48 Laws of Power Robert Greene Summary

Power and influence is everything is this power hunger era. It is for people who love office politics and everyday power struggle with other leaders. It is not for the Mr nice guy, this evil and cunning book teaches you how to exploit people weakness and emotion.
With power comes more corruptions. Being powerless is as good as being helpless. Knowing these tips is inevitably going to help you since the game of power is inescapable. You need to know it to see it.

Law 1: Never outshine the master.

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 present your ideas that echo your boss thoughts. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are.

Law 2: 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.
I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends. - Abraham Lincoln

Law 3: Conceal your intentions.

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions.  If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defence.  Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Law 4: Always say less than necessary.

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 are 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.

Law 5: 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 you slip, 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.

Law 6: Court attention at all cost.

Everything is judged by its appearance; what are 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 colourful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.

Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit.

Never do it yourself if other can do it for you. It will save you valuable time and energy and will give you a great efficiency and speed perspective. Ultimately people only remember the finisher and forgets those helpers.
Leverage other's wisdom and knowledge to further your own cause. Learn to steal from your competition and executive quicker. Credit for the invention is more important than invention itself. Always keeping your creation quiet.

Law 8: Make other people come to you – use bait if necessary.

Lure others with fabulous gains then attack when you are in control. It always better to make other come to you forces other to abandon their plans. Aggression leads to a rushed move and drains energy. This may lead yourself charging into the trap, keep claim and wait patiently for the opportunity.

Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument.

Winning using argument will cause resentment that will affect you stronger and longer. It is much powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Avoid argument and demonstrate your idea quietly. No one is offended and your point is proven.

Law 10: Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky.

Law of attraction; emotional states are a very infectious disease. You can feel that you are helping the drowning man but you are slowing staging your own disaster. Most of the time, the unfortunate draw misfortune on themselves. Associate yourself with positive and the happy instead.

Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you.

You must always be needed and wanted. The more desirable you are, the more independent and free you are. Let people's happiness and prosperity depend on you then you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you, be irreplaceable.

Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim.

People are a creature of habit if the first impression is that you are honest. It is hard to convince them otherwise later. Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity with bring down the guards of other even the most suspicious people. Build up a good reputation by using many actions of selective kindness/ honesty and you can deceive and manipulate them at will.

Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude.

When you need help from an ally, do not bother to remind him of your past good deeds. Instead, uncover something in your request that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of proportion. Understand the needs and interests of others, people will be more motivated to help you if there is a benefit for themselves.

Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy.

Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you ahead in the game. Hide as a spy by posing as a friend, knowing and understanding your rival is critical. Ask indirect question to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. Say little, be a good listener and let others do the talking. The more they talk, the more they reveal.

Law 15: Crush your enemy totally.

If a amber is left alight, a fire will eventually break out. The enemy will recover and seek revenge. Have no mercy and crush them not halfway but through total annihilation.

Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honour.

Too much circulation makes the price go down, it is the law of supply and demand. The more you show yourself the more common you appear. If you are already established, temporarily withdraw so that you are more talked about. Learn to know when to leave and create value through scarcity.

Law 17: Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability.

Predictability will give your enemy a sense of control. Keep them off-balance by having no consistency and they will wear off trying to decipher your moves. Habit and pattern are viral for animal hunting and human is capable of altering their behaviour to their advantage.

Law 18: Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous.

Isolation exposes you to more danger and cuts you off from valuable information. It makes you conspicuous and an easy target. Circulate yourself among other allies. Mingle with people and you are shielded from the crowd.

Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with – do not offend the wrong person.

Study your mark well, test if your enemy is confident or insecure. Choose your victims and opponents carefully and never offend or deceive the wrong person. Never assume everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Someone seems weak on sight may someday be the person powerful enough to hurt you.

Law 20: Do not commit to anyone. It is the fool who always rushes to take sides.

If you let people process you, you will lose all power over them. By maintaining your independence, they will try harder to win you over. You will gain power through their attention and frustrated desire, give them hope but not satisfaction.

Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker – seem dumber than your mark.

Make your victim appear not just smart but smarter than you. Even if you may know more its best to appear you need advice from them. No one likes to feel stupider than the next person. Once convinced and they will not suspect any ulterior motives you have with them.

Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power.

When you are battling a losing war, choose surrender instead of fighting for honour. Do not let them have the satisfaction of defeating you - surrender first. Surrendering gives you time to recover and then time your next attack.

Law 23: Concentrate your forces.

When mining it beneficial to find a rich mine and dig it deeper than change between shallow mine from one to another. Focus all your forces at one concentrated point. Intensity always defeats extensity.

Law 24: Play the perfect courtier.

Practice modesty. Don't brag about your deed or achievement. Never seem to work too hard. Always appear to be a genius than a workaholic. Learn to use indirect flattery, downplay your contribution to make your master look better. Make yourself subtly seen and be noticed. Change your style of language and speaking to adapt to others. Do not criticize.

Law 25: Re-create yourself.

Learn to enlarge your character by using dramatic techniques. You must be constantly aware of your audience of what will please them and what will bore them. Create a persona that places you at the centre of attention.

