Book Notes – The 48 Laws Of Power – Robert Greene

Book Notes – The 48 Laws Of Power – Robert Greene

NOTES

  • #1: Never outshine the master
    • Make those above you feel comfortably superior
    • Displaying talent may inspire fear/insecurity in others
    • Make your master appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power (The Canvas Strategy – Ryan Holiday)
  • #2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use your enemies
    • Friends are the ones who will betray you more quickly due to envy
    • Enemies are more loyal, since they have more to prove
    • Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.
    • An enemy at our heels sharpens our wits, keeping us focussed and alert
  • #3: Conceal your intentions
    • If people have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense
    • Everything in seduction depends on suggestion:
      • You cannot announce your intentions
      • Appear to want things you do not desire
      • Support ideas contrary to your sentiment
      • Do not close yourself off
    • The simplest form of a smoke screen is (a bland) facial expression
    • Create patterns, only to break them when the right moment arrives.
  • #4: Always say less than necessary
    • The more you say, the more common you appear
    • The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish
    • Once words are out, you can NEVER take them back
  • #5: Guard reputation with your life
    • Ruin the reputation of others by instilling doubt in the public
    • By not caring how you are perceived, you let others decide how you are perceived for you
  • #6: Everything is judged by its appearance.
    • What is unseen accounts for nothing
    • Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, or buried in oblivion. Stand out, be conspicuous at all cost.
    • Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.
    • Attention – whether positive or negative – is the main ingredient for success
    • People feel superior to those whose actions they can predict
    • There is power in contradiction: remaining mysterious
  • #7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit
    • Never do yourself what others can do for you
  • #8: Make other peopple come to you
    • When you force the other person to act, you are in control
    • Alternatively, force the other by a fast attack
  • #9: Win through actions, never through argument
    • Argument = resentment
  • #10: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky
    • Misery is infectious, though positivity is too
  • #11: Learn to keep people dependent on you
    • Therefore becoming inexpendable
    • To maintain independence, always be needed and wanted
  • #12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim
  • #13: When asking for help, appeal to peoples self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude
    • Gratitude is a burden
    • Though sometimes mercy pays as you paint someone as being more powerful, therefore tickling a peoples desire for power
  • #14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy
    • Ask indirect questions
    • Reveal a fake secret
    • Truth should be attended by a bodyguard of lies
  • #15: Crush your enemy totally
    • Otherwise he will recover
  • #16: Use absense to increase respect and honor
    • Create value through scarcity;
    • But only after creating engagement
  • #17: Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability
    • Being predictable = being controlled
    • When you are unpredictable, people make up their own reasons and stories for your behavior
  • #18: Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous
    • Don’t be cut off from information
  • #19: Do not offend the wrong person
    • Every person will react differently to your strategies;
      • The arrogant man: will overreact
      • The insecure man: will nibble you to death
      • The suspicious man: sees the worst in people
      • The serpent: will wait and strike
      • The plain man: will not take bait because he will not recognize it
  • #20: Do not commit to anyone
    • Do not choose sides
    • Maintain independence
    • Play people against eachother
    • Everyone wants the virgin queen
    • Let others do the fighting. Be supportive but stay neutral
    • Secure your interests by being a mediator
  • #21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker
    • Seem dumber than your mark
    • People will never suspect your ulterior motives
    • We try to justify people being smarter than us
  • #22: Surrender when you are weaker as a tool of power
    • It gives you time to recover and irritate
    • Surrendering will unsettle the opponent
  • #23: Concentrate your forces
    • Intensity over extensity
    • ‘If you are not in danger, dont fight’ – Sun Tzu
  • #24: Play the perfect courtier
    • Avoid focusing attention on yourself
    • Practice nonchalance
    • Subtly arrange to be noticed
    • Never be the bearer of bad news
    • You are not your masters’ friend
