Law #4 – Always Say Less Than Necessary

always say less than necessary - law 4 of power

 

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

 

Contents of 4th Law of Power

  1. Video Summary

2. Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary

 

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Saying less than necessary saves time, hence money. Keep e-mails short and simple
  • After you close, keep your mouth shut. The first one to talk buys
  • Keep answers short to showcase your authority & superiority
  • Use Active Listening instead of bombarding people with your voice
  • If you conceal too much and talk too little, people will become suspicious and start to despise you
  • Don’t draw unnecessary attention to mistakes; it often makes sense to remain silent and let the storm to subside
  • Better say nothing than to promise something that you can’t/won’t deliver
  • Let your body, not your mouth, do the talking
  • The¬†more you say, the more susceptible to attacks you become

 

Always say less than necessary ūüôā

 

I congratulate you on taking action to improve your power base and life and hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of the law. 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 and don’t forget to sign up¬†on the homepage to continue learning about the power dynamics.

 

 

Law #3 – Conceal your Intentions

For my Machiavellian readers. A summary of the book by Robert Greene, the 48 Laws of Power and this time we analyze and expand upon Law #3 – Conceal your intentions.

Conceal your Intentions Law #3

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

 

 

Contents of the 3rd Laws of Power

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples

Part 3: Negative Examples

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

 

Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

 

Example #1

17th century France. The Marquis de S√©vign√© fell in love with a young countess but was unable to win her affection. In his obsessive mission to win over the object of his desire, he turned to the infamous courtesan Ninon de Lenclos. The letters of the prostitute to the Marquis can be found here¬†(free) and reveal many pearls of wisdom about women’s needs and desires. While aimed at a specific case hundreds of years ago, the wisdom and maxims in dealing with the ladies, still ring true today.
Ninon instructed the marquis to always appear in public with one or more beautiful women and cultivate a nonchalant attitude. This got the young countess curious¬†since she expected the young marquis to be interested in her; female megalomania at work. The Marquis de S√©vign√© did an excellent job at concealing his intentions and thus arose the interest and attraction of the young countess. Reverse psychology at its’ best.
One day when they were alone, the marquis broke his frame of nonchalance and confessed his eternal love for her. The countess instantly lost interest and the relationship was doomed.

 

Always carry a mask to conceal your intentions and never break your frame

Have you ever heard of a skillful general, who intends to surprise a citadel, announcing his plan to his enemy? Conceal your purpose and hide your progress; do not disclose the extent of your designs until they cannot be opposed, until the combat is over. Win the victory before you declare the war. In a word, imitate those war like people whose designs are not known except by the ravaged country through which they have passed. (Ninon de Lenclos, 1623-1706)

 

Example #2

Otto von Bismarck, Deputy of the Prussian parliament, had a mission, and it was to loosen Austria’s grip on Prussia and reunite the empire. He couldn’t be open about that intention since the Prussian military would have been crushed by a swift Austrian counterattack, resulting in heavy reprisals for the Prussians. Bismarck had to be more subtle and use cunning & deception instead of pure force.
Therefore, Otto von Bismarck praised Austrians and slammed his fellow Prussians who wanted to go to war. This made Austria feel at ease, and Bismarck was promoted to cabinet minister.

If he had been open about his intention of modernizing and strengthening the Prussian army, and then going to war, two things would have been very likely. Number 1: The people would have called him a coward, thinking that the Prussian military was superior to the Austrian army, and the war could be won. They would have driven him out of office and waged war without him. Secondly, the Austrians, feeling the eminent threat lingering above them like the Damocles Sword, would have invaded Prussia preemptively.

After some time had passed, the Prussian military turned into a respectable army and the Austrians feeling at ease with their guard down, Prussia started the war against their Austrian brothers, loosening the grip of the Austrian empire and uniting Prussia.

 

Other examples

Conceal your intentions by engulfing them in a sea of lies. For example take General Schwarzkopf. Shortly before the invasion of Kuwait, he spoke about invading by sea, then when the invasion actually went down, he took the land route to invade.
Iago used fake sincerity to deceive and ultimately destroy Othello, by voicing seemingly valid concerns about the infidelity of Desdemona. He did it in a subtle way without coming off as too aggressive and hence was able to deceive Othello.

