Machiavellianism Q&A Summary + Download

Three Modern Machiavellians

 

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

 

Modern Machiavelli – Triple QA of Power

 

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

 

Workplace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Creativity

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

 

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

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

How do you get comfortable? Stoicism & Confidence

 

Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cooperation

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

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

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

How do you convince people to work together?

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

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

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

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

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

Over emphasise the commonalities and ignore the differences.

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

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

 

Cult of Personality

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

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

Also read;

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

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

Answer (MM):

Step 1) Unde Venis?

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

Step 2) Analyse the Terrain

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

Step 3) Quo Vadis?

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

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

Perception is reality

Step 4) Craft your Backstory

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

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

Step 5) Spread your Message

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

Step 6) Evoke Emotions

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

 

Evoke Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Reading People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Charme

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

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

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

There are a few things that play together:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Books about Manipulation

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

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

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

 

Game Theory

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

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

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

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

 

The 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

QuestionHow have you applied these laws to your personal life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Morals

Question: Do you have any morals you live by?

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

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

Answer (MM):

Politics have no relations to morals

  • Niccolò Machiavelli

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

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

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

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

Answer (MM): Realism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Self-Improvement

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

Answer (user Seducer4Real):

Here are 3 things I do to achieve the above:

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

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

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

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

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

The 48 Laws of Power Summary

The 48 Laws of Power Summary by Robert Greene

 

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

 

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

 


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

 

Practical Examples and Comprehensive Summaries

 

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

This post is structured in the following manner:

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

 

The 48 Laws of Power List

 

1. Never Outshine the Master

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

3. Conceal your Intentions

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

 

4. Always Say Less than Necessary

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

 

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

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

 

6. Court Attention at all Cost

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

9. Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

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

 

10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

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

 

11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

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

 

12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

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

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

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

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

 

14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

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

 

15. Crush your Enemy Totally

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

 

16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

20. Do Not Commit to Anyone

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

 

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

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

 

22. Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

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

 

23. Concentrate Your Forces

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

 

24. Play the Perfect Courtier

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

 

25. Re-Create Yourself

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

 

26. Keep Your Hands Clean

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

 

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

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

 

28. Enter Action with Boldness

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

 

29. Plan All the Way to the End

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

 

30. Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

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

 

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

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

 

32. Play to People’s Fantasies

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

 

33. Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

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

 

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

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

 

35. Master the Art of Timing

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

 

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

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

 

37. Create Compelling Spectacles

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

 

38. Think as you like but Behave like others

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

 

39. Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

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

 

40. Despise the Free Lunch

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

 

41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

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

 

42. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

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

 

43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

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

 

44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

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

 

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

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

 

46. Never appear too Perfect

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

 

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

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

 

48. Assume Formlessness

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

 

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

 

Internalise the Tools of the modern Prince

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

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

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

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

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

 

On Morals & Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The most important Rule of All

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

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

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

 

Review of The 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books similar to the 48 Laws of Power

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

Contents of Law #12

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples & Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

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

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

 

Here is a picture to better visualize the process:

pavlov_classic_conditioning

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 Example #2

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

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

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

 

Negative Example

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

Give before you take

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

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

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

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

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

 

Reciprocation

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

 

In Robert Cialdini’s words:

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

 

Examples on how this law may be applied:

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

 

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

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

 

During First Impressions

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

 

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

 

Practice makes perfect

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gain Trust by Revealing

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

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

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

The Elements of Trust are:

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Defend yourself with selective honesty

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

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

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

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

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

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of Law #12 – Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim. If you have more examples of the possible applications or questions of any kind or wish to share your thoughts and experiences, please feel free to do so.

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

 

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

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

 

Law #11 – Learn to keep People dependent on you


Welcome my magnificent reader, this post analyzes the Law “Learn to Keep People Dependent on You”. What follows is an in-depth summary with approximately 2400 words.

Picture of 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.

 

 

Contents of Law #11

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples & Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

Otto von Bismarck was a master strategist, knowing when to lay low and when to shine. When his was in his early thirties he was forced to choose a side. The powerful players in the game was the Kaiser and his stronger enemies. Bismarck did something, that didn’t seem smart at first, but he had an ultimate plan in mind.

