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The 48 Laws of Power

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The concept of being in a position of authority is quite alluring. Having authority, earning respect, and inspiring fear in others. It’s a potent combination. You may wonder; what strategies can one implement to obtain lasting power through success?

The book “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene may hold the key to the solution. These laws provide a distinctive perspective on the nature of power, although perhaps seeming harsh, selfish or immoral.

This page provides an overview of the 48 laws of power, which are more than just rules of authority. It also looks at some of the greatest quotations about these rules and the moral lessons they impact.

 1 – NEVER OUTSHINE THE MASTER

This law advocates on the utmost humility of an individual when in a room filled with people of the same interest, occupation or sphere in order to gain more knowledge without spiking any form of competition. If you seek to attain power in life, you must understand that people will bring their guard down when they don’t view you as an opponent. Whether you tend to impress them in order to get an insight to their vast knowledge, you must do cautiously. See to it that during this process, they merely view you as a lesser fellow even when you are greater.

2- NEVER PUT TOO MUCH TRUST IN FRIENDS, LEARN HOW TO USE ENEMIES

Unconsciously, we put too much trust in friends which makes us vulnerable to any despicable act that might pull off. The closer drawn a friend near, the quicker they are to become envious. Inwardly pointing out the advantages you have over them. Instead of trusting a friend that you no not of his capability, trust an enemy. A friend could pull the gun out quicker than an enemy who would rather take the opportunity by doing anything to prove himself worthy of your trust and gain favour in your eyes. It is always best to keep friends at an arm’s length to gain power.

3- CONCEAL YOUR INTENTIONS

The less people know, the less the tendency to what they can stop or destroy. If such persons become very inquisitive or curious, be sure to keep them in the dark by coating them with as much misinformation as possible without any suspicion. Apparently, before they realize what you’re up to, you are already a step ahead. Predictability is huge disadvantage in the gain of power.

4- ALWAYS SAY LESS THAN NECESSARY

Never be the guy that gets so engrossed in conversations that he fails to pay attention to other speakers. People with power say way less than the needed as this initiates originality of their opinions, enforces a sense of power and commands a room of respect. The more speak, the more likely you are to slide off point and say something foolish.

5- SO MUCH DEPENDS ON REPUTATION—GUARD IT WITH YOUR LIFE

As quoted by the marvellous Robert Greene “Reputation is the cornerstone of power.” Once it is compromised, it is a one-way train to doom. Always have your ears on the ground for potential attacks on your reputation before they strike first. Take the lead by invading your enemies’ reputation with controversies first, causing the public eye to develop some sort of contempt towards them. This way, you’d always be in control.

6- COURT ATTENTION AT ALL COSTS

Fame and Power are like siblings and together, they form a very strong entity.  To attain a certain level of power, you have to be the centre of the show, the muse of the seasons – the spotlight. The amount of popularity you are able to wield towards yourself determines how far your hands can stretch in life. Fame determines every level of influence.

7- GET OTHERS TO DO THE WORK FOR YOU, BUT ALWAYS TAKE THE CREDIT

Outsourcing gives a sense of power. Why waste valuable time and energy when you can employ credible individuals to perform excellent tasks at in your own name? People of influence outsource almost everything – chores, schedules, basic tasks and many more. This Law of power emphasis on the power of outsourcing. At the end of the day, not only will your helpers become oblivion in the minds of people, but you will grow speedily in an efficient and larger scale than doing it all yourself.

8- MAKE OTHER PEOPLE COME TO YOU—USE BAIT IF NECESSARY

To gain power, it is predominantly an excellent strategy to entice people into your hook during negotiations or discussions. Most likely, they may not comprehend full or see anything familiar, but you are fully aware of what you are getting at. Make your opponents come to you at all times. Ensure that the bait used is sufficiently enticing to draw them in. After then, you now have complete control over them.

9- WIN THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS, NEVER THROUGH ARGUMENT

Words are not as loud as actions. Thus, instead of attempting to win an argument, concentrate on winning with your deeds. Let your actions do the talking, that’s how you intimidate and remain powerful. As the famous Robert Greene said, “Demonstrate, do not explicate.”

10- INFECTION: AVOID THE UNHAPPY AND UNLUCKY

Steer clear of interacting with negative and unfortunate people. Their bad energies will reflect bad luck on you or worse, will just make you feel even direr. Create enough distance between these influences. If you do not flee in time, you’ll have to face the repercussions.

