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The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene book review: Part V



The art of power is the art of control. Controlling how you react to a situation, how you react to other people and how you can get others to react to you. When you have a predetermined response to all types of individuals plus most circumstances before they arrive you are being proactive and proactiveness is a key to power. Why wait until something nerving, hostile or unexpected happens to start creating a plan, making a decision or taking action. Leave this to the novice. Be the professional that knows where they are going before they are made to move, so when things do become awry, they know exactly how to act. This is extremely powerful for those watching. Your cool and unwavering demeanor will make people be attracted to you, follow you and come to you for important advice. This is the difference between the masters and the rookies, the rookie reacts via emotions while the master acts via plan.


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 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew.

Have you ever tried to speak to a prospect but they wanted nothing to do with you just come to find out another sales rep has closed them? This frustration comes from the lack of finding this person’s thumbscrew. This is their unconscious weakness or need that is not being fulfilled, either a desire not being met, a secret pleasure or an unaware vice that can be the difference between closing the deal or not.


Most people have a thumbscrew and in order to connect with them we must be able to discover it and utilize it to make the sale, get the date, get the job or get them to even talk to us. Individuals usually have an invisible suit of armor to protect themselves from years of disappointments, years of caring the weight of a certain persona or the years of being insecure about a certain attribute or lack thereof. Our duty as entrepreneurs is to fill those needs and touch on those insecurities in order to have a real human connection with people.

In order to discover said thumbscrews you must do research or pay attention to gestures, latent signals or what current situation is making them complain. Use this info to be the solution that will make people want to be in your company, crave what you have to say or be loyal to your product and services. The author illustrates several types of thumbscrews to look out for when attempting to make a connection:


1. Unconscious Childhood Desires: Many of our innermost needs started in our youth. It could have been something or someone we really wanted but never received, or creating a void to be filled. This could be a lack of parental guidance, a lack validation in skills, lack of friends, lack of discipline, lack of financial resources, lack of confidence or even lack of power but if you can instill the feelings of what they maybe lacking they will fall in love with your products, services or even with you.


2. Contrasting Behaviors: Usually people are not 100% who they say they are. Many times, the public personality is dictated by the parts of them that they are trying to keep hidden with their gestures. For example, the overly bravado could be harboring a grave insecurity, the proper would love to get wild, the spender would love to save while the busy would like some ease. Watch for the signs that exposes people’s inner most desires than play on them as this will make them find you intriguing and charming.


3. Find the weak links in their armor: Everyone shows their best faces during the beginning of a relationship, partnership or even job interviews but it is up to us to dig deeper to see what influences someone mostly. Who is in this person’s ear, guiding their decisions? This could be a sibling, a mate, a friend, a mentor or a parent. Either way, we must be able to influence them in order to influence, sell, negotiate or even date the person or people of our goal. Show them how great of a company, person or business you are versus going directly to those with their guards up.


4. The Insecure and the Unhappy: This type of prey are the easiest to influence but be warned if they get an inkling that you are trying to manipulate them, they may never figure you. Tread lightly with these types for they are ticking time bombs. In any case, provide joy to the unhappy, show them your goofy side and childlike charm, this will melt the unhappy to your side. Bring security to the insecure by providing compliments or by making them feel superior. When you can provide what they yearn it is highly seductive.


5. The Uncontrollably Emotional: Use their lack of control to your advantage by maintaining control. Some people can’t help but be a loose cannon. They get so wrapped up in their emotions they start to lose it before they realize the damages they have done. Instead of being pushed by them in a negative way stay cool, calm and collected. They will try to push you but will marvel at your ability to remain stoic. This becomes highly attractive and powerful.


Sigmund Freud said “No mortal can keep a secret.” Everyone has a gestures, signals or non-verbal cues on how they really are and discovering what we must develop and get keen. Do this by giving a sympathetic ear, listen to people as they talk, feel their emotions and concentrate on the 85% of the conversation that was non-verbal. The point of the matter is this, if you can provide what others are missing, they will follow you to the ends of the Earth!


Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one.

As was mentioned in previous laws, the world remembers the bold and shuns the timid. Your climb to success can only be established when you decide to feel like the successful person all ready. This is a major key and a staple for every single successful celebrity, entrepreneur, business owner, investor, teacher or even parent that has done something great in their lives. If you have the desire to be great, to be rich, to be in a loving relationship or even to be the best in whatever you are doing, you must act like it.