    • Do not criticize those above you directly
    • Be frugal in asking for favors
    • Don’t be the court cynic
    • Be your own mirror
    • Master your emotions
    • Be a source of pleasure
    • Never try to hard to impress, as it is as if you are trying to cover up a deficiency
  • #25: Recreate yourself
    • Be the master of your own image
    • Don’t let others define your image for you as you will be limited to your assigned role
  • #26: Keep your hands clean by using:
    • Scapegoats
    • A cat’s paw
  • #27: Play on people’s need to believe something to create a cultlike following
    • Offer a cause but keep it vague
    • Provide rituals, ask for sacrifices
    • We are in a rush to believe something, that is why silver bullets appeal so much
    • Create an us vs. them dynamic
  • #28: Enter action with boldness
    • Hesitation will infect execution
    • Mistakes are easily corrected by more boldness
    • If boldness does not come natural, neither does timidity. It is an acquired habit
  • #29: Plan all the way to the end
    • The ending is everything
    • Don’t be overwhelmed
  • #30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless
    • Act as if you can easily do much more
    • Teach no one your tricks
  • #31: Get others to play with the cards you deal
    • Provide options that lead to outcomes favorable to you
    • The other party will feel in control
    • When provided with a choice between A and B, we rarely think of the other letters
  • #32: Play to people’s fantasy. Manufacture romance
    • Truth and reality are equal to disenchantment
    • Reality: change is slow and gradual. It requires hard work, a bit of luck, a fair amount of self-sacrifice and a lot fo patience.
    • Fantasy: a sudden transformation will bring total change in ones fortunes, bypassing work, luck, self-sacrifice and time in one fantastic stroke.
  • #33: Everyone has a weakness
  • #34: Act like a king to be treated as one
  • #35: Master the art of timing
    • Never seem to be in a hurry (as it is perceived as a lack of control)
    • Always seem patient
    • Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe
    • Time is an artificial concept created to make the limitless of eternity more bearable
    • Success that is built slowly will last
  • #36: Ignore the things you cannot have
    • Sometimes it is better to leave a small mistake than to try and fix it
    • You choose to let things bother you
  • #37: Create compelling spectacles
    • Dazzled by appearances, nobody will notice what you are really doing
    • Words put you on the defensive
  • #38: Think as you like, but behave like others
    • Unconventional ideas as a cry for attention
    • Blend in and show yourself only to tolerant friends
  • #39: Make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself
    • The cause of anger is oten larger than what seems to be its instigator
  • #40: Despise the free lunch
    • It usually involves a hidden obligation
    • Stay clear of gratitude, guilt and deceit
    • Be generous
    • The value of something increases irrationaly due to sentiment and emotion
  • #41: Avoid stepping in a great man’s shoes
    • It comes with expectations
    • Create your own name and identity
  • #42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter
    • Within a group, trouble almost always has a single source
  • #43: Work on the hearts and minds of others
    • The key to persuasion is softening people up and then breaking them down.
    • The keyhole analogy: “People build walls to keep you out; never orce your way in – you will find only more walls within walls. There are doors in these walls, doors to the heart and mind, and they have tiny keyholes. Peer through the keyhole, find the key that opens the door, and you have access to their will with no ugly signs of forced entry”
  • #44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect
    • Seduce the enemy into thinking you share the same values
    • Narcissus effect: mirror others to appeal to their self love
    • Avoid being negatively associated to someone
  • #45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once
    • Make change feel gentle
  • #46: Never appear too perfect
    • Envy creates silent enemies
  • #47: Do not get overconfident by victory. Learn when to stop
    • Past results are no guarantee for the future
  • #48: Assume formlessness
    • Become unable to grasp by your enemies
    • Never show defensiveness

Each law in in itself is a complete life lesson. Robert explains each law by observances, transgressions and reversals of each law, denoting the key points to power. I therefore highly recommend this book for anyone in a corporate setting, however the advice is very relevant for (romantic) relationships in general. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either:
Bol.com: The 48 Laws Of Power on Bol.com
Amazon: The 48 Laws Of Power on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.

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