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 Craft of Power Summary #2

The Craft of Power Review

 

This is Part 2 of 3 of The Craft of Power Summaries

Part #1 can be found here

Part #3 can be found here (in progress)

The book is rare and expensive though available on both the Internet and Amazon. You can find it here. Written by Ralph Gun Hoy Siu.

 

The Craft of Power Summary Part #2

 

HONING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS

 

The Eight Axioms
– Don’t confuse the platform for power with levers.
– Platforms are broad and strategic, levers are pointed and tactical.
– A platform is a springboard for many options, each lever is a commitment to a specific act.
– There are eight axioms that form quality strategy and tactics.
– 1: Adjust the objective to the resources, expending neither more for an intermediary target than it is worth in its contribution to the ultimate objective nor less than is needed to gain it.
– 2: Keep the objective always in sight, ensuring a clear line of attack without ending in a cul de sac.
– 3: Shape the operations so as to allow alternative tactical targets, thereby placing the opposition on the horns of dilemma.
– 4: Exploit the path of least resistance, always pointing in the direction of the final objective.
– 5: Pursue the course of least expectation on the part of the opposition, deceiving and beguiling to widen his miscalculation.
– 6: Maintain a flexible posture, responding to exigencies of the unexpected.
– 7: Refrain from repeating a line of attack that has just failed, recognising that the opposition had in all probability the reinforced themselves in the interim.
– 8: Dislocate the opposition, upsetting their strategic balance and disjoining their psychological reserve with goading lures and traps before striking the decisive blow.

 

Offense
– Though the general fundamentals remain the same, there are some small differences in how to obtain power depending on where you trying to obtain it. A king trying to take over a neighbouring kingdom may act a bit differently than an executive trying to overtake the CEO of a company. Calibration of tactics is key.
– When planning a takeover one must consider his options. If a direct takeover is not an option then one must resort to more indirect means.
– A direct takeover is simple. A king marches his army to the neighbouring country and invades. If a direct assault is not an option then resort to an indirect one.
– When resorting to an indirect takeover one must start small.
– Do not mount a new grab for power without a clear plan and knowing what will need to be done.
– Indirect takeover Phase 1: Get your allies appointed to key positions within the enemy structure. For example: a king wishing to take over a neighbouring kingdom indirectly, can get his allies appointed to key military positions in the enemy army and key positions in the enemies council. You start to gradually increase your influence indirectly through your allies that have infiltrated the enemy.
Phase two: once you have your pawns in place a full on, and swift, take over will be simple.
[NOTE] The book doesn’t give examples on how to get your allies placed in bed with the enemy but if you are intelligent enough to pull this off then you are intelligent enough to figure it out. I believe the lack of examples is because it’s highly situational. I find that referring to the 48 Laws of Power can help here.
– Be careful to make sure your power grabs remain under the radar for as long as possible. The opposition can’t defend against an attack he doesn’t see coming.
– Timing is everything. Moving at the right time, or at the wrong time, can affect the end outcome. Timing is not to be overlooked.
– Propaganda is useful, use it to your advantage.
– Once you have taken over the opposition you must put in place safeguards that will secure your new power position.

 

Defense
– You cannot always avoid confrontation nor can you always pick the time and place and therefore you must always be prepared for the worst case scenario at all times.
– The following measures can help safeguard your power:
– 1) Know the overall context of your power and the ensuing strategic consideration in its basic and interrelated facets
– 2) Establish a system of deterrence embedded in the tailored laws and rules
– 3) Manifest a system of deterrence backed by the power to punish
– 4) Continue the process of assimilating incipient oppositions
– 5) Defuse trouble spots and attack when necessary
– One of the best ways to maintain power is to make people dependent on you. It is much harder to control people that don’t need you.
– It may be better to be feared than loved but accomplish both and retaining your power will be much easier.
– Those who can’t be bought can be intimidated, those who can’t be intimidated can be bought. Very few are resistant to both.
– If you know you can’t stop dissidents from rising then seek to control instead of eliminating them. Subtly manipulate them into supporting causes that pose no threat to you.
– If you recognise an offence forming against you, a pre-emptive attack, assuming you have the numbers, can be a sound decision.
– If the opposition is strong then instigating a conflict between the opponent and another third party can work well. The third party will weaken the opposition for you. Better yet if the third party doesn’t realise you instigated it and is simply a pawn. Make sure, however, the third party doesn’t grow too strong if he wins and starts posing a threat to you.
– Remember, all these tactics work as well for the king as they do for the office executive. Calibration of tactics is key. Also, refer to The 48 Laws of Power and The 36 Stratagems.

 

Opportunist
– Opportunist don’t see people as good or bad but simply useful or not useful.
– They are constantly on the look out for opportunities that can help them accumulate more power.
– They are not above creating situations that can lead to opportunities.
– The opportunist will wait when a conflict breaks out, see who the likely winner is, and then align with them in order to gain favour with the victor once the war is over.
– They are often “middlemen” of sorts playing both sides to see who will benefit them the most.
– While playing both sides the opportunist is going to ensure to be the perfect courtier (Law 24) and to keep their hands clean (Law 26) to avoid suspicion.
– The opportunist is like a master chess player, he always plans several moves ahead.
– The opportunist thrives in chaos as chaos creates many opportunities in which the opportunist can then exploit.
– The supreme example of an opportunist is the character of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish from the Game of Thrones series on HBO.

