Appeal to Ethos, Logos & Pathos – Rhetorical Techniques

aristotle on ethos, logos and pathos

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

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

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

 

Ethos

What does Ethos mean? The definition of Ethos:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Example of Ethos  in a sentence

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

 

Logos

What does Logos mean? The definition of Logos:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Example of Logos in a sentence

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

 

Pathos

What does Pathos mean? The definition of Pathos:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Example of Pathos in a sentence

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

 

Appeal to Ethos, Logos & Pathos

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

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

Sorted by importance:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, yes, rhetoric. Moving on…

 

Example of Ethos, Logos and Pathos in a discussion

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

 

debate using ethos logos pathos

 

Using Ethos:

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

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

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

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

 

Using Pathos:

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

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

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

 

Using Logos:

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

Drawing conclusions between actions and reactions also is frequently utilised.

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

 

Most Important Learnings:

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

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

 

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

Machiavellianism Q&A Summary + Download

Three Modern Machiavellians

 

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

 

Modern Machiavelli – Triple QA of Power

 

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

 

Workplace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Creativity

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

 

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

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

How do you get comfortable? Stoicism & Confidence

 

Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cooperation

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

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

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

How do you convince people to work together?

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

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

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

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

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

Over emphasise the commonalities and ignore the differences.

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

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

 

Cult of Personality

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

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

Also read;

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

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

Answer (MM):

Step 1) Unde Venis?

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

Step 2) Analyse the Terrain

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

Step 3) Quo Vadis?

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

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

Perception is reality

Step 4) Craft your Backstory

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

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

Step 5) Spread your Message

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

Step 6) Evoke Emotions

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

 

Evoke Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Reading People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Charme

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

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

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

There are a few things that play together:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Books about Manipulation

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

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

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

 

Game Theory

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

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

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

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

 

The 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

QuestionHow have you applied these laws to your personal life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Morals

Question: Do you have any morals you live by?

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

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

Answer (MM):

Politics have no relations to morals

  • Niccolò Machiavelli

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

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

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

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

Answer (MM): Realism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Self-Improvement

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

Answer (user Seducer4Real):

Here are 3 things I do to achieve the above:

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

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

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

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

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

The Craft of Power Summary #2

The Craft of Power Review

 

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

Part #1 can be found here

Part #3 can be found here (in progress)

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

 

The Craft of Power Summary Part #2

 

HONING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

VECTORING RESOURCES

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

SHAPING COMMUNICATIONS

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dangers of Academic Papers – Machiavellianism in Politics – a Review

Academic Research Machiavellianism Power in Politics

 

As you know I am an advocate of academic research papers about the Dark Triad, Power, Machiavellianism & Psychology, and in this article I outline the dangers of said academic papers.

WARNING! This is very dry (I am talking Sahara-I-want-to-drink-my-own-piss-Bear-Grylls-style-dry) and if you are looking for hands-on information, applicable to real life situations, I recommend you check out my 48 laws of power summaries.

This article was written to highlight the dangers of academic research and why you need to be skeptical even when reading high quality research papers by people who dedicated their whole lives researching the topic at hand.

 

Analysis of the following academic research paper:

http://wikileakssudbury.org/WKL/E-December-14.pdf

found via the reputable academic database “Refseek.com” found within my resource list.

 

Title:

Politician personality, Machiavellianism, and political skill as predictors of performance ratings in political roles

 

Authors:

Jo Silvester (1), Madeline Wyatt (2), and Ray Randall (3)
(1) Cass Business School, City University London UK,
(2) Kent Business School UK, University of Kent, UK
(3) School of Business & Economics, University of Loughborough, UK

 

A few searches via a web search engine revealed that all three of the authors are not students but actual experts or at least self-proclaimed experts on the field, having dedicated parts of their research effort in their academic careers to the research of the topic at hand (Machiavellianism). Not a huge one though but enough to take their study into consideration and not dismiss it without a second thought. What might be a mistake if you read my conclusion.

Jo Silvester is a female chartered psychologist who attained three titles in her field (PhD; MSc; BSc), specialised in the assessment and development of leadership. Since 2002 she is a professor of Occupational Psychology. Her studies led her to develop a unique competence based personality for both the conservative party (2001-2002) and the liberal party (2009). Also a strong background of research on the valuable topic of diversity.

Dr. Madeline Wyatt is another Occupational Psychologist currently lecturing in the HR-management sector. She too is a woman with a psychology degree and an interest and background in the research of diversity.

Dr. Ray Randall, another academic who did his duty in the research of occupational psychology and helped develop various tests related to occupations in both private economy as well as politics. Unlike the other authors he never was involved with “diversity” but solely focused on skills & competence in various sectors, judging all genders equally.

The aim of the study was to make the performance of politicians tangible and quantifiable. The second objective was finding out a relation between the performance and the level of extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, Machiavellianism & political skills, both self-reported of 231 politicians (n=231), 185 of them were also judged by their colleagues (n=729) and officers (n=729), of said politicians.

During the course of the study five latent factors emerged: Resilience (to be referred to as RS), Politicking, Relating to Others, Analytical Skills (AS), Representing People.

The following assumptions were made, based on the frequently explored question of the relationship between personality & politics in the field of political psychology ((Jost & Sidanius, 2004): Personality influences Political Performance (cf. Dietrich, Lasley, Mondak, Remmel, & Turner, 2012; Mondak, Hibbing, Canache, Seligson, & Anderson, 2010; Simonton, 1998; Winter, 1998).
It is a pretty good bet to assume that personality does in fact influence, well, anything, but the authors made the discovery that there has not been done any research regarding the correlation between self-rated personality traits and performance. This posed the first question to be answered by the study.

To answer this question, the authors looked towards the comprehensive studies having been done in the field of occupational psychology and employee performance from industrial organization (I/O) (e .g., Barrick & Mount, 1991; Schmidt & Hunter, 2004).