Henry Kissinger followed a simple but effective game plan of boring his enemies to death with dry facts and boring speeches, before slamming the fist on the table and hitting them with a fierce iron fist, making demands, threats and turning the tables of the negotiation in the course.

In 1711, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough wanted to invade France during the War of the Spanish Succession and crafted a plan to achieve his goal. There was a fort in his way, and he knew that by destroying the fort, protecting the road into the heart of France, he would arouse suspicion and the French would know what he planned. Instead of destroying the fort himself, he captured and held it, leading to the fake appearance of the fort being an asset of strategic value to the Duke. The French recaptured the fort and burned it to the ground, believing that they crossed the duke’s plan of fortifying himself in that position. The Duke of Marlborough planned this all along, and now the path into France was unprotected, and the French didn’t expect him to take that path with his invasion force.

Negative Example)

Dumbo Pretendiavelli wanted to switch jobs and let that fact be known among his colleagues. His coworkers and bosses insulted that he wanted to leave them, naturally gave him bad reviews he couldn’t use looking for a new job and made his last remaining days at the company hell, prior to firing him before he could find a new job, leaving him broke in the gutter.
He also had ambitions on the throne of the prime minister, making his coup publically known, when his supporter base was too weak. This resulted in his fellow politicians plotting against him and further weaken his position which made it impossible for him to rise the ranks. If he had been smart and concealed his intentions, while subtly undermining his enemies and rallying supporters behind him, he could have dramatically improved his odds of becoming the prime minister.

 

 

Spirit of Conceal your Intentions

Conceal your intentions by deception

Conceal your intentions via information overload. An old banking saying tells us to push the background to the front and the facts underground. You want to send out signals and let your false or futile intentions be known to the public, providing them with an abundance of useless information. If you constantly talk about your seemingly genuine goals and believes, people will start to believe them and can be suspectable to your power plays.

Likewise as a sales person, you don’t want to rush things by being upfront about wanting so sell your potential clients something. Violating this, gives them a chance to shoot your offer down before you even had the proper opportunity to present your product/ideas. Frame it as wanting to discuss important developments/achievements/time-/money-savers with them. Soften them up first and sell second.

Netflix & Chill is another ‚Äď though not that subtle ‚Äď example of concealing one’s intentions. Invite a woman over to your place to watch a movie or took cook dinner, as means to offer her a way out of feeling like a slut. You know what Netflix & Chill means, as does she, but there still is the element of plausible deniability that permits her to rationalize her behavior.

Bait your opponent by concealing your intentions and acting disinterested. When others feel like
you want a piece of information and could benefit from it, they are likely to restrict it. Act like you do not care about that information and they are going to bombard you with it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that by always being open about your intentions, you lose the air of mystery and unpredictability that should engulf you. People won’t respect you for being too open, and they will never consider you a master strategist if you are always upfront about your plans.
Begin as readable as a closed book will make enemies despair and pull people towards your persona.¬†If people don’t know your intentions, you appear mysterious, and they want to obsessively take a peek behind your mask.

 

Conceal your intentions by acting like a harmless friend

When you are in a situation where a fight seems inevitable, pretend like you don’t want to fight, show that you are scared and pose no threat to your enemy. When he drops his guard, drop him on the ground.

Another effective way to put enemies at ease is to use noble gestures to disarm them and trick them into believing that you are their friend or at least a stranger with no malicious intentions. Praise them, temporarily ally yourself with them and mock their enemies, ask them for advice, use any means necessary to make them lower their guard. When they are distracted by your friendly appearance, take out the big stick and club them with it, as soon as they are not looking.

Alway carry a mask, blend in, be like a social chameleon to deceive your adversaries. Rule number 1 in the spy playbook. If you act like you belong, most people will trust the initial appearance and believe you to be just like them; an ally.

