Many individuals believe the 48 Laws of Power is a book about manipulation but quite the contrary, it is a book about manipulation prevention. It is understanding the rules of engagement in dealing with co-workers, employers, business partners, mates, loved ones and people in your industry in order for us to see the telltale signs on how to operate with them.
Unfortunately, many people use disingenuine acts to move up in their lives, not caring if they leave a trail of carcasses behind them as long as they get to the top and this type of mentality is even more prevalent today than ever before. People will slander our names, whisper behind our backs or sabotage our efforts just to be the king of the hill. What Robert Greene has provided a guide to bring foresight to the individual who may fall victim to these types of people and how to counteract. Admit it or not, we are all in a game, a game of thrones if you will, where some our sincere while others are wearing deadly masks to shade their true intentions. We must be diligent in our pursuits but have to see the bumps along our paths. Studying the 48 laws, will give you insight into the undertakings of this world and more importantly how to maneuver in a room full of vultures.
Article 1: Law 1–8
Article 2: Law 9–16
Article 3: Law 17–24
Article 4: Law 25–32
Article 5: Law 33–40
Article 6: Law 41–48
Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument
In Dale Carnegie’s critically acclaimed book How to win friends and Influence People, he mentions a story about Abraham Lincoln, of his stoicism and how he refused to argue. Lincoln believed in peaceful resolutions, compromising, also showing through action rather than a scuffle, quoting, “With malice toward none, with charity for all.” Dale’s entire lesson on dealing with others is to prevent arguing, even take some of the blame just to avoid an altercation. The reason being, in the game of power you must stay on the good side of people in order to gain their trust, their confidence and advance toward your own ends. This is not being fake, yet strategic, to show your point with deed rather than express it through forceful words.
Most of the time arguments stem from miscommunications, wrong words used, venomous tones of voice or frustrated attitudes. This leads to nowhere except an island of resentment or hurt feelings. Furthermore, nothing was gained. You will gain more in life by harmonious dealing with people than you will ever get going back and forth in a verbal competition. Instead of arguing, show them. Not in the way of shoving your point down their throats but in a way that they see it themselves without you mentioning a word.
The author illustrates the story of Michelangelo and the King. The king thought his nose looked too big on a sculpture, unaware that he was standing right underneath and the vantage point made the nose look irregular. Knowing that he did not want to upset his benefactor, Michelago, agreed, slightly tapping on the hard clay while letting dust fall from his hand to look like he was actually adjusting it. He asked the king to step back to see the “new” work and from a new perspective the king agreed and said it looked, “perfect.” This way he didn’t upset the king while also proving his point emphatically.
Charm is power, the more you can stay on people’s good side, the more they will want to do for you, the more people they will want to introduce you too and the more connections you can make on your climb to power. People that just want to get in their emotions and be right, usually do not gain the power they seek and if they do, they can never rest in anticipation of all the enemies they have created. In dealing with family, friends, bosses, clients and everyday people, in general, the point is solid, go for charm and lead by example versus staying emotional and leading by argument.
Law 10: Infection: Avoid the unhappy and the unlucky
This Law is of paramount importance to be followed because it is where most people fail. You must be wary of the people you associate yourself with, some are contagiously negative and will only drag you down the longer you stay in their company. All people and environments have a vibration, which can be contracted by the person that remains in this vibration too long. You must watch out for the hopelessly unlucky and remove yourself from their stay because unbeknownst to you, you are adopting their unlucky status which will attract nothing but a negative attitude, circumstances, and situations to yourself.
The cliche statement of misery loves company is loaded with significance and tremendously accurate. The miserable do not want to change from being miserable they would rather induce others to be in the same state with them. It’s the reason why if a person starts appearing to live too good of a positive life, most will want to drag that person down, because they are in a place that they want to be but don’t know how, so they resent their success and aim to sabotage it.
In another case, there are some types of individuals that are just so negative, they attract unlucky circumstances to themselves and if you are around them when the unlucky manifestation commences you will recoup some of their unfavorable situations or status. There are just some people that bad luck just follows and those are the ones that you must remove yourself from immediately and cut the Cancer out at its core before it spreads into your own success.
Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you
The art of power is domination and submission. The dominating of our own minds, our own words, and our own deeds. When we are able to dominate ourselves, we become leaders in the eyes of men which allows others to want or need to follow us. Most people do not have great self-discipline and all people are lacking in some shape or form, which induces us to be dependent on someone that has more skills, more knowledge or more resources than we have on our own. The idea is to fill that need so the customers, clients, the boss, the spouse or even the family member need your attributes in order for them to succeed on a higher level.
If you are in a company, see what attributes you can contribute that will make it hard to replace you. It could be a license that the company needs to function, a skill that only you have, speaking a different language that nobody else speaks, experiences that no one else has or even listening skills that no one else does. Whichever it is, make yourself indispensable by creating a need in a relationship that only you can fill. The more people have to lean on you, the more power you have just gained. “In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king.” When you can provide that certain thing that no one can provide, you have rooted yourself in the company, with clients, and with your mate. Power comes to those who bring to the table something that no one else can and which they will be afraid to lose.
Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim
Unfortunately, we live in a world where people dislike, even have a disdain for brutally honest individuals. Even though the whole honest truth could assist in the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental growth of the person, they would rather not face the mirrors of reality. Furthermore, some people are not able to handle the truths about you, so blurting out all of your plans, ideas and thoughts will only make people uncomfortable or create enemies. It is best to be selective with your honesty especially if you are looking to gain something from this person. It can be a partnership that you are looking to muster with someone, a sale that you are attempting to obtain or even a person that you are dating and would like to take it to the next level. Using your words wisely is always a great key to power.
If you are approaching someone to gain something from them, it is the height of stupidity to tell them all of your intentions, or every truthful detail about yourself, this is huge in dating. Instead of releasing all of your dirty laundry, you tell them a small truth about yourself, which makes you look honest, without unleashing all your skeletons at once.
This type of selective honesty will lull people to sleep on any other intentions you have. In dealing with people who do not trust easily or have grand emotional walls up, being honest about somethings, will help them bring their walls down and disarm their suspicions about you. Especially, if you start the conversation off with honesty, they will use this first impression to label you as “Honest,” which is a great position to be in.
When you are dealing with a group of people or even one on one, tell them something about yourself, even small embarrassing stories, this will calm them which will make them open up to you as well, just be careful you don’t mention a story that is so embarrassing that now they see you in a light that is irreversible. Be selective in the stories you choose to convey. Plus if you know you have enemies, competition or opponents, do selective acts of kindness, this will disarm them or even convert them to your side.
Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy.
This law is paramount for entrepreneurs, sales representatives and even parents! We have this erroneous idea that people tend to do things from the kindness of their hearts, which is sometimes true, but most do things that appeal to their own desires and wants. This is not a negative, people can’t help but be involved in their own self-interest, because if they don’t who will.
In order to become successful, you must approach any prospect with the ideas of what I can do for them, versus what can they do for me. The best deals have a win-win scenario involved. You can create massive alliances by using mutual interests, such as “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” or “You make 50% and I make 50% profit,” or “We can both get rich, doing it together.” Just think of any partnership, this connection was gathered and sustain for the reason of both parties get what they need in the combining of skills, talents, resources, followers or just personalities.
Most people make the mistake of believing past favors or a sense of history will induce others to help you or jump on your team but this is a misconception. Instead of enticing the person or people, you make them irritated by placing unwarranted obligations on their lap. Just because you did them a favor does not mean they will reciprocate it. You must aim toward their interests. What do they want? Some people want to have more notoriety, so if you are trying to sell them something, talk about how this product will make them more known or if this person is looking for more resources, show them how you can help provide this. The best way to gain a person’s favor is through approaching their self-interests, their ego or vanities.
Always keep in mind, there’s an art to asking for favors, even if it’s for them to follow you back on social media, it is about how you ask versus the ask. Meaning, if you give something first, support them, purchase from them, it is not guaranteed but the chances of them showing you the love back are much higher than if it’s all about “Me! Me! Me!” Other than approaching them with “Can you do me a solid?” Go for, “I have a great idea, that I feel will benefit you in the best possible way.” Find out what this person or people need and appease those needs by bringing something to them that will satisfy their desires.
Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy
This law is an outstanding law for those who are looking to gain favor from someone above their pay grade, meaning someone who doesn’t see you as an equal but as a subordinate or underneath their station in life. Better yet, this law is great for anyone trying to gain the favor of anyone that they do not know. You must probe to gain more information about them that you can use to gain their trust, their favor or even their affection. You can gather this knowledge by (A). Finding a way to be where they are going to be, then use selective honesty while probing them with questions in a subtle and friendly way or (B). Use a spy.
A spy meaning a person that is close to this person, a friend, a colleague, a family member or even social media to gather intelligence that you can use to gain an advantage in the approach of this person. What are their interests? What do they like or don’t like? What are their hopes and dreams, what are their fears? What is their favorite pastime? What was their childhood like? These are all great things to know in order for us to gain the positive eye of this person we are interested in. This is called artful spying, spying and gaining intel, without violating a person’s space or being seen as a stalker.
This reminds me of the time when I meant Shark Tank’s Daymond John in Orlando Florida. I was artfully spying on his facebook page and saw that he was coming to my town to do a book signing. I wanted to sell him my novel, so I gathered intel about him by watching interviews and reading his book. I waited for him to finish the signing outside by the door. Once he came out, I walked over to him and told him something that only a person that knows him or follows him in-depth would know. I said “I am from New York, like you. I was born in Brooklyn but much of my family is in Queens like yours.” This made him instantly stop his bodyguard from trying to remove me and have a conversation. He started asking me questions, which led to me selling him my first book, “The Eastside.” If you follow this last paragraph and do this with all prospects you are interested in, it is immensely powerful and profitable.
Law 15: Crush your enemy totally
This is one of my favorite laws because it is the most misunderstood. People feel that when the author wrote this he wrote it out of malice but quite the contrary, this law is one of the most important principles in the entire book. Most people let things linger for much too long, becoming afraid to cut loose of the old, the unbeneficial or even things that are visibly killing them. Our truest enemies are not other people but our bad habits, bad choices, bad associations or even the wrong vocations. In the realms of success, these things that do not serve us must be nipped in the bud and destroyed before they kill our goals and livelihood.
If we are going to have a new body, we must kill the old body, meaning we must kill the habit of eating foods that have created this type of body plus put it through strain by exercising until the old body is crushed totally. If there are people we spend time with that are corrupting our growth, we must cut them off totally in order to be the people we truly want to be!
We also tend to let the things that hurt us stay around too long, this could mean people, competition, or the upcoming startup. Items that can destroy what we have built. This must be rectified as quickly and swiftly as possible. Leaving an enemy combatant sojourning in our territory will always come back to haunt us, as did redbox to blockbuster and Uber to the taxi cab. If you can’t get rid of them see if they’ll join you, like Facebook did for Instagram, but if not take them out totally like Rockefeller’s did to any oil competition he had. In order to gain and maintain power anything that threatens it must be eradicated promptly.
Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honor
The old expression that reads “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” is stacked with truth plus is an amazing weapon in the art of gaining power. Some individuals believe that they gain power by always being available, continuously in front of people or constantly bombarding their clients or audiences with appearances but usually, this receives the opposite effect. It makes you look too available or you have nothing better to do than be around while the mystery of absence is overly seductive and attractive. The exclusion of being involved in every social gathering will gain you respect and honor among your peers as they will feel that you are so busy involved in your dream or mission that you cannot make it to every shindig which will make you the topic of discussion in social settings. If you do not have a chance to be gone they do not have a chance to miss you.
The more available you are the more common you will appear. You will seem average just another guy or gal but with absence, it gives you the allure of being more than what meets the eye. The point remains, the more accessible you become to more people begin to lose respect for you. This fact will become evident the more often you’re seen by this person or these people, but when they know your time is exclusive they will rejoice in the moments you have together and feel honored that you are spending your free time with them. You must treat your appearance like a product in the realm of economics, the rarer a thing is, the higher the price, such as gold or diamonds, but the more common an item is the cheaper the price. To up your value in the marketplace, among your peers, among clients or even potential customers, pull yourself from the seen from time to time, so when you do come out the world is waiting by your feet.
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