Of interest to the academics was whether politicians, from the United Kingdom, with a certain degree of performance shared a similar mental model. The second question to be answered by this study was (as mentioned above) whether self-rated personality traits may be used as a basis to predict the politician’s behaviour.

The study was done as a reaction to the request (e.g., Best, 2011; Dietrich et al., 2012; Simonton, 1998) for studies in the field of occupational psychology combined with political behaviour containing a large n-sample.

Studies about political performance ultimately lead to the problematic question of: What the actual fuck is political performance and how do you measure it? What constitutes bad performance and what good performance?
Can the poll and election results be used as a proper indicator of performance? According to a study (Lodge, Steenbergen & Braus, 1995) they can’t because they will be influenced by the performance of the party they are running for with a certainty matching irrefutable laws of physics.
This leads us to a benefit of being a politician. Unlike a manager you are not rated based on data and hard facts, (Armey & Murphy, 1998) but have the freedom to define the pillars of the performance you are measured and judged on upon yourself (March & Olsen, 1999; Morrell & Hartley, 2006; Sylvester, 2012).

Conscientiousness is said to be the most consistent factor influencing performance (Barrack & Mount, 1991; Salgado, 1997). The more conscientious a person is, the more likely he is going to be goal oriented, reliable able to wither the storm of failure. Navigating in complex ambiguous environments such as the political landscape requires self-motivation and persistence. (Morrell & Hartley, 2006; Simpson, 2008).

Extroverted individuals are more outgoing that introverts ((Costa & McCrae, 2006) what has a positive impact on the likelihood of campaigning, signing petitions and attending rallies (Anderson, 2009; Monday et al., 2010; Vecchione & Caprara, 2009)

Neuroticism is a negative trait for a politician to possess because being anxious is detrimental for political performance.

Political Skill is of importance for charming & manipulating people, webbing networks and is an important factor influencing political and managerial performance. (Andrews, Kalmar, & Harris, 2009; Gentry, Gilmore, Shuffler, & Leslie, 2012; Todd, Harris, Harris, & Wheeler, 2009)

Machiavellianism, a skill needing no further introduction but still receiving one, is the likelihood of a person to attempt to manipulate other people for his own gain (Christie & Gees, 1970, Biberman, 1985; Drory & Gluskinos, 1980; Grams & Rogers, 1990). Machiavellianism according to the definition of the word, influence political performance positively. This is not necessarily the case (Deluga, 1998; Pillai, Williams, Lowe, & Jung, 2003) for electoral results, because voters prefer a candidate who comes across as trustworthy. Hence the modern prince must at least give the impression of being honest, while concealing his true intentions (Me, 2016). A hypothesis of this study was, that Machiavellianism would most likely have a negative influence on political performance.

 

To summarise the method and research question:

1) Competency analysis of how behaviour and personality traits are affecting political performance.
2) Testing the connection between various performances constructs that politicians with a certain skill degree share.
The candidate’s questions were all politicians and employed officers in local authorities.

The numbers and claims of significance seem to check out, after controlling a bunch chosen at random.

 

Results:

Politicians share similar ideas about what constitutes political performance.
Their general hypothesis was true and personality traits as well as character did indeed influence perceived performance.
The hypothesis that conscientiousness influences political performance was partly true.
Extroversion, just like Narcissism, led the politician to estimate their performance level much higher than it actually was perceived.
A correlation between Machiavellianism and self perceived PK has been proven, as well as a negative effect on self-rated RS, RP, and RO.
Agreeableness has been shown to be beneficial for Representing people, but negative for Politicking (PK).
Openness has no influence on anything. But another result of the study “determined” the following, a little contradictory statement:
Apparently Politicking (secrecy, dishonesty and a lust for political blood sport) is a negative trait for politicians. Yeah, you absolutely should tell politicians, that they need to stop concealing their intentions and say more than necessary. That they need to avoid competition in the form of political manoeuvring, acquiring and maintaining power, as well as dishonesty…

Neuroticism, conscientiousness, and political skill correlated significantly with politician RS and AS. There also seems to be a correlation between conscientiousness, agreeableness, Machiavellianism, and PK, though not significant.
RO wasn’t influenced by any personality trait.
Extroversion did not significantly correlate with political performance (tell that to all the introverts running the country. What? Can’t find any? Tough luck… While I do agree that introversion does have various benefits regarding skills like forging alliances and projecting calmness, they are not unique to introverts and can be seen with many introverts. But hey, I do not have 3 titles in valuable fields like occupational psychology or diversity, so what do I know?)
Politicians who are deemed good performers have the following traits: More resilient (no research was done on the question if they are merely resilient or anti-fragile but it would not come as a surprise to me if the researchers are not familiar with Nazism Nicholas Taleb), able to represent others and a highly developed Analytical Skill.
The results, while superficially insightful, lead me to my criticism of this study.

 

Criticism:

Despite this being one of the most comprehensive studies, the sample was relatively small and one must not draw an eager conclusion based upon this study, presenting it as a fact. While the method used seems accurate, there is no guarantee that 1) the politicians answered and assessed themselves accurately and 2) that the observers who judged the politicians were able to give an accurate judgment.

Regarding the notion that extroversion doesn’t have a positive effect on political performance: You should totally tell that to all the introverts running the country. What? Can’t find any? Tough luck… While I do agree that introversion does have various benefits regarding skills like forging alliances and projecting calmness, they are not unique to introverts and can be seen with many introverts. But hey, I do not have 3 titles in valuable fields like occupational psychology or diversity, so what do I know? Do you know if the people who proclaimed themselves to be extroverts have been judged by others to be introverts because they appear calm and quiet? I can only recommend the authors to read up on stoicism. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius would be an excellent start.