As people grow up, they start adapting to the treacherous environment, that is our modern business world, by showing less and less emotion and facial expressions. Also known as keeping a poker face. The poker face is as useful in poker as it is in negotiations and when lying, and we all know the power of it. Kids aged around six are extremely easy to catch when they are lying. Teenagers are better at concealing their lies, but usually also show clear indicators of deception. Most young adults are adapt at having a poker face, and you will barely find any high-level executive without an almost constant poker face, only showing emotions when it benefits him and to trick others.
Behind a poker face, many a deception can be hidden. Don’t openly show your cards, neither to friend nor foe.

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Always carry a mask and never drop it. Act like a social chameleon
  • Push the background to the front and the facts underground
  • Conceal your real intention by engulfing them in a sea of lies
  • Only drop your poker face to express emotions when beneficial
  • All warfare is based on deception
  • Trick your enemy into undertaking a wild-goose chase
  • Never openly show your cards, neither to friend nor foe

 

 

I congratulate you on taking action to improve your power base and life, and hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of the law. 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 and don’t forget to sign up¬†on the homepage to continue learning about the power dynamics.

Law #2 – Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies

Vincenzo Camuccini, "Morte di Cesare", 1798,

Be wary of friends – they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.

 

Contents of the 2nd Summary of the 48 Laws of Power (by Robert Greene)

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples

Part 3: Negative Examples

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary of the Law

 

 

Examples on how to apply the 48 Laws of Power

 

Example #1)

Michael III emperor of the Byzantine Empire (840-867) is a prime example of naive trust leading to one’s downfall. One day he visited a steed where a horse went loose and threatened the physical integrity of the king. Basil I came to his aid, pacifying the horse and thus saving the king. This was the beginning of a bond between the king and the peasant, that lasted a lifetime, Michael’s lifetime to be excact.

Michael showed limitless gratitude and took young Basil under his wings, providing him with the finest education and showering him with gifts. The emperor trusted his new mentee so much that he promoted him to the highest ranks of power, thinking that Basil was his loyal friend. He had to, because of all the opportunities the emperor opened for him, didn’t he? Unfortunately Basil, just like most people, developed feelings of grandeur and soon believed that everything he had achieved¬†was his own doing. That he didn’t owe his success to anyone.

The former peasant tricked the emperor into killing his most loyal servant, Bardas, effectively cutting off his support. As soon as Basil was strong enough and held the majority of support in the empire, he decided to ursulp the title of emperor from Michael, by murdering his former mentor, friend and benefactor in his bed, cutting off both of his hands before thrusting a sword through his heart.

After this coup d’etat, Basil rose to become one of the most powerful and highly regarded emperors of the glorious Byzantine empire and helped her foritfy her power in the 9th century. In the aftermath, one could say that everyone benefited from Michael’s disobeyance of the law to never put too much into his friends. Except for Michael of course.

 

Example #2)

Ancient China, also known as the Wild Wild East, managed to establish one of the most treacherous environment history has ever seen, after the fall of the Han Dynasty in the year 220, which was referred to as the golden age of China. What followed was a reign by the Three Kingdoms which can be summed up as the “Eat and be Eaten Empire” because every soul that ascended the Dragon Throne was guaranteed to meet his demise by fellow generals or politicians. A toxic environment that claimed the life of many a naive wanna-be emperor.

A viscious cycle that repeated itself until general Zhao Kuangyin took his unrightful seat on the Dragon Throne and changed the modus operandi of dealing with the numerous enemies.

Instead of doing tabula rasa, killing his fellow generals and slaughtering their families; he instead decided to gain the support of his enemies by showering them with lavish gifts, sending them into a retirement in luxury. The plan worked out in his favour and his Song Dynasty managed to keep the Dragon Throne in family property for hundreds of years.

Maybe his enemies were weak or the times changed and the people had seen enough blood, we do not know. Arguably he could have achieved the same by killing everyone who had ambitions on his throne, burn their mansions and sprinkle salt on their lands so that for the next thousand years not even a single lizard could survive. Undertaking research in this area would probably contradict Greene’s claim, that you should make enemies your friends, hence you won’t find any details in the book.

 

Example #3)

In modern politics, you will find a couple of good examples for making enemies your friends, since we live in a god-less society where everyone is a mercenary for the right price, and it is much harder to murder important personalities (unless you are the Russian government of course).

