Appeal to Ethos, Logos & Pathos – Rhetorical Techniques

aristotle on ethos, logos and pathos

According to Aristotle, there are three means to persuade in a debate or speech. Every argument we make can be attributed to one of these categories and knowing and mastering them is bound to give you the rhetorical advantage over your adversaries.

The three modes of persuasion, explained in his book about Rhetoric are the following:

“Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word, there are three kinds. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech was so spoken as to make us think him credible. Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question.”

 

Ethos

What does Ethos mean? The definition of Ethos:

Ethos by definition of the word means ethics and image. It evolves around building a cult of personality and relies heavily on trust, mastery and social proof.

In no way does this mean that you need to be a particularly ethical person in order to persuade an audience. To ensure that the prince strikes the plebeians as genuine, it is enough to come across as an ethical person with a good character and best intentions in mind.

Appear as you may wish to be, because perception is reality. – Niccolò Machiavelli

Ethos is among the first things we become aware of that influence us. Both the reputation, background, authority and first impression have a significant impact on how we perceive the speaker.

Mastery and Social Proof are the two deciding factors when it comes to an appeal to ethos but also the choice of words are of importance. If you want to be perceived as an authority in the academic field, it helps to use sophisticated words, while in other situations the right words to make you seem like an authority are threats. Using secret language and technical terms help convince the audience via Ethos.

Mastery and being an expert regarding a particular topic is one way to favourably utilise ethos to ones’ favour. It leads to instant authority. So does Social Proof, because mankind still hasn’t evolved much from thousands of years ago when we were living in tribes. The herd is bound to agree with the decision the majority of the herd makes.

The prince always guards his reputation with his life and acts as confident as a king (Law #34) as well as Law #46. Never appear too perfect. Little mistakes and character flaws can have favourable effects on Ethos. On the other hand, you want to proofread your arguments and avoid committing grammar or logical mistakes or fallacies.

Related to the Ethos are ad hominem attacks, that attack the man himself to discredit his arguments, without actually invalidating those arguments. A logical fallacy and a popular technique in political debates.

 

Example of Ethos  in a sentence

  • Do you honestly believe I am a person who would do such a thing?
  • My studies in the field of gender studies qualify me as an expert in gender dynamics and hence you should believe every fake claim and statistic I made up.
  • Mexicans all over the United States love me. Everyone loves me. That’s why you should make me the president.
  • You are a Nazi hence everything you say is untrue
  • His father’s experience has taught him that it is a wise decision not to visit Somalia
  • Every police officer, that ever had to use his gun, prefers the Glock 19.
  • I have been a loyal wife my whole life. Why would I cheat on you now?

 

Logos

What does Logos mean? The definition of Logos:

Logos relates to logical arguments, rationality and well thought-out content. Logos is used to present facts and statistics. Overdoing it leads to a dry speech or debate and will only alienate the listeners, unless in the field of academia, where almost everything is focused on empirical data and proof.

It is not necessary to convince everyone that our solution is a confirmed, irrefutable fact.

We must merely manage to convince the audience that our arguments pose a possible solution and a good one that is at least worth giving it a chance.

If we want to use Logos in our favour to attack or rebut an opponent, we can do so by questioning and questioning his assumptions and the likelihood of a positive outcome.

The use of analogies may also fall under Logos, when used to craft logical connections. Related is the conductive reasoning, also known as inductive reasoning. The prince takes a fact, study or representative case and crafts logical or seemingly logical connections between this case and his assertion.

Similar is the deductive reasoning where you utilise generalisations to craft a connection, to back up a claim.

 

Example of Logos in a sentence

  • The statistic speaks for itself. Eastern European immigrants are much easier to integrate than Muslims.
  • Our current course has brought us many votes, we need to continue it.
  • Memento Mori. All men are mortal. Cesar is a man. Cesar is mortal.
  • A man who has been brought up with medieval views will have a hard time accepting modern life because in between lie worlds.
  • Practice makes perfect.

 

Pathos

What does Pathos mean? The definition of Pathos:

Too many plebeians make the mistake of believing that strong, logical arguments and appeals to logic and rationality will lead to victory. They are wrong.

The modern prince seeks to evoke emotions such as anger, hope, enthusiasm, fear but also pity in his audience to sway their opinion. Anger and fear cloud the thinking, making people more vulnerable to manipulation attempts.

An appeal to mercy, (wrong) beliefs or the values of another person also is a type of Pathos, so are metaphors, analogies and storytelling.

The use and spin of words plays a not insignificant factor that must not be overlooked. By calling a massive, crippling tax increase might be called an increase of dues or tolls. Frame your enemy in a bad light and tell an atrocious story evoking and associating negative values or results with the person or idea you are opposed against

The modern Machiavelli will use Pathos to create a smokescreen that covers up facts and distracts from the truth or the real issue.

 

Example of Pathos in a sentence

  • Unless we act now and kill the rats, the rats are going to breed, multiply and ultimately take over our house!
  • If you don’t grant me permission to take over command, we are all going to die.
  • I trust that you will make the right decision because you are an honourable person.
  • Don’t travel to Turkey; I heard that it is much more dangerous than Croatia at the moment.
  • The whole Martin Luther King speech.
  • Ur racist!

 

Appeal to Ethos, Logos & Pathos

A persuasive speech is a speech given with the aim to persuade the audience of a specific point of view. This type of speech is the opposite of an informative speech, that only serves as a means to inform people. Frequently the line between those two blurs when someone is giving an informative speech because most people consider their viewpoints or topics they are interested in, as superior. This article focuses on the persuasive speeches, but it might be worth reading how to structure and give an informative presentation, for example in this wikihow post.

When giving a speech and trying to persuade your audience, you should mainly appeal to the Ethos, convince them of your honesty and authoritative character, and create a strong emotional response through Pathos.

Sorted by importance:

  • Ethos (appear ethical & authoritative)
  • Pathos (evoke strong emotions)
  • Logos (use logic & hard facts)

 

There are many examples of ethos and pathos trumping logos, but not always this is the case. Hence the modern prince will want to apply a suitable mix of all three aspects, applying what is most useful.

In world war two there was an incident where a poisonous gas deposit exploded, releasing the lethal gas and killing a few allied soldiers and citizens. At first, they believed that Nazi Germany attacked them and wanted to immediately strike back using poison gas. Not wait or anything but crush them the second their emotions were triggered by the unfair gas attack.

Fortunately, they could keep their trigger finger calm, didn’t start an attack with weapons of mass destructions and avoided the war to take even more gruesome turns. The poisonous gas induced a strong emotional response, this combined with the fact that Nazi Germany had the reputation of being vicious brutes prepared to do anything for the Endsieg, almost convinced them to commit a terrible mistake. Fortunately logic and reasoning were able to prevent the worst. Not only from a humanitarian point of view but from a strategic point as well. Germany was the only nation with rockets in world war 2 and equipping them with poisonous gas would have led to terrible causalities.

Still, this example provides a good insight into how strong the power of an emotional appeal can be. Just like how Churchill called for poisonous gas attacks on Berlin after Germany started sending their V2 rockets into the heart of London.

Another example of how emotion over logic often leads to terrible, terrible decisions. Nazi Germany didn’t use poisonous gas during the invasion of the Normandy, because not logic (many generals and Goebbels calling for the use of gas), but emotions (Hitler’s cowardice and fear of poisonous gas because he fell victim to it during the first world war) prevailed. If Hitler would have ordered the use of lethal gas, he could have easily stopped the invasion dead in its tracks, because no allied soldier was equipped with a gas mask.

German scientists developed neurotoxins far superior to the little breeze their opponents could produce. A gas that was lethal even if it was not absorbed but merely touched the skin. Joseph Goebbels, the Machiavellian propaganda minister and logical thinker, called for the mass production and for a total war of mass destruction, but Hitler’s cowardice and megalomania paired with terrible strategic thinking did, in fact, cost Germany the war.

Another surprising fact: I read the memoirs of Berthold Speer some time ago and still remember parts of it that struck me as especially gruesome. Hitler told Speer, his favourite architect and minister for ammunition and supplies, to not pay attention to the German citizens when operating. That the German people were expendable. He said that the Germanic race was too weak to survive and that he would stay cruel even when faced with extinction. At the same time, he claimed that the Eastern races deserve the victory and that the future belongs to them.

Remarkable is that Speer is, I believe, the only Nazi in a high position who got away with a harmless sentence that put him in jail for 20 years. Though of course, one must not forget the German scientists like rocket scientist and father of space travel Wernher von Braun, who were responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Jews that worked themselves to death and had to play human rats for their experiments. Those of course were happily given an official letter of pardon by both the American and the Russian government as well as a high paying, reputable job. If you make yourself valuable and indispensable, you can get away with mass murder. Read Law #11.

If Hitler hadn’t started the war with Russia, for no good reason at all, and if he would have focussed on his core competencies, actually listened to advice and other suggestions, and left the command of the army in the hands of a skilled strategist like Erwin Rommel, I can ensure you that you would be speaking German now, if you aren’t already.

Where was I again and why does every single discussion involving propaganda, manipulation and persuasion ultimately end with a discussion about the Nazis?

Ah, yes, rhetoric. Moving on…

 

Example of Ethos, Logos and Pathos in a discussion

Since I am fond of politics, a field where the road to success can be found in the form of rhetorical & Machiavellian superiority, I am going to provide you with an example of a recent debate between a moderator and former vice-chancellor Michael Spindelegger (on the right). It was a debate about a tax topic, Spindelegger was in favour and Armin Wolf, the moderator, against it.

 

debate using ethos logos pathos

 

Using Ethos:

Armin Wolf has honed the reputation as a smart, witty, well-educated person, who without a doubt enjoys expert status.

He also attacked the character of Spindelegger by accusing him of lying, as well as interrupting him, ergo showcasing authority, unusual for a journalist.

When he was confronted with the (not untrue) fact that he has a personal agenda, he defended himself by citing his long history of neutral and objective journalism work.

His body language was open, he showed his open palms and appeared to be genuine and trustworthy.

 

Using Pathos:

Overstating facts is a common technique used by journalists, in order to provoke emotions. Not only in the vis-à-vis but also in the audience.

He framed things in a way that made the audience angry at his opponent.

At the same time, he planted the seed of doubt, fear and anger, by talking about possible negative outcomes and worst case scenarios.

 

Using Logos:

Now this is where Wolf excels. He is magnificent at using Logos and even better at making the audience believe that he is using logic and the truth, while actually having no clue what he is talking about. Now this is not pure Logos, but rather a mix between Ethos & Logos.

