The 48 Laws Of Power

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the 48 laws of power. page 2. © 2001, 2002 copyright laws will make you master of the game and give you the edge over your rivals. ...

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The 48 Laws Of Power pdf

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The 48 Laws Of Power - page 1
WISDOM IN A NUTSHELL The 48 Laws Of Power By Robert Greene Penguin Books 2000 Hardcover Edition ISBN 0-670-88146-5 Paperback Edition ISBN 0 14 02.8019 7 452 pages
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The 48 Laws Of Power - page 2
The 48 Laws Of Power Page 2 The Big Idea A comprehensive, well-researched synthesis of timeless philosophies –from Machiavelli to Suntzu, as applied in real-life situations by powerful figures in history such as Queen Elizabeth I and Henry Kissinger. Absorbing and entertaining, this book lends business people a wealth of ideas on the subtle art of playing the power game, exercising clever cunning, and understanding human weaknesses. Whether it is in the boardroom, at a power lunch, or a cocktail party– these laws will make you master of the game and give you the edge over your rivals. 1. NEVER OUTSHINE THE MASTER. Transgression of the Law. Finance Minister Fouquet unintentionally outshone his master, King Louis XIV, making the King feel insecure by throwing a lavish party that would show off Fouquet’s connections, cultivated manner and charm. Thinking this move would make him an indispensable asset to the king, Fouquet had actually offended his master who did not like the fact people were more charmed by his finance minister than by him. The King found a convenient excuse to get rid of Fouquet. Observance of the Law Galileo was clever in observing this law by giving glory to his patrons. In order to solve his perennial problem of funding, he dedicated his discovery of the moons of Jupiter to the Medicis, since the royal symbol of the Medici family was the planet Jupiter. He then commissioned an emblem for them, with each moon representing one of the sons who revolved around the patriarch. The Medici family became his major patron, appointing him their official court mathematician and philosopher, thereby giving him a more comfortable life and a steady salary. Wisdom in a nutshell: Present your ideas in such a manner that they may be ascribed to your master, or could be viewed as an echo of your master’s thoughts. If you are more intelligent than your master, act as if you are not. Never take your position for granted. Never let favors you receive go to your head. Discreet flattery is much more powerful. Make it seem like you want to seek his expertise and advice. 2. NEVER PUT TOO MUCH TRUST IN FRIENDS, LEARN HOW TO USE ENEMIES. Transgression of the Law. Michael III of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-ninth century A.D. placed too much trust in his friend, Basilius. This was a young man who had once saved his life, and in return, was given all the privileges an emperor could bestow on a friend. Michael turned the peasant Basilius into a sophisticated and educated courtier. Basilius later on became greedy for more wealth and power and had his former benefactor and best friend Michael III murdered. Observance of the Law Emperor Sung of China in 959 A.D. was able to turn all his enemies into loyal friends. He persuaded his generals to retire to a life of nobility and give up their dreams of © 2001, 2002 Copyright
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The 48 Laws Of Power Page 3 grabbing his throne one day. He spared those who conspired against him, and was able to win over enemies with his generosity. Wisdom in a nutshell: Do not rely on friends. They will never be totally honest with you. They will not openly disagree with you in order to avoid arguments. Enemies expect nothing so they will be surprised when you are generous. An enemy spared the guillotine will be more grateful to you than a friend. When you decide to hire a friend you will discover qualities she has kept hidden. Skill and competence are more important than friendly feelings. Hiring friends will limit your power. All working situations require a kind of distance between people. You destroy an enemy when you make a friend of him. An enemy at your heels keeps you sharp, alert, and focused. 