What about different countries? Different social background? Parties they belong to? Other personality traits like being proactive or the IQ? These questions have not been answered but in my opinion are a huge indicator for political effectiveness.
Ergo one can conclude that this study offers valuable insight into a small, specialised segment of British politicians that may or may not be applied to other slightly different environments. Further research is required and this study is unable to give a definite answer to the questions asked by the occupational psychology & diversity researchers.
So can we conclude that this study was a failure? Yes and no. Yes for mankind, no for the researchers since in the last paragraph before the acknowledgements they give the real reason for their study. The aim was not necessarily to answer the call for bigger, more expression ate studies in this sector it actually was, and I quote the researchers:
“to increase awareness of the importance of political work. Classical political theorists and historians, such as Aristotle, Plato, and Machiavelli, devoted considerable attention to what constitutes good democratic leadership and how it might be achieved (Glad, 2002). By continuing this work and studying politicians as political workers, we argue that I/O psychologists could bring a unique perspective to one of the most important questions for the 21st century, namely how can elected representatives deliver good government?”

What does this tell us, what can we take away from this study? It is not a study one can look towards hoping his questions to be answered in a satisfactory way but we can draw an irrefutable connection between this study and the work – of Florentine strategist and father of political science as well as Realpolitik- The Prince. Its main purpose is a job application.
Now some individuals may argue that despite this commonality there also are a lot of differences, one being that The Prince already prepares the magnificent Lorenzo Di Medici that The Prince must not only to be seen as a manual for a ruler who wants to both acquire and maintain power, but also a job application. This study doesn’t reveal its real purpose, the attempt to increase the value of their current jobs, until the very last page.
Now this obvious fact doesn’t make the results of the study untrue, though the criticism I gave does devalue it and the study must be read while taking into account all of my posed questions.

 

Congratulations, you now know why to not trust everything someone with a couple of fancy titles says and you really belong to the elite inner circle of Machiavellians, since digging through such an article demands dedication and highlights your interest for the art of power.

The 48 Laws of Power Summary

The 48 Laws of Power Summary by Robert Greene

 

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

 

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

 


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

 

Practical Examples and Comprehensive Summaries

 

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

This post is structured in the following manner:

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

 

The 48 Laws of Power List

 

1. Never Outshine the Master

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

3. Conceal your Intentions

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

 

4. Always Say Less than Necessary

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

 

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

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

 

6. Court Attention at all Cost

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

9. Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

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

 

10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

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

 

11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

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

 

12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

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

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

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

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

 

14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

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

 

15. Crush your Enemy Totally

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

 

16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

20. Do Not Commit to Anyone

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

 

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

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

 

22. Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

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

 

23. Concentrate Your Forces

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

 

24. Play the Perfect Courtier

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

 

25. Re-Create Yourself

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

 

26. Keep Your Hands Clean

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

 

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

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

 

28. Enter Action with Boldness

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

 

29. Plan All the Way to the End

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

 

30. Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

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

 

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

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

 

32. Play to People’s Fantasies

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

 

33. Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

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

 

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

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

 

35. Master the Art of Timing

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

 

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

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

 

37. Create Compelling Spectacles

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

 

38. Think as you like but Behave like others

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

 

39. Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

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

 

40. Despise the Free Lunch

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

 

41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

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

 

42. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

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

 

43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

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

 

44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

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

 

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

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

 

46. Never appear too Perfect

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

 

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

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

 

48. Assume Formlessness

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

 

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

 

Internalise the Tools of the modern Prince

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

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

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

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

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

 

On Morals & Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The most important Rule of All

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

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

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

 

Review of The 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books similar to the 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

Law #7 – Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit

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

Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.

Contents of the 7th Summary of the 48 Laws of Power (by Robert Greene)

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 of the 7th Law of Power

 

 

Real Life Application #1

While being a rather controversial example, Steve Jobs always showed tendencies of taking credit for the work of others. Not outright theft though. And in his case, doing so was a noble thing to do, and can not be viewed as negative. Taking the credit for someone else’s work also has its merits, as we can see in his example.

It might be a stretch to say that Steve Jobs only stole other people’s work & credit. He is a highly driven individual and one of the best motivational speeches was given by him. While this has nothing to do with this Law, I highly recommend you to watch it, if you don’t already know it. Here is the YouTube Link.

He co-founded Apple, was forced out, founded Pixar and NeXT, and after his success he was brought back to Apple to turn it into the dominating company it is today.

While he never wrote a single line of code, and never was involved in the technical details, his charismatic leadership, drive and Machiavellianism lead him to become a person with a cult following. You don’t need to be able to turn back a speedometer, if you have other people who know how to do it. (Law #26, keep your hands clean, is related).

He was a tyrant, demanding other people to work their butts off, with highly Machiavellian tendencies, but also a visionary & effective leader. As you can see, stealing other people’s work and credit can be used for the greater good of everyone, providing the world with exceptional products. Of course with the exception of Finnland and Nokia, who contributed 25% of the Finnish GDP. But there can be no winners without losers, this is the course of life.

If you are interested in his life and why he achieved what he achieved, I can recommend you his comprehensive biography.

 

 

Real Life Application #2

Getting someone to do the work, but always taking credit is as old as work itself. Even older than concept of modern work. I am pretty sure that our ancestors made other people hunt, and subsequentially stole their prey. Our world has always been an Eat or be Eaten world, and evolution took care of those who have been eaten.

Shakespeare is said to have plagiarized and taken credit for many a great work by other authors and playwriters. Some people even accuse him of not having written everything himself. Still his name is eternal and will continue to life on and leave footprints. Plagiarizing (Shakespeare, DTMan) Greene making a derivative of The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Robert Greene stole the work of Baltasar Gracián, Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and others, and created the 48 Laws of Power. I no way I am judging, rather I am thankful that Robert Greene had the opportunity to steal from other great minds in history to deliver one of the finest books ever written. Plagiarizing (Shakespeare, DTMan) Greene making a derivative of The Art of Worldly Wisdom

The line between plagiarizing and a derivate work is a narrow line to work on anyway. I plan to compile the summaries of the 48 Laws of Power into a book, merging laws together, calling it The 30 Rules of Power (current working title), and focus on aspects different to Greene’s main focus. People are going to say that this is plain plagiarizing, but let me ask you… where is the problem? If you do help people by plagiarizing, it can not be a bad thing, as long as you don’t hurt the people you steal from in the first place. The American poet Audre Lorde rightfully said:

“There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.”

