48 Laws of Power
Un Written laws to gain power among the society
The Reason Why I am here
As a kid I was somewhat of a overly honest and kind person. Due to this nature, I was used by others to fulfill their intentions through out my childhood. As progressing into the adulthood I realized that I was not the only one who was used to this kind of behavior. I needed a change in my life. I needed to be more resiliant and more self-sufficient. This book helped me to understand the reason why I need it.
“The 48 Laws of Power” is structured as a detailed list that delves into each law in detail. In this “48 Laws of Power” summary, we look at each of the laws in turn and extract the key takeaways for you to consider before making your next move.
48 Laws of Power
Law 1. Never Outshine the Master
Make people above you feel confidently superior at all times. If you reveal how talented you are, your masters can become insecure. The more impressive your master appears, the more power you will wield. People in positions above you want to feel confident and in charge. This can entail making a few simple errors so that you can ask your expert for assistance.
However, it would be advisable to steer clear of working for them totally if you have more natural charisma than your master.
Law 2. Never Put too much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies
Because they are more prone to envy, friends are more likely to betray you in a hurry. If you recruit an ex-enemy, though, they will prove to be more reliable because they have more to live up to. As a result, you have more to worry about from friends than from foes.
You frequently believe that you know your pals better than you actually do. This is due to the fact that sincerity rarely deepens relationships, therefore friends typically conceal their genuine feelings for one another. People may feel undeserved and ultimately bitter because they wish to believe they earned their good fortune in hiring a buddy. Hiring an adversary is preferable since it makes your motivations clear and unclouded by sentimentality.
Law 3. Conceal Your Intentions
Always be secretive about your aims. This prevents your adversaries from mounting a defense. If you mislead them, it won’t be too late for them to realize your intentions. Use people’s propensity to believe what they see to your advantage. Your opponents won’t understand what you’re actually up to if you present them with a fake set of plans.
By hiding your motives, you might make people think that you are amiable and trustworthy. This will take them even more astray. Additionally, since people like to trust the familiar, appearing bland and unassuming makes it even less likely that they will question your intentions.
Law 4. Always Say Less Than Necessary
Powerful people understand how to impress others by speaking less. It is more likely that you will say something stupid the more you speak. Silence makes individuals uncomfortable because they are constantly attempting to figure out what others seem to be thinking. You have a lot of power if you can manage what you expose. After all, they’ll probably fill in the gaps you leave, disclosing more about their own motives and shortcomings.
Law 5. So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard It With Your Life
The foundation of your power is your reputation. You can use it to scare others and win battles, but if it’s tarnished, you leave yourself susceptible to assault. Create a reputation that cannot be penetrated, and foresee attacks before they happen. By eliminating your adversaries, taking advantage of gaps in their reputations, and allowing the public to do it, you can help yourself in this attempt.
A good reputation can increase your power and prevent potential adversaries from learning your true nature. It boosts your presence and your abilities without requiring you to exert much effort.
Law 6. Court Attention at All Costs
You must stand out because everything is judged on appearance. Make yourself seem bigger, more intriguing, and more enigmatic than the rest of the crowd. Creating a buzz and scandal around your name is one method to achieve this. Remember that power comes from reputation of whatever kind. Being disparaged is preferable to being ignored.
To effectively counteract this strategy, surround oneself with mystery. Maintain tight control over your cards. People are fascinated to intriguing people. A sense of mystery makes you more noticeable and builds anticipation; everyone will be watching your every move.
Law 7. Get Others to Do the Work for You, but Always Take the Credit
Never attempt on your own what others can accomplish for you. Make use of their expertise to advance your own cause. You will come off as incredibly competent and efficient if you do this. The people who worked for you will eventually be forgotten, but you will not.
You won’t succeed if you believe it’s crucial that you complete all the work by yourself. Find people who possess the abilities you lack and figure out a method to either use their work as your own or hire them so you can claim credit for their accomplishments. To accomplish this, though, you must be in a strong position because otherwise, people will accuse you of lying.
Law 8. Make Other People Come to You – Use Bait if Necessary
Making your opponent come to you is always preferred since it forces them to change their plans and ideas. Draw them in, then launch an attack. Because of this, you can never respond to your opponents; instead, they must respond to you. This is playing the long game, taking a back seat, and maintaining your composure as others fall victim to the traps you have purposefully set for them.
Your traps, however, are only as effective as the apparent allure of your bait. If your bait is tasty enough, your adversary’s emotions will cause them to lose sight of reality, giving you the upper hand.
Law 9. Win Through Your Actions, Never Through Argument
Any victory you achieve through argumentation will be fleeting. Instead of a sincere shift in opinion, your opponents will simmer with resentment. Let your actions speak for you instead. You are more likely to influence people’s ideas in the long run if you persuade them through your actions rather than with your words. Words are plentiful, and individuals will say anything to support their position. You show your beliefs by your actions.