Drawing conclusions between actions and reactions also is frequently utilised.

Another amazing tool in the Logos sector is using statistics and facts. Even better than merely talking about them, is showing proof. (Related Law: #9, show don’t tell) He does so by bringing a physical, tangible paper with a few fancy “facts, that might be true or false, but it doesn’t matter too much because of the strong swaying effect such a move has.

 

Most Important Learnings:

Be like water, adapt to the situation and use a diversified mix of various rhetorical tools at your disposal and appeal to ethos, logos & pathos.

  • Ethos (appear ethical & authoritative)
  • Pathos (evoke strong emotions & construct distracting smokescreens)
  • Logos (use logic & hard facts)

 

Thank you for reading and make sure to check back to read my next article about persuasive speeches, an outline and the techniques you can apply to persuade your listeners. I also recommend you to buy Aristotle’s book about rhetoric. This is the version I own.

Machiavellianism Q&A Summary + Download

Three Modern Machiavellians

 

To my magnificent readers! As requested, a condensed version of the Triple Question & Answer Session by IllimitableMan, Illacertus and Modern Machiavelli including a pdf to download. You can download the pdf below:

 

Modern Machiavelli – Triple QA of Power

 

Feel free to share the pdf, the whole article or parts of it, as long as you refrain from editing it. You also are required to link to the following article to avoid confusion: http://modernmachiavelli.com/q-a-power-machiavellianism/

 

Workplace

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.

 

Creativity

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

 

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.

 

Cooperation

QuestionHow 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

 

Cult of Personality

Question: How would one go into building a cult of personality?

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

Also read;

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

 

Evoke Fear

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?

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.

 

Reading People

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.

 

Charme

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, odor, 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.

 

Books about Manipulation

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;

 

Game Theory

Question: How do you decide when your attempts at attacking/ defending someone should stop? 

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 and of course master strategy while reading http://reddit.com/r/the48lawsofpower

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

 

The 48 Laws of Power

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.

 

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.

 

Morals

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 & biassed. There’s this great quote by Shakespeare, who himself practised 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.

 

Self-Improvement

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.

Psychological Manipulation Techniques

A list of almost 200 psychological manipulation techniques in no particular order; to you, my magnificent reader. Most are aimed at getting people to do what you want, but some also protect you from being deceived.  5400 words.

 

 psychological manipulation techniques

 

I decided to leave out cognitive biases and fallacies since the posts is quite long the way it is. But rest assured that I am going to dig into those two topics sometime in the future.

Psychological Manipulation Techniques & Tactics

 