He chose to ally himself with the weak Kaiser Frederick. Bismarck, known as the Iron Chancellor for a reason, helped lead the monarchy to new heights. His bold & authoritative approach fended off the empires enemy while fortifying his position as the royal advisor.

The king grew more and more dependent on Bismarck, so did his brother William, who succeeded the Kaiser.

William didn’t share his brother’s love for Bismarck but feared him. He could not get rid of him, because he knew that he was too weak to rule alone, hence he allowed Bismarck to pull the strings behind the throne. Despite having the crown on his head, both he and Bismarck knew, who the real master was. A favorable position to find oneself in, because it is not your head who is in peril if the mood of the citizens changed to the worse.

By making himself indispensable to his master, Bismarck was able to rule out of the shadows, and had more power & influence than the Kaiser himself.

Example #2

Apple is a great (mostly negative) example for this law. Like no one else do they manage to not only create a cult out of their brand but also keep existing customers dependent on them. The recent development clearly shows an expansion of their tactic.

A little background story. Every mobile phone can be charged with a mini-USB cable. Every tablet can be charged with a mini-USB cable. Not a single Apple product can be charged with the standard cable. Coincidence? Absolutely not. They want people to only use their tailored products. If you own an iPhone and have tried to buy a counterfeit accessories from China, you might get an error warning you that this device is not supported, because it was not produced by Apple themselves.

I have hear the rumors that Apple plans to create their own headphone plug for their next generation devices. So you will only be able to use their ear plugs and nothing else.

While this is pretty bad for the customer, it is an ingenious money-making scheme for Apple.

Worst things for last. The recent iPhone update has gone too far. This evil company always pretends that it has the best in mind for their customer. Repeatedly preaching „security“, despite being one of the unsafest devices on the market (see The Fappening, where iPhone users had their nude pictures leaked). This new update makes it impossible for a non-Apple-licenced mobile phone store to repair or modify iPhones. If they try, the mobile phone spits out the Error 53, locking the phone indefinitely. Even their customer support has no power to fix this issue and they will recommend you to buy a new phone.

You must only use original iPhone accessories and Apple stores when you want to repair your phone. An evil mastermind plan that works well… as long as there are suckers who keep buying overpriced Apple products.

For me this was the last nail in the coffin. I owned the first iPhone and now the current iPhone because I was on holiday and they didn’t carry the Samsung I wanted. I won’t ever buy an Apple product again, but I doubt that they will care, for there is a sucker born every minute. And if one has to think of a logo for Law #11 to perfectly embody “Learn to Keep People Dependent on You” it would be the Apple logo.

 

Real Life Application

Narcopath. A narcissistic sociopath/psychopath.

They are natural born manipulators, experts in making people dependent on them. Many unknowing people have already fallen victim to them, unable to free themselves from the tight grasp of the narco path.

An effective device in their arsenal is love bombing, stroking their ego, push/pull techniques and sending mixed signals. All of this for the sole reason to hold power over the victim and to make it depend on upon the Narcissist.

Lovebombing and approaching the person of interest in a sycophant manner is the first step. The Narcissist is going to bombard his target with love and affection, with a malicious Machiavellian motive. Everything Narcissus says is nothing but smoke & noise; merely a tissue of lies, with the aim to seduce his victim.

As soon as his target has fallen in love with him, the real games begin. Love bombing in this stage is ineffective, and the Narcissist steps up his game and utilizes push & pull techniques, sending mixed signals and taking them on a rollercoaster of emotions. Mixing fear with love, anger with sadness; in short, covering all ranges of emotions in the victim.

Effective for both Narcissists and normal people is the technique of telling your target that the connection between both of you is unique. That you have never felt anything like that before. If the victim is baited into this frame and starts to believe it as well, she is quickly going to become emotionally dependent on the perpetrator. Of course, this only works when one thinks with the heart, not the brain. Since most people are much more emotional than analytical, the Narcissists never run out of victims.

Isolation is an effective technique used to disable the logical input of concerned friends and is applied frequently.

Conclusio: Learn to evoke emotions in the target that she only feels when around you. If you succeed in doing so, you are certain to become indispensable for her.