11- LEARN TO KEEP PEOPLE DEPENDENT ON YOU

Another Law of Power to keep intact is learning to keep people dependent on you for their happiness and prosperity. With this, you will always remain on high importance which makes you more powerful. Even when in the position to enlighten, never teach them everything so that they’ll always find themselves coming back to you.

12- USE SELECTIVE HONESTY AND GENEROSITY TO DISARM YOUR VICTIM

If you make sincere gestures, it will cover up for dozens of your dishonest behaviours. Open-mindedness and gift giving would send a trust signal to even the most sceptical.  Learn to apply sincere acts of service as a point of distraction; diverting attention so you can take manipulative actions at will without prior notice of enemies. Whether small or big gifts, they will serve the same result.

13- WHEN ASKING FOR HELP, APPEAL TO PEOPLE’S SELF-INTEREST, NEVER TO THEIR MERCY OR GRATITUDE

Rather than reminding them of past deeds or favours rendered, expatiate more on how their involvement will benefit them Individuals are more likely to respond positively if the realize that there is something in it for them. When you do this, you make them eager to want to help rather than begging for their attention.

14- POSE AS A FRIEND, WORK AS A SPY

Utilize every moment with your enemy to ask throw indirect questions that will prompt them to reveal their weaknesses or their next move. You can have the option of either employing the services of a spy or getting the job done yourself. This way, you’d always know their next move which puts you in so much control and power. You could choose to use the information against them, or you strategize your plans staying at the top

15- CRUSH YOUR ENEMY TOTALLY

Whenever the opportunity arises, cease it and totally annihilate your adversaries. Treat them with no remorse and watch how they won’t bother try to get under your skin again. Not just on the physical level but also spiritually. Make them disappear so you won’t have to worry about anyone retaliating in the future.

16- USE ABSENCE TO INCREASE RESPECT AND HONOUR

When you learn to create value through scarcity, you would draw even more attention to yourself which keeps you more powerful. People will respect and honour you more if you’re not always present as this will keep you in their thoughts and tongues. But when you don’t know when to leave or if you always stick around, you’d be treading on a carpet of disrespect. When you do this, they’ll start to miss you, and your absence will make them appreciate you more.

17- KEEP OTHERS IN SUSPENDED TERROR: CULTIVATE AN AIR OF UNPREDICTABILITY

People will never know what to anticipate from you if you keep them guessing. They will be in a state of perpetual worry if they don’t have any concrete information about your plans or personal life, which will make them suppler. Your predictability has the power to either make or break you.

18- DO NOT BUILD FORTRESSES TO PROTECT YOURSELF— ISOLATION IS DANGEROUS

Isolating yourself from the outside world will withdraw from you the access to valuable information. As a result, you will be vulnerable to enemy attacks. Isolation exposes you to more danger than it protects you from. Keeping companies will make you much more aware of your surroundings. Remember, Information is power.

19- KNOW WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH— DON’T OFFEND THE WRONG PERSON

It is important that you choose your opponents carefully. While some people might be far more hazardous than you initially believed, others might not be worth the hassle. Strong individuals never get into small arguments. Not everyone will react to your strategies the same way. Rather, they take advantage of this time to identify the flaws of their opponent.

20- DO NOT COMMIT TO ANYONE

While promises might be great, they may weigh you down on making decisions airing opinions in challenging situations because you’ve already taken a side. People will admire you and think you’re untouchable if you’re independent. You should only give your all to one person—yourself. With this, you will become a master of others.

21- PLAY A SUCKER TO CATCH A SUCKER— APPEAR DUMBER THAN YOUR MARK

No one likes to appear stupid. More so, it is easier to take control when you appear to be dumb as well. Even better, you can make it seem you’re more stupid than them and make them think they can outsmart you. When you do this, they would never suspect you are capable of making an ulterior move.

22- USE THE SURRENDER TACTIC: TRANSFORM WEAKNESS INTO POWER

Always surrender and remember that to live and fight another day when you’re appear the weak one or when all odds are against you. This will give you more time to recover, plot the best revenge and conquer your adversaries in the most unexpected manner. Make surrender a tool of power.

23- CONCENTRATE YOUR FORCES

Don’t let your energy and efforts go down the drain by investing them in multiple places. Rather, concentrate all your resources on one power source at a time. At all times, intensity always overpowers extensity at all times. Carefully source for a sufficient benefactor that will unknowingly serve you for a long time.

24- PLAY THE PERFECT COURTIER

Make an attempt to stand out and use flattery selectively. Conquer those beneath you and evenly flatter those above. Give them whatever they desire, and they won’t be able to see through you to your actual goals. Make sure your words and manner fit the person you are conversing with. Never slander someone in a position of authority outright, and don’t treat them too casually either.