  1. Never show people that you are upset, for it makes you appear weak. Social Justice Warriors take notice!
  2. If someone makes a joke at your expenses, pretend that you didn’t hear it, while looking straight into his eyes. A joke that has to be explained or repeated loses its’ sting.
  3. Utilise the Law of Reciprocity (By Robert Cialdini): People will feel obligated do a favour for you in return for your gift/kindness/favour.
  4. Attractiveness affects how we are treated. Multiple studies have found that clean shaven, well-dressed men are treated more favourably by judges.
  5. Learn to use fallacies, cognitive biases and dissonance to your favour.
  6. If you want to gain access into a person’s life, especially of one of the opposite sex, use subtle flattery. Overt flattery will most likely be too obivous and have a reverse effect.
  7. Whenever possible try to assume the role of the father (to women) or brother (to men). People will easily submit their trust to you.
  8. The basis of authority? Body language, clothing style, financial resources, likeability/charm and intelligence. Combine them to lay the groundwork for all the other psychological manipulation techniques.
  9. The Deference Principle: People will trust you and follow your instructions if you appear to be a person of authority.
  10. Walk like a King to be treated like one. If you act like and appear to be in a position of power, you will soon find yourself in one.
  11. Use the Door in the Face technique. Make an enormous request (like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristobal_Colon did when asking for funding of his expedition) without the intention of having anyone accept the unrealistic offer. If you follow up with a small request afterwards, you are much more likely to have your request granted. Avoid making too big of a request/demand though because you might run risk of sabotaging the whole negotiation with an insulting demand.
  12. Similar to the Foot in the Door technique. Ask them for a small favour and if they agree, follow up with a larger request.
  13. If you want people to agree to your request, offer to do a little part of it, they are much more likely to agree if they see your good will and that you are prepared to put in some effort.
  14. The Placebo Information. Give people any reason using “because” in your request. Studies have shown that the compliance can skyrocket, when giving any reason for your request. For example: Can you join me at the event tonight because I need an escort.
  15. Propaganda masterminds know that repetition is an excellent way to convince people of their point of view. The sweet spot for repeating something lies between 3-5 times, according to studies. After that diminishing returns set in.
  16. Overwhelm people by speaking quickly and overload their brain with information or your views. This psychological manipulation techniques may both be used offensively as well as defensively.
  17. People love people who like them.
  18. Use positive affirmations. Tell yourself that you like your vis-à-vis or that you are not only the greatest, but the double greatest. Our subconscious minds affect the way we act and treat people.
  19. People hate people who hate them.
  20. In a conversation always be present, don’t let your mind wander but instead show keen interest in the other person. This will make the other person like you a lot more.
  21. Whenever you want someone to cooperate, agree with you or want them to calm down when angry, stand in a 45° angle to them or next to them.
  22. Standing or sitting in a direct line of a person tricks the brain into believing that the vis-à-vis is an enemy. Avoid this in interactions where your aim is cooperation.
  23. People will be more likely to do you favors if you make more physical, platonic contact with them. Note the word “platonic”. Unless they are attracted to you, flirtatious behaviour will make them more aloof. One of the highly successful psychological manipulation techniques, frequently used subconsciously.
  24. Be aware of whether a person is a “thinker” or a “feeler” and target your message accordingly. Most people though value emotion over rationality.
  25. The three elements of every speech or debate? Logos (the Content/Argument), Ethos (credibility/authority) and Pathos (means to influence his audience or opponent, emotional appeal).
  26. Caffeine increases the situation awareness and alertness. Usually a good thing, though it can be used for mental manipulation purposes. A person on caffeine is more easily influenced than he would otherwise be. A study found out that people are 35% more inclined to agree with you, if they are “high” on coffee.
  27. Reversal: People who are tired, are easier to manipulate as well.
  28. As a woman it is mandatory to never wear too much or too little makeup, unless you wish to come across as untrustworthy and unsympathetic.
  29. Ask for a favour at a time most convenient for your target, making him less likely to refuse. No brainer, but I still want to empathise the need for proper timing.
  30. If you want to manipulate people, alter their mental state. A scared, stressed, shocked or anxious person has less inclination to refuse. Reason is that they think with their primitive limbic system, which only knows black & white, but no shades of grey.
  31. Of course, the modern Machiavelli must not only use mental manipulation techniques but must also know how to recognise emotional manipulation, to not end up being the one deceived. A stoic mind helps and allows you to focus and think rational, making it easy to spot the characteristics of a manipulative personality.
  32. Chew gum before or during a stressful situation to trick your mind into thinking that there can’t be an immediate danger, because you are “eating”.
  33. It is possible to manipulate feelings and perceptions based on an object someone is touching. Heavy object = thinks more seriously about things. Rough object = pessimistic train of thought, bad mood.
  34. Hard chairs make for a hard negotiation. People sitting on them are less likely to cooperate.
  35. Women seem men wearing red as attractive and desirable. Men wearing blue as more stable, as boyfriend material. White = innocence.
  36. A two-sided argument refuting the opposite argument is more persuasive than a one-sided argument. Read the definition here.
  37. Light swearing at the beginning or end of a speech, debate, etc is often beneficial as it increases the audience’s perception of the speaker’s intensity.
  38. What everyone is aiming for: Affiliation, being liked, accuracy and a positive self-concept and protection of his ego.
  39. Tell people that they look/are exactly the type of person who would do xyz.
  40. Convince them that you are Jesus Christ reborn. Pretend to be loved by everyone to create massive social proof.
  41. Never use qualifying words (maybe, probably,…) when trying to influence people. Instead, frame your words in a way that makes them sound like you are only stating confirmed, definite facts.
  42. How to manipulate people into thinking that you pose no threat? Look harmless and pretend to be an innocent sheep while actually being the big bad wolf in a sheep’s hide. Perception is reality.
  43. Charles Manson tips on recruiting: Always keep the mood positive, tire them out, get attractive people to charm them. Interesting fact: his most favourite book, the foundation of his artful psychological manipulation techniques is the following book: How to Win Friends & Influence People
  44. Show interest in other people. If you do, people are more likely to like you. Ask them questions and focus on making the conversation about them, their experiences, dreams and interests.
  45. People gravitate towards those with a strong, flawless reputation, even if their gut tells them that someone else, though more obscure, is a better leader. Keep this in mind while mentally manipulating groups.
  46. Want to keep people down whose nutrition you can dictate? Keep their schedule busy and feed them a sugar-based diet. Useful for prison camp directors or people like Fritzl or Priklopil
  47. When dealing with a religious person, swear to god that you are telling the truth, when lying.
  48. A person who frequently draws attention to his genitals(scratching, adjusting down there. Holding his belt with his thumbs, ergo taking a manly stance) values his masculinity. Attacks on his masculinity will hurt him much more while he will love to hear compliments about it.
  49. Mirror other people’s body language and actions. Don’t do it instantly, because they will catch up on it, but do it with some time delay. Attention: People trained in NLP will most likely catch your mirroring attempts.
  50. Repeat a person’s name often during a conversation. Not only will this help you remember it, it makes him like you more. Don’t overuse it and pay attention to how they react. There are some people who hate if their name is used in a conversation, hence calibration is important.
  51. Match your speech (speed, use of words, pitch) to your vis-à-vis to build rapport
  52. Match your breathing, blinking and walking speed to their. In NLP referred to as “mirroring”.
  53. Belief and emotion trumps rationality and logic.
  54. Show, don’t tell. Manipulation is much easier if you base it upon tangible things and emotion instead of talk. Win through your actions, never through argument.
  55. Avoid the bright spotlight. The darkness and shadows are your friend.
  56. Give people the illusion of choice. Make them play with the cards you deal.
  57. Women who tilt their heads back come across as less feminine, chin down = more attractive. Making the orgasm face (think of Marilyn Monroe) makes them more attractive, as well as signs of submission like high eyebrows or revealing the neck.
  58. Obey your father. This was already written in the bible (I believe) and can be used to effectively deliver advice. Say “my father once told me, that it is best to do xyz that way”.
  59. Men who tilt their head back are considered more masculine. Men who show signs of submission are less attractive.
  60. Calibration is an essential tool of the skilful manipulator. Gauge reactions and emotions and adjust accordingly. If you see that you are overwhelming someone, slow down.
  61. Different wording can make all the difference in manipulation attempts. Spin doctors excel at this and re-word a massive tax increase in a way that makes voters agree with it.
  62. It is much easier to make an optimist passionate for something. Avoid the toxic & pessimistic people, because they often are harder to fall victim to psychological manipulation techniques.
  63. One of the strongest tools to shame someone is to accuse them of being creepy. This is a word nobody wants to be associated with.
  64. Emphasise scarcity. People want what they can’t have, or at least what might be running short.
  65. Reversal: Abundance. If you come from a place of abundance, are known for or appear to not be needing the deal/the girl/the job, you are in a favourable position.
  66. Dominance is sexy. Women are more likely to agree with something, if they are touched on the arm during the request.
  67. Squeeze people for the last penny. Be bold with your demands. Show no mercy because you will not be shown any. If you give someone a finger, they will take your whole arm.
  68. Science confirms that strong emotions make people fall in love faster. Watch horror movies, rob a bank, go on a roller-coaster ride; create adrenaline.
  69. Want someone to agree with you? Start asking them something you know they are going to agree upon, even if unrelated. For example ask a liberal person “I hate Hitler, do you like him?”. Follow up with the question or request you wish your vis-á-vis to agree upon.
  70. Find out your common interests and strengths and exaggerate them, while downplaying or ignoring any differences that may exist between you.
  71. Women who smile are more attractive. Men who smile less attractive but if they appear serious, men are more attractive. Attractive equals charisma and makes it easier for you to use psychological manipulation techniques on your target.
  72. When you asked the buying question, shut your trap. Never make the mistake of talking yourself out of a deal.
  73. If you were forced to make an apology, delivered it artfully and it was accepted, the same rule applies. Immediately stop apologising lest you want to talk yourself out of the apology.
  74. Usually, when your apology has been accepted under protest and grumbling, it is best to not apologise again, for you might draw upon you resentments waiting to come at you. Giving it a little space and time is the preferred course of action here.
  75. Never ever make the mistake to give your target reasons to not do what you want them to do. Sounds basic? It is not. Do not talk down your own qualities.
  76. People like people who are like them. A narcissistic HR person is most likely to hire a narcissistic candidate.
  77. It is human nature to trust their fellow man, hence are naturally born naive, susceptible to psychological manipulation techniques. The higher up you move on the food chain, the less naive and careless people are.
  78. People who have recently eaten are easier to convince of something. Maslow’s Pyramid of needs at work.
  79. Never immediately end a conversation after getting the information you need. Ask a couple of inconsequential questions or chat a little. Later, when the target tries to remember the conversation, they will most likely only recall the last 2 questions.
  80. Human minds best remember the beginning and the end of, well, basically everything. A phone call, a job interview, a speech. Use this to your advantage (come first/last to a job interview, emphazise important points at the beginning/end,…)
  81. Security is often an illusion. Never drop your guard, especially not at a business party, never reveal too much.
  82. Never believe a conversation to be confidential.
  83. Whatever you do, pretend like it is getting video taped, whatever you say, pretend like it is getting recorded. This is of utmost importance if you are a person standing in public focus.
  84. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. While you may force someone to comply, remember that they will despise you for it.
  85. Avoid the direct confrontation when arguing with someone who might be a potential ally.
  86. When asking for a favour, it is only beneficial if you ask for it in front of the public/other people. If they agree, they look kind, and they fear that if they disagree they might look cold.
  87. If you want your target to agree with you, nod while asking the question. If you want him to disagree, shake your head.
  88. When asking for a favour, it is beneficial to appear dominant. Look them straight into their eyes. Intimidation is an excellent foundation for psychological manipulation techniques.
  89. Dominate & intimidate by looking at your vis-à-vis’ forehead or hairline. This is going to subconsciously evoke feelings of inferiority and insecurity in them.
  90. Speaking of dominance, muscles do help, as well as a bald or clean-shaven head have been shown to have a positive effect on your ability to follow up with psychological manipulation techniques.
  91. Being thin and therefore having a chiseled jaw makes you appear more dominant. A wide chin is a sign of high testosterone.
  92. Don’t overdo it but take a sentence, rephrase it and feed it back to them. This gives them the illusion that you are an avid listener and interested in them. Also known as “reflective listening”.
  93. Many people enjoy helping, hence, if you have a request, you can start by stating that you need their help.
  94. If you see a bum and know that he is going to turn to aggressive begging techniques, ask him for money first to utterly confuse him.
  95. If you feel like someone is telling only half the truth, utilise the tension of silence and stare at them.
  96. Develop a stare that would make Mussolini proud. Staring someone down can be very beneficial during a confrontation.
  97. Keep eye contact but don’t overdo it. People who lie often hold strong eye contact, despite popular opinion that they look away. This falls under the “silent” psychological manipulation techniques.
  98. Don’t give signs of confirmation all the time while listening. Ergo don’t nod all the time or say “mhm/I agree”. This reveals your approval seeking agenda.
  99. Flatter, but never flatter too much. Also, be careful when people are shy, because they will often resent compliments. Confident narcissists can’t get enough of them on the other hand.
  100. Not only observe your target, but also the reactions of their friends. Sometimes the friends reveal your targets real thoughts.
  101. Taunt your target into delivering excellent results, but questioning his abilities. Enraged people will go out of their way to prove you wrong. Use sparingly.
  102. Touching guests, having a cheerful mood, giving them free sweets and drawing a smiley on the bill, increases the tips of waiters (and of prostitutes).
  103. Ask questions to throw people off balance. For example, if someone is playing well (Poker, Sports, …), ask him what he changed about his game because he usually never plays that good.
  104. Using a frame breaker in the form of doing something unexpected or asking annoying questions can be used in many other Situations as well.
  105. Arrogant sales people sell more to rich buyers in outlet stores. This also applies to real estate. Adapt to your customer and you might even find psychological manipulation techniques obsolete in some scenarios.
  106. The illusion of irrevocability says that people will change the way they think about something to justify their behaviour. If you gas enough people of a particular race/ideology because it is your job, you are guaranteed to despise those people.
  107. Never underestimate the importance of a first impression. This combined with the halo effect can be either beneficial or catastrophic for you.
  108. Divide & Conquer. Alienate people to make them depend on you or to weaken the enemy from within.
  109. People who think that you are a good-for-nothing-asshole are going to convince themselves that you indeed are, even if you start handing out soup to the homeless and rescue kittens in your free time. People hate being wrong and hence will try to convince themselves that their opinion of you was true.
  110. Be bold, be confident, ask for more rather than less, exaggerate your skills and achievements, dress and groom well. The basics of every job interview or political speech.
  111. Use reinforcement to manipulate people. Both positive and negative as well as intermittent or partial reinforcement.
  112. Use sugar bread & whip, rewards & punishment. Use selective generosity to lower defences.
  113. Enthusiasm is contagious. Always be in a cheerful, positive mood and others will start to love you for it. The opposite is also true.
  114. A couple of confidence instilling tricks… the key to confidence is walking into a room, and assuming everyone there already likes and respects you. Make a habit of smiling at people… smile more and see how good you will feel about yourself, in the process you will make others feel good, and you will render yourself open to making more friends/associates. When alone, try making the biggest smile possible, you’ll automatically feel happier and more outgoing. Also, if you start acting like you’re a confident and assertive person, people will believe you are indeed that – ‘fake it until you make it’.
  115. Read more about a favourable first impression as well as the art of forming a smile in my comprehensive summary of Law #12 – Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim.
  116. Get comfortable hiding & holding a knife behind a smile. The knife that is not expected cuts deep.
  117. Act like you belong, like you are an authority, and many people will not question whether you belong somewhere or have bad intentions.
  118. Writing things by hand improves the retention of the information, as students know, but also boost the likelihood of commitment to whatever has been written down.
  119. People are lazy and will always try to take a shortcut. Abuse this.
  120. In the same turn, think twice and hard about accepting a seemingly free lunch. Favours often are attempted psychological manipulation techniques in a sugarcoat disguise.
  121. “’Cuz when niggers are scared, that’s when white folks are safe.” “The only time black folks are safe, is when white folks is disarmed. And this letter had the desired effect of disarming white folks.” Quotes from The Hateful Eight. Use fear to secure your power.
  122. Avoid filler words whenever possible. Substitute the “ähms” for silence and recollect your thoughts.
  123. Anecdotes persuade people better than data does. Anecdotes invoke empathy, which triggers emotional reactions that assist in processing the data and the feelings. Emotions also trigger the memory centers in the brain.
  124. If I told you that 2 jumbo jets full of people died of smoking, and if I told someone else that x number of people die of smoking, who do you think would remember?
  125. What does it take to become a Machiavellian strategist? Strong manipulation skills as well as excellent analytical cold-reading skills. Hone them.
  126. If you are a bad liar and people can tell that you lie based on a specific tell-tale sign, incorporate this specific action in your everyday behaviour. Example, I sometimes swallow when I bluff during Poker, hence I swallow all the time (reading this sounds so wrong…)
  127. People love progress and are highly motivated by it. Even small victories keep them happy and motivated to continue doing what they are doing. Example if your girlfriend tries to change you, give her something and pretend that you have changed. You can always revert back to your old ways later on. Change a small behaviour to justify a huge, terrible behaviour.
  128. People lie most often on the telephone than they do during writing. Writing non-electronically decreases the amount and size of lies even more.
  129. Body language and facial expression can change your mood. Stand like a king and you shall feel like a king. Smile and you will feel happier in an instant.
  130. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. If you play the game of power, you will get better at it.
  131. People often ignore or overlook discrepancies in favour of things that are congruent with what they believe to be true. Therefore a prince may appear as he wishes to be seen.
  132. Always be nice & polite, until it is time to stop being nice & polite.
  133. Depending on your opposite, it can be useful to appear meek, humble and non-threatening
  134. Never hold a grudge against another person because it will cloud your judgement.
  135. Never fight a battle if you gain nothing by winning.
  136. Thank people often and congratulate them on the choices they made. This will reinforce their belief of having made a great decision.
  137. Never believe anyone who constantly tells you what a great decision you have made. They are out to get you.
  138. Ask people for their opinions and possibly follow the advice they gave you. Thank them later on for the great advice.
  139. The beauty of mob mentality and social proof. Never forget that human beings are only a small step above sheep. Social proof and social pressure can be your ally.
  140. Wear a cross necklace. Many people believe religious people to be good, righteous people.
  141. (Pretend to) be nice to animals. Many people believe animal lovers to be good, righteous people.
  142. Want an answer to a question? Instead of asking the question, post a wrong answer. People are much more likely to correct you than answer a question.
  143. Everyone wants to be liked, admired and be right.
  144. Not what you say matters, but how you say it. As well as who says it.
  145. People will believe a person they like and defend their viewpoint, even if they are unsure of the truth content of said statement.
  146. There is only one radio station people listen to. WII.FM. What’s in it for me?
  147. I have a great memory but pretend that I don’t. If I was honest, I would rob myself of an excuse.
  148. Plausible deniability is your friend. Use it yourself to avert repercussions. Use it on others to make them admit an error, submit information or not feel as bad.
  149. Assumption Principle: Assume that the other person agrees with your terms. Example “I am going to come to your place and show you how I can save you money on your insurance. When is the best time?”
  150. Also assume that everyone loves you, that every word from your mouth is golden and that your poop smells like flowers.
  151. Even better is to combine this approach with limited options. Make people choose between 20:00 and 21:30.
  152. More on options: never give people too many options. If you do, they will feel overwhelmed and do nothing.
  153. Don’t fear rejection, be confident and never ever let anyone know that they have power over you, because you fear their rejection.
  154. Gifts randomly given can have a huge positive impact. A gift constantly given in a row (3+ times) ceases to be a gift, but becomes an obligation instead.
  155. The beginning and the end are remembered. The middle usually not. You can apply this law of human nature in various situations.
  156. If you appear to be reluctant to ask for a favour or seem to be distressed, people are more likely to help you out.
  157. If a person blinks fast they are usually bored with the conversation, but it is also a sign of distress. A relaxed person, or someone interested in you/the conversation will blink less.
  158. With chewing gum it is the opposite. A person who enjoys something will chew faster. Offering gum to a woman you are trying to seduce can be a good move if you want to gauge her interest.
  159. Be clear, concise and bold. Never say “do not hesitate to call me, if you like me” instead be bold and say “call me on Monday”
  160. Never RAP with strangers. Don’t talk about Religion, Abortion, Politics and other controversial topics.
  161. Be prepared for the unexpected. Make sure to have a Plan B.
  162. If you are in dire need of a flood of motivation, burn down your ships and bridges and don’t have a backup plan.
  163. Analyse yourself, assess your strengths and weaknesses. You need to know how you look and behave when you are in various situations, for example when not telling the truth. Realising something is the first step to recover.
  164. Act dumb, uneducated, naïve or inexperienced. Others will become arrogant and prone to mistakes if they underestimate you and believe that every psychological manipulation technique used against you was going succeed without any resistance.
  165. Be like a social chameleon and adapt to your environment. Think as you like but behave like others.
  166. Always keep frame, never lower your mask even for the fraction of a second, because if you lose your mask, the mask is lost forever. Keep in mind that you must guard your reputation with your life.
  167. Never fight a battle if you don’t gain anything substantial when winning. Play through all the possible scenarios in your head, or even better on paper, before making a decision.
  168. Master the art of storytelling to charm victims with contagious stories.
  169. Mastery comes through practice. Practice speeches, practice persuasion attempts, practice facial expressions in the mirror.
  170. The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. Fortuna loves preparation and the modern Machiavelli must pay close attention to his plans
  171. Always have a clear goal in mind and make sure to never shoot past the aim.
  172. Analyse your target. Find out as much as possible about his strengths and weaknesses. You never know what kind of information can benefit you, or be used against him.
  173. It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
  174. Having much information on your enemy gives you the upper hand. Adjust your dealings accordingly and lure them with the bait most suited for them.
  175. According to the Needs Principle, a person who knows what another man needs can easily manipulate him.
  176. Draw attention to something by mentioning it. I am certain that you know the “don’t think about an elephant” trick. Use this cognitive loophole to manipulate people into thinking about a certain thing. For example, tell someone about a house that burned down and then ask him if he has turned down the oven.
  177. Make sure you only surround yourself with people beneficial to your goal. If you want to look like a sophisticated gentleman, don’t let it known that your friends are hooligans. Your company will always fade upon you.
  178. If your target starts raising their voice, tell them that you’ll understand them better if they talk calmly. This phrase is provocative because everyone wants to be understood in a debate. Same goes for a sudden increase in speed.
  179. Put the con in confidence. Never show weakness or seem hesitant. People despise weakness and will see right through your act if you fake it.
  180. Learn from your own mistakes, learn from other’s mistakes, amplify their mistakes to gain leverage.
  181. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about the peripheral vision. Just because someone isn’t directly looking at you doesn’t mean that he doesn’t notice what’s going on. Women have a much better peripheral vision; this is the reason they are good at finding stuff in the fridge and their bags.
  182. Make people jump through your hoops. It will make it easier to ultimately get them to buy. If they have to make a little effort, they are going to value you or your service much more.
  183. people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
  184. The strong eat the weak. If you push someone, he won’t notice you stealing his wallet. If you accuse your opponent of a huge case of corruption, people forget that you are accused of being a Nazi.
  185. Learn how to flash an authentic looking fake smile. Smile with your eyes, form the smile slowly. Don’t smile for no reason at all, or you will be perceived like Forrest Gump.
  186. Use your body language as a tool in the psychological manipulation process. Stay tuned for a post on body language hacks and tricks to read non-verbal clues.
  187. When going to McDonalds, you don’t have to take their shit in silence. If you buy a burger, demand to have it made fresh. If you order Coke, drink a chunk of it and then complain that there is not enough gas in the Coke and have them change the gas cartridge. Why? Because a man requires constant confrontation to not lose his bite. Life is a constant struggle and just like you need to lift heavy object to retain or increase muscle mass, you need confrontation to be able to regularly and successfully utilize psychological manipulation techniques in those situations that really count.
  188. You can never fool 100% of the people 100% of the time, just like you can’t force compliance indefinitely.
  189. Question everything, never believe anything without haven given it a quick, better yet thorough, think.
  190. If you can’t be 100% certain that someone is telling you the truth, better assume that he is lying.
  191. Never sweat the small stuff. Trusting someone’s word is good, but rereading the contract or checking the car for small damages is better. Remember what Il Duce said: It is good to trust people, but not doing so is much better.
  192. Not only is it important to know your terrain, but you must also know your body. Be aware of it, know what is good for him and treat him in a royal fashion. Know how you react to various drugs and supplements and whenever needed, don’t be hesitant to aid your concentration or relaxation. Know the supplements that give you a mental edge over your opponents (read up on nootropics)

