Machiavellianism Q&A Summary + Download

Three Modern Machiavellians

 

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

 

Modern Machiavelli – Triple QA of Power

 

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

 

Workplace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Creativity

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

 

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

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

How do you get comfortable? Stoicism & Confidence

 

Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cooperation

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

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

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

How do you convince people to work together?

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

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

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

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

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

Over emphasise the commonalities and ignore the differences.

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

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

 

Cult of Personality

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

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

Also read;

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

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

Answer (MM):

Step 1) Unde Venis?

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

Step 2) Analyse the Terrain

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

Step 3) Quo Vadis?

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

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

Perception is reality

Step 4) Craft your Backstory

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

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

Step 5) Spread your Message

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

Step 6) Evoke Emotions

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

 

Evoke Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Reading People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Charme

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

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

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

There are a few things that play together:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Books about Manipulation

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

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

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

 

Game Theory

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

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

Read up on Game Theory and visit /r/gametheory/ as well as /r/gamesandtheory and of course master strategy while reading http://reddit.com/r/the48lawsofpower

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

 

The 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

QuestionHow have you applied these laws to your personal life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Morals

Question: Do you have any morals you live by?

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

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

Answer (MM):

Politics have no relations to morals

  • Niccolò Machiavelli

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

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

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

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

Answer (MM): Realism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Self-Improvement

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

Answer (user Seducer4Real):

Here are 3 things I do to achieve the above:

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

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

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

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

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

Psychological Manipulation Techniques

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

 

 psychological manipulation techniques

 

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

Psychological Manipulation Techniques & Tactics

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

The 48 Laws of Power Summary

The 48 Laws of Power Summary by Robert Greene

 

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

 

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

 


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

 

Practical Examples and Comprehensive Summaries

 

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

This post is structured in the following manner:

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

 

The 48 Laws of Power List

 

1. Never Outshine the Master

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

3. Conceal your Intentions

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

 

4. Always Say Less than Necessary

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

 

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

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

 

6. Court Attention at all Cost

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

9. Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

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

 

10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

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

 

11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

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

 

12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

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

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

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

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

 

14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

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

 

15. Crush your Enemy Totally

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

 

16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

20. Do Not Commit to Anyone

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

 

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

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

 

22. Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

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

 

23. Concentrate Your Forces

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

 

24. Play the Perfect Courtier

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

 

25. Re-Create Yourself

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

 

26. Keep Your Hands Clean

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

 

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

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

 

28. Enter Action with Boldness

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

 

29. Plan All the Way to the End

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

 

30. Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

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

 

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

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

 

32. Play to People’s Fantasies

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

 

33. Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

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

 

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

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

 

35. Master the Art of Timing

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

 

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

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

 

37. Create Compelling Spectacles

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

 

38. Think as you like but Behave like others

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

 

39. Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

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

 

40. Despise the Free Lunch

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

 

41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

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

 

42. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

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

 

43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

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

 

44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

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

 

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

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

 

46. Never appear too Perfect

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

 

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

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

 

48. Assume Formlessness

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

 

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

 

Internalise the Tools of the modern Prince

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

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

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

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

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

 

On Morals & Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The most important Rule of All

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

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

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

 

Review of The 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books similar to the 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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Law #10 – Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky


Welcome my magnificent reader, this post analyzes the Law “Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky”. What follows is an in-depth summary with approximately 2300 words

Law 10 Infection - Avoid the Unlucky & Infectious

 

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.

 

Contents of Law #10

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Real Life Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

Once upon a time, there was a Modern Prince. His life was mediocre but full of troubles. He zealously worked on himself and believed himself to be destined for something greater. His self-improvement attempts were constantly sabotaged by his friends, conscious or subconscious.

On the coming of evening, he entered his house and entered his studies. At the door, they took off the day’s clothing, covered in mud and dust, and put on garments regal and courtly. Reclothed appropriately, he entered the ancient courts of ancient men, where he is received by them with affection. He fed on this feed which was solely his and which he was born for. Where he was not ashamed to ask the ancient men for the reasons of their actions. And they kindly answered him. For four hours at a time, he would feel no boredom. He would forget every trouble, not fear poverty, not frightened by death and would give himself entirely over to them.

So he planned, but trouble came knocking at his door. Over and over again, he was bombarded with the infantile problems of his peers and female friends. Them offloading their problems upon his was burdensome and drained his energy. Their negativity dragged him down and left him insecure and lethargic.