3. CONCEAL YOUR INTENTIONS. Transgression of the Law. The Marquis de Sevigne was young and inexperienced in the art of love. He confided in the infamous courtesan of seventeenth-century France, Ninon de Lenclos, to instruct him on how to seduce a difficult young countess. She made him follow a plan over a number of weeks, where the Marquis would be appearing in public always surrounded by beautiful women, in the very places the countess would be expected to see him. He was supposed to assume an air of nonchalance. This increased the jealousy of the young countess, who was not sure of his interest in her. One day the Marquis, unable to control his passion, broke from Ninon’s plan, and blurted out to the countess that he loved her. After this admission, the countess no longer found him interesting and avoided him. Observance of the Law Otto von Bismarck was a deputy in the Prussian parliament at a time when many fellow deputies thought it was possible to go to war against Austria and defeat it. Bismarck knew the Prussian army was not prepared, so he devised a clever way to keep the war at bay. He publicly stated his praises for the Austrians and talked about the madness of war. Many deputies changed their votes. Had Bismarck announced his real intentions, arguing it was better to wait now and fight later, he would not have won. Most Prussians wanted to go to war at that moment and mistakenly believed their army to be superior to the Austrians. Had he gone to the king his sincerity would have been doubted. By giving misleading statements about wanting peace and concealing his true purpose, Bismarck’s speech catapulted him to the position of prime minister. He later led the country to war against the Austrians at the right time, when he felt the Prussian army was more capable. Wisdom in a nutshell: Use decoyed objects of desire and red herrings to throw people off scent. Use smoke screens (a poker face) to disguise your actions. False sincerity is one powerful tool that will send your rivals on a wild goose chase. Publicly declare your false intentions to give misleading signals. A noble gesture can be a smoke screen to hide your true intentions. Blend in and people will be less suspicious. 4. ALWAYS SAY LESS THAN NECESSARY. © 2001, 2002 Copyright
The 48 Laws Of Power - page 4
The 48 Laws Of Power Page 4 Transgression of the Law. Coriolanus was a great military hero of ancient Rome. People held him in awe, until he opened his mouth. He spoke his mind, hardly able to control his arrogance and boastfulness. He slandered and insulted people. The more speeches he made, the less people respected him. He suffered the people’s wrath and was eventually banished from the city. Observance of the Law Masters of enigma Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp knew the power of saying less and keeping people guessing. The less Duchamp talked about his work, the more it was talked about in the art circles. Andy Warhol recognized it was hard to talk people into doing what you wanted, so when interviewed, he would give vague and ambiguous answers and let the interviewer find his own interpretation. Wisdom in a nutshell: Saying less will keep you from saying something foolish or even dangerous. Once the words are out you cannot take them back. Keeping silent makes people reveal more about themselves. This is information you may be able to use against them later on. 5. SO MUCH DEPENDS ON REPUTATION – GUARD IT WITH YOUR LIFE. Observance of the Law During China’s War of the Three Kingdoms (A.D.207-265), General Liang was able to fool his rival Sima Yi simply by letting his track record for being an undefeated leader in battle do the work for him. Liang’s troops were far outnumbered by Sima Yi’s, yet he devised a clever last resort plan. Liang donned a Taoist robe and played the lute upon the wall of the city he was defending. His soldiers opened the gates and hid. When Sima Yi’s troops advanced upon the unguarded city, Yi recognized his opponent sitting alone upon the wall. Fearing a trap, Sima Yi called his soldiers to retreat. P.T. Barnum was an expert at destroying his competitor’s reputation. He published letters in newspapers, warning the public against buying his opponent’s stock. He was a master at poking mockery at the tactics of his rivals. Wisdom in a nutshell: Sow doubt and spread rumors about your rival. Even if they vehemently deny it, people will still be wondering why they are so defensive. Use humor or gentle mockery at your rival’s expense. A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strengths without your having to spend much energy. Never appear desperate in your self-defense against the slander of others. Be careful not to go too far in attacking another’s reputation, it draws more attention to your vengefulness than to the person you are slandering. Use subtler tactics like satire and ridicule. 6. COURT ATTENTION AT ALL COST. Observance of the Law © 2001, 2002 Copyright