 

Thank you for reading and congratulations for making it to the end. Try to remember these psychological manipulation techniques and practise them in a safe environment, before you step into the ring with the big opponents.

 

 

 

The 48 Laws of Power Summary

The 48 Laws of Power Summary by Robert Greene

 

 The 48 Laws of Power Summary by Robert Greene and Modern Machiavelli

 

Currently you are on the 48 Laws of Power Summary page. You can either start here, read my about page, return to the homepage or take a peek into my ever expanding archive.

 


The 48 Laws of Power Summary is a post about a book with the same name, written by author Robert Green who dedicated a lot of time on research to deliver an astonishing piece of art that is going to stand the test of time.

 

Practical Examples and Comprehensive Summaries

 

Welcome to the current main focus of this blog. The 48 Laws of Power, summarized, simplified and containing more real life stories and applications. Brought to you by the Modern Machiavelli. I want to thank you in advance for every topic suggestions, feedback or comment you might have and for those I have already received.

This post is structured in the following manner:

  1. The 48 Laws of Power List
  2. The 48 Laws of Power Summary
  3. Internalising the tools
  4. On Morals & Power
  5. The most important Rule of Power
  6. Review of the book and conclusio
  7. Books like the 48 Laws of Power

 

The 48 Laws of Power List

 

1. Never Outshine the Master

Envy is a strong emotion that may turn not only your masters but also your closest friends or colleagues against you. Ensure that you don’t shine so bright that your boss and peers have to hide in the shadows, because they will sneak up on you and strike you where it hurts most, for the mere sake of protecting their ego. 

 

2. Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies

Remember the words of one of the brightest Modern Machiavellians, Benito Mussolini. The Duce’s credo was:

It is good to trust people, but not doing so is much better.

If you decide to turn an enemy into a friend, pay meticulous attention for an enemy turned friend might be an enemy still.

 

3. Conceal your Intentions

Put on a mask and wear it so long that the mask melds into your face and you become one. Under no circumstance must you let people peek behind your mask, be it friend or foe. Conceal your Intentions but subtely reveal fake Intentions for the sole purpose of pointing them into a dead-end.

 

4. Always Say Less than Necessary

The more one speaks, the higher the chance that the Prince violated Law #3 and unveils his intentions. Silence has a powerful effect when used in the right situation. Make silence your ally, not your foe and one thing you must not forget: You don’t learn anything new by talking. Use talk to lull your victim into false security and squeeze information out of him; otherwise say no more than you have to.

 

5. So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life

Your reputation acts as a messenger delivering a letter to whoever you are dealing with. Whether this is beneficial for you or not is up to you to decide. Determine the favoured reputation you want to accomplish and obsessively work on obtaining it. Pay attention to always be on the lookout and never to let emotion trump reason, for this may spell disaster for your reputation. Quell attacks against your good name decisively as soon as they emerge.

 

6. Court Attention at all Cost

Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion. If you are not seen and are not the puppeteer, you will become invisible at best and treated like rubbish at worst. Avoid this at all cost and ensure to belong to “the gang” and to be seen.

 

7. Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit

Why would you send your heavy troops into the heart of the battle while you still have mercenaries & auxillery troops at your disposal, willing to do your work? Save your resources, send them forward and ultimately walk over their dead bodies to collect the spoils. Avoid being deceived by your colleagues in the same turn.

 

8. Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

To catch an animal you need to know where the animal sleeps, how it moves, if the beast owns superior skills and especially what it eats. After you have gathered the information, the Prince can lay the bait and patiently wait for his unsuspecting victim to run right into it. Even if the trap fails, your victim will be thrown off balance and desoriented, ripe for destruction.

 

9. Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

Any momentary triumph you think gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory:  The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion.  It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word.  Demonstrate, do not explicate.