25- RE-CREATE YOURSELF

Resist the urge to feel at ease in the image that others have given you. Strive to recreate your identity into what will always leave people wanting to know more. Whatever it is you aspire to be, continue to innovate in order to get favour from others. “Aesthetic joys in life include manipulating looks and becoming skilled in deceit.” This passage from the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene encapsulates why it’s important for leaders to constantly reinvent themselves.

26- KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN

Avoid getting your hands muddy with the finer points of power. Let blameworthy individuals or other people handle the work for you. Also, you can absolve yourself of any responsibility in this way.  Disguise your errors and involvement as much as possible and assign blame to someone else and endeavour to utilise the paw of the cat.

27- PLAY ON PEOPLE’S NEED TO BELIEVE TO CREATE A CULT-LIKE FOLLOWING

Everyone yearns to have faith in something. Make the most of this desires and cultivate a fan base of people who trust you. Give them a new faith to follow. They’ll be prepared to go above and above for you but always make it brief and straightforward. Give more weight to the spectacular and apparent than the cerebral. Utilise structured religious models to help organise the group but most importantly, mask your revenue source. Lastly, Create a ‘we vs. them’ shifting.

28- ENTER ACTION WITH BOLDNESS

If you are unsure about a course of action, don’t attempt it. Everyone admires the bold and despise the timid. Every mistake committed with audacity can be corrected with more audacity. Consequently, never do something half-heartedly. People will sense your doubt, and your reputation will suffer.

29- PLAN ALL THE WAY TO THE END

If you want to stay in power, you have to engage in long-term thinking. Plan your strategy taking into account all conceivable outcomes, as well as any obstacles or attacks that can render your effort futile. By thinking far ahead, you will guide fortune into your path effortlessly.

30- MAKE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS SEEM EFFORTLESS

Keep the amount of effort you put into something hidden from others. To gain a greater edge, give the impression that you are a natural and hide all the work and details that are required. Don’t share your tricks with anyone else or they’ll be turned against you. You’ll come across as more gifted than you actually are. People with greater authority will take more attention of you, giving you more authority over some projects.

31- CONTROL THE OPTIONS: GET OTHERS TO PLAY WITH THE CARDS YOU DEAL

Don’t directly give people a choice. Instead, give options that will be in your favour no matter the one they choose. Unknowingly manipulate them into believing they are independent meanwhile, they are your puppets. Control the options and create the impression that they’re playing with the cards. If you put them in a tough spot, they will think that they made the choice when you actually did. You will gain more power.

32- PLAY INTO PEOPLE’S FANTASIES

People avoid the truth because they want to feel special and different. Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes from disenchantment.  They crave for people who reckons to their delusions. This alone act will make anyone feel as though you are the only one that can understand them. And because of this, they will be more inclined, giving you greater ability to control and take advantage of them.

33- DISCOVER EACH PERSON’S THUMBSCREW

Everybody has a weakness, a secret they are keeping, or something they care about very much that stays hidden from the masses. Once you know, you may turn the thumbscrew to your own advantage by either ruining them or manipulating them. It would be wise to ascertain its nature and employ it against them. They won’t be able to concentrate on anything else since they will be so consumed with covering up their little dirty secret.

34- BE ROYAL IN YOUR OWN FASHION: ACT LIKE A KING TO BE TREATED LIKE ONE

The way you present yourself will frequently dictate how you are treated in the future.  People will treat you with contempt if you appear ordinary. To be treated like a leader, you have to behave like one. If you project an air of authority like you are deemed worthy of a throne, people will be inspired to follow in your footsteps.

35- MASTER THE ART OF TIMING

You lose control over time and yourself when you appear hurried. Always project patience, as though you know that things will work out for you in the end. Your acts’ timing is equally as crucial as their content. Recognise the circumstances, take appropriate action, and withdraw when the timing is not right. In this manner, you can seize chances as they present themselves.

36- DISDAIN THINGS YOU CANNOT HAVE: IGNORING THEM IS THE BEST REVENGE

You extend an insignificant problem existence and credibility when you acknowledge it. The more attention you give an enemy, the more powerful they get. Avoid obsessing about something that is out of your reach. Things over which you have no control are better left unattended. The less curiosity you display, the more authority you ooze. If you project a lack of concern, you will come across as more confident.

37- CREATE COMPELLING SPECTACLES

A spectacle or grand symbolic gestures strikes an aura of power that draws people in.  People will be captivated by an event that you can make extravagant and spectacular. Stage spectacles around you for your own advantage. With this, you’ll be able to direct their attention and persuade them to do what you want without anyone noticing.