The 48 Laws Of Power - page 5
The 48 Laws Of Power Page 5 P.T. Barnum learned about courting attention to his favor. Any form of publicity would benefit his entertainment business, no matter if it were bad publicity. He promoted his shows of curiosities to audiences with all kinds of gimmicks. He would offer Free Music for Millions, but hire bad musicians, so the crowd would end up buying tickets to the show so they could avoid the bands. He planted articles in newspapers and even sent anonymous letters to keep his name in the limelight. Margaretha Zelle was able to use this law to make a name for herself as the mysterious exotic dancer Mata Hari. It was rumored she was from India and danced in private parties, in an Eastern manner never before seen in Europe. She would slowly discard her veils and sarongs for the most prominent people in Paris who came to see her. Many years later it would be discovered she was just a native of Holland and had worked for the Germans as a spy. Wisdom in a nutshell: Surround your name with the sensational and the scandalous. Create an air of mystery. It is better to be attacked and slandered than ignored. Make yourself appear larger than life. Any sort of notoriety will bring you power. 7. GET OTHERS TO DO THE WORK FOR YOU, BUT ALWAYS TAKE THE CREDIT. Transgression and Observance of the Law Nicola Tesla was a Serbian scientist who never learned how this law was used against him time and again. His invention, the AC or alternating current system was associated not with his name but with that of George Westinghouse, who funded his research. Both Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse were ruthless businessmen who took credit for Tesla’s work. In the end, Tesla was living in poverty, while royalties for his life’s work went to Edison and Westinghouse. He accepted small sums as buy-outs for his work, when in reality his creations could have been worth millions. Even Marconi made use of a patent filed by Tesla in 1897. Tesla was the real “father of radio” but received no money or credit for this invention. Wisdom in a nutshell: Save time and energy by hiring others to do the work. Your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Borrow from history. Use the past and profit by others’ experience. You can only exploit others’ talents if your position is unshakable. 8. MAKE OTHER PEOPLE COME TO YOU – USE BAIT IF NECESSARY. Observance of the Law Napoleon’s former foreign minister Talleyrand was master of this law. He knew Napoleon loved the adoration of the masses, and this was the perfect bait to make the former ruler play into the hands of his opponents. In 1814 Napoleon was banished to a small island called Elba near Italy. Here he was given information that France would embrace him again if he escaped. From Elba he was able to escape and march back into Paris with a small army. The people bowed to him, and soldiers changed sides to join him. The statesmen who had taken over his empire fled. Talleyrand watched as his plan unfolded. Napoleon ruled France again for a hundred days, but the country was bankrupt and could not sustain Napoleon’s wars any longer. Napoleon was recaptured at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to the barren island St. Helena, off the west coast of Africa. This was a much further place with no chance of escape, and was more to Talleyrand’s liking. © 2001, 2002 Copyright
The 48 Laws Of Power - page 6
The 48 Laws Of Power Page 6 Wisdom in a nutshell: For negotiations and meetings, it is wise to lure others into your territory, or a territory of your choice. Once someone suspects you are manipulating him, it will be harder to control him. Making him come to you gives the illusion he is in control. Most often the effective action is to stay back, keep calm, and let others be frustrated by the traps you set for them. 9. WIN THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS, NEVER THROUGH ARGUMENT. Observance of the Law Michelangelo knew how to satisfy a patron while getting his way at the same time. Piero Soderini, Florence’s mayor, commissioned him to transform a ruined piece of marble into a statue. Soderini visited the studio one day and commented that the nose of the statue (that of David with a sling in his hand) was too big. Michelangelo invited the mayor to climb up a scaffolding, allowing him to look at the nose from a different perspective, while the artist chiseled a bit, pretending to correct the size of the nose. The mayor was convinced the nose looked much better. Michelangelo succeeded in making Soderini think his comment had helped improve the work. Wisdom in a nutshell: Demonstrate, do not explicate. Arguing will only offend your superior. Learn to demonstrate the correctness of your ideas indirectly. Choose your battles carefully. Don’t bother demonstrating if time and experience will eventually teach the other person what you are trying to say. Save your energy and walk away. No one can argue with a demonstrated proof. 