Law 10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and the Unlucky
As contagious as diseases can be emotional states. Some unfortunate people occasionally bring their own bad luck upon themselves, and if you get too near, they may also bring you down. Therefore, be sure to surround yourself with the lucky and cheerful.
Before you realize they are the source of their own misfortune, the hopelessly unhappy often present themselves as victims, and by the time you do, they have infected you with their unhappiness. It matters a lot who you choose to associate with. You waste your time and diminish your potential by hanging out with the depressed.
Law 11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
You have to make people need and want you if you want to stay independent. You have more freedom the more people depend on you. However, take care not to provide individuals close to you with enough knowledge so they may begin taking care of themselves. The best technique to persuade individuals to comply with your wishes without using coercion or discomfort is using this tactic. Once you have dependents, you may discreetly treat them anyway you choose since they are dependent on you.
Law 12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm Your Victim
A single sincere deed can help hide the evidence of numerous dishonest ones. Even the most cynical people can be won over by generosity. Once you have disarmed them, you can control them as you choose. Distraction is the secret to a good lie. You can fool people by distracting them with kindness and turning them into submissive children who are delighted by the kind deed.
A skillful method to achieve what you want is to learn to give before you take. Selective honesty can be used to neutralize your adversaries. A single fact will not be sufficient, though. To establish trust, you must create a facade of honesty based on a sequence of actions, however these actions may seem insignificant at first.
Law 13. When Asking for Help, Appeal to the Self-interests of Others, Never to Their Mercy or Gratitude
If you must beg for assistance, make sure the advantage to your ally is one you can overstate beyond reason. Your ally is more likely to respond enthusiastically if they can see how it will benefit them. The most powerful incentive for people is self-interest. There are no boundaries to what you can achieve once you learn the skill of determining what others want and using it to further your own ambitions.
Law 14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
Understanding your competitor is crucial. You can pose as a buddy and use ambiguous questions to gradually elicit information from your adversaries about their strengths and motivations. Once you are aware of this knowledge, you may more accurately anticipate their next move.
Ask others to spy for you if you don’t want to pretend to be a friend. However, by allowing others to complete your task for you, you expose yourself to weaknesses while you gather knowledge. It’s always preferable to spy on someone while acting like a buddy.
Law 15. Crush Your Enemy Totally
Partially crushing your adversary foretells their inevitable comeback and retaliation. In the end, only the annihilation of your adversaries will bring you peace and tranquility. If you can eliminate all of your adversary’s options, they will be forced to submit to your demands. You will have defeated them by providing them no leverage and no room to move.
Law 16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
You appear more common the more present you are. To improve the perception that you are valuable, cultivate a sense of scarcity around you. If you are now a part of an established group, try to occasionally withdraw so that others will talk about you and think more highly of you.
You must be able to recognize when to retire in order to accomplish this effectively. By unintentionally threatening to leave them forever in the process, you compel their respect. It will appear as though you have been revived when you return from your absence, and everyone will be happy to see you.
Law 17. Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
Humans are creatures of habit who observe other people’s actions for recurring patterns. Your opponents will lose energy trying to anticipate and understand your moves if you appear unpredictable. This entails occasionally striking suddenly. When you behave predictably, you cede control to other people. They will feel intimidated if you act in an unexpected way since they won’t comprehend you, they will think.
Similar to this, if you’re the underdog, utilizing an unpredictable move strategy can make your adversaries make a tactical error.
Law 18. Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous
You cut yourself off from important knowledge if you choose to distance yourself from your adversaries and society at large. You are now more open to attack as a result. As you are more protected in a crowd, it is always preferable to mix with people. Power originates through social contact since people are social beings.
Consequently, you must put yourself in the center of things if you want to become influential. Everything should be focused on you. When things seem uncertain, resist the desire to withdraw. Focus on finding old allies and putting yourself into new social groups rather than withdrawing.
Law 19. Know Who You’re Dealing With – Don’t Offend the Wrong Person
Pick your opponents carefully. Some people will spend the rest of their life pursuing retribution after being vanquished. Therefore, it is advantageous to avoid offending the incorrect person. In terms of gaining and retaining power, the ability to accurately measure people is of utmost importance. Before working with someone, make sure you fully understand them.
However, never trust appearances and never rely on your gut feelings to comprehend a person. To gain a more accurate sense of your target’s character, keep an eye on them for a while.
Law 20. Don’t Commit to Anyone
Make sure you solely support yourself as a cause. At all costs, keep your freedom. You can use this to pit people against one another. When you refuse to support a cause, you inspire respect because you come out as invulnerable. You establish a name for independence.