 

Coalition
– History has shown that sooner or later allies ultimately become enemies.
– An ally will sometimes stab you in the back if it is in his best interest to do so especially if the ally is another person of power or person of much ambition.
– You should consider precautionary measures before voluntarily entering into an alliance.
– 1) Figure out if outside help is essential for your specific purpose at hand. Unless circumstances leave no alternative then it’s usually preferable to not seek an alliance. Be wary of making an alliance with a person who does not need you and is also powerful as they could just be using you only to discard you when they are done. They could even be indirectly taking over your power foundation.
– 2) If you do plan to make an alliance then be sure to establish a prior agreement as to what each member must contribute at all points of the alliance. Be suspicious of those who dont want to make a commitment and to those who promise you the moon. Both types are unreliable.
– 3) Maintain constant vigilance to ensure everything is going according to plan. If one ally seems to be intentionally getting too far out of line be sure to take steps to correct or compensate for this.
– 4) Take steps to ensure your ally isn’t simply using you to destory their enemies before turning on you to destory you. If you plan on uisng that stragety to destory someone then plan as if they are aware of your scheme.
– 5) Conduct your operation in such a way that at the time of the joint victory your own resverves and system are not so unbalanced that your competitive position is impoverished. The closer to victory against the common foe you stand, the more closeely should you scrutinise your own fortunes, adjust your balance, and toughen your resilience.

 

VECTORING RESOURCES

Parapropritary control
– The prelude to power in modern times is the battle for social or organisational positions, which constitute the decision-making loci governing resources. No chief of state owns the men he directs; no banker the money he manipulates, no bishop the heaven he promises, but they all act as if they do. Such is the common state of affairs in a paraproprietary society.
– There are two considerations to keep in mind as you try to move upwards in a paraproprietary society
– 1) The number of positions available within the inner circle. When on the outside trying to get in it can often be easier to convince the powers at be to enlarge the circle and create a new position rather than trying to displace someone already in the circle thus taking their position. You can also try to convince the powers that be to open up a different and new position that has the powers you want and then give that position to you.
– Once you become a member of the inner circle you should support moves to further restrict the membership. Sharing power is not only a loss of personal power but a threat to what power is left.
– 2) Within the inner circle will be different positions all with different amounts of power. Decide which is the best for your goals and keep an eye on it.

 

People
– First step on path to power to assemble a well-knit cadre backed by followers beyond that in numbers adequate for the attainment for the next two milestones. Be VERY cautious about trying to go anywhere without this cadre and be VERY cautious about trying to reach for power beyond the strength of the platform you have constructed.
– Ceaser is a great example. Through his charm and persuasion he gained much credit and favour with many of the senators and through his festivals, he gained favour of the people.
– In general, the magnitude of power in your hands is a direct function of the size of your constituency.
– Strive to increase the number of constituents you have.
– Strive to make all you constituents feel a sense of belonging to the organisation. The also need to feel like you are one of them and that you understand them.
– Minimize the overt expression of superiority by one segment of your followers over another. Example: A roman general ordered that slaves be added to the army to increase numbers and passed law forbidding any roman to belittle the slaves.
– Know and understand the people who follow you so that you can better persuade and control them.
– Continue to strengthen cadre by finding capable people and adding them in.
– Make sure to continue to keep an eye on the cadre though and stop a power struggle before it begins.
– If a person is doing a good job but is threatening you power and you must let him go its often better to do it with “face-saving honors” so he keeps his dignity and you dont create an enemy. However, sometimes its best to make an example of out this person so others fear trying to step up to your power.

 

Money
– The more corrupt a society the more money you need to control to gain and maintain power.
– The less money you have/control the more well versed in manipulation, deceit, and warefare you must be to ovecome the lack of money.
– People who have risen to power often had to borrow, beg, and steal to get the money they needed.
– In modern America “Super PACs” are a great example. The Candidate doesn’t own that money but controls millions of dollars worth of donations that he can use to further his cause.

 

Indentitive Inducements
– Money is an important factor in attracting and keeping good talent but its not always the only factor.
– Prestige symbols such as reputation, feelings of achievement, publicity, and status symbols often work as well.
– There exist three types if motivation
– Indentitive: prestige symbols
– Utilitarian: granting and withholding of material things
– Coercive: the threat of injury or other punishment
– Generally, indentitive is better than utilitarian which is better than coercive.
– Find out what a perons motivations are and you can find out the best way to control them.

 

Push & Pull
– Instruments for inducing action can be divided into the push and the pull.
– Instruments of Push deter action by using fear of punishment or injury.
– Instruments of pull offer gains and rewards such as compliments, bonuses, etc.
– Strive to make the gains you give aligned with your goals. Examples: The king offers a Knight a large tract of land if the king wins the war. The office executive offers a bonus if the project his men are working on wins the contract.
– The progressive series in the push pulling of power is: 1) Killing the target individuals, 2) eliminating them, 3) damaging them, 4) threatening them, 5) cajoling them, 6) bribing them, 7) persuading them, 8) seducing them, 9) attracting them, and 10) educating them to your view.
– Generally, you should use the more non-violent ones at the end of the spectrum. If effective they usually result in less backlash.
– In perilous situations, you will sometimes have to resort to the more violent ones. Most people can either be bribed, intimidated, or seduced.

 

SHAPING COMMUNICATIONS

Need to Know
– Only give information to those with a direct need for it else it may fall (or be leaked) into the wrong hands.
– Only give them as much information as they can process so they dont get overwhelmed. Once processed then give them the rest.
– Information is power so you want to control the flow of information regarding you and your operations.
– If trying to usurp someone you must control the amount of information they have. Keep them in the dark, feed them false information, make them confused even.
– The manipulation of information given to the constituency is essential to stay in power.
– If they feel the future is 100% certainly going to be positive and prosperous they are less likley to surrender power to you. If, however, you give them small doses of anxiety and uncertainty, you can retain power over them by making them believe only you can lead them to prosperity.

 

Private Channels
– Be careful of your inner-circle only telling you what they think you want to hear or worse, only what they want you to hear.
– Be sure to set up communication channels that bypass your staff so you can get accurate information. You want to know what’s really going on and what people really think and feel.
– Remember, people trying to usurp you will attempt to limit the amount of correct information that you are getting.

