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.

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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Law #1 – Never outshine the Master


Welcome my magnificent reader, this post analyzes the meaning of “Never outshine the Master”. What follows is an in-depth summary with approximately 2900 words.

Never outshine the master - law 1 of power

 

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.

 

 

Contents of the 1st Laws of Power

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: A

Part 3: Negative Examples

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

Video summary 

 

 

Examples & Applications

 

#1

In the 17th century during the reign of Louis XIV, his finance minister Nicolas Fouquet found himself on the verge of becoming a persona non grata. He amassed wealth by shady tactics (not all of them were in accordance with the crown) and didn’t keep quiet about it but instead made the mistake of living quite a decadent lifestyle.

Some time before ascending the throne, Louis was driven out of his palace, by the parliament, during a revolt called the “Fronde” and was forced to live like a common plebeian. An insult going so deep that he never forgot about it.

Now Nicolas Fouquet decided to build himself a palace (forgetting that you should never outshine the master, especially not if he is the king) worthy of an Egyptian pharaoh, the Chateaux Vaux-le-Vicomte and again decided to show off his wealth and style whenever possible. France at that time was troubled by financial worries and the king had to live a much less decadent lifestyle. This aroused envy in the king.

Having the Damocles Sword right above his head, he made an unforgivable mistake. Since Nicolas Fouquet wanted to secure his position in the court of the king, he decided to throw one of the biggest and most lavish parties the world had seen in the year 1661. Full of luxury goods and dishes from exotic lands that have never been tasted by even the highest regarded French nobles. Every guest loved that party, and if back then mobile phones had already existed, you could have seen the selfie-flashlights from outer space.

The metaphorical light shone bright enough to cast a huge shadow onto the king. While the 23-year-old King stood in the shadow, outshined by the magnificence of Nicolas Fouquet, even more, envy crept into his heart, and the wish for Vendetta set foot in his mind. Revenge for this disrespect was inevitable, and King Louis decided that the logical consequence of this affront was to throw his finance minister into the darkest hole in his prison, claiming that he had misappropriated state money. A subtle method compared to openly insulting Fouquet or acting hurt during the party. This incident arguably led to the construction of Versailles.

  • Nicolas Fouquet wanted his king to admire his taste, connections, wealth and impress him, but it backfired and led to his demise.

 

Example #2

Galileo Galilei a great mind with a pathetic pocket. His whole life he was troubled by financial shortcomings and decided to dance on one wedding exclusively. He managed to put his chosen master into the spotlight and make him appear greater than he is.

In 1610, he discovered the “Galilean Moons,” Jupiters 4 biggest moons. He dedicated this discovery to the Medici family whose symbol was the Jupiter, and after the discovery, the Galilean Moons were said to represent the 4 sons of the Medici family revolving around their patriarch.

Usually, the Galilei’s procedure was to dedicate one small part of the discovery to one patron, and receive gifts in return, rarely monetary support, but this time, he chose a different path and dedicated all of his discovery to one family, who enjoyed being put into the spotlight and praised, leading them to become Galilei’s biggest supporter and rewarding him with a steady job and constant financial support.

  • Galilei decided to stop dancing on multiple weddings and chose one ally to gain their full, undivided support, by praising them and making them appear glorious.

 

Example #3

In “House of Cards” the main protagonist Frank Underwood abided this law par excellence. During his position as the vice president he pulled the strings behind the president and subtly made suggestions and advised the president to take actions that aligned with Frank’s goals; framing them in such a way that made the ideas look like they were his master’s ideas all along.

Frank didn’t act too bold or too aggressive; an important part of his big scheme. Despite pulling the strings and being more powerful than the president himself, he made his master shine and feel in control.

  • Always remaining calm and in control, not being an arrogant know-it-all, pretending to be on the side of the president, making him look good while simultaneously influencing him, helped Mr. Underwood achieve his goals.

 

Negative Example

Dumbo Predendiavelli considered himself to be a funny and exalted person of worth and influence. Glowing with confidence, charisma, humor and of course the god given arrogance that comes with it. Pretendiavelli managed to snatch a good new job, and there was no doubt in his mind, he was going to crush it and make a killing in the new company. Assert himself as THE alpha male of his new work environment and hustle everyone he deemed inferior (including his imbecile masters). He knew every study, every guideline, every example from the history books and believed that nobody could one-up him and that he would convince his new masters and equals of his worth.

What worked with his drinking buddies, former employers and employees and girls he picked up in a bar, was sure to work in this new environment. So he thought. He came into his new job cocky as a cock can be, telling jokes, trying to show off his refined tastes and superior knowledge, believing to be on the right path to conquering the throne of the company.