 

10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as disease.  You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster.  The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you.  Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.

 

11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted.  The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have.  Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear.  Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.

 

12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones.  Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people.  Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will.  A timely gift – a Trojan horse – will serve the same purpose.

This is the last 48 laws of power summary so far but more are in the works, stay tuned and in the meanwhile feel free to read the short summaries by Robert Greene himself.

13. When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude

If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds.  He will find a way to ignore you.  Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion.  He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.

 

14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

Knowing about your rival is critical.  Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead.  Better still: Play the spy yourself.  In polite social encounters, learn to probe.  Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions.  There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.

 

15. Crush your Enemy Totally

All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely.  (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.)  If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out.  More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation:  The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge.  Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.

 

16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

Too much circulation makes the price go down:  The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear.  If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired.  You must learn when to leave.  Create value through scarcity.

 

17. Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability

Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions.  Your predictability gives them a sense of control.  Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable.  Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves.  Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.

 

18. Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous

The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves.  A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from – it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target.  Better to circulate among people find allies, mingle.  You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.

 

19. Know Who You’re Dealing with – Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way.  Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge.  They are wolves in lambs’ clothing.  Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then – never offend or deceive the wrong person.

 

20. Do Not Commit to Anyone

It is the fool who always rushes to take sides.  Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself.  By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others – playing people against one another, making them pursue you.

 

21. Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker – Seem Dumber than your Mark

No one likes feeling stupider than the next persons.  The trick, is to make your victims feel smart – and not just smart, but smarter than you are.  Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.

 

22. Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead.  Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane.  Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you – surrender first.  By turning the other check you infuriate and unsettle him.  Make surrender a tool of power.

 

23. Concentrate Your Forces

Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point.  You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time.  When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.

 

24. Play the Perfect Courtier

The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity.  He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the mot oblique and graceful manner.  Learn and apply the laws of courtiership and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.

 

25. Re-Create Yourself

Do not accept the roles that society foists on you.  Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you.  Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

 

26. Keep Your Hands Clean

You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds.  Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.

 

27. Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cult-like Following

People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something.  Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow.  Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking.  Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf.  In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.

 

28. Enter Action with Boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it.  Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution.  Timidity is dangerous:  Better to enter with boldness.  Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity.  Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.

 

29. Plan All the Way to the End

The ending is everything.  Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others.  By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop.  Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

 

30. Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease.  All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed.  When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more.  Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions.  Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.

 

31. Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal

The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice:  Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets.  Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose.  Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose.  Put them on the horns of a dilemma:  They are gored wherever they turn.

 

32. Play to People’s Fantasies

The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant.  Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes for disenchantment.  Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert:  Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.

 

33. Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall.  That weakness is usual y an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure.  Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

 

34. Be Royal in your Own Fashion: Act like a King to be treated like one

The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you.  For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others.  By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.

 

35. Master the Art of Timing

Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time.  Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually.  Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power.  Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.

 

36. Disdain Things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best Revenge

By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility.  The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it.  It is sometimes best to leave things alone.  If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it.  The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.

 

37. Create Compelling Spectacles

Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them.  Stage spectacles for those around you, then full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence.  Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

 

38. Think as you like but Behave like others

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them.  They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior.  It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

 

39. Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive.  You must always stay calm and objective.  But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage.  Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.

 

40. Despise the Free Lunch

What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation.  What has worth is worth paying for.  By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit.  It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence.  Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.

 

41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after.  If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them.  Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making:  Establish your own name and identity by changing course.  Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

 

42. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoned of goodwill.  If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence.  Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them.  Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.

 

43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you.  You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction.  A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn.  And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses.  Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear.  Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.

 

44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy.  The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact.  By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson.  Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect.

 

45. Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once

Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit.  Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt.  If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

 

46. Never appear too Perfect

Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses.  Envy creates silent enemies.  It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.  Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.

 

47. Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop

The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril.  In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat.  Do not allow success to go to your head.  There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning.  Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.

 

48. Assume Formlessness

By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack.  Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move.  Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed.  The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order.  Everything changes.

 

This concludes the 48 Laws of Power summary and list. Even if you do not find the time to carefully study every in-depth analysis, you will still be able to learn a lot from the 48 laws of power list. I recommend reading and rereading it from time to time again, to keep the laws in your awareness set.

 

Internalise the Tools of the modern Prince

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, is one of the most influential modern works on Machiavelli’s teachings. Critics and readers either love or hate it, there is no in between, with the occasional person who doesn’t understand its purpose. I hope that my 48 Laws of Power summary helps them to better understand.

There are only two kinds of people. Those who realise that you can not not play the game of power, and those who are aware that we live in a world that has the always present credo: “Eat or be Eaten”

If you internalise just one book, this should be your pick. If you have a solid understanding of each and every law of the 48 Laws of Power, you are looking at an almost unfair advantage over your competition. Not only that, but this book acts as your shield against the manipulation attempts you are confronted with, day in, day out.

Buy and read the book, listen to the audiobook, watch the animated series, listen to the podcast, read my summaries, at least 2 per day, and read the book & summaries again. Make sure these laws burn themselves right into your brain, for they might save your life in many a situation. I have to stress again how I important rereading the 48 laws of power summary list is. The modern prince can learn a lot more, if the information is beleaguering your mind, over and over again.

See the 48 Laws of Power for what they are. A useful tool in the game of power. In no way does it constitute a psychopath’s playbook. The laws are amoral and can be used for the greater good of mankind.

 

On Morals & Power

Acquisition of money & power can be very fruitful. Unless you are Mother Theresa, you do need money, power & influence to change things, to be charitable. Having no money is the root of all evil and you owe it to yourself, your family and the people who rely on you, to acquire financial assets.

If you violate every rule in the book and thus lose your business, having to layoff all of your employees, whom do you help?

There is nothing immoral at acquiring power and acting in a Machiavellian way. Do you think that the vicious bull will refrain from charging you, simply because you are a vegetarian and wish him no evil? Would you lie down and get mauled by the animal, or would you draw your gun and pacify him? It is to Eat or to be Eaten.

Sometimes you want to steal someone’s credit for their work, to further your own power, when you need the more influential position to achieve greater things than the other person ever could.

Many times you can plagiarise a work (also known as doing “research” in today’s world), improve it and add value to the lives of other people. Use evil to do good.

Don’t get me wrong. A real Machiavellian wouldn’t sneak up upon the bull and shoot it from behind, out of the fucking blue, for no reason at all. Leave this behaviour to the psychopaths & sociopaths of our world.

 

The most important Rule of All

After having read the 48 Laws of Power Summary, some people voice concerns about the belief, that many a law contradicts itself and others. Unfortunately for them, they have not understood the game of power and have a long road to travel, if they wish to ascend the throne of the Modern Machiavelli. Law #48 – Assume Formlessness is the most important law found within this book. Not only in this book but life in general.

The laws of power are situational, not contradictory. Ergo you need to be able to adjust your course of action at all times. Analyse the terrain & situation and base you next moves upon the macro- as well as micro-environment around you.

Let your morals be as fluid as your actions and rationalise them away, if you find yourself in a position where you need to use evil Machiavellian schemes, never hesitate and have no regrets.

 

Review of The 48 Laws of Power

A marvellous book that was written by condensing some of the best learnings from “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” by Balthasar Gracian, “Il Principe” by Niccolo Machiavelli and sprinkled with a little flavour of “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu as well as the wisdom of other ancient rulers and generals. Of course, it has additional influences from various other fields though one big critique point is, that the academic/scientific field is not one of the influences of the 48 laws of power.

Those above mentions three are books like the 48 Laws of Power, merely from a different time. And if you have already read them before you laid your eyes upon Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, the laws are not going to shock you too much.

Now what sets this book apart from all other books about Machiavelliansim & Power, is the meticulous amount of research Robert Greene has put into his work. He is not a person who rushes a book, but finishes it “when it’s done”. So about once every 3-4 years. I really am curious about how his next book about Social & Human Behaviour is going to turn out.

Niccolò Machiavelli has always been a fan of taking bold action, just like Robert Greene is. Despite being able to find a lot of examples that can be applied to every aspect of life, in The Prince, The Art of Worldly Wisdom and The Art of War; the 48 Laws of Power trumps all of them when it comes to self-help & every-day-life-application.

Many people have a hard time relating the Laws of Power to their business conduct, since it was written with a heavy focus on isolated historical examples. Some of the teachings of Robert Greene could be called common sense and are used by almost everyone in various professions. Marketing comes to mind, where attention is absolutely necessary if you wish to survive in a noisy world.

Again, the biggest criticism of the book (even voiced by experts like Jeffrey Pfeffer (“Power“)) was that Greene cherry-picked ancient examples that only happened in isolated cases for reasons not fit to be duplicated. Hence, in my summaries, you will find more real life examples of contemporaries, that are applicable to our modern world.

If you are new to the subject of the power dynamics, this book will open your eyes to the real world, that much I can guarantee.

 

Books similar to the 48 Laws of Power

Check out the extensive list I compiled just for my loyal Machiavellians. The Top 20 books Niccolò Machiavelli would read can be found within.

I can highly recommend you my resource list if you are looking for similar blogs and free academic research databases.

Don’t forget to follow me via Twitter or Facebook or Reddit

Most Famous Persuasive Speeches

To my magnificent readers. I welcome you. Here you will find a list of excellent famous persuasive speeches used to sway the audience’s opinion and manipulate their emotions.

Included are famous propaganda speeches involving the best persuasive speech techniques made by master strategists. Some of them you will know, some you won’t.  There are a lot of videos but if you have time, watch them all and try to uncover the core elements that made these speeches so powerful.

 

Who can you expect?

  • Ronald Reagan
  • Winston Churchill
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Joseph Goebbels
  • Benito Mussolini
  • Saddam Hussein
  • + 2 unannounced bonuses

 

Don’t fall victim to the Halo effect and disregard some of the people in this list, just because you don’t like them.

 

 

Adhere to what Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

‘In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.’

 

I am in the course of writing a post about persuasive speech techniques. I actually wanted to merge it with this video list, but it got too long and hence I split it up. You can expect the post about the tactics for manipulating your adience soon.

Let’s take a look at the gathered gems, here is the

 

List of Famous Persuasive Speeches

 

 

Number 10) Ronald Reagan in Berlin

 

Pretty meagre talk lacking any kind of enthusiasm but it makes up with great content. One of the most famous phrases known by virtually everyone despite most of them not having seen the actual speech. Here it is:

 

Highlight: Mr. Gorbatschow, tear down this wall!