 

I hope you enjoyed Part #2 of the Craft of Power Summaries and again I want to thank my friend warped_mindless

 

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.

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The Craft of Power Summary #1

The Craft of Power Summary by R.G.H Siu

 

 

An excellent book, combining Machiavelli’s teachings with the knowledge of eastern cultures, creating a true masterpiece, a recipe book for power, in the process. Full of timeless quotes, wherever you lay your eyes upon. If you have yet to read it, I suggest you get your hands on it and absorb the knowledge. You can find it here. Written by Ralph Gun Hoy Siu.

 

A comprehensive guide to gaining, maintaining, and expanding personal power.

 

Presents basic techniques for the management of people and organizations. Guidelines are presented in a how-to” fashion, illustrated by real-life examples. Evaluates power posture, then spells out operational specifics. Defines power and the social setting in which power is exercised. Explains fifteen ways of measuring one’s competitive strength. Deals with techniques for harnessing people and money in the drive for power.

Props to Warped_Mindless

 

The Craft of Power Summary Part #1

You can listen to the article read by a sexy British robotic voice here:

 

 

Nature of Power

  • Power is the intentional influence over a person’s beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Power predates humans. There have always been the leaders, and those who were led.
  • It’s impossible for everyone to have the same amount of power. Someone will always rise to the top.
  • Power comes in many forms. The general with an army, a woman with her seductive looks, a boss who dangles the promise of a raise or promotion in front of his employees.

 

Minidemocracies

  • The desire to have power is a very strong one.
  • Sheep will almost always be tricked into giving up more and more of their power.

 

Executives and Persons of Power

  • Anyone with a modicum of energy, concern for others, or a drive to accomplish anything, exercises power of one kind or another.
  • To the person of power, retention of control is the highest priority.
  • Being at least decent at your assigned duties is often necessary to advance ahead and gather more power.

 

Justifications

  • Rarely has a successful act of power been found in a swamp of excuses and justifications.
  • The urge for even greater power has and will always be well lubricated with natural and good intentions.

 

Professionalism

  • All that is needed to stop you dead in your tracks on your rise to power is a single chink in a vital area.
  • The more power you wish to amass,highly disciplined and self-controlled in the ways of power you must be.
  • A person of power does not confine himself to an institution where a rise to power is nearly impossible.
  • The difference between victory and defeat is often just an inch.
  • Stay focused on the task needed to get done to accomplish your rise to power. Never let yourself become distracted.
  • Learn from mistake and setbacks. Preferably from others. Be resilient.
  • A person of power does not pass the buck, trying to evade responsibility. Except when it’s a calculated power play and serves your interests of course.

 

Skepticism and Vigilance

  • Be skeptical of everything and everybody at all times to a calibrated degree, no matter the circumstances. Trust if you have to, but verify everything.
  • Even the smartest of people have been fooled and out-witted. Never underestimate anyone; he might be playing a sucker to catch a sucker.
  • Loyalty is fickle. Those who are loyal now may not be later.
  • Always be skeptical but never cynical. Keep a balance.

 

The Big Game

  •  The current state of our modern times has amplified the amount of attempted power seizures.
  • There is no such thing as a power vacuum where you can simply walk in take over.
  • Success in one area will often lead to success in other areas. The same goes with power.
  • “No matter how much talent you may have, or how great your fame may be, or how impressive your potential power might be, do not wait too long for the powers-to-be to beckon. After a discreetly short wait, you must push yourself forward with determination, although not without the grace appropriate to the circumstances.
  • If there are no vacancies or opportunities available, then do what you have to in order to create your own.

 

Kingmakers

  • Every king needs to be crowned, locate the kingmakers and gain their favor. Find out who can help you obtain the power you want and ally with them.
  • Do not piss off the wrong person, know what & who can slow your ascent to power. Never fight a battle if you gain nothing by winning.
  • Either by chance or design, you need to showcase and reinforce a positive reputation.
  • Be careful when trying to impress the kingmakers. You do not want to come off as try-hard, phony, or transparent.
  • Know what qualities the kingmakers are looking for in a person. Know your strengths.
  • In all your encounters with your superiors never for a moment think you are fully aware of every potential plot going on around you.

 

Capacity Limitations

  • Know yourself and don’t overestimate your abilities.
  • Try not to fight wars on multiple fronts. It’s exhausting.

 

Illicit Means

  • Thoroughly confuse your enemies with cunning and trickery before using more direct attacks.
  • Realize that your enemies may well use illicit means against you. Always keep an eye open.
  • Cover your tracks well and do not get caught. Tabula Rasa if it has to be.

 

Legal Porosity and Elasticity

  • There are three ways of escaping the pincers of the law:
  • The first way is “the blindfold” where you are friends with those who can come after you or you are important to them (such as contributing to their campaign). Get the people with the power of the law behind them on your side. The mafia is very good at doing this.
  • The second way is by placating the law. This is often done by taking cases to a court where the judge is less strict or more sympathetic towards you.
  • The third way is out-dancing the law. Always be at least half step ahead of the law. For example, corporations will often move money around to avoid taxes, abusing loopholes in the law.

 

Associated Sufferings

  • One man’s gain often rest on another man’s pain.
  • Sometimes in order to get what you want, other people have to suffer. Such is the way of life.

 

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome

  • Tell people what they want to hear.
  • Make sure that you and your allies work towards a mutual goal.
  • Tailor your actions after cultural & community traditions.
  • Never change too much at once. Do it gradually and in small steps.
  • Tailor your behavior and actions to the situation and act accordingly. Law #48 Assume formlessness.

