Timeless lessons: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
NEVER OUTSHINE THE MASTER
Always make those above you feel comfortable in their sense of superiority. In your desire to please or impress them do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make them appear more brilliant than they are – and you will attain the heights of power.
NEVER PUT TOO MUCH TRUST IN FRIENDS, LEARN HOW TO USE ENEMIES
Be wary of friends-they will betray you more quickly, for they 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. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.
CONCEAL YOUR INTENTIONS
Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. Without a clue as to what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelop them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.
ALWAYS SAY LESS THAN NECESSARY
This law of power says that when you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you’re saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.
SO MUCH DEPENDS ON REPUTATION – GUARD IT WITH YOUR LIFE.
Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips, 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.
CREATE AN AIR OF MYSTERY
Never make it too clear what you are doing or about to do. Do not show all your cards. Mystery and uncertainty create anticipation – everyone will want to know what comes next. Use mystery to beguile, seduce, even frighten
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, but it will also 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.
MAKE OTHER PEOPLE COME TO YOU – USE BAIT IF NECESSARY
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
WIN THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS, NEVER THROUGH ARGUMENT
Any momentary triumph you think you have 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.
Watch out this video to know about how to speak so that people want to listen:
INFECTION: AVOID THE UNHAPPY AND UNLUCKY
You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as diseases. 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.
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.
USE SELECTIVE HONESTY AND GENEROSITY TO DISARM YOUR VICTIM
This law of power is all about sincere and honest move that 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.
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.
POSE AS A FRIEND, WORK AS A SPY
This law of power tells that 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.
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.
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.
KEEP OTHERS IN SUSPENSE: 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.
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.
KNOW WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH – DO NOT OFFEND THE WRONG PERSON
This law of power sums up that 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.
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.
PLAY A SUCKER TO CATCH A SUCKER – SEEM DUMBER THAN YOUR MARK
No one likes feeling stupider than the next person. The trick, then, 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.
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 cheek you infuriate and unsettle him. Make surrender a tool of power.
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.
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 most 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.
Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. This law of power asks you to 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 it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.
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 unwitting pawns and screens to disguise your involvement.