 

 

 

Another good speech of him was the following about never backing down:

 

 

 

 

Number 9) Winston Churchill during the second world war

 

This is the first war speech in my list and others are to follow. I dislike the modulation of his voice, but he is a charming drunkard full of calm power and wit. He manages to persuade the masses and evoke vigor in their hearts.

 

Highlights: You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny.

 

 

 

 

 

Number 8) John F. Kennedy – State of the Nation

 

Highlights: Fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country?

 

 

 

 

Number 7) Good old Charlie Manson

 

Listening to our most famous Hipster sends a chill down your spine. This guy is utterly insane but a master manipulator who managed to draw people into his spell and make the innocent commit atrocious crimes. Sooner or later I am definitely going to write a post about him, digging deep into the psyche and persuasion talent of this mad man.

Highlights: The mind is endless. You put me in a dark solitary cell and to you that’s the end. To me it’s the beginning. It’s a universe in there, it’s a world in there… I am free!

 

 

 

Number 6) Benito Mussolini’s Propaganda Speech

 

Il Duce, an advocate of Machiavelli and probably one of the best manipulators and populists to ever walk the earth. A powerful communicator who had an excellent body language. Mussolini is known for his insane gaze which could freeze brave men dead in their tracks.

Highlights: This is your day, your great day. with your courage, with your sacrifice, with your faith you have given a mighty impulse to history.

 

 

 

 

Number 5) Saddam Hussein’s Trial

 

Another great power speech. Saddam had no support, nothing to work with; he was not even thrown a bone. They continuously cut him off and refused his request to at least bring a little piece of paper with his notes to the trial. Despite that he delivered a perfect speech, managing to artfully arouse emotions. In the end, this didn’t save his neck and he was murdered like a common criminal.

Highlights: Too many, example: [addressing the judge] Don’t cut me off. I am not defending myself. I am defending you.

 

 

 

 

Number 4) Germany’s war declaration against Poland

 

Disregard any prejudice you might have and watch this from start to finish. Everything about this speech was delivered par excellence. His voice, modulation, body language as well as the content. Everything. Reframing, playing the victim, creating an enemy, pretending honesty and the wish for peace, etc, etc…

*Seit 5:45h wird jetzt zurück geschossen. Und von jetzt an wird Bombe mit Bombe vergolten.Wer mit Gift kämpft, wird mit Giftgas bekämpft.* (at 19:22)

Since 5:45 we are shooting back, and from now on we are going to repay bomb with bomb. Whoever fights with poison will be combated with poisonous gas.

 

 

 

 

Number 3) Martin Luther King, you know which one

 

Unbelievable, watch, enjoy, pay special attention to his sentence structure and rhetorical devices.

Highlights: I have a dream, that one day…

 

 

 

 

And the winner is:

Joseph Goebbels’ Famous Propaganda & Persuasive Speeches

 

The propaganda mastermind behind Hitler, Germany’s minister of propaganda and creator of the holocaust. Ironically he applied the techniques of, the Austrian jew and nephew of Sigmund Freund, Edward Bernays in order to spark so much hate among the population that they called for the Jewish heads.

Goebbels was a physically weak person with apparently no strong presence at all. Until he opened his mouth. The first video is about the Jewish problem and the second video is his most famous speech given during the late phase of the second world war when times were looking dull for the German citizens.

 

Here is what a reader said about the German videos:

It’s crazy seeing the Nazi speeches with translation. All your life you hear them and assume it’s some viciously angry stuff that people would be insane to follow but when you see the words it’s not much different than modern political discourse/power talk with just some words substituted.

 

 

This video looks broken but you can infact watch it.

 

 

 

This concludes the list of the best famous persuasive speeches and I follow it up with three bonus videos on life, success & motivation.

 

 

Bonus Motivational Videos

 

Steve Jobs’ amazing Stanford Speech

 

Highlights: I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it.

 

 

 

 

Arnold Schwarzenschnitzl

 

 

Highlight:

When you are out there, partying horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning; Just remember that!

You sleep 6 hours. “Now wait a minute, I sleep 8 hours or 9 hours.” Well, then sleep faster I would recommend.

 

Thank you for reading my post about the most famous persuasive speeches and I hope that you could learn from these masters of manipulation. If you have a keen interest in propaganda, I can recommend this vimeo video.

Of course another resource for learning more about persuasion and propaganda is the 48 Laws of Power.

 

 

 

 

Law #9 – Win through your Actions, never through Argument

For you, my magnificent reader: this post analyses the meaning of “Win through your Actions, never through Argument”. What follows is an in-depth summary of approximately 2300 words.

Win through your Actions, never through Argument, Law 9 of 48 laws of power

Any momentary triumph you think gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.

 

 

 

Contents of Law #9 of the 48 Laws of Power

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples & Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Short Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

Piero Sadorini, the famous major of Florence, lived during the time of Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Michelangelo. He got his hands on a marvelous marble stone. Unfortunately one of his artists mutilated the stone beyond saving. Many other artists inspected the botched stone and came to the conclusion that it was ruined. All but one.

Michelangelo traveled to Florence to make himself a picture of the mess. After evaluating the case, he believed himself being able to salvage it. Piero Sadorini was a little sceptical but in the end allowed Michelangelo to start chiseling away.

It turned into a true master piece, famous far beyond the borders of Italy. David, with the sling shot in his hand. As soon as Michelangelo finished this fine work, he showed it to Sadorini.

Believing himself to be an expert critic of the highest calibre (a little below your average Yelp critic), he informed Michelangelo that David’s nose was too big. The major didn’t realize what the artist saw: that the angle bastardized his view of the perfect nose.

Now Michaelango could have explained Sadorini that little fact, risking to offend his taste. But he chose the right thing, which was to show, rather than tell. He picked up some dust and his tool and pretended to be working on the nose, dropping some dust in the process. He artuflly gave the appearance of changing the form of the nose, while not removing a single grain of marble.

When he was done, he asked Sadorini if it was to his liking now. Cheerfully the major praised Michelangelo for making the nose come alive.

Michelangelo managed to metaphorically change his mood, not his mind.

 

 

Example #2

Victor Lustig, one of the most effective con artists, used the Law – Win through your Actions, never through arugment – to get out of a possible deadly situation. One of his schemes was to convince his victims that he owned a machine to print money. A fancy looking hoax of course. Selling the machine to quite a few people, he made a small fortune. Most of his victims were so embarassed that they had been played for fools, that they took no action. No vendetta and they didn’t even report the crime to the police.

One gentleman, Sheriff Richards of Remsen County, was not an individual who took lightly to being conned. He tracked Victor Lustig down in a hotel and confronted him. He wanted his money back, threatened him and made a scene. The con man was not impressed and stayed calm. He used a perfect mix of both showing and telling.

At first he feigned ignorance and acted confused by the claim that the maschine is not working. Then he confidently bombarded the sheriff with technical mumbo jumbo, confusing him. His act oozed confidence and boldness, so the sheriff soon dropped his aggressive behavior. Doubt and insecurity befell his mind. Because Lustig was so calm, confused and confident, the sheriff wanted to believe him.

The con man then gave him his money back and promised to visit him in his town to fix the machine. A few days later the sheriff was arrested. Apparently he passed counterfeit bills. The same bills he received from Victor Lustig…

 

Negative Example

Dumbo Pretendiavelli found himself in deep trouble with his girlfriend. Somehow she had lost attraction for him. Neither she nor Dumbo knew, what was the reason, but his girlfriend formed new connections and spread out her tentacles, preparing to swing to another branch.

Dumbo Pretendiavelli has a lot of beta provider qualities. A good steady income, warm and caring, romantic and his girlfriend meant the world to him. He wouldn’t dare looking after another woman passing by. Making sure that his girlfriend leads a happy comfortable life, he constantly showers her with gifts and affection.

Realizing the sharp decline in their relationship, Dumbo decided to have a talk with her. His plan was to convince her to stay with him and appeal to her logic. He tried to explain why he is such a great catch for her. That he loves her and makes a great provider, that they share the friend circle and have many interests in common.

Win through your actions, never through argument means exactly that. Acta, non verba. Deeds, not words. He violated this law, thinking that he could convincer her and talk her into loving him.

But human beings don’t work that way. Despite considering ourselves logical, rational beings, we are only one evolutionary step away form animals. Our instincts decide our emotions and actions.

Instead of saving their relationship he alienated her even more. A month later he found her in his own bed with another guy called Chad Thundercock.

In a desperate attempt to uncover where he had gone wrong, he searched for answers. But instead of improving himself, working out, honing dominant traits, stopping to be a pushover; he tried to use words over deeds.

 

 

Spirit of Win through your Actions, never through Argument

 

Show proof & Prove them Wrong

If you find yourself in an argument, no matter if in a business situation or online, it makes sense to link to evidence. Words are good, but actionable proof is better. Convince them by undenieable proof instead of arguing why they are wrong. Unfortunately this doesn’t work all the time, since some people won’t accept the truth, even if it punches them in the face. Some people are so engulfed in their own dream world, that they are beyond redemption. You win some, you lose some, but at least you have to try.

If you merely convince them with your words, they are likely to resent you for it. Or how Ben Franklin put it: A man who is convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.

Guns (proof, demonstration) & politeness (words) is much more effective than politeness alone – Vladimir Putin

An interesting example of actions over talk is the bumblebee. Physicists have proven, that the bumblebee is unable to fly. That it violates the laws of physics. The bumblebee doesn’t care about that talk and flies anyway.

 

Know when to prove them wrong

The modern prince has to refrain from being a know-it-all. People hate smart-asses. If you have to prove everyone and everything wrong, it reveals an underlying problem. Fix it and keep your mouth closed. Even if you win a pointless battle, you might lose the war. Before trying to argue and proof someone wrong, ask yourself:

What’s in it for me, what is to be gained if I start an argument. – Lionel Fox

A derivation of a quote coined by the best general to ever lead troops into battle. The following quote is one of my favourites and you too should always keep it in mind. Not only in this situation, but in many other everyday life situations.

Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning. – Erwin „Desert Fox“ Rommel

Is it wise to waste your time, energy and resources on fighting an uphill battle? Most likely not. The general who wins a battle, undergoes meticulous planning beforehand. And so should you. Plan & analyze how much each battle is going to cost you, and the most beneficial outcome. If you stand a good chance at winning and the reward is juicy, go to war. Otherwise save your resources and fight another day.