Abraham Lincoln did so in his cabinet, outlined in Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

John F. Kennedy chose his former bitter rival Lyndon Johnson for the position of vice-president, despite the Kennedy and Johnson clans having a huge faud, leaving no ill word unspoken.

Barack Obama did the same with Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump hired college professor Sam Colvins, who insulted him, his strategy and viewpoints a mere 35 days before his promotion, and is now praising his new master, like a good puppy does.

Their main reasons for doing so was to remove their enemies from their former position, which made it almost mandatory for the enemies to work against them, and thus eliminiting the threat emitting from them. People close to you, working for you, can be grasped by a firmer grip and hence you are able to better control them and their actions. A seemingly positive promotion can actually serve your interests much more than theirs.

Usually, enemies of a high quality and caliber also bring a lot of experience as well as expertise to the table. The friends of your new friend, are probably your friends as well (That’s why Hillary is talking about “the legacy of Barack Obama must be saved” etc.)

Always keep in mind that most of these arrangements were benificial to both parties, otherwise it would have never worked. It is not easy to create such a situation, where you are able to use your enemies as your pawns.

  • ¬†Ally yourself with former enemies, if the arrangement is beneficial to both of you

 

Negative Example)

Once upon a time, Dumbo Pretendiavelli had a friend called Brutus. Brutus was a pothead without drive and with a very dark and unpromising future ahead of him. What was the deciding factor that led to form this bond of friendship between them? Maybe it was because of their relatively small social circles and a friendship for the friendships’ sake and nothing more.

Brutus and Dumbo Pretendiavelli shared a lot together and whenever Brutus found himself in financial trouble, Dumbo was there to help. They even sold drugs together, with Dumbo being the main culprint, but trusting Brutus.

One day Dumbo told Brutus that he was out of town to visit his dying grandmother for 2 days. When he came back, someone had broken into his house and robbed him of everything of value.

Of course, Dumbo Pretendiavelli didn’t dare to suspect Brutus and continued to be his friend. He even decided to pay for his education, since he wanted his best friend to become a success; completly failing to notice, that Brutus didn’t feel alike and only had his own interests in mind.

Their lifes changed, Dumbo accepted a job and started working, while Brutus was still sitting on his lazy butt, dealing drugs. Despite the now obvious differences in their belief-system and environment, it didn’t hurt their friendship one bit, and Dumbo continued to trust him.

One day when Pretendiavelli came back home to his girlfriend, he caught his best friend with his girlfriend in flagranti. He felt shocked, betrayed and didn’t understand one bit how the most important people in his life could act in such a manner, despite his other friends and family warning him of the obvious warning signals.

While still being in shock and disbelief, thinking about where he had gone wrong and imagining that it could not get any worse, Brutus & Dumbos’ girlfriend stabbed him 23 times.

  • ¬†Drop dead weight, pay attention to warning signals

 

 

Spirit of the Law

 

On Friends

Friends tend to expect favour and prefered treatment while enemies or strangers are more inclined to prove something and work harder. This law is not set into stone, and you need to be extra careful when dealing with former enemies.

Friends can easily be aroused by envy and greed and act against you as soon as you are vulnerable.

They won’t hesitate to play you for a fool and not have a single negative objection against doing so, for they will demonize you and rationalize their betrayal.

One rule rings true for both trust and gambling. Never put in more than you can afford to lose. It is good to trust friends, but not doing so, is much, much better!

On Enemies

The proverb tells us to keep our friends close but out enemies even closer. De facto one of the worst advices you can adhere to. If you keep your enemies too close, they will crush you and subtely undermine you at every opporunity that presents itself.

You only want to turn enemies into friends, if they would otherwise work against your on a bigger scale than the to-be-expected backstabbing during their false friendship.

Only make enemies into your friends as long as you are 100% certain, that they are dependend on you. As soon as you lose that power, the birds are going to try to break free and fly away, dropping a pile of bird shit onto your plans in the course.

On the other hand, what is there to lose? If the enemy is actively working against you, he might be able to cause more harm than subtely working against you as your friend. Always decide on a case-to-case basis.