 

Negative Example

Dumbo Pretendiavelli was working a grunt job and made himself indispensable by over achieving the set goals by a huge margin. He was so valuable at his grunt job that when his manager got promoted and the position was to be re-assigned, his colleague got the job. His colleague always achieved and exceeded his goals and had superior social skills. Not only that but if the company had promoted Dumbo, they would receive a huge backlash in the productivity of the area where Dumbo Pretendiavelli’s sweat. Blood & Tears went into.

Dumbo adhered to this law too strictly and hence lost his opportunity to get a promotion. He thought that hard work always pays off and is the road to success, while subsequentially ignoring the people aspect and the logical approach to the power games in his office.

He should have listened to Niccolò Machiavelli and applied this wisdom to his current position, when Niccolò said:

“A wise prince must devise ways by which his citizens will always have need for the state and for him in every circumstance. Then he will always find them faithful.”

 

Spirit of Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

 

Making yourself indispensable

Find a skill where you stand out, a skill that makes you indispensable. A skill to make people dependent on you. Be it technical, creative, or people related. For example, you could master a new operating system or a new machine, your company just acquired. If your network is great, if you are well connected, you too can make yourself vital for a person or company. It is hard to replace the irreplaceable.

 

If you have to force people to do what you wish with them, they will resent you for it. For example, you can make a person want to give you his wallet, by sticking a gun in his ribs. Ultimately you do get what you want – the wallet – but your opposite is going to despise you.

Instead, focus on making yourself indispensable to the other person, so they honestly believe that they WANT to do things for you. Out of their own free will. Make them come to you, use bait if necessary.

Bait is a great cue. Make sure you know what will keep people dependent on you. Merely having good-will is a positive sign for some, but not enough for most.

 

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well” – Margaret Thatcher

 

You want to not only hone one skill that makes you a valuable asset but as many as possible. Give people as many opportunities as possible to be drawn to you. The more bait you throw the more fish you catch.

There is a difference between intensive and extensive value. Intensive value is what the creative artist possesses. Extensive value is what Henry Kissinger possessed. A lot of connections and expertise in many different directions. In short:

  • Intensive Value = Putting your eggs in one basket
  • Extensive Value = Splitting your eggs among multiple baskets

 

Both can be useful in different situations. But be careful, if your only area of expertise becomes obsolete, you too will become redundant hence you need to learn to keep people dependent on you as soon as humanly possible.

 

Another way to ensure people will want to keep you well-fed and happy is by finding out their secrets. Bait them into revealing sensible details, and you shall fear no attack from them. They won’t jeopardize their good reputation, by cutting you off, in fear of having their secrets revealed.

 

Make yourself indispensable to your boss. Attach yourself to him and abide by Law #1. If your master’s success depends on you, he is sure to bring you with him, when he gets promoted.

It is not unusual for top managers to change companies, sometimes into completely different sectors. When they do, they usually bring their little team with them. This includes assistants, secretaries, and even drivers. Those who are expendable and not carried over to the new company might find themselves without a job when their new boss decides to rebuild the team.

 

In reverse, this law can backfire in various situations. If you work too hard and achieve results that outshine those of your peers, the company is going to think twice to promote you.

Even if you would make a great leader, the decline in productivity of your current task will make them think twice.

 

As a company, you need to try your best to learn to keep dependent on you and apply these insights to your business. Not only your customers but your whole microenvironment. That includes customers, investors, buyers, sellers, employees, public, media, intermediaries, etc.

 

Do you know why a magician never reveals his tricks? First of all the audience would become disillusionized and secondly a competitor would steal his tricks. Both very unfavorable outcomes and to be avoided at all costs. In this case, he would lose his mystery and would unnecessarily face more competition.

 

In Management

A wise manager doesn’t follow this law to the point. The Austrian Management Guru, Peter F. Drucker has something to say about it:

 

We have to learn to lead people, not contain them.

 

If you team always looks to you for approval of their actions, your company becomes heavy-footed. Look at Adolf Hitler. He couldn’t stand people making their own judgment calls and believed himself to be a jack-of-all-trades. He didn’t need to learn how to keep people dependent on you. But this was mindset which made many generals, including the legendary Desert Fox, despise him. He knew little reason and didn’t listen to valuable advice, which is one of the main reasons, why Germany lost the war.

 

Don’t think that people will love you, for being dependent on you. The opposite is the case. Often they will fear you. But this should be of no concern to the Modern Prince.