10. INFECTION: AVOID THE UNHAPPY AND THE UNLUCKY. Transgression of the Law In the 1840’s Marie Gilbert, better known as Lola Montez, came to Paris to become a dancer and performer. She had many husbands, and caused the ruin of many a powerful man. Because of her ambition to be a dancer she “accidentally” ran into Alexandre Dujarier, then the owner of France’s most popular newspaper and a drama critic himself. Although still legally married to an Englishman with whom she eloped at 19, Lola kept her status secret from all her husbands. Dujarier was shot dead defending her honor at a duel against another drama critic. Lola went on to have several husbands, even causing King Ludwig of Bavaria to abdicate. She left another man who later fell into a deep depression, became a drunkard, and eventually died at a relatively young age. The man who published her autobiography went bankrupt. Wisdom in a nutshell: In the game of power, the people you associate with are critical. An infector can be recognized by the misfortune they draw on themselves, their turbulent past, a long line of broken relationships, unstable careers, the very intensity of their emotions, and the force of their character. Gravitate towards prosperous, cheerful, and gregarious people. Never associate with those who share your defects. 11. LEARN TO KEEP PEOPLE DEPENDENT ON YOU. Observance of the Law © 2001, 2002 Copyright
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The 48 Laws Of Power Page 7 Michelangelo was able to keep his patron Pope Julius II dependent on him. When he and the pope quarreled over the building of the pope’s marble tomb, Michelangelo left Rome in disgust. The pope sought him out and begged the artist to stay. Michelangelo knew he could always find another patron, but the pope knew he could not find another Michelangelo. Michelangelo’s power was intensive, depending on one skill. Henry Kissinger’s power was extensive. He was so involved in so many areas of the political structure that to remove him would lead to chaos. The intensive form of power provides more freedom than the extensive. Machiavelli said it is better to be feared than loved. Fear can be controlled; love, never. Wisdom in a nutshell: Be the only one who can do what you do. Make the fate of those who hire you so entwined with yours they cannot possibly get rid of you. If you are ambitious, it is wiser to seek out weak masters with whom you can create a relationship of dependency. Possess a talent or creative skill that sets you apart from the crowd. By knowing other people’s secrets and holding information they wouldn’t want made public, you seal your fate with theirs. 12. USE SELECTIVE HONESTY AND GENEROSITY TO DISARM YOUR VICTIM. Observance of the Law Count Victor Lustig promised Al Capone into giving him $50,000 on the terms that he would double this investment in sixty days. Lustig kept the money untouched in a safety deposit box. After the sixty days were up, he apologized to Capone saying he had failed to double the money. Capone expected either $100,000, or nothing, what he did not expect was an honest gesture of Lustig actually returning the $50,000. Al Capone was a man who lived in constant mistrust of people around him, and was so touched by the honest gesture he gave Lustig an extra $5,000. The classic tale of the Fall of Troy is one example of hiding your ulterior motives within a gift. The Trojan Horse was designed to hold soldiers that would attack the city of Troy and recapture Helen who had been taken away from the Greeks by Paris. Wisdom in a nutshell: The essence of deception is distraction. An act of kindness, generosity, or honesty will distract and disarm people and turn them into gullible children. Give before you take. Nothing in the realm of power is set in stone. Overt deceptiveness may sometimes cover your tracks. If you have a history of deceit behind you, then play the rogue, be consistent and this will be interpreted as you simply being yourself. Your dishonesty becomes an act of honesty. 13. WHEN ASKING FOR HELP, APPEAL TO PEOPLE’S SELF-INTEREST, NEVER TO THEIR MERCY OR GRATITUDE. Observance of the Law Genghis Khan was known for his greed and self-interest. When he conquered China, instead of slaughtering all the citizens, his adviser Yelu Ch’u-Ts’ai persuaded him to reap the benefits of their new territory by taxing its people. It was Ts’ai who also convinced Khan to spare the inhabitants of Kaifeng, where China’s finest craftsmen and engineers had fled. Ts’ai’s reasoning was Khan could use these people for his own benefit. © 2001, 2002 Copyright
