The concise 48 laws of power

Author: Robert Greene based on Joost Elffers
Synopsis:

A darker view on how to gain power and the strategies to employ to do so.  Despite being the concise version, the book is long winded – 48 laws is too many.  Nevertheless, some interesting points

1. Never outshine the master
Always make those above you feel comfortably superior.  In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity.  Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power
2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies (based on hiring)
Be wary of friends they will betray you quickly because the are easily aroused to envy.  They also become spoiled and tyrannical.  But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove.  In fact you have more to fear from friends than from enemies.  In you have no enemies, find a way to make them
3. Conceal your intentions
Keep people off balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions.  if they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense.  By the time they realise your intentions it will be too late.
4. Always say less than necessary
Impress and intimidate by saying less.  The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish
5. So much depends on reputation.  Guard it with your life
Base reputations on one outstanding quality (honesty, cunning, intelligence).  Always be alert to potential attacks and twart them before they happen.  Destroy enemies by opening holes in their reputation
6. Court attention at all costs
Don’t be lost in the crowd.  Everything is judged by its appearance.  Appear larger, more colourful.  Better to be attacked, slandered than ignored
7. Get others to do the work for you but always take the credit
Gives a godlike aura of efficiency and speed.  
8. Make other people come to you.  Use bait if necessary
Lure opponents to attack with fabulous gain.  You hold the card
9. Win through your actions, never through argument
Argument = Pyrrhic victory, creates resentment and ill will.  Demonstrate not explicate
10. Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky
Associate with the happy and fortunate.  Humans are extremely susceptible to the moods, emotions and ways of thinking with whom they associate
11. Learn to keep people dependent on you
To maintain independence you need to be needed and wanted.  The more relied upon, 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 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.  Once your selective honest opens a hole in their armour you can deceive at will
13. When asking for help appear to others’ self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude
People respond when something to be gained
14. Pose as a friend, work as a spy
Knowing about your rival is critical.  Use others, better still yourself.  In polite social encounters, probe via indirect questions
15. Crush your enemy totally
Mao and Chiang Kai-Shek.  Don’t allow them to come back again
16. Use absence to increase respect and honour
Importance of scarcity in raising the value of something
17. Keep others in suspense, create an aura of unpredictability 
Behaviour with no consistency keeps people off balance and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves
18. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself, isolation is dangerous
Cuts you off from valuable information, makes your conspicuous and isolated
19. Know who you are dealing with and do not offend the wrong person
To watch out for:
+ Proud and arrogant man
+ Hopelessly insecure man
+ Mr suspicion
+ Serpent with the long memory
+ Plain unassuming, unintelligent man
20. Do not commit to anyone
Only commit to yourself.  Committing loses power and individuality
21. Play a sucker to catch a sucker, seem dumber than you are
Make victims feel smarter than you and will not suspect you
22. Use the surrender tactic, turn weakness into power
Surrender stops you being destroyed, gives you a chance to regroup
23. Concentrate your forces
Better to have strengths than multiple averages.  Mine goldmines for what they are worth
24. Play the perfect courtier
+ Avoid ostentation
+ Practice nonchalance
+ Be frugal with flattery
+ Arrange to be noticed e.g. style
+ Alter your style and language according to the person you are with
+ Never be the bearer of bad news
+ Never affect friendliness and intimacy with your master
+ Never criticise those above you directly
+ Be frugal in asking those above you for favours
+ Never joke about appearances or taste
+ Do not be the court cynic
+ Be self-observant
+ Master your emotions
+ Fit the spirit of the times
+ Be a source of pleasure
25. Recreate yourself
+ Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you
+ Create a memorable character
26. Keep your hands clean
+ never be soiled by mistakes or hasty deeds
+ don’t apologise: divert / find a scape goat
+ have a cat’s paw
27. Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult like following
Keep it vague & simple: great & transformative but vague
Emphasise the visual & sensual over intellectual
Borrow from organised religion: rituals, hierarchy & sacrifice
Disguise the source of income
Set up us vs. them dynamic
28. Enter action w/ boldness
+ If unsure of an action don’t attempt it
+ Be bold in negotiations
29. Plan all the way to the end
Aesop’s fable of frogs and well
30. Make your accomplishments seem effortless
31. Control the options, get others to play with the cards you deal
Colour the options: 3/4 options with preferred
Force the resistor: advocate the opposite
Alter playing field: Rockefeller & rail
Shrink the options: increase price each day
Weak man on the precipice: exaggerate the dangers
Horns of a dilemma: 2 explanations both which poke holes in the story
32. Play to people’s fantasies
33. Discover each man’s thumbscrews
All people have weaknesses
a. Pay attention to gestures & unconscious signals
b. Find the helpless child: know their childhood to understand then.  When touch person can revert
c. Look for contrasts: overt traits conceal the opposite
d. Fill the void: insecure social validation
e. Feed on uncontrollable emotions
34. Act like a king to be treated like on
35. Master the art of timing
+ Never seem to be in a hurry: betrays lack of control over yourself and time
+ Always seem patient
36. Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge
When attacked by an inferior, make it clear the attack hasn’t registered
37. Create compelling spectacles
+ Words limited use music, symbols and images
+ Fusion of symbols is powerful
38. Think as you like but behave like others
39. Stir up the waters to catch fish, but don’t rise yourself
40. Despise the free lunch, be generous with your money for it is a sign and magnet of power
Aesop’s fable of the miser
41. Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes: if you do change course
42. Strike the shepherd & the sheep will scatter
43. Work on the heart’s and minds of others
44. Disarm & infuriate with the mirror effect
45. Preach the need for change but never reform too much at once
46. Never appear too perfect
47. Do not go past the mark you aimed for, in victory learn to stop
48. Assume formlessness

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1 Comment

  1. I appreciate the shortened versions of Greene’s laws. I’ve read through your site, and I have to say I like the format and the intention. If you feel compelled to add me to your subscriber’s list, I’d appreciate it John

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