38- THINK AS YOU LIKE BUT BEHAVE LIKE OTHERS

You can think in whatever way you want. If you let people know about your unconventional ideas as opposing their orthodox ways, they would hate and find a way to punish you. It will be perceived as one who wants attention or looks down upon them. Hence, you need to behave like everyone else if you want to maintain power. Share your ideas only with people who will value your originality. You’ll be able to manipulate them more readily since they’ll think you’re just like them.

39- STIR UP WATERS TO CATCH FISH

When you are emotionally intelligent, you can take advantage of your opponent’s feelings. Being able to infuriate your adversaries while maintaining composure provides you a distinct advantage. To seize the chance it presents, cause mayhem. They will become unbalanced as a result and concentrate only on the current issue. They won’t be able to see your true intentions when you tug on the threads.

40- DESPISE THE FREE LUNCH

Decline accepting items that are offered to you without payment. It is dangerous and detrimental to one’s authority. People will think they have power over you if you do. You won’t be able to exert your authority as easily. What has worth is worth paying for on your own terms. Doing so will push you far from gratitude and the claws of deceit or hidden obligations. It is also advised to pay in full price. When it comes to excellence, there are no shortcuts. “Generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.” – Robert Greene.

41- AVOID STEPPING INTO A GREAT MAN’S SHOES

Avoid attempting to assume the posture of someone who happens to be greater in influence than you. If you succeed a great man or have famous parents, you’d simply have to double the effort to outshine them. Make a name for yourself and avoid disappearing into their obscurity. It is preferable to veer off course and forge your own route to success.

42- STRIKE THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP WILL SCATTER

Only when a leader is viewed as authoritative by the people will they follow them. The workforce as a whole will disintegrate if the leader is eliminated. You’ll be able to exert your power better. Additionally, avoid trying to reason with an opponent or give them an opportunity to succeed. If not, they will cause others to bow to their supremacy. They are unredeemable, and the only ways to defeat them are to expel or isolate them.

43- WORK ON THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF OTHERS

If you desire people to gravitate towards you, you have to curry their favour. Make them want to crawl towards you by seducing them in an appropriate manner. Play on their emotions, what they fear and what they hold dearly. Turn them into a loyal pawn by managing their thoughts. This will make you more authoritative and powerful. “The best way to seduce people is by operating on their individual psychologies and weaknesses.” – Robert Greene

44- DISARM AND INFURIATE WITH THE MIRROR EFFECT

Although the mirror reflects reality, it can also be used as a deceitful tool. When you pose exactly like your adversaries, they are unable to decipher your tactic. They will feel enraged if you can make them think of something unpleasant about themselves. You can therefore deprive them of their power causing them to lose balance. Few people are able to withstand the mirror effect’s strength.

45- PREACH THE NEED FOR CHANGE BUT NEVER REFORM TOO MUCH AT ONCE

People are not quick to accept to changes. If you try to reform too much at once, they will rebel against you. Rather, advocate for change and gradually implement small adjustments. If an amendment is required, present it as a gradual enhancement. Act as though you respect the traditional methods of doing things.

46- NEVER APPEAR TOO PERFECT

It is perilous to seem flawless if truly you seek to attain power. People will believe you’re trying to dominate them if you appear to be too perfect. Envy creates silent enemies. They won’t be as inclined to follow the lead you provide. It’s better to be pretend to be vulnerable and let others know that you’re not so different from them to deflect envy. They begin to submit to your authority and trust you as a result.

47- DO NOT GO PAST THE MARK YOU AIMED FOR; IN VICTORY, LEARN WHEN TO STOP

Although the taste of triumph is wonderful, arrogance has the potential to rapidly sabotage it. People will perceive you as trying to assume too much power if you overreach. They’ll turn against you and rebel. Thus, once your objective has been reached, cease. Avoid letting success subconsciously replace your brain.  “The moment of victory is also the moment of great peril” – Robert Greene

48- ASSUSE FORMLESSNESS

Formless entities are more difficult to grasp and oversee. Never have an open plan; if you can become formless, your enemies will have a tougher time managing you. You’ll find it easier to capitalise on the power you possess. “The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water” – Robert Greene

Conclusions

Thanks to the amazing Robert Greene, the possibility to apply the laws of power into life has now become a reality. “The 48 Laws of Power” is a bestselling book by Robert Greene that provides insights and strategies on how to gain and maintain power in various settings. It holds key principles and applications of power dynamics.

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