 

“Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved”  – Niccolò Machiavelli

 

In Love

Narcissists and Psychopaths are masters at making themselves a vital part of another person’s life. Read the example I gave about the Narcopath who made himself an indispensable source of passion and emotion.

Even if you are not a Narcopath, you must ensure that your partner depends on you. That you play a vital role in their life. Be it emotionally, intellectually or financially or even spiritually. You need to learn to keep people dependent on you, if you don’t feel like finding new love or business prospects every second week. This might sound like a narcissistic/psychopathic technique, but it is time to face the truth. If you make yourself indispensable to your environment, it can not be considered immoral, unless you have malicious intentions. It is better to be a valuable asset, than a heavy, useless stone that can be dropped any time.

 

Another Quote by Baltasar Graciàn to sum up the 11th Law of Power:

Make people depend on you. More is to be gained from such dependence than courtesy. He who has slaked his thirst, immediately turns his back on the well, no longer needing it. When dependence disappears, so does civility and decency, and then respect. The first lesson which experience should teach you is to KEEP HOPE ALIVE BUT NEVER SATISFIED, keeping even a royal patron ever in need of you -Baltasar Gracian

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Isolate people to make them dependent on you
  • Keep hope alive but never satisfied
  • If people lose their dependency, their respect will soon follow
  • It is much easier to make the weak depend on you, instead of the strong
  • Evoke emotions in people they only feel when around you
  • Just like a magician, never reveal your tricks
  • Uncover their needs, secrets, and weaknesses to become indispensable to them

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Law #10 – Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky


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

Law 10 Infection - Avoid the Unlucky & Infectious

 

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

 

Contents of Law #10

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Real Life Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

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

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

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

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

Why make their insecurities my problem?

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

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

 

Negative Example #1

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

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

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

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

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

 

Negative Example #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Spirit of Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

 

In Business

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Law of Attraction

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

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

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

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

 

Associate with the Lucky & Skillful

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

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

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

 

Drop the dead weight

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

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

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

 

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

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

  • Are they overtly jealous & negative?

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Most Important Learnings

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

Law #9 – Win through your Actions, never through Argument

For you, my magnificent reader: this post analyses the meaning of “Win through your Actions, never through Argument”. What follows is an in-depth summary of approximately 2300 words.

Win through your Actions, never through Argument, Law 9 of 48 laws of power

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

 

 

 

Contents of Law #9 of the 48 Laws of Power

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Examples & Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Short Video Summary

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

Piero Sadorini, the famous major of Florence, lived during the time of Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Michelangelo. He got his hands on a marvelous marble stone. Unfortunately one of his artists mutilated the stone beyond saving. Many other artists inspected the botched stone and came to the conclusion that it was ruined. All but one.

Michelangelo traveled to Florence to make himself a picture of the mess. After evaluating the case, he believed himself being able to salvage it. Piero Sadorini was a little sceptical but in the end allowed Michelangelo to start chiseling away.

It turned into a true master piece, famous far beyond the borders of Italy. David, with the sling shot in his hand. As soon as Michelangelo finished this fine work, he showed it to Sadorini.

Believing himself to be an expert critic of the highest calibre (a little below your average Yelp critic), he informed Michelangelo that David’s nose was too big. The major didn’t realize what the artist saw: that the angle bastardized his view of the perfect nose.

Now Michaelango could have explained Sadorini that little fact, risking to offend his taste. But he chose the right thing, which was to show, rather than tell. He picked up some dust and his tool and pretended to be working on the nose, dropping some dust in the process. He artuflly gave the appearance of changing the form of the nose, while not removing a single grain of marble.

When he was done, he asked Sadorini if it was to his liking now. Cheerfully the major praised Michelangelo for making the nose come alive.

Michelangelo managed to metaphorically change his mood, not his mind.

 

 

Example #2

Victor Lustig, one of the most effective con artists, used the Law – Win through your Actions, never through arugment – to get out of a possible deadly situation. One of his schemes was to convince his victims that he owned a machine to print money. A fancy looking hoax of course. Selling the machine to quite a few people, he made a small fortune. Most of his victims were so embarassed that they had been played for fools, that they took no action. No vendetta and they didn’t even report the crime to the police.