 

 

Negative Example

Having read The 48 Laws of Power, Dumbo Pretendiavelli followed it to the point. Whenever possible he stole the credit not only from his subordinates but also from his fellow managers. A severe mistake, since one should only take the credit for someone else’s work, if one’s own reputation and position is heavily fortified and unshakeable.

Not only that, but he decided to become a living carbon copy of his boss, emulating everything he did, walking like him and stealing his quotes, as well as writing and speaking like him. Soon afterward everyone is his company became tired of the copycat and they started actively working against him, eliminating him from the company.

Don’t get greedy and don’t be an asshole unless necessary or if it is highly beneficial for you. Otherwise, you will build the reputation for being sneaky and untrustworthy.

 

Negative Example #2

The best (or worst) example is undoubtedly the Austrian scientist Nikola Tesla, as seen in Law #6. Nikola Tesla always had a vision, was a driven person with a definite and noble goal. Thomas Edison only cared about money and furthering his own glory and has a history of fucking people over. Nikola Tesla has a history of getting taken advantage off, not only by Edison.

One example would be the improvement of the unsophisticated Edison dynamos. Instead of the promised $50.000, Nikola merely received a little raise, despite making a huge sum of money for his master.

Being as trusting as he was, when he invented the alternate current system, also known as “AC”, his investors stole his patent and credit, making an estimated 12 million dollars, while Tesla looked through his fingers and only received $216.000.

In 1897, he filed a patent for inventing the radio, but that didn’t stop Guglielmo Marconi to steal the credit and becoming known as the inventor of the radio.

Poor Nikola Tesla was maybe the biggest genius the world has ever seen, but was deprived of the reputation and respect he was due, because he lacked the Machiavellianism required to defend himself against the vultures.

 

 

Spirit of the Law

 

Taking credit as the Leader

As a leader and master it is your responsibility to take credit for the work of your employees. There is nothing wrong with it and nothing noble if you go out of your way to reject taking credit for the work your subordinates deliver. This in no way constitutes the advice to steal from them and not appreciate them. Praise is a powerful motivator that should be given out lavishly. But you might want to do so in private or in front of his co-workers instead of in front of your superiors. Don’t overdo it and anger the people achieving results for you; pay attention to cues of disappointment and adjust your course. Start giving out more praise or reward them to silence the voice in their head, telling them that they deserve more credit. If you are unable to properly reward them, for example if you are financially incapable of paying them a bonus, or a natural born asshole and doing or saying nice things to someone causes you physical pain… Make use of the Ben Franklin Effect, basically the opposite of the rule of reciprocation taking a vacation in Stockholm.

If people do you favors or give you credit, despite hating you, they are going to rationalize their actions and talk themselves into believing that they did so because they like you and are happy to surrender their credit to you.

Taking credit for another person’s work must not be a bad thing. As your business grows, in case you are an entrepreneur, you will or at least you should meet a point where it becomes mandatory to hire employees. Profit from their expertise, experience and ambition to grow your business. If you are a perfectionist and insist of doing everything on your own, you will soon find yourself among the ranks of the burned out founders. A good read on this topic (hiring people for your business) is the Inventor’s Dilemma.

 

If you find yourself in a position to work for someone, don’t be afraid to let your master steal your credit. Abide to Law #1 and make your master seem more magnificent than he actually is. Don’t complain, instead attach yourself to your master and make yourself indispensable.

 

 

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him” – Niccolò Machiavelli

 

The legendary business magnate Henry Ford found himself questioned in court. He sued a newspaper for libel because he was called an “ignorant pacifist”. During the trial, the attorney of the newspaper tried to frame Henry Ford as an ignorant imbecile; asking him questions about various history-related topics and testing his common knowledge. Despite undoubtedly being an ignorant, Henry Ford was the smartest ignorant possible. When asked how many troops the Crown sent to pacify the American troops during the revolution, he artfully answered: “I am not sure about the exact numbers. What I do know though, is that less returned than boarded the invasion fleet.” As the questions continued, Ford constantly got angrier until he met the boiling point. He threw his fist on the table, when faced with another fruitless question, and yelled: “If I want to know such a thing, I have a couple of buttons in my office, and if I press one, I summon an employee who can tell me the answers.” Point brought home, victory by knockout.

What this story shows us, is that you do not need to do all the work and know everything, if you have people you can rely on, equipped with that knowledge. No reason to clutter your mind with information not beneficial to your success.

 

Plagiarizing or “Using”

Buying the right to use the works of someone else too is a probate tool to further one’s glory. A lot of musicians hire songwriters or buy beats, claiming them to be their own creation, while all they do is smile into a camera, move their lips and collect a cheque.

DJ Khaled used this technique to become one of the best-known producers, because he bought great beats and used them for his clients.

 

Steal credit to make your efforts seem effortless

 

An overlooked fact is how well this aligns with the law of “Making your efforts seem effortless”. If works and credit is attributed to you, people will see you in a different light and adore you. We don’t have to talk about the big scheme of things all the time. A smaller example would be taking credit for living in a very clean house, merely because of the fact that you employ a cleaning maid. If someone praises you for your tidiness, claim the credit for it and collect bonus points. No reason to credit your cleaning maid, instead say something along the lines of “yes, I like living in a tidy environment”.

 

Learn from other’s mistakes

“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” – Otto von Bismarck

Pretty self-explanatory. Doing mistakes and failing is a very underrated and unnecessarily feared aspect of life, but it is much better to avoid mistakes by studying other people.