The 48 Laws Of Power - page 8
The 48 Laws Of Power Page 8 Most people are very pragmatic, and when negotiating, do not bring up the need for gratitude for what you have done for others in the past. These appeals will be ignored. Pragmatic people look towards the future, so it is best to emphasize how they will benefit from an alliance with you. Wisdom in a nutshell: Understand the other person’s motivation. See things their way and offer suggestions that will advance their cause. For others who want to feel superior and do not want to appear selfish, appeal to their need to display their charity in the public eye. 14. POSE AS A FRIEND, WORK AS A SPY. Observance of the Law Joseph Duveen was the greatest art dealer of his time; from 1904-1940 he single- handedly monopolized the art-collecting market through his ingenious spying tactics. He would place the household employees of his potential clients on his own payroll. These spies would provide him valuable information as the tastes of his mark. He would arrange “accidental” meetings in elevators, leading his prey of wealthy patrons right into his trap. When clients came to visit his galleries, they found themselves surrounded by works they would most likely buy. Wisdom in a nutshell: Gather information at social events when people’s guards are down. Use other people to give you the information you need. Mislead others by giving out false information. Watch them react and base your next action on what you discover. 15. CRUSH YOUR ENEMY TOTALLY. Observance of the Law The great Empress Wu of China was ruthless in her rise to power. She started out as a concubine of an emperor, but did not want to follow the traditional path: that of living the rest of her life in a convent after the emperor’s death. She had seduced the emperor’s son in the royal urinal and befriended his wife. Because of this Wu was able to get a royal edict out of the convent. She returned to the harem, became pregnant, and murdered her own baby, knowing the prime suspect would be the jealous wife of the new emperor. The wife was charged with murder and executed. Wu took her place and her new husband handed over the reins of government to her, opting for a life of pleasure. Empress Wu ruled until the age of eighty when she was forced to abdicate. Throughout her rule she eliminated son after son, anyone who would challenge her throne. Wisdom in a nutshell: Show no mercy. Crush your rivals or else you will give them time to regroup and plot their revenge. Banish enemies or plot for the best time to render them harmless. Leave your enemies no options. Sometimes enemies will destroy themselves. Thoughts of reconciliation will open you up to attack. 16. USE ABSENCE TO INCREASE RESPECT AND HONOR. Observance of the Law © 2001, 2002 Copyright
The 48 Laws Of Power - page 9
The 48 Laws Of Power Page 9 This law is most appreciated in matters of seduction and love. Make yourself too available and your presence will be taken for granted. In the Middle Ages, ladies played the game of presence and absence by sending their knights off on long arduous quests. Sir Guillaume de Balaun wanted to taste the joy of love after reconciliation, and twice he intentionally made himself scarce, withdrawing his affections from Madame Guillelma de Javiac. The first time he drove his lover wild with grief, the second time she became angry and cut him off. When he wrote her begging to be let back into her favor, she allowed him back only on the condition he do penance for his cruelty. With business, an early retirement at the height of your career will keep people holding you in high regard, and waiting to see you make a comeback. Wisdom in a nutshell: Create value through scarcity. Make yourself less accessible; otherwise the aura you have created around yourself will wear away. 17. KEEP OTHERS IN SUSPENDED TERROR: CULTIVATE AN AIR OF UNPREDICTABILITY. Observance of the Law Bobby Fischer beat chess champion Boris Spassky using this law of unpredictability. Spassky’s method of playing chess was to base his strategy on the patterns he read in his opponent’s moves. Fischer unnerved him by arriving late for the first two tournaments, even letting a match get forfeited. On the third game he made moves that were so uncharacteristic and bold Spassky was thrown off balance. Fourteen games later Spassky claimed Fischer was probably putting drugs in the orange juice they drank while playing. Spassky resigned a few months later and never recovered from his defeat. Wisdom in a nutshell: A person of power instills fear by deliberately unsettling those around him to keep the initiative on his side. Only the terminally subordinate act in a predictable manner. 