 

Be Water My Friend - Bruce Lee Quote

The Craft of Power Review

 

Myths

  • No major power can be possibly sustained over a long period of time without an array of myths (reputation) to reinforce it.
  • Give people something to believe in and tie those beliefs to your cause.
  • To be most effective the myths must be ingeniously framed, implanted, nurtured over long periods, and revered as elements of obvious truths and hard facts.
  • They must be adapted to the disposition of the followers, to the state of their maturity and their passions, hopes, and fears. They should directly provide moral justification and the potential to rationalize guilt away.
  • Example: The Aztecs needed more warriors to join their ranks, so they told their people the myth that dying in battle is the only way to go to Valhalla.
  • Once you have found a myth that suits your purpose, you should stick with it and let it grow for a considerable amount of time.

 

Vectoring Resources

  • Economy of efforts equals the results from optimizing efficiency.
  • Change efficiency: Magnitude of change affecting those essential to your objectives. The forces at your command should not be allowed to become undisciplined and as a consequence try to enforce change. At best, this entails a waste of resources or worse, they sow the seeds of destruction from within,
  • Only the fool exercises uncalled, excessive power over others, with the sole motive of feeling powerful.
  • Gaining control of an institution without agitation is far better than leaving a trail of harsh feelings and divided management. It is always preferable to take a country as a whole, intact, instead of burning it to the ground, according to Sun Tzu.
  • Executing a smooth coup d’etat is far more desirable than a bloody revolution.
  • The second efficiency is resource efficiency: the number of resources you actually need, compared to your estimated resource requirements.
  • Save resources by knowing your objectives, having better intelligence, more fitting strategy and tactics, fewer emotional expeditions into irrelevant paths of glory, and greater managerial skill.
  • Command efficiency: how fast and well your subordinates react to your directions/commands.

 

Time Constraints

  • Keep your long term goals in mind but don’t let the effort needed to get there overwhelm you to the point where you have no energy to accomplish the smaller goals needed to get to the long term goal.
  • The longer it takes to accomplish a goal the less enthusiastic your supporters will become.
  • To keep your supporters interested, take your large long term goal and chunk it up into smaller parts, that way it provides your supporters with many mini-victories which keeps them enthused.
  • After each goal is completed, review it, think about possible improvements and then adjust your course of action to reach your next goal.

 

Levelheadedness

  • As you move up, into the big leagues of power, you must resist the temptation to panic, but remain calm, and don’t acting foolishly.
  • Every organization will go through times of ups and downs, of turmoil and chaos.
  • During the chaotic times, persons of inferior talent/intellect/skill should seek to move into a position of power and amass as much wealth and positive reputation as possible and then move on before their lack of skill is exposed.
  • The strong and Machiavellian can use the chaotic times to gather more power and further their wealth and reputation and continue to rise to greatness.

 

Mortgage Payments

  • Often times power comes with little “price tags.”
  • As you rise through the ranks of power, you will encounter continually stronger opponents. And believe me, everyone is willing to play dirty after a certain level. You must decide if you are willing to get down in the gutter with them.

 

Treatment of the Plebs

  • Your allies that can help leverage you into power, as well as being able to stab you in the back.
  • Who your allies choose to help depends on your ongoing relationship with them. Make yourself indispensable to them.
  • Without coming across as a scared kiss-ass, you should strive to make your allies life easier. Praise them and their accomplishments. Treat them with respect so they don’t feel the need to betray you. Even then, never trust anyone.
  • Secretly gather intelligence on both allies and enemies, in case they ever decide to move against you. Take caution, however, that you are not exposed while digging in the dirty laundry. Always conceal your intentions.
  • Trust but verify. Have spies approach your allies, pretending to be working for the enemy, and offer them to collaborate. If they do then you know they can’t be trusted.
  • Though your allies should respect you, they should also know in the back of their minds what happens to those who betray you. Fear is a probate life insurance.
  • Your former allies, no matter if they quit on their own terms or you get rid of them, are likely to backstab you if the opportunity is right.
  • Do not think that man will remain loyal forever. As soon as you stop being a benefactor to them, they will try trump you, while rationalizing that they deserve it. Leverage those people into a position of power, where they pose no threat to you
  • Give second chances and don’t punish draconic at every opportunity. Keep your emotions in check.
  • However, if a person is found conspiring against you, you must make an example out of him.
  • Your Second in Command, the person closest to your seat of power, always poses the greatest risk to you. Even if he doesn’t intend to conspire against you, he could be used as a pawn against you by your enemies.
  • There are a couple ways to reduce this threat. The first is to decentralize the Second in Command’s power to a team of six or more people so that the power is not concentrated. Instead of having a second in command, keep a council. Keep an eye on all members and make sure they stay loyal.
  • Always keep powerful allies that can catapult you back into power, should anyone try to usurp you.

 

Constituency

  • Three requirements must be met in order for your supporters to remain your supporters.
  • First, they must feel that you are one of them or at the very least that your heart is with them and that you understand them. Dress alike, act alike, speak alike.
  • Secondly, they must remain satisfied with the benefits you provide them with.
  • Thirdly, no more than a handful of people must hate you at a time. Make people fear you, instead of hate you.

 

 

This was The Craft of Power Summary of the Maxims Part. Now a few selected Quotes from the book, all made by RGH Siu, follow.

 

 

The Craft of Power Quotes

 

Power is neither created nor destroyed. It is only transformed or transferred.

 

People, Money, and Symbols are the basic Resources of Power

People are to be used like Fuel in the Furnace of Power

Let not the wailing and groaning of the innocent weaken your will to win

Too bad “can’t be helped’

 

No longer think about the struggle between Good & Evil, but of the conflicts of interests and interests

 

Be quick in masking yourself, and unmasking others

 

Negotiation is a simultanious Excercise in Intelligence, Bargaining, Politics, Propaganda, and Planning

 

 

 

This concludes the best Craft of Power Quotes and here ends the Craft of Power Summary Part #1. Stay tuned for part #2 & #3. I hope you could learn something valuable and I highly recommend you to get the book and acquire the full wisdom. Trust me, it is worth it. You can find it here.