 

 

Most Important Learnings

  • Hire a team of experts, possessing skills that you lack, use their experience & expertise to further your glory
  • Publically take credit for the work of your employees, but praise them in private
  • A friendly way to take credit, is attaching yourself to a hard worker/master
  • Don’t fear making mistakes, but prefer to learn from other people’s mistakes
  • Steal other people’s works, improve them and create something new & better

 

 

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

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

Law #6 – Court Attention at all Costs

Law 6 - Court Attention at all Costs

Court Attention at all Costs Meaning:

Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.

 

 

Contents of the 6th Summary of the 48 Laws of Power (by Robert Greene)

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 of the 6th Law of Power

 

 

Real Life Application #1)

 

One of the best-known inventors of all time is undoubtely Thomas Edison. He coined the famous quote:

“I have not failed, I have only found 10.000 ways that don’t work.”

Persistence & dedication were one of the driving factors of his success, but this wouldn’t have brought him a reputation for being the biggest genius the world has seen up to that date if it hadn’t been for his business sense and marketing skills. Edison spared no expenses to court attention at all costs, whenever possible. He knew the power behind marketing and how important it was, even at that time. Thomas Edison was a ruthless individual only out for himself and the glory of making his name go down in history, instead of trying to be a valuable human being and valuable asset to his society.

His biggest rival, the Austrian (a common misconception is that he was Serbian) inventor Nikola Tesla was quite the opposite of Edison, trumping him in every technical aspect. In an intellectual battle, Edison would have fared as well against Tesla, as an infant would have fared against a Mike Tyson in his prime. Once Tesla worked for Edison, and was promised to be given a huge sum of money, if he indeed managed to find a solution for that problem. Tesla, the driven genius that he was, managed to achieve this feat that was believed to be unachieveable by Edison. Being the sneaky egoist that Thomas Edison was, he decided to break his promise and only offer a minor sum of money to his most precious employee. This naturally opened a chasm between the Austrian with a strong code of honor and the treacherous egoist, abusing and squeezing everyone who worked for him.

Some time later, both men were chosen to be awarded with the Nobel Prize, but now being enemies, Thomas Edison decided that he would not trade a little reputation boost for himself, for the opportunity for his enemy to court attention. He decided that the best course of action was to decline the price.

What you can learn from this example is, that not allowing your adversary to court attention, is sometimes worth not receiving a Nobel Prize.

 

 

Real Life Application #2)

 

Pietro Arentino the Italian author, satirist and poet, inventor of modern literate pornography, managed to amass fame by courting attention at all costs, in a bold way. He wrote many slanderous satirical letters, attacking influental people, including the pope and Vatican’s favorite elephant, called Hanno. He wrote “The Last Will & Testament of the Elephant Hanno”. On one side, this angered many people but also resonated well with a lot of his readers, making his name publically known almost overnight and kickstarting his career. It is a wise decision to find the tallest Goliat, in this case the pope, if you yourself are a David. Careful though to not go aboard and become a repetitive troll, for people will grow tired of your act and start to resent you.

 

 

Real Life Application #3)

 

I want to congratulate you on taking the initiative, reading my article, watching Illacertus’ video and reflecting upon it. To be honest, you could almost extract the same value, you get by reading this article, from watching Donald Trump in action.

He is the epitome of the law in action. An enthusiastic, loud peacock, who knows how to mobilize the masses and polarize with every action he takes. Every speech he gives. Trump might be a natural who doesn’t strike me one bit as overcoached. Some high class politicians are known to not take advice and consulting on rethoric, body language, public speaking and topics alike, and Trump might be one of them. Everything he does, comes from heart and I consider him one of the best self-marketers with an unbelievable ability to mobilize the masses.

Think of him what you will, but you can’t stump the Trump. I highly recommend you to study his PR stunts and listen to his speeches. Trump is “Court attention at all Costs” on two legs.

 

 

Negative Example)

 

Roosh V, also known as Daryush Valizadeh, is the founder of a movement called neo-masculinity. A professional provocateur, who managed to amass a huge following by courting attention at all cost. He teaches men how to supposedly act masculine in a consistently more feminized world. His articles are provocative and full of bad taste at best, while not offering much applicable content.

Despite not being blessed with either the intelligence, charisma nor the writing skills to make a dent in our world, he managed to draw attention upon him and earn huge sums of money, by doing what he does best, trolling. He is a known Pickup Coach and teaches people who can not get laid, how to travel the world, flash their dollar bills and lull Asians into giving away some love. His own forum is a desolate place, populated with loser whose Sexual Market Value is too low for decent local women, having to utilize the fact that women from poor countries are programmed to be attracted to wealth, or the appearance of wealth.

Once he wrote an article, demanding that rape should be legal inside the four walls of your home. I have not read the article, nor am I interested in changing this, but its content does not matter one bit. He now claimed it was a satire, but again, maybe he did demand rape to be legalized, maybe it only came across this way. What matters is not reality but appearance. And the article struck enough people as a realistic brain fart. What happened is that the media picked up on this movement and slandered him publically. Recently (06.02.2016) he called for international meetings of his followers in every major city, both domestic and foreign. What happened was that basically every single country dedicated a news story to him, resulting in a public outrage, while referring to it as a “Christian rape mob”. Of course, it would be highly undoubtful, that many of the participants would run the risk of becoming rapists, but again, appearance is key.

Within days of his announcement and the media attacking him, his follower base exploded. But you can’t expect to only make friends with such a tactic and even for a boy, raised by wolves, living in the jungle his whole life and only having come to a city in the past month, it should be clear that you can expect to experience some kind of a backlash and repercussions.

It is important to know what you are going to do with the newfound fame while courting attention at all cost. Have a plan on how you are going to leverage it and how you are going to deal with the negativity you will create.