Also, don’t make commitments to anyone. Avoid getting involved in pointless altercations. Pretend to be interested, but let others fight while you stand by and observe. Frequently, it might be a wise strategy to incite conflicts between parties in order to obtain control by mediating the conflict.
Law 21. Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker – Appear Dumber Than Your Mark
Nobody likes to feel foolish. As a result, it’s a terrific tactic to make your adversaries think you’re wiser than they are. They won’t ever suspect you of having ulterior motivations if they start to think they are smarter than you.
Law 22. Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness Into Power
Surrender before you are about to be defeated. You will have more time as a result to plan your retaliation and torment your adversary. By giving up, you prevent them from getting the joy of taking you out. By doing this, you give the act of giving up power.
By giving in, you gain the upper hand since you trick your adversary into thinking they have won while you plan to ruin them. Because of the confusion this causes, your adversaries are less likely to attack you.
Law 23. Concentrate Your Forces
Put all of your energy into one power source to conserve it. Find a single spring that will provide for you for a very long time when searching for such a source. Finding a single, rich source of power is preferable to hopping between numerous, shallow sources of power in order to increase your power.
There is focused power. Any company will have a select few individuals pulling all the threads, and from them will come the power. As a result, power is similar to oil in that you only need to tap into it once to ensure a lifetime of wealth and power.
Law 24. Play the Perfect Courtier
The courtier uses subtle means to exercise power. They gradually amass an ever-increasing amount of authority by appeasing and bowing to their superiors and only imposing their power through charm and elegance. To become the ideal courtier, one can follow a number of steps, including the following:
- Practicing stoicism - Being frugal with flattery - Tailoring your language and style to suit your target - Refraining from breaking unpleasant news - Never making fun of your superiors - Self-observation - Controlling your feelings - Bringing joy to others
Law 25. Recreate Yourself
Refuse to play the part that society has assigned you. Create a distinct persona for yourself that attracts attention. Instead of allowing people define your image for you, take control of it. Imagine sculpting yourself from clay to become a powerful figure.
To do this, you must first develop self-awareness and emotional control. The next step is to develop a memorable character. From here, you can learn to assume a variety of roles so that you can adjust to the demands of any given circumstance. But keep in mind that overreacting could backfire.
Law 26. Keep Your Hands Clean
You must keep your appearance immaculate. Never let anyone associate you with bad behavior. To accomplish this, use scapegoats to mask your involvement. What you withhold affects your reputation more than what you expose. You should always keep a handy scapegoat on hand in case you need to hide your more shady actions.
You’ll need a cat’s-paw in addition to a scapegoat. This is a person who covers up your involvement while carrying out your dirty task for you. This entails having someone else deliver unpleasant news while you decide to only be associated with positive things.
Law 27. Create a Cult-like Following by Playing on People’s Need to Believe
People desire to have faith in something. They will follow you if you pose as this cult-like entity, which would grant you boundless power. You should take the following actions to develop into such a person:
- Speak in generalities and in straightforward but promising terms. - Place more emphasis on enthusiasm than on intelligence and reason - Create your group with an organized religion-inspired structure. - Mask your money sources. - Establish a "we vs. them" dynamic
Law 28. Enter Action With Boldness
The brave are admired by all. The timid are despised. As a result, you shouldn’t decide on a plan of action hastily. Your reputation will suffer when your doubts are exposed. Always act with confidence. Any errors can readily be made up for by acting even more audaciously.
Few people are courageous from birth. It’s a behavior that must be developed. It needs to be exercised. Similar to arrogance, timidity is an acquired quality. You must stop behaving timidly if you catch yourself doing so and start acting boldly in its place.
Law 29. Plan All the Way to the End
Always make final plans. This entails considering every scenario that can keep you from achieving your ultimate objective. As a result, you will be able to plan for any unexpected events and secure your future.
This will give you the advantage because most people can’t see the big picture because they’re too caught up in the present. Before you take any action, make a thorough plan; avoid making any hazy plans. Your ultimate objective must always be obvious.
Law 30. Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
Make it appear simple to succeed. If you want to avoid others becoming overly curious about your efforts and strategies, keep everything you did to achieve it a secret. Never tell somebody how you got in your position of authority because they might turn around and use it against you. There are several benefits to keeping quiet. Your power seems to increase in proportion to how enigmatic your acts seem to be. It will give the impression that you possess a unique gift that is limitless and impossible for anybody else to imitate.
Law 31. Control the Options: Get Others to Play With the Cards You Deal
Giving your opponents an option will make them feel as though they have some influence over their future. They won’t understand that you are utilizing them as a puppet to select between two outcomes, each of which benefits you.