One gentleman, Sheriff Richards of Remsen County, was not an individual who took lightly to being conned. He tracked Victor Lustig down in a hotel and confronted him. He wanted his money back, threatened him and made a scene. The con man was not impressed and stayed calm. He used a perfect mix of both showing and telling.

At first he feigned ignorance and acted confused by the claim that the maschine is not working. Then he confidently bombarded the sheriff with technical mumbo jumbo, confusing him. His act oozed confidence and boldness, so the sheriff soon dropped his aggressive behavior. Doubt and insecurity befell his mind. Because Lustig was so calm, confused and confident, the sheriff wanted to believe him.

The con man then gave him his money back and promised to visit him in his town to fix the machine. A few days later the sheriff was arrested. Apparently he passed counterfeit bills. The same bills he received from Victor Lustig…

 

Negative Example

Dumbo Pretendiavelli found himself in deep trouble with his girlfriend. Somehow she had lost attraction for him. Neither she nor Dumbo knew, what was the reason, but his girlfriend formed new connections and spread out her tentacles, preparing to swing to another branch.

Dumbo Pretendiavelli has a lot of beta provider qualities. A good steady income, warm and caring, romantic and his girlfriend meant the world to him. He wouldn’t dare looking after another woman passing by. Making sure that his girlfriend leads a happy comfortable life, he constantly showers her with gifts and affection.

Realizing the sharp decline in their relationship, Dumbo decided to have a talk with her. His plan was to convince her to stay with him and appeal to her logic. He tried to explain why he is such a great catch for her. That he loves her and makes a great provider, that they share the friend circle and have many interests in common.

Win through your actions, never through argument means exactly that. Acta, non verba. Deeds, not words. He violated this law, thinking that he could convincer her and talk her into loving him.

But human beings don’t work that way. Despite considering ourselves logical, rational beings, we are only one evolutionary step away form animals. Our instincts decide our emotions and actions.

Instead of saving their relationship he alienated her even more. A month later he found her in his own bed with another guy called Chad Thundercock.

In a desperate attempt to uncover where he had gone wrong, he searched for answers. But instead of improving himself, working out, honing dominant traits, stopping to be a pushover; he tried to use words over deeds.

 

 

Spirit of Win through your Actions, never through Argument

 

Show proof & Prove them Wrong

If you find yourself in an argument, no matter if in a business situation or online, it makes sense to link to evidence. Words are good, but actionable proof is better. Convince them by undenieable proof instead of arguing why they are wrong. Unfortunately this doesn’t work all the time, since some people won’t accept the truth, even if it punches them in the face. Some people are so engulfed in their own dream world, that they are beyond redemption. You win some, you lose some, but at least you have to try.

If you merely convince them with your words, they are likely to resent you for it. Or how Ben Franklin put it: A man who is convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.

Guns (proof, demonstration) & politeness (words) is much more effective than politeness alone – Vladimir Putin

An interesting example of actions over talk is the bumblebee. Physicists have proven, that the bumblebee is unable to fly. That it violates the laws of physics. The bumblebee doesn’t care about that talk and flies anyway.

 

Know when to prove them wrong

The modern prince has to refrain from being a know-it-all. People hate smart-asses. If you have to prove everyone and everything wrong, it reveals an underlying problem. Fix it and keep your mouth closed. Even if you win a pointless battle, you might lose the war. Before trying to argue and proof someone wrong, ask yourself:

What’s in it for me, what is to be gained if I start an argument. – Lionel Fox

A derivation of a quote coined by the best general to ever lead troops into battle. The following quote is one of my favourites and you too should always keep it in mind. Not only in this situation, but in many other everyday life situations.

Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning. – Erwin „Desert Fox“ Rommel

Is it wise to waste your time, energy and resources on fighting an uphill battle? Most likely not. The general who wins a battle, undergoes meticulous planning beforehand. And so should you. Plan & analyze how much each battle is going to cost you, and the most beneficial outcome. If you stand a good chance at winning and the reward is juicy, go to war. Otherwise save your resources and fight another day.

You work in sales and have a customer who speaks nicely about his current product. You tell him how awesome your product is and belittle his purchase. An argument arises and maybe you will be able to convince him, that your product really is a much better choice and that he wasted his money.

Supreme victory for you! As you walk out of the door you think: “I showed that sucker!”. But without any sale. You both lose. Better try a more subtle approach, agree with him (no matter how stupid he sounds) and prove him wrong following the principle of don’t explicate, demonstrate.