Enemies are much more predictable than friends, and from time to time it makes sense to ally yourself with them. The enemy of your enemy, despite being you enemy as well, is sometimes your friend for a limited time. A good example would be “Eisern Wien” [Iron Vienna], a temporary alliance between the arch rivals of the football clubs “SK Rapid Wien” and “FK Austria Wien”, seen on rare occasions where a football club or a nation, hated by both clubs, comes to Vienna. For a day, the hooligans of both clubs join up and face the common enemy shoulder-to-shoulder and instantly revert back to being rivals the day after.

In a business setting, you want to use enemies and make them your subordinates in order to stop them dead in their tracks on the way to power. That’s why big companies buy smaller companies and people hover their ambitious adversaries into positions of seeming power, where they actually become a marionette in the big scheme of things.

While it might go against common sense to employ and utilize your enemies, as a Modern Machiavelli you need to analyze the most beneficial way to disarm and use your enemies. I have to repeat myself and say once again, that you must have something very beneficial to offer to your former enemy.

 

Using enemies to sporn you

Use enemies to sporn you, to push you forward by funneling your hate. They do an excellent job at keeping you at the top of your game. Mao Zedong, as well as others, did an excellent job at using their enemies to strengthen and refine his armys’ battle skills. Despite losing a few men, the gather experience outweighted his losses by a huge margin.

Find nay sayers who are vocal about your ‚Äěunattainable goal‚Äú, then prove them wrong. Anger is one of the most powerful motivators. Some atheletes have been known to be extra rude to journalists, who then wrote articles attacking the athelete. Remember that hate & anger are among the best motivators one can have. Living means being angry, if you stop being angry, you start becoming lethargic.

Another great way to use enemies is to abuse them for great PR. You have heard the saying that bad news is better than no news, and it rings true in most cases.

Back in the day, when you had an enemy, he would attack you by burning down your estate and bashing your skull in with a branch. Or he would take out his silk glove, slap you in the face and challenge you to a duel, where he would put a bullet through your heart. Which would leave you pretty dead.

In our modern world, attacks are often carried out via subtle behind-the-back talk and attacks via the press or internet. Many people fear bad press and critics, but such attacks are antifragile by nature. They don’t harm you, but strengthen you and lead to support. This can be seen over and over again. An example would be twitter removing the verified badge from Milo Yiannopoulos, resulting in the mobilization of a huge supporter base under the twitter hashtag #JeSuisMilo

Most Important Learnings

  • It is good to trust others, but not doing so is much better
  • Never think that if you turn enemies into friends, that they cease being your enemies.
  • Never employ friends or family and do business with them
  • Use enemies as practice dummies & let them motivate you
  • Always keep a close eye on both your friends and enemies
  • Be quick to abandon dead weight & pay attention to warning signals

 

 

I congratulate you on taking action to improve your power base and life, and hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of the law. 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 and don’t forget to sign up¬†on the homepage to continue learning about the power dynamics.

What would Machiavelli read? – Ultimate Reading List of Power

 

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

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

Books like The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The Machiavellian Way of Reading Books

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Best Books on Power & Life – Top 20

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

In no particular order.

Best Books on Charisma, Social Skills & Seduction

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Best Books on Psychology & Manipulation

 

Hands down the best book on Body Language. A science based, no bullshit approach to the topic, backed by many examples and pictures to properly understand the dynamics behind body movements. We learn how to detect our own body language missteps and also why Hitler liked to cover his crown jewels with his hat, as well as cultural differences.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  • On War by Carl von Clausewitz

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Best Books on Mindset, Success & Philosophy

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

The Ultimate Book List of Power

 

 

Recommendations for other good books to read

 

 

Charisma / Seduction

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

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

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

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

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

 

Psychology / Manipulation

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

One of the best books on Social Engineering and manipulation.

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

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

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

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

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

  • 50th Law ¬†by Robert Greene and 50 Cent

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

  • Maxims¬†by¬†La Rochefoucauld

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

 

Strategy & War

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

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

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

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

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

Politics & Society

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

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

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

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

 

Mindset, Success & Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Economy & Money

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

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

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

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

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

Best Fiction Books involving Machiavellian schemes:

 

 

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