Roosh V bit off more than he could chew and completely crushed his reputation and credibility in the course. While I in no way am a fan of the false prophet called Roosh, I can’t condemn the actions his enemies took. Just kidding, if it works, it is great, no morals should hold one back. His adversaries started sending him death threats. Our poor false prophet got scared, he got scared that someone who is not all-talk would search for him and hurt him. So he did two things. The first one was to cancel the meetings all over the world.

Some people claim this to have been a marketing gag all along, but couldn’t come up with the reason why he would cancel the meetings. There is no harm in having people all over the world meet up in his name, and draw much more attention to him, than by simply cancelling the meetings. He claims that he cancelled the event because he could no longer guarantee for the safety of his followers. Even if you are blind and oblivious to basic rational thinking, you would be able to translate his sentence and grasp the real meaning behind it. He never could guarantee the safety of the people responsible for his fame and financial well-being and he actually meant: “I can no longer guarantee my own safety.”

This was the first pathetic step the coward Roosh took, tarnishing his reputation in the eyes of his followers and the public and the second misstep is going to make you laugh.

Apparently he got so scared that he is going to choke on the chunk he had bitten off, that he called the police, who visited him in his home. Did I say his home? I meant his mother’s home. Roosh does indeed live with his mother. In her basement. Really. Read the articles.

Now we have an excellent self-marketer who should visit the Wizard of Oz and ask both for brain & courage, who was exposed as the false prophet he is, only because of two mistakes. If it hadn’t been for them, he would have pulled off the biggest PR stunt in his career. What remains is him having lost all credibility.

A very similar example would be the Pickup Artist Julien Blanc, who too had no idea how to cope with the new-found attention and acted like an obedient dog when attacked by the media.

 

Spirit of the Law

 

I have provided a couple of excellent examples about courting attention at all costs, but the best examples can be found all around us in the business world. PR, politics and marketing are the perfect examples of this law at work.

If you don’t stand out by establishing a distinct reputation (see Law #5), and people don’t hear of it, you might as well not exist. Hard Work is a waste of time if nobody hears of it or someone else takes the credit. Read Law 1 & Law 7.

Harness the tools to court attention & be colorful often and decisively, people love mystery and will want to peek behind the mask. If you only have one course of action and your modus operandi only involves doing one thing to court attention, people are going to predict your every move and will start to become bored. You want to abide to Law 25, Re-Create yourself, from time to time to change things up.

You want to be seen. Place yourself in a visible spot. If the CEO of your company sees you every time he goes to lunch or even when he goes to the toilet or water dispenser, he is going to remember you. Repetition of courting attention is key.

 

Always have a Plan

Always have a plan laid out what you are going to do with the new found attention and how to best make use of it. Attention is like fire. It can be both used to make yourself warm and cosy if you control it, but if you lose control of the fire, it is going to consume you.

If you lead a company, and are just starting out, any type of attention makes for a good publicity. Don’t go overboard and get yourself into more trouble than you can deal with. Take for example Abraham Lincoln. He anonymously wrote offensive letters, insulting his enemies or even people he had no ties with, which were published in a news paper. One day the target of his slander found out who is responsible, called out Lincoln and challenged him to a duel. Lincoln is no fan of the credo: Acta non verba, but instead follows the motto of Verba, non acta. All talk and not prepared to stand up and take responsibility. He was scared senseless when he was challenged to the duel, knowing that he was going to die. Shortly before the duel took place, it was cancelled, for reasons unknown. Maybe he dropped into the dust, kissed his enemies feet and begged for his life. We do not know; what we do know is that you always need to have a backup plan and be prepared to deal with possible repercussions, when courting attention at all costs by attacking people/companies.

Don’t force yourself into the Limelight all the time

Sometimes it makes sense to think twice if you want to don’t draw attention and become most visible neck to chop at. The highest grass stalk is the first to be cut down. If you are not known for achieving results or have made mistakes, it makes sense to lie low and wait for the right time to shine.

Don’t be melodramatic and force yourself into the limelight all the time. People will resent you for it. Be subtle, be sneaky. Court attention when beneficial, but don’t appear to do so.

 

 

Most Important Learnings

  • If you are invisible, you are expendable. Being attacked is better than being ignored
  • There is (almost) no bad press when you are at the bottom. Careful when you are on the top
  • Careful to not draw unwarranted attention towards yourself. The nail that sticks out when he shouldn’t, gets hammered in.
  • Don’t alienate people by pushing yourself into the limelight every occasion possible
  • Court attention and constantly remind people of your reputation
  • Don’t court attention if you have no idea what you are going to do with your new-found attention
  • Hard Work is a waste of time, if nobody hears of it or someone else takes the credit
  • If you are small like David, find your Goliath to attack

 

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

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

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

Law 5 - Reputation

Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.

Contents of the 5th Summary of the 48 Laws of Power (by Robert Greene)

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples

Part 3: Negative Examples

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary of the 5th Law of Power

 

 

Example #1)

During the War of the Three Kingdoms, a General called Liang managed to establish a fearsome reputation for himself, as being an almost invincible leader and master strategian. Having to face him in battle was an unthankful task for every commander, for it meant an almost certain defeat. One reason was Liang’s masterfully crafted battle plans but also the psychological effect of his fierce reputation, which could single-handedly win battles by demoralizing the enemy.

In one particular case, his reputation saved both his and his men’s lives. His enemy, Sima Yi led a huge army against a city Liang was defending, outnumbering his enemy by such a huge margin, that victory was certain. Liang knew that his army didn’t stand a chance, no matter how desperate and vicious they fought, so he had to revert to deception and reverse psychology.

He put on a Taoist robe and took a seat on the platform over the gates, playing a guqin (similar to a flute) with all the calmness in the world. When approaching the city, Sima Yi saw his arch enemy playing an instrument, mocking him and showing no signs of fear. Believing this to be a trap, he decided to abandon the attack and ordered his vast army to retreat. While it did cross his mind, that Liang was indeed outnumbered and defenseless, his opponent’s reputation got the better of him and put his army to flight.