When an individual is able to channel their inner greatness, the world is their ouster. Even if they are common places by society standards, they will still be able to rub elbows with the most elite because they model the same type of gumption the elite have. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a superficial on the surface acting. This is a deep internal feeling of destiny. A feeling of I will not stop until I reach this goal. An aim so deep that you will be bolder and act more confidence than your peers because you are working on something that feels God-ordained.


This type of attitude will open doors, create allies in high places and bring wealth plus notoriety. Act like the person you were meant to be by asking a higher cost for your services, make people feel like your product is the most exclusive and that you are in high demand. People will think, “With prices like this they must be good.” The person with enough moxie to feel confident enough to ask for the world will usually get it and will be respected for doing so.


Law 35: Master the art of timing


Timing is everything! One thing I noticed that made some of the wealthiest investors and businesses so prosperous was their skills to time the market. Sell at the peak of the bubble and buy at the valley of the crashes. This takes intuition, knowledge and guts because the time when most are selling your buying and while others are buying your selling.

The art of having impeccable timing is to be patient. Never seem like you are in a hurry, but act as if everything that you desire will come to you eventually. Create an air of destiny. Be ordained in your thinking and how you play with time. Do this by moving with the spirits of times. As tastes change you must change with them, meaning don’t use s business model that no longer applies to the upcoming tide. See where trends are going and be there first. Jeff Bezos saw the .com as an opportunity and used it to create an e-commerce store knowing that the times would eventually move in that direction. He just decided to be their first.


While you are in the present do not let your plans leak to the public just yet. Build it first then move on it quickly before the competition catches up or realizes what you just did. Keep your options open by acting like it the present but prepare and executing on the future. The money you seek are in futures. Things are always changing; the question is are you going to capitalize on it or let it pass you by into the past.


Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge

This is a law that would have prevented much turmoil in my own past if l was wise enough to use it. I bet the reader would concur if they remembered all of the useless stress caused by going back and forth with people, the drama of arguments, the harsh words and the peanut gallery being involved egging us on. It takes too much energy to feed into others criticism, their slanders or their disrespect. Save your energy, by taking the royalty route, act as if their words can’t even reach you.


Show your might, not by seeking revenge but by completely ignoring them. Act as if you don’t even remember the rejection from that person, or you didn’t even know about the disrespectful things that were said, or even that you are unaware of this person who doesn’t like you. Almost as if they didn’t even exist in your world. This will infuriate your enemies which will bestow you all of the power. Lastly, another route to take is to kill them with kindness. When they go negative, bombarded them with smiles, kind words, understanding and love.


Law 37: Create compelling spectacles

People may not always remember what you said, but will always remember how you made them feel. In order to create feeling within an individual, we must show dazzling imagery and grand gestures. Think about any romantic book or movie you have ever been exposed too. Usually, the man at the end of the film will do a grand gesture that will get the girl back or throughout the book, the man shows the woman dazzling imagery, such as art, lovely landscapes or extraordinary dates to win her affection. This model works as well in all facets of life where you are looking to thrive. Become larger than life by showing your audiences outstanding images of fireworks on stage, pictures of you traveling the continent, reading to your baby. Something that creates emotions when seen. Also, you can give your audience love or gifts for following you or being associated with your company. Have a company party at the beach or somewhere exotic, make people remember you by getting into their emotional center.


The best approach is to learn or make strides to understand the people that you are associating with or want to be a part of your mission. Gain knowledge of their innermost desires and provide that in the most outlandish way possible. For example, your team loves Taco Tuesdays. Take them out one night and let them know that the tab in on you. Make them feel important because you took the time to know what they like plus gifted them for being a part of your squad. You can also, be associated with a grand image. This could be being associated with a popular celebrity or a spirit entity, either way, something larger than your regular status. If you have a company, have consistent colors and images so when it is seen people know that it is you. Always identify yourself with something bigger than you or even the audiences that you are approaching.


Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others

We live in a society where change is feared, shunned and resisted. Presenting too much change too quickly may cause enemies in your workplace, in your group or from the public. Change must be presented gradually. You can do this by acting as if you agree with the status quo. Be agreeable, be selective about the views you present. Just the ones that align with the public but always think for yourself.


In the Lion King, Simba joins Timon & Pumbaa’s village as their guest but they said in order for him to stay he had to change his eating habits from meat-loving carnivore to a slimy bug grubber. Though Simba agreed and started eating insects, he is still a lion and a lion craves a gazelle. Be like this. Dress with the times, eat with the times, talk like the times but always think for yourself. Read books. Expand your knowledge to other cultures and history. The more you can think independently the more success you can attain.


Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish

No one wants enemies. It takes too much time out of your hands plus distracts your focus from goals to impudent things. In the off chance you do gain an enemy or an individual plotting against you, you must make them act before they are ready. This law can be most utilized in sports, business, relationships or dealing with authoritative figures. If you can get them to show their cards while yours are still stuck in the deck you have completely leveraged the power in the situation.


Anger is counterproductive. It makes you look ridiculous and out of control. This is why we tend to lose respect for those who throw temper tantrums or are constantly in an emotional state but adore those who can remain calm and centered. Keep yourself cool while the other loses themselves in emotions. Do this by setting a trap, ruffling feathers, stirring up the waters, kicking up some dust, hurting their pride or vanity in a way that makes them want to act before their ready. Use this law to induce them to let out how they really feel in public while you remain the model of stoicism.


This will make them lose their heads while you keep yours intact. The worst idea is to give an enemy or potential foe time to plan. Make them react impulsively without focus, just fury and you will expose their nature to themselves, to the group or to the public. The person will be the one to look foolish, unmannered and unrefined while you resembled the royalty unmoved by their puny attempts to harm you and what you have built.


Law 40: Despise the free lunch

We must all be wary of what is supposedly given for free, for nothing is ever truly free. Everything has a price. This price can come in the realm of expectations from the giver, such as “I rubbed your back so you must rub mine.” An individual might say this favor, item or gift is at no cost but place a price tag of obligations on top of it. Now you are in someone’s pocket without realizing it which is one of the worst positions to be. Be careful of owing anyone because you never know when or what they will expect in return. In this position, they have power over you instead of visa versa.


On the flip side, show off your generosity. The more you give without expecting anything in return, the more attractive you will appear. It is legend that the great ladies’ man Casanova was extremely generous, not to just the women he was courting but for all those around him. It gave him this giving appearance that added to his charm. While those show off their frugality or stinginess has the opposite effect. It turns people off when you hoard but it makes people want to follow you, and even admire you when you are a giving individual.

The author illustrates the 3 types of frugal personality types that can erode your power and attractiveness. Learn from these personas and learn not to be like them, if you are looking for the pinnacles of success:


1. The Greedy Fish: This personality type is unwilling to spend their money for whatever reason. They like to hoard all that they have in the fear of not receiving any more. This can be a conscious or unconscious behavior that can go for the poor or the prosperous. Some people live in a certain level of income which they do not see how they can increase so they tend not to spend what they have or even find reasons to keep their cards in their wallet while there are types that have plenty of money but are unsure of themselves so they keep it locked in safes, holes in the backyard or in a bank overseas, scared that people are plotting to take away their riches. In either case, all this does is make a person seem greedy and insecure which is unattractive and lacks power.


2. The Bargain Shopper: This individual is always looking for a deal or a “hook-up.” They refused to pay full price or constantly searching for the same items cheaper. I agree, it makes no sense to pay more if you do not have too, but many times we end up purchasing something of lesser value which requires us to have to rebuy at a later day, so in retrospect, we did not really save at all. This law I have broken many times, spending a longer time searching for a cheaper product than actually utilizing it. I have had to rebuy many things or be unsatisfied with a service because of my unwillingness to pay the additional wage. This law just prevents the appearance of being cheap. If you receive a good service pay the full wage and tip on top of it. The more you are willing to open up the wallet the less spending money or not spending will lose its power over you.


3. The Indiscriminate Giver: This is the person that gives but in their heart it is not to be kind or generous but to gain something from others. This person gives with an attitude, usually counting each penny as it leaves their hand. There is something very powerful about the person that can give without thinking twice but something weak about the person who gives reluctantly. These types tend to abuse their authority, by asking for a service but will nitpick, criticize and shadow the entire process just to make sure that they got their money’s worth. When we can look at money as a cycle, that once it leaves our hands it will return back to use, then we truly have power over it, which in turn gives us power over circumstances.

There is something admiring about a generous person, the guy or gal that will spend their time, their energy or their money on a good cause, or just helping a friend or family member. This type we love, because they are constantly willing to give. If we paid attention, we would see those who give the most usually receive the most. Power is given to those who are willing to give more than they are compensated for.


Thank you for being a part of the Power of Self Book Club! Reviewed by Rich Fontaine. If you are interested in this book, click the link below and order a copy today! If you order directly from my website www.powerofselfent.com/shop. I will throw in my highlighted notes and specialty bookmarks for Free! Plus a chance to be in our exclusive business mastermind group for free! Seats are limited.


Book available on amazon: https://amzn.to/2LxMNNL

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