Whenever someone told a joke, he followed it up with a joke of his own. Whenever someone told a compelling story, he followed it up with a more glorious story of his own. Whenever someone suggested an idea, he followed it up with an (in his mind) even better idea. Whenever someone discussed a topic, he proceeded to straighten that person out and give them the “real facts.”

Soon after his entry, shocking to him, everyone hated him. Everybody hated the arrogant know-it-all asshole who could not stand other people receiving as much or even more attention, around him and always tried to trump not only his equals and inferiors but also his masters. Problems arose because the people who hire you, want you to shine, but not too brightly and not too soon. Not having achieved anything so far and walking around like you have a 10-inch cock (how Ben Affleck put it in the marvelous movie “Boiler Room”) is a dangerous mindset to follow.

Despite knowing everything there is to know and delivering great work, achieving and even surpassing all of his goals, everyone started to nitpick his every mistake. They picked the smallest deficit and blew it up to look like an unforgivable affront.

Soon after, Dumbo Pretendiavelli got fired and lived unhappily ever after, all because he violated Law 1 – Never outshine the Master. A lesson he will never forget.

  • Don’t let your ego, the size of the Grand Canyon, become your downfall. Instead, be patient, be submissive and play your cards when the time is right.

 

 

Spirit of never outshine the Master

 

Analyzing the Terrain

An extremely important aspect, your starting point, needs to be finding out who your masters are. Your parents, your teachers, your professors, your middle-management, your customer. Everywhere you have a social hierarchy, and you will have to find out who the master of that group is. Respect his position.

Yes, also your customer. I have a background in marketing & PR, and the best advice I can give is to always give the customer what they want. Even if their idea is about as useful as a dick without a shaft, you have to delivery as he expects. He couldn’t care less about your fancy idea if it violates his wishes. In such a situation you will want to deliver one project just like he wanted it, and maybe if you feel like your idea is a million-dollar idea, you can work it out and present it additionally.

 

Outshining your Master

Whenever a master takes you under his wings, by either becoming your patron or hiring you, they do want you to be a success. Just not that huge of a success so you cast such a lurking shadow that makes them disappear within.

People hire you for two reasons and two reasons only.

  1. They want you to make them money, achieve goals, use your connections.
  2. They like you and want you to stroke their egos and make them shine.
  3. Bonus reason: They hire you to take revenge on someone, or they are forced to hire you for some reason. Ignore this for it doesn’t or at least, shouldn’t apply to you.

The smart Modern Machiavellian knows this and works hard on achieving both goals. Do not let them slide or you will find yourself looking for new work or a new network sooner rather than later. Reason #2 is more important than Reason #1. If you don’t achieve results but are liked and appear to achieve results, you will run circles around those who merely work hard while ignoring the social aspect and who shine too bright in the wrong moment.

Learn to listen, learn to restrain your tongue. When your master tells a joke, he is looking for positive feedback and not for a joke that one-ups his. Your masters don’t want you to come into the company and tear it apart because you believe your ideas to be better. Even if your ideas happen to be valuable, they simply don’t want the status quo challenged too fiercely. Never should challenge your master’s ideas and make sure if you do, you do it subtly.

Make sure your ideas mimic your master’s ideas, make sure you like the same things and hate the same people like your master.

Your ego is your biggest enemy while also being your best ally. Don’t let it interfere with your grand strategy for short-term victories. Making someone feel or look bad might feel amazing that moment, but ultimately it won’t do you good. Whenever someone claims something to be true, that you know wrong; whenever someone has an idea, you believe to be inferior to your idea; do not let your ego show its’ ugly face, instead think like the Modern Machiavelli you are supposed to be and either restrain your tongue or frame your response in a way that echoes their thoughts or start by disarming them, before you present your ideas. For example, you might say: “An interesting idea, I might be wrong, but I thought that lowering the prices might actually lead to lower sales rates because we depend on being viewed as a premium product, as our analysis has pointed out. What do you think about this?” instead of “Bullshit, we are a premium priced brand and only an imbecile would even think about lowering the prices.”

I know, it is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am, you might say, but make sure that your ego doesn’t sabotage you.

 

Outshining your Colleagues & Hostile Superiors

Another thing you will have to keep in mind is that you will be confronted with opposition if you outshine people other than your master. Never come out guns blazing if you disagree with anyone, especially not your boss. Be submissive and meek but get a feeling for the line between being a good little asset and being a spineless pushover.

