’t underdo it. Realise when it is a good time to speak, when to stfu & listen and when to give short replies. Most people are not interested in hearing your voice so you should be asking specific questions to get them talking. In other words, be a good listener and use wha they tell you to create conversation. Don’t always make them the centre of the conversation, instead relate your own knowledge/stories of that topic to them. If you’re with a few people you’ll have to judge when it is a good time to interject. Pro Tip: Don’t be quiet when you are in a group of people, you’ll just look weird/antisocial.

 

Question: A woman I know sends me mixed signals, but often when she spots me in the room, goes and talks to the nearest guy she can find. I’m a bit perplexed by this behaviour. Is it an instinctive jealousy causing ploy? Should I mirror her behaviour and hit on other girls? Or is she doing what PUA’s do – appear social so I can also talk to her like one of the other guys?

Answer (MM): 

a) She is trying to fitness test you by making you jealous

b) you are a creep

c) she is trying to make you jealous because you are a creep

Answer (Seducer4Real): Don’t talk to her again until she approaches you out of her own will. Don’t make eye contact either or make it obvious that you have noticed her in a particular area. She’s obviously one of those girls that just ‘goes with the flow’ and talks to anyone. You just happened to be one guy she spoke to and believe that she has feelings for you. Best thing to do here is to just ignore her and talk to other girls(and in about 90% of your women-related problems).

 

Question: I have some friends, or at least I thought, but it turns out most of those so called “friends” are the same ones shit talking about me behind my back agreeing with the consensus of things said about me that I’m working on changing, such as: always sound unsure/confused, asks the stupidest questions, socially awkward, etc.

My question is in regards to law 5, 6, and 18. My reputation is important and apparently it isn’t as great as I thought it is. With that, should I retreat socially and finish working on my self, or “court attention” and continue going to social events with my “friends” while working on myself?

Answer (user Warped_Mindless): Im the admin over at MPUAForum and we encounter a lot of men in this suitation. What always works the best is to cut ties from your old friends and make new ones keeping in mind the reputation you want you new friends to have of you.

True friends wouldn’t talk shit about you anyways, they would offer their hand to help you. People like that are rare, however, but they exist.

 

Question: If you were a teenager today just graduated from high school, but with all your current knowledge, what would you do/study/work?

Answer (MM):

Do:

  • Get engaged in politics
  • Network a lot because there nothing like too much networking or too many friends
  • Live in a foreign country all by yourself for a few months or even a year

Work: Politician, PR or Communication Consultant

Study: Law, PR or Communications

I ticked off all 3 points, hence I wouldn’t change too much growing up.

Answer (user Seducer4Real): What you ultimately want to do in life is monetise your passion. Your passion is the only thing you will happily work overtime for when necessary. If you can nail this, you will live a good life. What I’d recommend you do is get a job first. Try your best to find a job in something you enjoy. Something you wouldn’t hate. Maybe an office job? Or something related to your qualifications. Essentially, you don’t want to be too overworked at this job (you’ll find out in a second why). It should be something you like, pays decent and doesn’t drain your energy by the time you finish. Right, so you have your job now. What you also have is time after work. This is where the magic happens. You will now have income which you can use to pay for rent/food/ and anything else without much worry. With that system in place, it is time to FIGURE out how you’re going to monetise your passion. You will have to use your time very wisely. As I’m not sure what you are interested in, I can’t be too specific (PM me if you have any questions). I will assume you have identified your passion. If not, then don’t worry, every evening when you get back from work you will do your fucking research until you find out the one thing you will do that’ll make you forget to eat and shit. This might take a few days or few weeks. You will get it wrong a few times, but it is extremely important that you identify what your passion is(it can be very specific). If you get it wrong , dont worry, try again. From this point on, it’s all down to how well you do your research in the hours you’re not at work. It’s literally that simple. Research how others in your niche have made their money. Research what you can do to get started. Make a plan and start. Refine the plan. Take a break and look at what you’ve done. Review. Repeat. Research more. Stay up to date. Don’t listen to others if you know you’re right. Fuck the world. If you really want to make it you will. There it is, i gave it to you. It is now LITERALLY down to you to make it happen. Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[…]   Welcome, this is a summary of the Triple Q&A commenced at the start of May, featuring me, Illacertus and IllimitableMan on http://reddit.com/r/the48lawsofpower. I have summarized the most valuable parts and separated them into the following categories: Business & Career… http://modernmachiavelli.com/q-a-power-machiavellianism/ […]

Carlos julio Ramirez
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Hi Lionel,

Thanks for your great post. I really appreciate it. just one more extra thing: have an option of friedly user printing option

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