 

I salute you,

Lionel Fox Machiavelli

 

Law #12 – Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim


Welcome my magnificent reader, this post analyzes the meaning of “Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim”. What follows is an in-depth summary with approximately 2700 words.

Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim. Law #12 of the 48 Laws of Power

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.

 

Contents of Law #12

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples & Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

Pavlov’s Dog is the origin of classic conditioning. I believe this to be common knowledge, but depending on the desolate state of your countries education system, I am going to paste the Wikipedia description.

In his initial experiments, Pavlov presented a stimulus and then gave the dog food; after a few repetitions, the dogs started to salivate in response to the stimulus. Pavlov called the stimulus the conditioned (or conditional) stimulus (CS) because its effects depend on its association with food.

 

Here is a picture to better visualize the process:

pavlov_classic_conditioning

 

You want to condition people, just like Pavlov conditioned his dogs. Use the carrot and stick method, or as the German saying goes: use sugar-bread and a bullwhip. An idiom which I prefer.

Whenever someone does something which is to your liking, reward them with something tangible or praise, attention or affection.

Timing is crucial when it comes to giving rewards. Never reward people for every little thing they do for you, or they will become resistant to your praise at best, or start believing that they deserve more and are better than they actually are. Remember:

 

A benefit given 3 times in a row ceases to be a benefit but becomes an obligation instead.

 

 Example #2

Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of wall street. Known for his book, movie and for being a ruthless conman. This life lies faaaar behind him, according to himself, and he now leads a cleansed, God fearing, law abiding life. If you watch his sales seminar “Straight Line Persuasion” you will hear him speak about morals every third sentence.

The interesting part: People eat up his story about being a changed, cleansed, pure individual with only good in mind.

Human beings love a story of redemption. They are also inclined to believe a lie when it is repeated often enough. Do you honestly believe that Jordan Belfort has a) changed or b) feels even a slight remorse? There can be only one answer to this question, and it is no. People still believe him.

 

Negative Example

FIFA. They believe that it is as easy to use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim, as it is to buy a FIFA representative’s vote. That everything will be forgiven and forgotten if you just put up an honest act once. Like Robert Greene puts it: „One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones“. True in some cases, untrue in most.

A little context for those who don’t share my passion for football:

The FIFA is the corporational equivalent to Greece when it comes to corruption. Blatter opened his hands whenever possible, grabbed whatever he could and sold the World Cup to Germany in 2006 and Qatar in 2022 (probably every other world cup as well). Qatar… A Muslim shithole with 0 human rights or rights for anything for that matter, but deep pockets. Not only will the World Cup take place in a country with close ties to radical Islamists, supposedly supporting IS; no, they also had the glorious idea to change the date of the World Cup, because Qatar is a country unfit to host any summer event, because of the heat. Well, fit enough to host the biggest sporting event worldwide, because they bribed FIFA representatives.

 

A few months ago people started investigating and surprise, surprise, it turned out that Qatar indeed bought the votes. Blatter being guilty of corruption and suspended for 90 days. A week ago a new president was elected. Gianni Infantino. A person who promised the blue out of the sky, saying that he is going to clean house. The FIFA thought that installing a puppet, a former lover boy of Blatter, is going to calm people down. Little did they know, that many a person is aware of Infantino’s and Blatter’s relation and that they are the same devil.

FIFA has lost all of its credibility and failed to practice proper damage control. If you have lost all credibility, you need to promise a huge change and also show the people that you indeed did your best to change. Something the FIFA got dead wrong.

 

 

The Spirit of Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

 

Give before you take

“Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim” may also mean to give before you take. To make yourself useful to someone before asking for their help.

This is the golden rule for networking with people in business, but also to some degree in politics. Seek to provide value to people before asking for favours. Unless your position is much superior to your opposite’s. In such a case you may feel free to disregard this suggestion and ask/take before you give.

By no means the recommendation is to be Mother Theresa, unless you want people to take advantage of you. You don’t want to be the provider of free welfare for people who don’t deserve it.

No, the real underlying reason is that it is easier to conceal your intentions if you provide value first. Disguise your intention of taking by giving. The modus operandi of human beings is to happily accept the free lunch, without second questioning it, missing the real intention behind the gracious act of providing a “free” favour.

The Law of Reciprocation (made popular by Robert Cialdini’s – Influence) aligns with this law per excellence. What is the law of

 

Reciprocation

Despite being by far the ugliest word in the English language, it translates to the following: If the Modern Prince actively seeks out to help people, he is likely to serendipity stumble upon favours received.

 

In Robert Cialdini’s words:

“The implication is you have to go first. Give something: give information, give free samples, give a positive experience to people and they will want to give you something in return.”

 

Examples on how this law may be applied:

  • Introducing him to others
  • Offering business
  • Giving advice & insider information
  • Sycophant praise
  • Free Coffee in Shops
  • Thank you notes/mails
  • Free Samples
  • Unannounced Bonus

 

How do politicians and business people often do business? They go to a fancy restaurant and discuss business over a three week dry aged T-bone steak. It is often expected that you get treated to a meal and saving on business diners is a terrible idea. Even if you don’t receive reciprocational bonus points, at least you didn’t anger your counterpart.

It should be noted at that point, that in some circles inviting someone to a fancy restaurant, exceeding a distinct amount (300€ in my case) could be considered corrupt behaviour. Also, if you are in the field of lobbying, you will often have to note down who you meet and what you discus with them. Not 100% relevant to the reader of this text though, since if you are in that field, you should already know it.

