48 laws of power by Robert Greene
book, an international bestseller, is a practical guide for anyone who
wants power, observes power, or wants to arm himself against power]
Law 1: Never outshine the master
make those above feel comfortably superior. 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 your
masters appear more brilliant than they ae and you will attain the
heights of power
Law 2: never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies.
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
former enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.
Law 3: Conceal your intentions
people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose
behind actions. If they have no clue 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.
Law 4: Always say less than necessary
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 are saying
something banal, it will original if you make it vague, open-minded, and sphinx-like. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. the
more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.
Law 5: So much depends on reputation - guard it with your life.
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 and thwart before they happen. meanwhile, learn to
destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputation. Then
stand aside and let public opinion hang them.
Law 6;Cort attention at all cost.
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
Law 7:Get others to do work for you, but always take the credit.
the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own
cause. Not only 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.
Law 8: Make other people come to you - use bait if necessary.
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.
Law 9: Win through your action, never through argument.
momentary triumph you think you have guided 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.
Law 10: Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky.
can die from someone else’ misery - emotional states 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.
Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you.
maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The
more you 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 you can do without you.
Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim.
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 server the same purpose.
Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude.
you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of
your 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
Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as spy.
about your rival is critical. use spies to gather valuable information
that will help 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 weakness and intentions. There is no occasion
that is not an opportunity for artful spying.
Law 15: Crush your enemy totally.
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.
Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honor.
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
Law 17: Keep others in suspended terror: Cultivate an air of unpredictability.
are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in
other people’s actions. Your predictability give 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.
Law 18: Do not build fortresses to protect yourself - isolation is dangerous.
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 people, fine allies, mingle. You are shielded from your
enemies by the crowd.
Law 19: Know who you are dealing with - do not offend the wrong person.
are many different kinds of people in the world and you can never
assume that everyone will reach 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 lamb’s clothing. Choose your
victims and opponents carefully, then - never offend or deceive the
Law 20: Do not commit to anyone.
is the fool who obeys 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
Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker - seem dumber than you mark.
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
Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power.
you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; chose 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. Male surrender to tool
Law 23: Concentrate your forces
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.
Law 24: Play the perfect courtier
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
Law 25: Re-create yourself.
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 other
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.
Law 26: Keep your hands clean
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 them as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.
Law 27: Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult like following
have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal
point 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 belief system will bring you
Law 28: Enter the action with boldness
you 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.
Law 29: Plan all the way to the end
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, Be planning to the
end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when
to stop. Gently guide fortunate and help determine the future by
thinking for ahead.
Law 30: Make your accomplishment seem effortless
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.
Law 31: Control the options: get others to lay with the cards your deal.
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 choice 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.
Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies.
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
from 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.
Law 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew
has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually an
insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small
secret pleasure. Either way, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your
Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one.
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 respect 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.
Law 35: Master the art of timing.
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.
Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge.
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.
Law 37: Create compelling spectacles.
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.
Dazzles by appearance, no one will notice what you are really doing.
Law 38: Thinks as you like but behave like others
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
build and nurture the common touch. Share your originally only with
tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.
Law 39: Stir up water to catch fish.
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.
Law 40: Despise free lunch
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 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,
Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes
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.
Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter
can often be traced to a single strong individual - the stirrer, the
arrogant underlying, the prisoner of goodwill. If you allow such people
room to operate, others will succumb to their influence. Neutralize
their influence by isolating or banishing them. Strike at the source of
the trouble and the sheep will scatter.
Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others
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 weakness. Soften up the
resistance 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.
Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect
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 the Mirror Effect.
Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.
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.
Law 46; Never appear too perfect.
better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to
appear to have no faults or weakness. 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 impurity.
Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop.
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 substitute for
strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.
Law 48: Assume formlessness
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