Law 26: Keep your hands clean.

Conceal your mistakes and have a scapegoat around to take the blame. Engage others to do the dirty work for you. Look for powerful third party who shares a common enemy with you and take advantage of their power position to deal blows for you.

Law 27: Play on people’s need to create a cultlike following.

A promise of something vague and simple. Surround yourself with luxury and dazzle your followers with visual and sensations. Organize your cult in form of organized religion or structure of a group. Disguise your source of income from the group and create a us-vs-them dynamic.

Law 28: Enter action with boldness.

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Boldness gives you presence and makes you seem larger than life and more powerful than you are. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. The bore draw attention and what draw attention draws power.

Law 29: Plan all the way to the end.

People don't care about the process but the end result. Plan all the way to the end taking into account all the possible scenarios, consequences twist and turn that might reverse your hard work and give glory to others. Look past this moment and emotions, see beyond immediate dangers, as those who think further ahead and bring their plans to fruition seem to have a god-like power.

Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless.

Nature does not reveal its tricks, and what imitates nature by appearing effortless approximates nature's power. The more mystery surrounds your actions, the more awesome your power seems. Appear to be the only person who can do what you accomplish, an exclusive gift is powerful. Achieve your work with grace and ease, let people believe you could always do more if you want. Avoid the temptation to reveal how hard you work.

Law 31: Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal.

The best deception is to make your victim seem to have a choice. Let them feel that they are in control but in fact is playing into the cards you deal. Give options that come out in your favour whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both which serve your purpose.

Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies.

To gain power, you must be a source of pleasure for those around you. Avoid telling the truth of reality but play into other fantasy. Never promise incremental improvement on hard work, forge ungraspable fantasies, let your victim come close enough to see and be tempted, but keep him far away that he remain dreaming and desiring.

Law 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew.

Everyone has a weakness, some part of their psychologic emotion will not resist. Find it and push on it. Some people wear their weakness openly other disguise them. Uncontrollable emotion like paranoid and insecurity or base motives like lust, greed or hatred. Feed on these emotions or filling the void can control your victim.

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

The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated. Act confident of your powers to make yourself seem destined to wear a crown. Deliberately force yourself in the opposite direction. Downplay your failures and ignore your limitation. Make a bold demand, set your price high and do not waver. Choose a great opponent and go after the highest person in the building.

Law 35: Master the art of timing.

Never 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.  Time is an artificial concept that we have created to make the limitless of eternity and the universe more bearable. 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.

The more attention you pay an enemy, the more empowered they become. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you become. By ignoring people you cancel them out, since they have no dealings with you, there is nothing they can do. Paradoxical effects happen when the more interest you show, the more you repel the object of your desire.

Law 37: Create compelling spectacles.

People do not always want words, explanations, demonstrations, they want an immediate appeal to their emotion. If you have to explain yourself, your power is already in question. Visual hs come to dominate the other senses as Gracian said, "The truth is generally seen, rarely heard." Find and associate yourself with images and symbols that will communicate, and you will have untold power.

Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others.

Act more dignity, showing respect for those who do not share the same desires as you. Having to show our difference so dramatically often make us disliked by people whose beliefs are challenged, end up convince only a few but offend a great deal more. Express your unorthodox ideas for those who understand and appreciate it, without suffering isolation or ostracism.

Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish.

Anger 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. Change your perspective. Anger only curs off our options do not take matters personally, stir they insecurity instead of overreacting. The powerful cannot thrive without options.

Law 40: Despise the free lunch.

What 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 you 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.

Do not get lost in the shadow of your predecessor or past triumphs of your own achievements. Be merciless with the past and throw off the weight by beginning in a new direction. Power depends on appearing larger than others when you are lost in the shadow of the predecessor, you cannot possibly outshine yourself and create your own brand.

Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.

Within any group, trouble often is traced from a single source, the unhappy, chronically dissatisfied who will always stir up trouble and infect the group with ill intention. Identify the hell raiser, isolation and banish them, separate them from the group before they become the eye of a whirlpool.

Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others.

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 weaknesses.  Create a base of support to maintain you at your pinnacles, the wider your support base the stronger your power.

Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect.

Do what your enemies do, following their actions as best you can and they cannot see what you are up to. It can disgust those situations which you have no particular strategy yourself. The mirror saves you mental energy and gives you space you need to develop a strategy of your own.

Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.

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.

Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses.  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. Be wary of green eyes and the envy.

Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop.

When you gain victory, recognise the part played by the particular circumstances of a situation. Do not be arrogant and overconfident which can push you past the goal that you had aimed for. By going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Knowing that all good things must come to an end, remain vigilant against changes in your good fortune.

Law 48: Assume formlessness.

People are weighted down by the system and inflexible ways of doing things. They cannot move fast and cannot adapt to changes. No predator can attach what it cannot see so learn to assume formlessness. Unable to understand you, your enemy can form no strategy to defeat you. Take nothing personally and never show your defensiveness. Be like vapour and do not give any solid for them to attack.

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