 

If you have a new incompetent superior, who is above you. Be careful to never outshine the master or colleague in a situation where they hold the cards. Trump them subtly. Remember that not every superior of yours is your master. Attach yourself to the boss of your superior and you shall have an easier life. Another way would be to seek this boss’ advice, flatter him and try to make an ally out of him. He might soon start asking you for advice, and as soon as he believes your advice to be of value, he is going to follow it. This opens him up for ill-advice that damages him and lures him into a trap. Always keep law #3 in mind: conceal your intentions.

Outshining your masters is a vile misstep, as is outshining your colleagues. Sometimes though it is inevitable to constantly belittle your equals, hoping to look better in the eyes of your master. The name of the game is patience. You don’t want to attack anyone who is stronger than you, has more connections and a better fortress. You do not want to outshine the master if he is stronger than you. You are supposed to wait for the right time, either if you are stronger than him, or he opened himself up for attack and revealed weaknesses. As soon as you are strong enough and have gathered enough support, you can openly challenge your master by outshining him.

 

If you praise your enemies in front of your real master, who gets the credit? Them. Do you think they are going to tell the boss in private that it actually was you who did such a good job?

You trade the credit for your work for a little sympathy bonus… praise and charm them in private settings and in front of coworkers, not in front of the master.

 

In General

Just like you should never outshine the master without a strong reason, don’t offend and belittle others either, if there is no good reason for doing so. Whenever you are confronted with a group, and your aim is to impress a woman, don’t do so by insulting and belittling your competition. They are very likely to sabotage your attempts. Instead, focus on giving value to the whole group while inflating your own value and charming them with your finesse and presence.

Self-improvement is an interesting field study. We have all been there, tightened our boots and worked on ourselves. We started lifting, learning, constantly improving and demanding the respect that is due. We changed our habits and ways and asserted dominance. One huge problem arises, though. Humans are programmed by nature to resist change in their social circle. If they believe themselves to be more alpha than you, you are going to have a very hard time.

 

Fact: People in general and your friends, in particular, are going to try to keep you down. They feel threatened by the new you and feel that the status quo is at peril. Therefore, they are going to try their best to prevent you from bringing a disturbance in the force of the already established group. They don’t like being outshined and therefore will lay bricks in your way.

It is much easier to become a person of influence and respect within a new group of friends/people. Know when to cut loose ties, make tabula rasa and start all over.

If you decide to change too much too quickly (see law #45 and #46) you are going to be confronted with resistance. Try to change subtly and don’t openly outshine your friends at every possible opportunity.

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Acta non verba. Work hard and show your skills through actions, not words.
  • Don’t challenge to status quo only to appear smart and sophisticated.
  • Keep your ego in check and swallow your pride down when you have to
  • Make sure your ideas mimic your master’s ideas, make sure you like the same things and hate the same people like your master.
  • Are you John Wayne, or is that me? Well, it certainly is not you. Don’t act like you are the brightest star in the sky, when you are not permitted to do so.
  • Never talk back to your master; subtly present your ideas
  • Make your superiors look good on every occasion possible
  • Actively give credit to your master, but don’t let him take it
  • Don’t get the reputation for crawling up your master’s ass, but do so subtly.
  • Honour your masters’ and he will reward you with power & responsibility in return
  • Discrete flattery and asking your masters opinion and feedback goes a long way

 

 

I congratulate you on taking action to improve your understanding of power 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 read more about modern Machiavellianism and Power Dynamics and continue your education.

Another highly recommended reading is Law 1 by IllimitableMan which is even more comprehensive than the 3000 words you just read.

What would Machiavelli read? – Ultimate Reading List of Power

 

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

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

Books like The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The Machiavellian Way of Reading Books

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Best Books on Power & Life – Top 20

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

In no particular order.

Best Books on Charisma, Social Skills & Seduction

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Best Books on Psychology & Manipulation

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  • On War by Carl von Clausewitz

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Best Books on Mindset, Success & Philosophy

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

The Ultimate Book List of Power

 

 

Recommendations for other good books to read

 

 

Charisma / Seduction

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

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

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

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

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

 

Psychology / Manipulation

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

One of the best books on Social Engineering and manipulation.

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

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

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

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

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

  • 50th Law  by Robert Greene and 50 Cent

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

  • Maxims by La Rochefoucauld

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

 

Strategy & War

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

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

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

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

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

Politics & Society

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

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

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

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

 

Mindset, Success & Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Economy & Money

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

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

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

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

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

Best Fiction Books involving Machiavellian schemes:

 

 

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