You work in sales and have a customer who speaks nicely about his current product. You tell him how awesome your product is and belittle his purchase. An argument arises and maybe you will be able to convince him, that your product really is a much better choice and that he wasted his money.

Supreme victory for you! As you walk out of the door you think: “I showed that sucker!”. But without any sale. You both lose. Better try a more subtle approach, agree with him (no matter how stupid he sounds) and prove him wrong following the principle of don’t explicate, demonstrate.

If you are invited to a dinner party and the host thinks a quote from Shakespeare was actually made by Mickey Mouse, why argue? You have nothing at all to gain. Think of him as a fool and get over your ego. If you can’t get over your ego and have the urge to prove him wrong, say well I might be wrong but I believe this quote comes from Shakespeare. Take out your phone and show him the source of the quote. This will make him resent you less than if you would start an argument. Read: resent you less. Nobody likes getting proven wrong, so it often makes sense to keep quiet.

Sometimes you should let it go, but in other situations it does make sense to prove your opponent wrong. Either via words or better yet, by demonstration and action.

If you openly attack someone and start an argument, you automatically put your opposite on the defense. Hence you should probe subtly and reveal his intention that way. Many people won’t tell you what they really think. Ask someone if he likes your eassay/product and he is likely to say „yeah, sure, why not“. If you are looking for a real critique of your work, so you are able to improve it, you are better off asking: What could I do to improve xyz.

Use this technique to find out what your opposite thinks. It works wonders.

 

Acta, non Verba

Acta, non verba is latin and translates to Win through your Actions, never through Argument. If you are stingy and want the 1:1 translation: Deeds, not Words!

 

Don’t explain your philosophy, embody it. – Epictetus

 

You want to win the election and not the debate. Don’t pursue short-term victories, if your long-term strategy is at risk. Sometimes it is better to walk away and avoid getting sucked into your opponent’s frame. A perfect example would be Law #8, where I explained that Donald Trump walked away, instead of accepting the challenge of the debate.

Try to change their mood by walking away or winning via action, as opposed to merely changing their minds. Talk is cheap. Unless you require legal assistence of course…

If you own or work for a company’s PR department, you should already be familiar with that approach. Acta, non verba is the best advice one can give. People are always going to judge the prince and the principality, based on the actions they take. While words do have their place in deceiving a crowd, action is preferred. Abide to the old proverb that actions speak louder than words.

If you happen to evoke a shitstorm, sit it out and wait for it to subdue. Apologize and move on. Or pour oil into the fire. Always keep Law #48 in mind. Assume formlessness and adapt your plan when beneficial.

Promising too much and letting your customers down is a mistake. Better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. Unless you are a politician. In this case it is much better to overpromise, underdeliver and gamble with the short attention span of the people. This might sound like sarcasm, but it is not. I have close ties to politics and trust me, this is done all the time, because it is so effective. People in the private sector can not get through with this shady tactic though.

 

Defend yourself against accusations

If someone accuses you of lying, you either ignore it or get emotional and prove them wrong. Arnold Schwarzenegger, by some believed to be a racist and Nazi, came under fire for praising Hitler. In an emotional speech he assured the public that „he despises Hitler and everything he stood for“. By becoming angry that some people might believe him to be a nazi, he managed to convince his critics that he is in fact against that ideology. Even though various points would speak against him.

Similar to what Victor Lustig did, when his victim confronted him about his fake product. He acted confused and pretended to not know what the problem was. By acting in a confident manner, going into the offensive, both men have manged to overcome doubts.

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Back up your statements with proof & evidence
  • Guns & Politeness are much more effective than politeness alone
  • Don’t explain your philosophy, embody it
  • Don’t change their mind, change their mood
  • Never fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of Law #9 – Win through your actions, never through argument. 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.

 

If you want to read more summaries, go to the main 48 Laws of Power post and choose your favoured law. If you are looking for book suggestions, find out what Machiavelli would have read.

Go ahead and share it with your friends & on social media. Until next time, fellow Machiavellians.

What would Machiavelli read? – Ultimate Reading List of Power

 

This post contains a comprehensive List of Books like The Prince, Craft of Power, 48 Laws of Power, etc, that Niccolò Machiavelli would read, if he was live today.

More than once was I asked for good book recommendations; so often actually that even if I was the Vitruvian Man, I couldn’t count them on all fingers and toes. Hence, I set some time apart, for you, my magnificent reader, and compiled the most comprehensive book list about power and money, as a token of gratitude for your praise and support.
So what are the best books on war, philosophy, mindset, success and darker topics like influencing and manipulation, PR & propaganda, ancient classics and modern works that perfectly fit the spirit of this blog.

Books like The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

 

Let me start by talking a little about how to read. All of you are probably now asking themselves what I might be talking about, but I can assure you that most people are extremely ineffective readers and I want to provide you with an excellent toolset for improvement.

 

The modern prince reads as much as possible. He knows that not moving forwards equals moving back. In our modern world, we can not opt out of the game of power and neither out of the game of self-improvement. To stay competitive one must adhere to Darwin’s studies that state that not the strongest animal survives, but the most adaptable.You want to start reading as much as possible, then rereading important parts, because knowledge and theory

The act of reading alone can never change a man if his mind is not prepared for the change. But it is a good start. The acquisition of knowledge to the mind is what the barbell is to the body. Now I do not believe that knowledge is power, this statement is absurd, but knowledge is potential power; and reading alone has the power to hone your mind and allows you to make better judgement calls. A good portion of instinct and analytical talent is the bare minimum, combined with perpetual practice. You can not acquire those skills via reading but rather need to put yourself in real-life situations time and time again. Never make the mistake of becoming a

Now I do not believe that knowledge is power, this statement is absurd, but knowledge is potential power; and reading alone has the power to hone your mind and allows you to make better judgement calls. A good portion of instinct and analytical talent is the bare minimum, combined with perpetual practice. You can not acquire those skills via reading but rather need to put yourself in real-life situations time and time again. Never make the mistake of becoming a book-worm who knows everything but applies nothing.

Success is not a choice, it is the logical consequence of knowledge, a burning desire and hard work.

 

 

 

The Machiavellian Way of Reading Books

 

I aim to read or reread at least one book every 10 days, and so should you. The technique that allows me to make the most of both the book and my time involves the following steps:

  • The first step would be observation. Getting a feeling for it, by doing a little research and quickly skimming them from cover to cover. So we can say: reading chapters, headlines, summaries, reviews.
  • Next I read the book from start to finish (or abandon it in rare cases) and take notes. I write them down into a little notebook or into a MS Word document. I try to make my notes as concise as possible, because nothing is more frustrating than having a great idea of how to use/integrate new found wisdom, forgetting about it and the idea vanishing.
  • Sometimes no book or laptop is available and in such a case I always use a post-it notes to mark the site and put the words onto paper as soon as I am home.
  • If I happen to come across especially valuable information or didn’t understand something I reread the parts right after I am done with the book.
  • I may decide to reread the book as a whole, around 3-4 weeks after my first read-through, if I deem it to be a good use of my time.

Unless I can not get hold of a physical copy of a book, I never read eBooks. You would never consider drinking a fine Champagne out of a cardboard cup, so why would you read great books on such an abomination of a device.

Studies have shown that you retain information a little better when reading actual books and you are able to read them 20-30% faster on top of that. While eBooks are a convenient way of reading, nothing trumps real books.

The library of a man says a lot about him, and nobody who visits your home is ever going to inquire about the number or quality of books you have on your e-reader. Also highly doubtable that they will want to take a closer look and browse your “library” in these cases. If you library is a desolate space it is your objective to fill it with ancient thinkers who will accompany you on your path.

 

 

Best Books on Power & Life – Top 20

The Top 20 Books for the Modern Machiavelli. Read these books and they are guaranteed to change your life to the better. Like the books in this list, they, as well as your mind, need to be open in order to get a grasp of the art of power and the games people play.

In no particular order.

Best Books on Charisma, Social Skills & Seduction

 

This book makes it into my Top 3 and is a must read for everyone, no exceptions. The tactics found within seem like common sense or even strike some people as “weak” or “beta”, but those people lack the intelligence and/or logical capacity required to see the genius behind the concepts of this timeless classic. Do you know the Manson Family? Charlie used this book to charm his followers and to found his own cult. An easy & quick but highly efficient read.

 

What is the best book on Public Speeching & Personal Branding? You are looking at it. It also gives great hacks for giving speeches and making a great impression. Together with “Propaganda” (see below) this has to be one of the best books on PR. Roger Ailes is one of the highest decorated speeching coaches and if you are looking to improve your communication skills, this is one of the best books on communications.

 

Robert Greene ladies and gentlemen. Enthralling writing style, history lessons, charisma & seduction techniques of the biggest charmers to ever live on our planet. Do not make the mistake of confusing this masterpiece with a Pickup Artist mambo jumbo, it is much more than that. He digs deep into the psyche of human beings and how people use manipulation to achieve their goals in life & love. Want a shorter summary or refresher? Get the concise version.

 

Best Books on Psychology & Manipulation

 

Hands down the best book on Body Language. 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.

 

Also referred to as the Sales Bible. A must read not only for every sales person, but everyone who has to deal with people. His six main influence factors are easy to grasp and apply, and he teaches you how to defend yourself against the major manipulation attempts people fall victim to. If you would like a more extensive version, in the style of a university course (even comes with assignments and homework) get this version instead.

 

This has to be the most influential works on influence & manipulation. Berne exposed the games people play, why they do it and how we are manipulated by others. Business, marriage, sports, everything is covered in this best seller. This is a book that you need to read sooner rather than later.

 

The Propaganda Bible by the founder of Public Relations. This was the favourite book of Reichspropagandaminister Joseph Goebbels and might have played a big role in the holocaust. Ironically “Propaganda” was written by a Viennese jew, cousin of Sigmund Freud, who emigrated to the United States. I love it, easy but eye-opening read, get this!

 

Books similar to the 48 Laws of Power – Power, Strategy & War

 

The Prince or The Art of Power. How to acquire and secure power in every human interaction imaginable. The most influential work ever written on Power dynamics, be it in politics, business or religion. It is a quick and easy read and offers an artfully crafted insight into Realpolitik and the origin of Machiavellianism. Easily translated into real life and not only the most powerful work on leadership & taking action but one of the best self-help books to ever be written. My favourite translation would probably be the one by Mr. William J. Connell.

 

No introduction needed, check out The 48 Laws of Power summary & review and make sure that you read the book. Don’t be lazy and read the concise version but instead, get the real thing.