Deep inside he knew what the biggest obstacle, blocking his way to success, was. His friends and family. One day the Modern Prince asked himself a question, with a life changing outcome.

Why make their insecurities my problem?

He could find no reasonable answer. Hence, he decided to make tabula rasa and drop all the negativity from his life. He started seeing his own problems in a more favorable light and got rid of his negative friends and family members. From now on he only let positive people into his life that shared the same goals. People who could help him and whom he could learn from. He managed to weave connections with the elite and skillful, and their skills & reputation faded upon him.

Three months later his life took an 180° turn. Everything fell into place, and he now is leading a magnificent life, steadily improving. With the burden of his glanderous friends gone, he was free to climb the Mount Everest. And so he did.

 

Negative Example #1

Lola Montez, also known as Marie Gilbert is an excellent negative example of whom to avoid. Her whole life was a mixture of con games, seduction, manipulation and bringing doom over her courtiers.

A gold-digging fame whore, how we would call her today. Back then she was a courtesan to the royal court. She was wickedly ambitious and evil at her core. Having no morals, only caring for herself and her own gain. She did what gold-diggers do best and was always on the look-out for those who were powerful and wealthy.

She would arrange „coincidences“, where she met her future victims, to gain their attention. Over the course of the next weeks and months, she would create strong emotions in them. Both positive and negative, taking them on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. A powerful technique that led many men to fall for her. Including King Ludwig of Bavaria.

A king fell victim to her charm, despite being warned by every sane person in his kingdom. He supported Lola and even let her unqualified opinions affect his rule. Soon after she took a place next to the king’s side, the people rose up and demonstrated against the succubus. Despite kicking her out, Ludwig never recovered from her glanderous influence.

Never try to fix such an infectious person. You will get sucked into their maelstrom and slowly start to demise.

 

Negative Example #2

Dumbo Pretendiavelli just got dumped by his girlfriend because he violated Law #8 (read the story here). Now after having undertaken a successful self-improvement journey, he felt that his sexual market value was high enough, so he started looking for a new girlfriend.

A little background info: He is the member of a far-left party, so is his master.

He attended a social event where the rich and famous get-together. His eyes fell upon a beautiful young woman. With he new found confidence he struck up a conversation with her. She was accompanied by her father, and Dumbo involved both of them into a friendly conversation that went excellent.

Usually, nothing to scorn at, but that young woman was the daughter of an influential right-wing politician.

After the event, his master got angry and gave him a lesson on Law #5 and Law #10. If he was brought into connection with the enemy, his reputation was sure to suffer.

Dumbo Pretendiavelli apologized, learned from this mistake and was glad that his reputation had not taken a major hit.

If it wasn’t for the intervention of his master, Dumbo Pretendiavelli might have found himself in a very unfavourable position. Being in love with the enemy, who could possibly spy on him. That on top of the hit his reputation would have taken.

 

 

Spirit of Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

 

In Business

You will encounter the unlucky & infectious in every walk of life. For example in the workplace. Avoid coworkers who gossip all the time, for they are certain to gossip about you as well. Same goes for the unlucky managers. The unlucky are certain to crash & burn at some point. You don’t want your name attached to them when they do. Stick to the skillful and fortunate.

 

Drop customers who are glanderous. Don’t argue with them. Don’t yield to their threats or begging. Simply walk away, knowing that such customers are much more trouble than they are worth.

 

Also, avoid people who hold too much power over you. Be it a friend, political ally, bordering state, buyer, seller, lobbyist, etc. The rule of thumb is: Try not to have a customer or buyer who is responsible for more than 5-10% of your revenue. Even a lower percentage could be dangerous if your well-being depends on this person/deal.

 

Look at Finland. Nokia was responsible for 4% of the countries GDP. Twenty-five percent! And look at Nokia now. Gone with the wind and it left a huge crater in the Finnish economy. After Microsoft had bought them up, they moved most of their business out of the country. Unemployment in the „Nokia City“ Salo skyrocketed to 20%.

What certainly didn’t help were the economic blockades against Russia, a huge trade partner of Finland. As well as the decline in paper-product demand (another big part of Finland’s economy).

Finland’s economic numbers are disastrous, eclipsing the Greek horror numbers. Their growth is at an estimated 0,6% in the year 2016. Their public debt has surpassed the EU guideline of 60% of their GDP. If a country that was destroyed from both the inside as well the outside (Greece) can outperform you, your country is in deep trouble.

