48 Laws of Power

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My Notes

LAW 1 – NEVER OUTSHINE THE MASTER

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

LAW 3 – CONCEAL YOUR INTENTIONS

LAW 4 – ALWAYS SAY LESS THAN NECESSARY

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

LAW 6 – COURT ATTENTION AT ALL COST

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

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

LAW 9 – WIN THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS, NEVER THROUGH ARGUMENT

LAW 10 – INFECTION: AVOID THE UNHAPPY AND UNLUCKY

JUDGMENT: You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are 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.

When you suspect you are in the presence of an infector, don’t argue, don’t try to help, don’t pass the person on to your friends, or you will become enmeshed. Flee the infector’s presence or suffer the consequences.

The incurably unhappy and unstable have a particularly strong infecting power because their characters and emotions are so intense. They often present themselves as victims, making it difficult, at first, to see their miseries as self-inflicted. Before you realize the real nature of their problems you have been infected by them.

Understand this: In the game of power, the people you associate with are critical. The risk of associating with infectors is that you will waste valuable time and energy trying to free yourself. Through a kind of guilt by association, you will also suffer in the eyes of others. Never underestimate the dangers of infection.

Only create associations with positive affinities. Make this a rule of life and you will benefit more than from all the therapy in the world.

LAW 11 – LEARN TO KEEP PEOPLE DEPENDENT ON YOU

JUDGMENT: To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are 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 they can do without you.

Be the only one who can do what you do, and make the fate of those who hire you so entwined with yours that they cannot possibly get rid of you.

No one will come to depend on you if they are already strong. If you are ambitious, it is much wiser to seek out weak rulers or masters with whom you can create a relationship of dependency. You become their strength, their intelligence, their spine.

Necessity rules the world. People rarely act unless compelled to. If you create no need for yourself, then you will be done away with a first opportunity.

The ultimate power is the power to get people to do as you wish. When you can do this without having to force people or hurt them, when they willingly grant you what you desire, then your power is untouchable. The best way to achieve this position is to create a relationship of dependence. The master requires your services; he is weak or unable to function without you;

Do not be one of the many who mistakenly believe that the ultimate form of power is independence. The best you can hope for is that others will grow so dependent on you that you enjoy a kind of reverse independence: Their need for you frees you.

This is the model: Make others dependent on you. To get rid of you might spell disaster, even death and your master dares not tempt fate by finding out. There are many ways to obtain such a position. Foremost among them is to posses a talent and creative skill that simply cannot be replaced.

You do not have to have the talent of Michelangelo,; you do have to have a skill that sets you apart of the crowd. You should create a situation in which you can always latch on to another master or patron but your master cannot easily find another servant with your particular talent.

Better to have others depend on you out of fear of the consequences of losing you than out of love of your company.

LAW 12 – USE SELECTIVE HONESTY AND GENEROSITY TO DISARM YOUR VICTIM

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

LAW 14 – POSE AS A FRIEND, WORK AS A SPY

LAW 15 – CRUSH YOUR ENEMY TOTALLY

LAW 16 – USE ABSENCE TO INCREASE RESPECT AND HONOR

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

LAW 18 – DO NOT BUILD FORTRESSES TO PROTECT YOURSELF – ISOLATION IS DANGEROUS

LAW 19 – KNOW WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH – DO NOT OFFEND THE WRONG PERSON

LAW 20 – DO NOT COMMIT TO ANYONE

LAW 21 – PLAY A SUCKER TO CATCH A SUCKER – SEE DUMBER THAN YOUR MARK

LAW 22 – USE THE SURRENDER TACTIC: TRANSFORM WEAKNESSES INTO POWER

LAW 23 – CONCENTRATE YOUR FORCES

LAW 24 – PLAY THE PERFECT COURTIER

LAW 25 – RE-CREATE YOURSELF

Judgment: Do 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 others define it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

LAW 26 – KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN

LAW 27 – PLAY ON PEOPLE’S NEED TO BELIEVE TO CREATE A CULTLIKE FOLLOWING

LAW 28 – ENTER ACTION WITH BOLDNESS

LAW 29 – PLAN ALL THE WAY TO THE END

Judgment: The 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. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

LAW 30 – MAKE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS SEEM EFFORTLESS

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

LAW 32 – PLAY TO PEOPLE’S FANTASIES

LAW 33 – DISCOVER EACH MAN’S THUMBSCREWS

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

LAW 35 – MASTER THE ART OF TIMING

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

Judgment: By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy the strong you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It 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

Judgment: Striking 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. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

LAW 38 – THINK AS YOU LIKE BUT BEHAVE LIKE OTHERS

LAW 39 – STIR UP THE WATERS TO CATCH FISH

LAW 40 – DESPISE THE FREE LUNCH

LAW 41 – AVOID STEPPING INTO A GREAT MAN’S SHOES

LAW 42 – STRIKE THE SHEPHERD AND THE SHEEP WILL SCATTER

LAW 43 – WORK ON THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF OTHERS

LAW 44 – DISARM AND INFURIATE WITH THE MIRROR EFFECT

LAW 45 – PREACH THE NEED FOR CHANGE, BUT NEVER REFORM TOO MUCH AT ONE

LAW 46 – NEVER APPEAR TOO PERFECT

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

LAW 48 – ASSUME FORMLESSNESS