18. DO NOT BUILD FORTRESSES TO PROTECT YOURSELF – ISOLATION IS DANGEROUS. Observance of the Law King Louis XIV recognized the importance of always keeping his eyes and ears on everyone and everything around him. He built a palace in Versailles where all the nobility could keep apartments near to his. He knew that if he were to isolate himself for one moment, conspiracies would rise behind his back. The daily activities all revolved around the king, leaving no one unnoticed, hundreds of visitors and attendants were always present. There was not very much privacy for the king and he preferred this life to one of isolation. Wisdom in a nutshell: A fortress may be impregnable, but everyone knows you are there and it may easily turn into a prison. Power depends on social interaction and circulation. Isolation is deadly for the creative arts. Shakespeare was always producing plays for the masses. He was in constant touch with reality and what people wanted. Mobility and social contact protects you from plotters. 19. KNOW WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH – DO NOT OFFEND THE WRONG PERSON. Transgression of the Law © 2001, 2002 Copyright
The 48 Laws Of Power - page 10
The 48 Laws Of Power Page 10 In the early thirteenth century, Muhammad the Shah of Khwarezm made the grave mistake in offending a new tribal leader who was emerging in the east. His name was Genghis Khan. Khan offered to share the Silk Route with Muhammad, sending ambassadors to forge a deal. After his ambassadors were beheaded, Genghis Khan declared war. Eventually his forces seized the capital of the Shah’s empire, Samarkand. Muhammad fled, and the Silk Route fell into the hands of Genghis Khan. Learn to distinguish from opponent, sucker, and victim. The five difficult and sometimes dangerous marks are: the arrogant and proud, the hopelessly insecure, the suspicious, the serpent with a long memory, and the plain, unassuming, unintelligent man. Wisdom in a nutshell: Measure up your opponent, but never rely on instinct. Do some research on concrete facts about that person’s character and history. Never trust appearances. 20. DO NOT COMMIT TO ANYONE. Observance of the Law Queen Elizabeth I managed to avoid the trap of marriage and war, by dangling the possibility of marriage to all who courted her. She forged alliances with the countries these suitors came from, all for the benefit of England. By keeping her independence above all, Elizabeth protected her power and made herself an object of worship. Wisdom in a nutshell: By refusing to commit, but allowing yourself to be courted, you become powerful because you are ungraspable. As your reputation for independence grows, more people will desire you and want to conquer you. Politely decline. You cannot allow yourself to feel obligated to anyone. Seek promises from both sides, so no matter what the outcome of an election or battle, your position is secure. Observe quarreling parties and stay neutral but supportive to both sides. Gain power as a mediator. You may commit to one to prove you are capable of attachment, but be emotionally uninvolved. Preserve the unspoken option of being able to leave anytime and reclaim your freedom. The friends you made while being courted will help you jump ship. 21. PLAY A SUCKER TO CATCH A SUCKER – SEEM DUMBER THAN YOUR MARK. Observance of the Law In what was the biggest diamond scam of the century, prospectors Philip Arnold and John Slack fooled the biggest financiers of the time, Asbury Harpending, Baron Rothschild, and William Ralston into investing their millions in a fake mine site. The two men played up their small town, scruffy image; convincing the sophisticated tycoons that they would easily be bought out for their discovery of the mines. In the end, after the legal pay-off was made to the two men, the investors realized the mine had been salted with uncut gems by Arnold and Slack. Since all the business had been legal, and experts had inspected the mines, there was no way to go after the two men. Wisdom in a nutshell: Intelligence is an important part of people’s vanity. Subliminally reassure your opponent of his superiority. Playing naïve lets you see opportunities to deceive others. © 2001, 2002 Copyright
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