 

During First Impressions

  • It is best to use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim as early as possible. A first impression is formed within seconds and has a lasting impact on the relationship between people. While a first impression is not set in stone, it takes a lot of effort to change the opinion of a person who has had a negative first impression of you.
  • Human beings hate being wrong. They hate having a first impression that turns out wrong. Hence, they actively work (ergo rationalize) towards the status quo. If your first meeting is positive, this can be immensely helpful while a negative one can be crippling.
  • People form their opinion based on mainly observational factors and your reputation. Body language, eyes, tonality, handshake, smile, clothing style, beauty. Upon these things and others, you will be judged and need to make sure to leave a lasting impression in every single one.
  • Have a confident body language. Be calm, take up a lot of space.
  • Hold eye contact at least 70% of the time. Look at the right eye, then the left eye. When trying to seduce, also look at their lips. Your eyes can reveal your thoughts, convince yourself that you really like the opposite person (or that you absolutely want to become intimate), and it will reflect in your gaze.
  • Your voice should be calm, a little louder than average, deep, concise and demanding authority. It is possible to change your voice to the better and coaching is advisable if you sound like a smurf.
  • The Handshake needs to be firm. Make it as strong or stronger than your opposite’s handshake, but never utilize a “death grip”. When trying to muscle someone, you slightly turn your hand to the left, to have the literal upper hand. Holding it longer than the norm is acceptable, just don’t overdo it. Give it a pump or multiple pumps depending on your cultural background. I love shaking hands with Germans and Britons, but I feel molested after doing the same with an Italian or American. Adapt to the environment.
  • Don’t come out smile blazing but look at someone, wait 1-2 seconds, form a “real” smile (squint your eyes, lower your eyebrows a little) but again take your time when forming it. It should take around 1 – 1,5 seconds for your smile to reach its zenith. If you don’t squint your eyes or flash your smile as fast as lightning, you are sure to come across as insincere.
  • Dress to Kill. Always be 10% better dressed than everyone else. Better to be overdressed than underdressed. You can get rid of a tie/blazer in case of everyone wearing t-shirts, but you can’t do the same if you are the one who is underdressed.
  • Make sure to smell and look your best. Nothing more needs to be said.
  • Presence & Interest in the other person. A Modern Prince never lets his mind wander while talking to someone else. He is in the presence, actively takes part in the conversation and keeps eye contact. He doesn’t look around like a chased animal trying to escape.

 

These are the eight laws of making a great first impression. Follow them and you will receive much more positive feedback from your peers. You might also try to convey various beneficial traits in your first impression, which you want to be connected to. A good one would be generosity. If you have the first impression of being a generous person, others are much more likely to do you favours, because “you would do the same”.

 

Practice makes perfect

Yes, we have heard this truism over and over again, but there is a good reason for it. You need to acquire theory, practise alone, and then gather experience in the real world applying your new found skills. In the field, you want to calibrate your success with the new technique and adjust accordingly. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim, philosophize about the meaning and ingrain it into your thinking, unless you want to come off as incongruent.

If you strike people as being insincere, you are off to a terrible start. A Modern Machiavelli needs to be convincing and charming at all times. Crushing doubts in his ulterior motives with confidence and (false) honesty.

I told you above how the perfect smile looks like. You are equipped with the theory. Now it is time to practice your new smile in the mirror. During the next social occasion, you are going to use the smile and gauge the response. If it is fully positive, continue what you are doing. If you notice that something is off, you want to adjust the course of action. Being able to analyse situations is of the utmost importance, and unfortunately, can not be learned through books.

When you get caught faking honesty, generosity or emotions, and word gets out, it can have gloomy consequences for your reputation. Warren Buffett made a great quote about the case at hand:

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. – Warren Buffett

 

Gain Trust by Revealing

Trust is important, because if you are trusted, you will be let into the inner circle. There are a couple of traits vastly useful for the goal of becoming a trusted friend/advisor:

Reputation, Confidence, Competence, Enthusiasm, Charisma, Trust in the other person

Reputation speaks for itself. If you have the reputation of being honest or the reputation of being the best surgeon for leg amputations or whatever; the cards are shuffled in your favour. People will trust you merely based on your status and the respect that comes along with it.

The Elements of Trust are:

  • Confidence, Competence & Enthusiasm
  • Charisma
  • Reputation
  • Liking + Trusting your vis-á-vis

 

If you want to be trusted, first offer your trust. Reveal a little secret, give them a task involving a little responsibility.

Never reveal anything that can be held against you. Sometimes you can offer classified information if your counterpart stands no chance of proving it in court, but caution is always advised. Carefully pick the cards you choose to play.

Keep Law 3 & 4 in mind: Conceal your Intentions and Always say less than necessary. Never reveal everything or you are certain to lose your aura of mystery and respect. Violating these laws will also make your peers despise you and grant you a reputation for gossiping. Something that needs to be avoided at all costs.

Before surrendering information, you always need to ask yourself the following question:

 

Do I benefit at least slightly by sharing that information, is it mutually beneficial to both me and my vis-á-vis?

 

Don’t over-share useless information or you run the risk to burden others with it. Nobody cares about your problems except for your mother. Keep them to yourselves.

 

Defend yourself with selective honesty

Trickle truth is a perfect use of this law. When people discovered that you are lying, you come up with an incomplete confession. If you want to see this in effect, the best example can be found observing a cheating woman who has been caught. Trickle truth is the modus operandi for all women, thus, they have an advantage.

The Modern Machiavelli needs to master the art of trickle truth, where having dirty sex with someone becomes “merely a kiss on the cheek”. A synonym for it would be “damage control”. Take a minor hit in order to dodge a big hook.

If you are a known cheat, free of the suspicion of telling the truth, you can utilize this for your own gain. In such a case, you could tell your opponents exactly what you are going to do. Never once would they think that the truth is the truth forsooth. Honesty as well as insincere honesty is a great tool to deceive people.