This trick is also known as the Empty Fort Strategy. The 32nd Stratagem of the legendary 36 Stratagems.

 

Example #2)

 

During the invasion of Poland in 1939, Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, was assigned to protect Adolf Hitler, an ungrateful assignment that he loathed. Since he was known as a magnificent commander of troops – pushing deep into enemy territory and outflanking his enemies, easily dealing crushing blows to the treacherous Italians (who decided to turn on their German and Austrian friends, out of the fucking blue, because they were promised Austrian territory) – he managed to convince Hitler to put him in charge of one of the 10 panzer divisions and leading the tanks in Africa.

Building upon his reputation of a genius infantry commander, he now became known as the Desert Fox, for outmaneuvering his opponents and crushing his enemies on the battlefield. Even when British or French forces outnumbered his army, whole cities were abandoned when the news, Rommel ante Portas, reached the commanding general.

Not only did he have the reputation as the most fearsome general, but also as a very humane victor. He disobeyed the madman with the two-finger-mustache and never killed prisoners or jews, but spared their lives. Because of his reputation as a national war hero, he was ordered to commit suicide in private, after a plot to assassinate Hitler was uncovered, instead of being publically hanged.

 

Negative Example #1)

Doris Bures president of the Austrian National Council and puppy dog of the current chancellor Werner Failmann, tried to please her master by attacking the reputation of her former good friend Christian Kern, CEO of the biggest company, ÖBB, chairman of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), most powerful manager and best-connected person in the country, and hot candidate for the position of the chancellor.

A little back story, Doris Bures was the former minister of Infrastructure and hence had close ties to the railway company ÖBB. When the former loved Austrian National Council president died of cancer, she was promoted to take over, because she proved herself to be a loyal member of the SPÖ (Socialist Party), despite some bad tongues claiming her to be about as useful as a cock devoid of its glans. Never was she known for achieving results but this new promotion angered many people even more, because she was nothing but a quota woman, and everyone knew it.

You won’t find many individuals who hate achieving something worthwhile more than her. Maybe except for chancellor Werner Faymann, who hates results and change as much as the devil hates holy water.

The people resent the current chancellor, who is undoubtedly the worst chancellor in the history of the young republic, and many voices called for the election of a new chancellor and new elections. One of the preferred candidates being Mag. Christian Kern, an excellent speaker and Modern Machiavelli who studied communication studies and managed to turn around a mess of a company by 180° within 2 years. He did receive death threats and made a lot of enemies, by cleaning out house, with the biggest layoff the company has ever seen, but won even more friends and supporters by doing so.

During an interview, Doris Bures was asked, if Christian Kern (who actually was a politician in early years) would make a great politician and chancellor. She put on a sarcastic bitchface and her answer was: “Just like I would not make a great railway CEO, he would not make a good politician.(1/2)” A very unwise thing to say, because as the minister of infrastructure, you indeed should be able to also lead an infrastructure company. “Christian Kern would be smart enough to come to the same realization (2/2).”

The current chancellor is a former taxi driver, who didn’t even go to university and Doris told the interviewer, that both she and the chancellor would make better politicians than the most successful manager and former successful politician.

This was the stone that kicked off an avalanche. Thousands and thousands of people were pissed at her stupidity and saw right through the schemes of Werner Faymann and Doris Bures to guard and secure their position. Both of their polls took a massive hit, while Christian Kern’s popularity rose sharply and he now is indeed a possible candidate to clean up the pile of rubble, produced by Faymann’s reign.

People even commented that Doris Bures needs to read Niccoló Machiavelli, and since this incidence took place a few days before Christmas, I honestly hope that someone gave her a copy of The Prince as a present.

 

Guess who is who
The expression of not knowing what the hell you are actually being paid for

 

Negative Example #2)

Dumbo Pretendiavelli was the son of a business magnate, known by everyone is his city. Everybody admired his family and what they had accomplished. The reputation of his father carried over and was attributed to him. One day he met a couple of friends and made it known, that he was late because his mother made him clean up his room and told him to change his clothes, because he seemingly looked funny in her eyes. After giving an explanation for being late, in this case acting like an obedient dog, he sharply fell from grace.

He managed to taint his honor by saying too much and looking weak. This was not enough though, since he managed to hammer the last nail into the coffin that was his formerly outstanding reputation.

Being an avid follower of The Red Pill (a misogynist, sexist, racist, devil-worshipping, shitlording cult of bitter losers who have never been loved by their mothers and are 40-year-old neckbeard virgins; according to the general opinion) he wanted to look sly and regain his reputation as the cool rich kid. Thus he opened his mouth too wide, completely violating Law 4 and the biblical Proverb 13:3. “He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life. He that opens his lips too wide shall bring on his own destruction”. He let his seemingly sexist views about pick up and treating women be known in the presence of his friends and their friends, believing that he could regain their favor, but in the process, he brought destruction upon the pathetic chunk of what remained of his reputation. He got the reputation as a pro-rape xenophobe, was bullied by everyone inside and even outside his social circle and bullied into suicide, all because of his negative reputation. May god have mercy on his soul.

 

 

Spirit of the Law

 

Why Reputation is important

We judge others on their reputation, not only when we first meet them but also if we already know them, because many people are unfathomable to us. There is a reason that a psychoanalysis takes around 7 years, thus we have to not only rely on our instincts and the appearance of the other person, but we look towards others opinion of him (also known as reputation) since we are unable to read thoughts – only appearances.

Your reputation will always precede you, be it a good or a bad reputation. Either exaggerating your strengths or weaknesses. Hence, you need to ensure a strong, untarnished reputation.

You get through with things others could not, if you have an untainted reputation. Many a battle has been won, before it was even fought on the battlefield. Psychological warfare and intimidation are tools almost as powerful as meticulous analyzation of the enemy & planning.