Sometimes you will have to drop a formerly fruitful association. A good example would be the causa Lance Armstrong. After his doping scandal, almost all of his sponsors dropped him. Since the companies are not stupid, they probably did know that every single individual, playing any sport on a professional level, is doping. But Lance Armstrong was caught and having your name connected to him was bad for business.

You must never let anything negative become associated with your brand name. Do the opposite and connect your brand to the lucky and glorious.

Don’t let your Reputation become Infected. Avoid being seen with people whom you shouldn’t be seen with!

 

The Law of Attraction

While it being pretty much bunk, the theory checks out. You attract what you think about most of the time. If you are bitter & dissatisfied, you are going to attract alike. People who grumble all the time and are too envious, usually donÄt make it far.

Don’t get the reputation of being a negative, unlucky person. This quote rings very true:

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.

People don’t want to associate with people, who bring them down. They want to spend time with people who add value to their own life. Nobody respects or gives a damn about the weak and negative. If you want pity, go look for it somewhere else.

 

Associate with the Lucky & Skillful

A worker who is enthusiastic can affect the whole company. The opposite rings true as well. If someone is toxic, he is going to poison the drinking well of the company. Many studies have proven that a weak link can be the demise of the otherwise strong chain.

Make sure to surround yourself with positive, driven people whom you can learn from. Use the fortunate as an example of what to become and the unfortunate as what not to become.

You are the average of the five people closest to you. While this is an overstatement, it still has a true core. It is simple maths. If you hang out with smart people, you will have smart friends and soon will be smarter as well. If you hang out with well-connected people, you will soon see your own network grow. If you hang out with negative people, you will become negative as well.

 

Drop the dead weight

I am an advocate of having a strong inner frame, but people’s qualities & moods will fade onto you. Be it negative, or positive. No matter how strong your inner frame is, it will get shaken and take a change to the worse, if you surround yourself with negative people.

Never surround yourself with those who share your weaknesses. If you spend enough time with them, they will amplify your deficits. Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky before they leave an irreversible dent on you.

Don’t court someone who is in an infectious relationship. No matter if she is the abuser or the abused. They will always frame themselves as victims, no matter what. To frame oneself as a victim is human nature. Do not believe them for a second, and even if you do, ask yourself: Am I prepared to make her problems my problems?

 

  • A good indicator is a problematic past, with a long history of causalities and trouble.

  • If they are in an abusive relationship at that particular moment.

  • Are they overtly jealous & negative?

  • How does your mood or success change when you are around them?

 

Ditch the people who bring you down. When you get rid of those disturbances, you will soon see your life take a turn for the better. If you are a negative person, it is very likely that your friends are as well.

While it is in our modus operandi to hold on to the old, it is your best bet to eliminate the old, to make space for the new. Make tabula rasa if things don’t work out; stop doing what you are doing, if it doesn’t work.

The status quo might feel comfortable but doesn’t advance you. If you love yourself and them, set them free. This is the only way, you and them, can improve. Some people don’t want to improve their lives, and this is in no way your fault. They lack the maturity to deal with their own problems and are only looking to offload them onto you.

In no way, you must see this as your own failure. Even Freud and Jung said that people can only be helped to a certain degree. Some never want to be plugged out of their personal matrix.

 

A marvelous quote to sum up this law comes from Baltasar Graciàn who said:

Recognize the fortunate so that you may choose their company and the unfortunate so that you may avoid them. Misfortune is usually the crime of folly, and among those who suffer from it there is no malady more contagious: Never open your door to the least of misfortunes, for, if you do, many others will follow in its train… Do not die of another’s misery.

Most Important Learnings

  • Look at the infected and unhappy to fuel your motivation never to want to end up like them.
  • Avoid people who are known to have flaws (selfishness, weaknesses, etc.)
  • Uncover the glanderous and quarantine them as early as possible
  • People don’t want to associate with people, who bring them down but instead with people who add value to their life.
  • Use the fortunate as an example of what to become and the unfortunate as what not to become.
  • For the sake of your reputation, avoid being seen with people you should not be seen with

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of Law #11 – Learn to keep People dependent on you. If you have more examples of the possible applications or questions of any kind or wish to share your thoughts and experiences, please feel free to do so.

Grab the book here and support the author if you don’t already own it.

 

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

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