If you are invited to a dinner party and the host thinks a quote from Shakespeare was actually made by Mickey Mouse, why argue? You have nothing at all to gain. Think of him as a fool and get over your ego. If you can’t get over your ego and have the urge to prove him wrong, say well I might be wrong but I believe this quote comes from Shakespeare. Take out your phone and show him the source of the quote. This will make him resent you less than if you would start an argument. Read: resent you less. Nobody likes getting proven wrong, so it often makes sense to keep quiet.

Sometimes you should let it go, but in other situations it does make sense to prove your opponent wrong. Either via words or better yet, by demonstration and action.

If you openly attack someone and start an argument, you automatically put your opposite on the defense. Hence you should probe subtly and reveal his intention that way. Many people won’t tell you what they really think. Ask someone if he likes your eassay/product and he is likely to say „yeah, sure, why not“. If you are looking for a real critique of your work, so you are able to improve it, you are better off asking: What could I do to improve xyz.

Use this technique to find out what your opposite thinks. It works wonders.

 

Acta, non Verba

Acta, non verba is latin and translates to Win through your Actions, never through Argument. If you are stingy and want the 1:1 translation: Deeds, not Words!

 

Don’t explain your philosophy, embody it. – Epictetus

 

You want to win the election and not the debate. Don’t pursue short-term victories, if your long-term strategy is at risk. Sometimes it is better to walk away and avoid getting sucked into your opponent’s frame. A perfect example would be Law #8, where I explained that Donald Trump walked away, instead of accepting the challenge of the debate.

Try to change their mood by walking away or winning via action, as opposed to merely changing their minds. Talk is cheap. Unless you require legal assistence of course…

If you own or work for a company’s PR department, you should already be familiar with that approach. Acta, non verba is the best advice one can give. People are always going to judge the prince and the principality, based on the actions they take. While words do have their place in deceiving a crowd, action is preferred. Abide to the old proverb that actions speak louder than words.

If you happen to evoke a shitstorm, sit it out and wait for it to subdue. Apologize and move on. Or pour oil into the fire. Always keep Law #48 in mind. Assume formlessness and adapt your plan when beneficial.

Promising too much and letting your customers down is a mistake. Better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. Unless you are a politician. In this case it is much better to overpromise, underdeliver and gamble with the short attention span of the people. This might sound like sarcasm, but it is not. I have close ties to politics and trust me, this is done all the time, because it is so effective. People in the private sector can not get through with this shady tactic though.

 

Defend yourself against accusations

If someone accuses you of lying, you either ignore it or get emotional and prove them wrong. Arnold Schwarzenegger, by some believed to be a racist and Nazi, came under fire for praising Hitler. In an emotional speech he assured the public that „he despises Hitler and everything he stood for“. By becoming angry that some people might believe him to be a nazi, he managed to convince his critics that he is in fact against that ideology. Even though various points would speak against him.

Similar to what Victor Lustig did, when his victim confronted him about his fake product. He acted confused and pretended to not know what the problem was. By acting in a confident manner, going into the offensive, both men have manged to overcome doubts.

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

  • Back up your statements with proof & evidence
  • Guns & Politeness are much more effective than politeness alone
  • Don’t explain your philosophy, embody it
  • Don’t change their mind, change their mood
  • Never fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of Law #9 – Win through your actions, never through argument. If you have more examples of the possible applications or questions of any kind or wish to share your thoughts and experiences, please feel free to do so.

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

 

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

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

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


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

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

 

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

 

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

Part 1: Video Summary

Part 2: Real Life Applications

Part 3: Negative Example

Part 4: Spirit of the Law

Part 5: Most Important Learnings

 

 

Video Summary

 

 

 

Examples & Applications

#1

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

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

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

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

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

 

Example #2

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

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

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

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

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

During an interview about the incidence, Zidane stated:

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

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

 

 

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

 

Example #3

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Real Life Application

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

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

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

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

 

Negative Example

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

Make other people act & React, seek to anger them

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

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

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

 

Bait people into your frame/territory

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Zhang Yu, commentator on The Art of War

 

Feed them false information

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Don’t fall victim to games yourself

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Most Important Learnings

 

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

 

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

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

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.