A good example would be the infamous Casanova, who had the reputation for being a womanizer, despite looking as ugly as the night is dark. His reputation preceded him and many women were open to meet him, because of the adventurous feeling he aroused in them, solely based on his reputation.

 

Building up Reputation

The first act of business should be to decide for what particular trait you wish to build a reputation. Be it honesty, generosity, god faring ness, achieving results, being quick & reliable, being a master strategos or even minor but still beneficial traits like being punctual and always well groomed.

A good step is to sit down, brainstorm and write down every single trait you want to be associated with and subsequently working on establishing a reputation for those traits.

Make sure to work on building a solid foundation for the chosen traits and try to let it be known to as many people as possible, either via word of mouth or other subtle means. If you try to make it happen too quickly, acting too aggressive in the process, people will catch on and will believe you to be a try-hard. Humor is a rubber sword, it draws no blood when making a point.

One of the best book about personal branding is Career Warfare by a highly successful business man, who has written a couple of other books (Executive & Brand Warfare) who are decent but in no way as useful as Career Warfare for our purpose of learning to build a solid reputation.

 

Defending Reputation

An attack on one’s reputation is immensely effective and you need to know how to properly protect yourself against such. Often people who try to attack you, want to bait you into reacting. If you “feed the troll” and defend against his slander, many people are going to believe that the original accusations ring true, since you would otherwise have not bothered responding.

When faced with retarded accusations by an imbecile trying to bait you into reacting, it can often be a wise move to stay calm and let the storm subside.

A hostile attack is only one threat for your reputation, but the bigger threat are you yourself. I have witnessed countless people, companies and politicians, actively working towards destroying their own reputation. Always watch your tongue and abide to Law 3 & Law 4.

Another mistake often made is not being careful about who you are seen with or where you are seen. Try not attending a skinhead conferences when you want a reputation as a liberal thinker.

Turning around tarnished reputation is hard. It always is easier (not necessarily smarter though) to start all over again in a new social/business circle.

Other option: constant effort. Prove them wrong in their opinion of you. Will improve slowly. Some deeds can never be forgotten. Try to borrow credibility from a person of influence. His reputation is going to rub off onto you and soon you will be associated with the positive traits he possesses.

Another use for people whose opinion of you is positive, is to make them your loyal allies who are going to defend you and your reputation. Not only befriend the people with the most influence, but also those who are lower on the ladder of power. Even if they do not defend your reputation, your new found friends are unlikely to actively undermine your reputation either. Though remember Law 2.

A favored tactic of mine is attacking someone because of a trait that could be attributed to me, with the intention of disarming him preemptively. For example calling him a ruthless Machiavel. Even if the facts speak against that statement, many people are likely to accept it as the truth, since I made that claim first. If he now defends himself by saying: “No I am not, you are.” imagine how childish and implausible he sounds. This technique only makes sense, if you are not known as literally Hitler and try to impose that frame on Mother Theresa.

 

Attacking Reputation

A power play involving mutual attacks on reputations could be found during the Occupy Wallstreet movement. Both sides participated in forms of it, while one being much more successful than the other. The Occupy Wallstreet movement undertook an overt attack against the hated 1%, scratching their reputation in the course of the demonstration.

A good plan but it fades when compared to what the 1% did. Not surprisingly because there is a reason, like it or not, why the 1% is the 1%. And that is not luck, but superior Machiavellian qualities. They decided the best course of action was to attack the movement’s reputation by infiltrating it within and making a joke out of them. They hired hippies who turned the movement into a circus and soon after, everybody believed that the 99% are bums who want to relive Woodstock. Leading to the devastation of their credibility.

Though one thing they did right and that is to attack the reputation of big institutions. Everyone has a major interest in protecting his reputation, and an attack of his most valuable asset will bother him, forcing him to act and make mistakes. In this case, the enemy outsmarted the actually pretty big Occupy movement and showed their superiority once more.

To kill a man you need to kill his reputation. If you merely kill his physical hull, he is going down in history as a martyr. If your reputation is meagre and your enemy’s is strong but not untouchable, a slanderous attack on him is a good course of action, for he has much more to lose than you do.

Use subtle ways to attack your enemy, don’t go out guns blazing and hurt yourself more than you do your adversary. Keep the example of Doris Bures in mind, who tried to overtly attack the reputation of her former friend, but massively failed at disguising her seemingly subtle attack, hence arousing resentment.

An example of a subtle attack would be to sow doubt. Even if proven innocent, the doubt will remain. For example, if someone is accused of rape, but not convicted for it by a court, people will never look at the person in the same way.

 

 

Most Important Learnings

  • Your reputation will always precede you; always live up to it
  • Build a reputation for a positive or negative trait by constantly working on it
  • The biggest threat for your reputation is not the competition, but you yourself
  • Be careful where you are seen and whom you are seen with
  • Don’t put fire under the cattle of your reputation; wait for it to diminish
  • When slandering your enemy, don’t appear reckless, hurt or only out for revenge
  • Try to make as many allies as possible, who are willing to defend your reputation

 

 

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

What would Machiavelli read? – Ultimate Reading List of Power

 

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

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

Books like The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The Machiavellian Way of Reading Books

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Best Books on Power & Life – Top 20

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

In no particular order.

Best Books on Charisma, Social Skills & Seduction

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Best Books on Psychology & Manipulation

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  • On War by Carl von Clausewitz

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Best Books on Mindset, Success & Philosophy

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

The Ultimate Book List of Power

 

 

Recommendations for other good books to read

 

 

Charisma / Seduction

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

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

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

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

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

 

Psychology / Manipulation

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

One of the best books on Social Engineering and manipulation.

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

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

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

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

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

  • 50th Law  by Robert Greene and 50 Cent

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

  • Maxims by La Rochefoucauld

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

 

Strategy & War

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

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

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

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

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

Politics & Society

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

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

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

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

 

Mindset, Success & Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Economy & Money

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

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

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

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

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

Best Fiction Books involving Machiavellian schemes:

 

 

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