 

All warfare is based on deception. And all modern warfare is based on The Art of War. Easy read with interesting history lessons and battle tactics that are used by the biggest players in modern business and politics. I actually recommend this premium version filled with real life examples that are easily translated to our lives.

 

  • On War by Carl von Clausewitz

This is THE book on warfare, named in one sentence with “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Clausewitz never was a great general but a great military philosopher and the book oozes of wisdom. To be honest, I struggled a little with the first couple of chapters (Clausewitz is too overtly Prussian), but once I got into it, I had a hard time putting the book down. Required reading in every military school around the globe. This book is neither an easy nor a short read, but who said that things would be easy? If you are looking for the best book on war, you are looking at it.

 

If the 48 Laws of Power was written as a maxims book, this is how it would look like. Evil tongues say that the 48 laws is a carbon copy of this book. If you read this book you will know why. Short but very sophisticated, it makes for the perfect bed or toilet literature. Read a couple of his maxims and reflect on them.

 

An unknown gem that could also be titled “The 80 Laws of Power”. The author, a professor who dedicated his life to researching the acquisition and utilisation of power. R.G.H. Siu possesses excellent writing skills, using a lot of big words and complex sentences, often found in academic papers, without the dryness associated with academic writing. If Niccolò Machiavelli would be alive today, this is precisely the book he would have written. While being premium priced, the diamond content makes up for it and I have never regretted spending money on this priceless and possibly life changing book.

 

The second completely unknown book. Unless you speak with historians with a focus on the Italian renaissance, you won’t come across many people who have read this book or are even aware of Francesco Guicciardini, a contemporary and friend of Niccolò Machiavelli. His ideas are not that far away from straight Machiavellianism and if you are interested in the accumulated wisdom of a successful ambassador and statesman, you are going to love this hidden gem.

 

Mad Bob Greene strikes again with a self-help book disguised as a military book. He artfully provides us with historical examples of the applications of his 33 Strategies of War. The book is similar to the 48 Laws of Power and his other books. If you enjoyed the 48 Laws, you are likely to enjoy this well-researched book and find yourself with new tools at your disposal. Do you prefer a lighter read? Then get the summary of the 33 Strategies of War.

 

This is hands-down the ugliest book I have ever seen. If you tell a monkey with a learning disability to design a book cover, he is going to come up with a better design, that much I can guarantee. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about the hideous design, a sin that might be forgiven, when looking at the marvellous information found within the book. It is much worse, the format strikes me as being completely random at best and at worst they chopped a chicken’s head off and designed the book format after the path the headless chicken took. If you wish to improve your confidence and want to develop an IDGAF (I don’t give a fuck) attitude, this book is a gift from heaven. Read this book in public transport for a week, and running around naked with a party hat on your head, singing “Amazing Grace” will seem like a walk in the park. How this book could have been released, looking like this is beyond my grasp. If you look at the amazon link, you will find that the book doesn’t have a single review. People judge books by their cover, and if the content was as pathetically crafted as the design, reading this book would be as enjoyable as washing your eyes with pipe-cleaner. I am a person who loves beautiful things, hence one might say that I might be exaggerating a little. I am not.

Now let’s talk about the content. The 36 stratagems is an ancient military classic and offers lessons similar to the Art of War (Sun Tzu) and the 48 Laws of Power. It is an essential read for the Modern Machiavellian and this version offers relevant, well-researched case studies and observances of the gambits in modern international politics. The content makes up for the affront to every single one of your senses (yes, it even smells bad) and I can highly recommend it despite the numerous spelling mistakes. It was written by Douglas and Teresa Tung, but I believe that they took those names after escaping a North Korean prison camp. 5/5

Best Books on Mindset, Success & Philosophy

 

The classic that taught me the way of Stoicism, written by the man who went into history as the philosopher-general. The ancient philosophy of living a worry-free existence in the present, and spending one’s life how it is supposed to be spent. Cut out useless emotions that only hinder you and strive. My favourite translation is the Modern Library translation by Gregory Hays.

 

Chances are, you haven’t heard of this book, despite it being one of the most influential works ever written by a man who spent decades on peeking behind the scenes of success. The book you probably know is the little son of this manifesto, Think & Grow Rich. The 16 Laws of Success is an epic journey into the science of success. Most of the current day self-help, 7 step, bastard children of the personal-development industry, is based on this classic. Very long but insightful read.

 

There are only two ways something can be done or interpreted. My way or the wrong way. Nassim has to be the most narcissistic writer to ever put ink onto paper. He is so unbelievably full of himself and believes himself to better than his readers and every academic whose name does not end with Taleb. Despite pretending to be a book about probabilities, this in no way constitutes a business book.

Now let’s talk about the pros: he succeeds in pointing out the fragile systems all around us and point us in the right directions, making us use reason and logic to analyse our environment. This book has the potential to alter your life to the better, and an admirable goal in life to strive for, is being able to understand Nassim’s books. I fell in love with Antifragile after the first two pages I read, and there are not many books that managed to arouse my interest as much as Nassim Taleb’s work did.

 

Why is Marcel Hirscher the best skier, how did Charles Darwin manage to trump his much smarter brother? Why will Ronaldinho, the football player with the biggest talent and potential the world has ever seen, be forgotten in 19 years from now, while Lionel Messi, a disabled man with nothing but his agility and will, is going to write history? Why talent is overrated and why hard & smart work runs circles about talent and how you can find your passion is explained in depth in Robert Greene’s latest book. Want the perfect refresher on it? Get the concise version.

 

This concludes my Top 20 books on Power & Machiavellianism. If I had to only pick 3 books from this list, that have the potential to change the course of history they would be:

  1. The 48 Laws of Power
  2. Meditations
  3. How to Win Friends & Influence People

Now depending on your situation, strengths, interests, and weaknesses, you will find some of the following books more valuable than my previous suggestions:

 

The Ultimate Book List of Power

 

 

Recommendations for other good books to read

 

 

Charisma / Seduction

Stop being Mr. Nice Guy and become Mr. Machiavelli instead. This book is a must read for people who are too nice (ergo spineless) and want to start getting treated with the respect they are due. I personally have not read and don’t feel like it is a valuable use of my time, but everyone recommends it.

One of the most endorsed and highly rated books about Pick Up and Seduction.

An ok book that in my opinion is a little overrated. Still useful for certain people. If you are afraid of socalled crucial conversations, ergo negotiations, speeches, confrontation, this book is going to provide you with a frame for doing so. Quite easy to read and understand.

Like the title suggests, this book is about small talk and networking.

Another overrated book, but this doesn’t necessarily make it bad. My expectations were too high and in retrospective it was a useful book I can recommend to improve authority, social skills and the character.

 

Psychology / Manipulation

A book about sales & negotiation. One of the better sales books out there.

One of the best books on Social Engineering and manipulation.

Inferior to the Definite Book of Body Language in every aspect, but still a good read and quick read, making you aware of non-verbal cues of other people trying to play you for a fool.

Bandler is one of the co-founders of NLP and this book offers a good general insight into Neurolinguistic Programming.

This has to be one of the most overrated and hyped books I have yet to read. Despite the fancy name and fancy cover, the value of the book for advanced Machiavellians goes towards zero. Tedious read and you might believe that an IT nerd tried his luck of writing his own interpretation of the 48 Laws of Power. If you read my Top 20 books, you might want to skip this. Since it is a fan favourite, I still decided to include it.

One of the best books on psychology, economics and why people act in the way that they do. Won the Nobel price, is a little bit dry and very long. Still a highly recommended book to read.

This is one of the best books on personal branding and surviving the career rat race I know of. The author has 2 other books that are good as well, but this one takes the cake.

  • 50th Law  by Robert Greene and 50 Cent

Can’t really recommend it unless you are interested in a repetitive biography of 50 Cent. You will find a few gems about acting boldly and being fearless, but all in all your time might be spent better with another book. On the plus side, the worst (by a huge margin) work of Robert Greene, looks like the bible.

  • Maxims by La Rochefoucauld

Similar to The Art of Worldy Wisdom and Maxims & Reflections found in my Top 20.

 

Strategy & War

As seen in “the 33 Strategies of War” by Robert Greene and the cult movie “The Warriors”

The ruthless warrior king who made a science out of warfare and outmanoeuvred his enemies skillfully.

Not as good as the original Art of War by Sun Tzu but still a very insightful work from which every leader can profit.

A book about the pilot who invented the OODA loop technique. I am not that convinced but it might be something situationally useful. Some people go as far as to say that he made Clausewitz and Sun Tzu obsolete. Never buy into the hype. Judge for yourselves.

Excellent books on leadership from two highly successful individuals. They also offer interesting views behind the scenes.

Politics & Society

If you are interested in politics, this is a recommended reading for every Modern Machiavellian. If not, there is no harm in skipping it.

Cheap, short, part of common knowledge. Good translation as well and a pocket-sized book, perfect for the train.

One of the greatest works of the greatest philosophers to ever live. I haven’t read it in English, thus I can’t comment on the quality of the translation. As usual, link to the cheapest version.

A highly underrated gem, crushing the illusions you had of history and our modern world.

 

Mindset, Success & Philosophy

A book that might strike one as a book about sword fighting techniques, but if you take a closer look, it offers valuable insights into life & philosophy. The last chapter is extremely enthralling.

Book written by a jew during the second world war. A true classic.

Back in the day, this book was unbelievably shocking, but in our modern world, where morals and the church come second, it offers not too much value. I disliked the melodramatic writing style, but many a person recommends it.

Machiavellis analysis of the Roman Titus Livy. A praise for Niccolò Machiavelli’s favoured form of government, the republic. A good behind the scenes look of the influences of Machiavelli.

A book about the way of the warrior; Bushido. Great insight into the philosophy and life of the samurai of the early 18th century.

Regarded as the best book on stoicism by many, I have to admit that I have yet to read it, but it is on my reading list.

 

Economy & Money

Never take financial advice from a bum or a person who only made money by teaching people how to make money. This book offers solid advice from an actual millionaire.

Funny, quick read about how our economic problems have their roots in math and can be solved by it. There are books with better value, to be honest.

Another masterpiece by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, mainly about probabilities and risks

If you want to found a start-up, this is required reading alongside Innovator’s Dilemma

A marvelous book about saving, investing and amassing wealth. A quick and easy read. I don’t know which version I read so I am going to recommend you the cheapest.

Best Fiction Books involving Machiavellian schemes:

 

 

Do you have other book recommendations? Let us know and comment.