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Train people like Pavlov trained his dog
  • A benefit given 3 times in a row ceases to be a benefit but becomes an obligation instead
  • The appearance of Honesty is the best Policy. Both for Defence & Offence.
  • Reveal what doesn’t matter, conceal what does matter
  • Never reveal much, but when you do, make it seem like a big deal
  • Use trickle truth to minimize the damage to your reputation

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of Law #12 – Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim. 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.

 

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.

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


Welcome my magnificent reader, this post analyzes the Law “Make other People come to you, use Bait if necessary”. What follows is an in-depth summary with approximately 2300 words

Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary Law 8 - The 48 Laws of Power

 

When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains – then attack. You hold the cards.

 

Contents of the 8th Summary of the 48 Laws of Power

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Real Life Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary

 

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand decided to plot against his former master, after Napoleon Bonaparte was sent to exile on the Italian island called Elba. A location in close proximity of the heart of Europe, so Napoleon’s shadow still lingered over the whole continent. The masses still loved him, even after his defeat, and he was a disturbance to many influential people. They wanted to see him either dead or exiled to a far away country.

Talleyrand and his associates decided that the best course of action would be to enable Napoleon to take a seat on the throne once more. in In a dazzling operation, they helped Napoleon escape the island in broad daylight.

Napoleon did lead a comfortable life on Elba, but the lack of power anguished him. His lust for power was so big, that he did not see Talleyrand’s plan for what it was. He didn’t realize that France was an economic mess, unable to sustain another war.

When he arrived in France, Napoleon gathered a small army and marched on Paris. Many soldiers joined the ranks of their former general and the city welcomed him with praise. Still having the support of the masses, he crowned himself emperor; picking up the war where he left. His position, this time, was different. Desolate, and led not only to his personal Waterloo, but he also was defeated at the actual battle of Waterloo. Now, he was not sent to an idyllic 5 star holiday on beautiful Elba. His enemies exiled him to a desolate island called St. Helena in Africa. So far, that his grip could not reach Europe and he no longer posed a threat.

Where did Napoleon go wrong? He became arrogant, power hungry, put his emotions before reason, believing that he could win unwinnable wars. Reasons that lead to his defeat and exile.

 

Example #2

During the now legendary game between France and Italy during the Worldcup 2016 Final, a monumental scene unfolded. The two men who each scored one goal for their nation (7′ Zidane and 19′ Materazzi) clashed.

Marco Materazzi, sneaky and Machiavellian as he was, pulled on Zidane’s shirt, and prompted a response by the Golden Ball winner. Zidane said: „If you want my shirt, I can give it to you afterward“.

To which Materazzi replied ‘No, I don’t want your shirt, I prefer the shirt of your sister, you son of a terrorist whore“.

Despite not being a particularly nice thing to say, it made an excellent bait that drove Zidane to give him a headbutt, resulting in a red card.

With Zidane gone the French team was demoralized and Italy beat the leaderless 10-man squad in the penalty shootout.

During an interview about the incidence, Zidane stated:

8042674419_c37a3056ef_o“Let’s not forget that provocation is a terrible thing. I have never been one to provoke; I have never done it. It’s terrible, and it is best not to react.”

Yes, it is never good to take a bait and end up in a trap. If, during stressful situations, you have no control over your emotions, you are going to end up losing the World Cup title.

 

 

Link to the story: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2010/mar/01/zinedine-zidane-marco-materazzi-headbutt

 

Example #3

World War 1, Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron – because of his red plane and royal bloodline – was the most successful fighter pilot in the German airforce. He possessed intuition, lightning fast reflexes and could maneuver his plane like nobody else. This much is known. What is rather unknown is that despite being an excellent pilot, he was an excellent tactician, leader, instructor & tinker as well. He even advised in the creation of the Fokker plane. A new project with the goal to eliminate weaknesses of the current design. All that while being in his early to mid-twenties. A true genius, a man after my own heart.

Manfred von Richthofen had an aerial killstreak of 80 confirmed kills, a feat unmatched by his enemies. His strongest contender was a Canadian, boasting 72 air victories. His advantage of 8 kills was not impressive, but he trumped his adversaries by a huge margin, if we take his battle tactics into account.

Von Richthofen flew the only shiny red plane and his reputation was legendary. Despite not being certain, I do believe that the Allied instructors briefed their pilots on the tactics he used, but it did them no good. His plan unfolded every time. The British crown had also put a huge bounty on his head, clouding the minds of the British pilots who were confronted with him.

His tactic made perfect use of this Law to bait people to come to him. He flew below his squad, baiting the enemies to attack him. A red plane, a legendary pilot, a huge bounty on his head, the lowest flying and first plane. All these things let the well-trained Allied pilots forget their training and take the bait Richthofen offered them. When they did, his squad would descend down on them and annihilate the attackers.

Ironically, this law lead not only to him becoming the most valuable asset in the aerial combat, but also to his death. A head injury he sustained during a battle, was said to have changed his temper to the worse. The injury maimed his use as a fighter pilot. But the great pilot he was, he refused an offer to stop flying and start instructing. Flying was his life and he would give his life for it.

During his last battle, he succumbed to rage and took the bait in form of an enemy plane, trying to escape into hostile territory. He didn’t pay attention to his surrounding, flew too close to the ground, and this is where an anti-air gunner shot him.

 

Real Life Application

Donald Trump has built himself an impressive office in his Trump Tower. Whenever a journalist inquires an interview, Trump invites him into the den of the lion; his own playground.

As soon as he is the president, the Oval office in the Air Force one will be similar. A place to discuss business, where his counterparts are always kept on their toes.

Megyn Kelly & others tried to bait him into the Fox News Republican Debate in Cleveland. He knew that the debate would be biased and the cards not stacked in his favor. The host treated him without respect and unfairly, accusing him of sexism. Just a reminder, Megyn Kelly posed in questionable positions for the Playboy. Hypocrite.

He smelled the trap and declined the invitation. Despite not even showing up, he was repeatedly attacked by his opponents and dominated the beginning of the debate. Neither his reputation nor his polls suffered from not attending. A risky move that ultimately worked out in his favour.

 

Negative Example

Dumbo Pretendiavelli found himself in an advantageous position, but waited too long for the perfect moment. Instead of acting boldly and seizing the moment, he laid out a sneaky trap with an appealing bait. But his opponent didn’t take the bait in time, which resulted in Dumbo losing the initiative and favoured position. Without the element of surprise, Dumbo Pretendiavelli perished at the hands of his foe.

After his defeat, he needed to rebuild his little empire. Abandoning all rational thought, he got lured by a get rich quick scheme, in which he gladly bought into.

He made his own tactic of baiting obsolete, by not seizing his opportunities. He subsequentially fell victim to the promises of a quick fix for all his problems. Now he has lost everything and won’t ever be able to recover.

Don’t fall victim to quick success promises. Power is about long term results, despise the free lunch.

 

 

Spirit of Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

 

Make other people act & React, seek to anger them

If you are asked for help, make sure to make them do a small deed for you. Don’t bend over and willingly do all the work, fix every problem with your own resources (this includes times). A technique working like a charm for holding people accountable for their actions. Example if you lend money to someone, have them sign an agreement to pay you back. Make them help you out on a continual basis or make them gather required information. Think of something that forces them to invest a little of their own. If you act, you need to make sure that they react, otherwise you will be taken advantage off.

To find out about their secrets and weaknesses, you have two options. Either you do the work yourself, ask around, do your research or have spies reporting on him. Or you bait him into revealing his needs.

To do the later, you want to get him emotionally invested. Take for example a sales situation. One of the better tactics is to ask your prospect if he has had problems in the past with your competitor or some situation/product. Expand on that and dig deep. Ask him what happened, asked him about the consequences for him and his company. Make him paint the picture all over again in his head. Then show him, that he will be free of these negative emotions and disasters if he buys your products/service. If executed in the right way, the price will play a minor role and you will be able to charge more.

 

Bait people into your frame/territory

Bait people into your reality. Impose your frame upon them. Don’t let them draw you into their frame & reality and make you go out of your way to accommodate them.

You need a proper bait, see Law 13 appeal to self-interest. Offer them an initiative to take the action you want them to. Think about what constitutes the perfect bait. Properly analyze their motivations, needs and weaknesses.

Scarcity makes for a great bait, hence you should abide Law 16, use absence to increase respect & honor. Other great baits are appealing to the fear of pain & loss or greed.

 

Subtlety and deception play a key role in most laws of power, including this one. You want to bait your opponent to come to you, while still maintaining the illusion that he is in control. That has a free will and planned his next step carefully, while actually being a puppet of yours. First you need to know what constitutes the perfect bait. Analyze his strength & weaknesses, his needs & fears.

The application of this law is often found among various shady corners on the internet. Called Linkbaiting. Fancy headline, no useful content. This would be a small scale application, but could be also used to bait the bigger players. Get journalists, media, customers, influencer etc. come to you and get them to buy your products and promote your brand, by luring them with fancy appearances, promises and well-made promotional campaigns.

 

An enemy lured into hostile territory will become demoralized and prone to mistakes. If you force him to act or lose his temper, you will find yourself in an advantageous situation.

“Good warriors make others come to them, and do not go to others.  This is the principle of emptiness and fullness of others and self.  When you induce opponents to come to you, then their force is always empty; as long as you do not go to them, your force is always full.  Attacking emptiness with fullness is like throwing stones on eggs.

Zhang Yu, commentator on The Art of War

 

Feed them false information

One of the finest wisdoms in The Art of War by Sun Tzu states:

Appear weak when you are strong and appear strong when you are weak.

This is one of Sun Tzu’s credos and works in our modern world just as well as in ancient China.

 

It is of utmost importance to artfully feed the enemy false information. Dangle a juicy carrot in front of their heads. An example would be the weaker Japanese army destroying the Russian fleet during the Russo-Japanese war in 1904. They fed the Russians false information, who then took the bait, believing it would offer them a huge advantage. When they found out that they were tricked and outmaneuvered by the Japanese, it was too late and their navy perished.

Appear disinterested when you are interested. People will withhold information from you, if they believe that it benefits you. If you seem disinterested, they are going to bombard you with it.

 

Don’t fall victim to games yourself

Know that your adversaries will use the technique of rocking your emotional state, baiting you into emotionally investing or angering you. Evoking the fear of pain or loss, merely to advance their own agenda. Realize this and stop yourself from getting taken advantage of.

Control your emotional state and you will become immune to people baiting or taunting you. Do not lose your temper or show hesitation, fear or other weak emotions, and people will start to believe that you come from a superior position.

This is the reversal of Law 31, get others to play with the cards you deal.

Don’t accept unfavourable conditions. Ever. Example if you go on a new date, and she wants to bring another friend with her. Decline.

Sometimes you have to choose the lesser evil, but you need to carefully analyze if your enemy hasn’t crafted a plan where you lose, no matter what course of action you take.

 

Real Power is the degree to which a person has control over their own circumstances. Real Power is the degree to which we control the directions of our lives. – Rollo Tomassi

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Never submit to rage and get lured into your opponent’s frame. Reverse it.
  • Make your enemy dig his own grave and thank you for it
  • Feed the enemy false information, appear weak when you are strong.
  • Control your emotional state and you will become immune to people baiting or taunting you
  • Bait subtly, don’t reveal your intentions
  • Power is about long term results, despise the toxic free lunch

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of the law and if you have more examples of the possible applications or questions of any kind or wish to share your thoughts and experiences, please feel free to do so. Grab the book here and support the author if you don’t already own it.

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