People hardly ever take into account all the alternative options that can be available when given the option of choosing between two possibilities. Instead, individuals naively decide to think that they have decision-making liberty; too much freedom causes anxiety. You can influence your opponent to play right into your hands by providing them with a limited set of options.
Law 32. Play Into People’s Fantasies
If you appeal to the truth, which is frequently terrible, you run the risk of being overwhelmed with the rage of disillusionment. People will come to you instead because you’re appealing to their imaginations rather than the disillusionment of reality. You can create dreams that promise to be the antithesis of peoples’ existing realities and thus wield a phenomenal power by observing which aspects of daily life are most despised.
Law 33. Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew
Determine your opponent’s weak point. This is frequently an uncontrollable emotion or desire, or perhaps a hidden pleasure. So, keep an eye out for the following:
- Occasions when they act like children, which may be a sign of unresolved trauma from childhood - Contrasts, as an obvious characteristic frequently hides its opponent (i.e., arrogance is often hiding insecurity) - The weak link, which is frequently someone guiding their conduct from behind the scenes. - Strategies for addressing their insecurities or discontent with having tremendous power. - How to support their irrational mood so that you can exert control over them as they won't be able to do so on their own.
Law 34. Be Royal in Your Own Fashion: Act Like a King to Be Treated Like One
The way you carry yourself in public will influence how people perceive and treat you. Make it appear as though you were born to have power by conducting yourself with respect for yourself, assurance, and dignity. We need to train ourselves to have childlike expectations and demands. If you truly believe you are destined for greatness, this conviction will spread and influence others to share it. Less is exactly what you’ll get if you ask for less.
Law 35. Master the Art of Timing
Never appear rushed; patience is a virtue. Teach yourself to be patient and to only act when the time is right. Time is a perception, thus by controlling your emotions, you may stretch your vision of the future and make time seem to pass more slowly. This enables you to develop more patience and gain perspective.
Law 36. Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge
You appear more superior to others if you show less interest in things that annoy you. By recognizing your enemy, you offer them legitimacy and, thus, power. Contrarily, the more you want something, the more difficult it is for you to obtain it since your desire is too intense and causes others to feel uneasy and afraid. Sometimes it’s best to just let things be. Your opponents will lose all patience with you if you turn your back on what you want.
Law 37. Create Compelling Spectacles
Your presence and power will grow if you make large, spectacular gestures. People won’t be able to see through your facade because they will be too distracted by it. Visual gestures have an affective strength and an immediacy that words lack, leaving little opportunity for interpretation. Images bind where words part. Make use of this to your benefit.
Law 38. Think as You Like, but Behave Like Others
People will start to dislike you for making them feel inferior by regularly defying the norm in public. To foster common touch, practice blending in and masking your genuine emotions. You’ll be free to speak your actual beliefs in a focused way if you do this. You can spread your beliefs more widely and with greater likelihood after establishing a strong foundation of support.
Law 39. Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish
You can have an advantage if you can control your temper while upsetting your rivals. You can play with them and disrupt them at will by identifying their weaknesses. They will seem more foolish the more enraged they get. This will lessen their influence.
Law 40. Despise the Free Lunch
Never believe anything you receive for free. Anything worth having must be worth the price. The majority of free items come with a heavy psychological price task. By paying, you avoid being forced to act ungrateful, guilty, or dishonest. Furthermore, spending lavishly is a display of dominance. Generosity makes your adversaries more susceptible to being duped.
Law 41. Avoid Stepping Into a Great Man’s Shoes
Always seeming more original than what comes after is what came first. Stay out of the shadows cast by those who came before you. You must forge your own name and identity by deviating from the path taken by your forebears.
Law 42. Strike the Shepherd, and the Sheep Will Scatter
Typically, one person is to blame for all problems. You can reduce this person’s impact by finding them and keeping them from doing anything. Save your time because if you do, their impact will grow. Power is centered on one or two members in every organization. Consequently, it is crucial to know who is in charge of the group. This is more difficult because troublemakers like to hide their behavior. But if you cut off their energy source, they stop being useful.
Law 43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
People will hate you if they feel pressured into doing something. Instead, you must entice others into acting in your favor without your intervention. You may manipulate people’s emotions and win their hearts and minds by becoming familiar with their psychology and weak points in order to win their loyalty. You can gradually bend someone to your will without them recognizing it by making them more pliable.
Law 44. Disarm and Infuriate With the Mirror Effect
By acting exactly like your adversaries do, you can embarrass them and make them overreact. They find it difficult to figure out your plan since they are dazzled by your mirror because you have led them to believe that you share their beliefs. Giving your adversaries a taste of their own medicine is another effective way to teach them a lesson.
Law 45. Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform Too Much at Once
Respect the way people have been living up to this point if you have recently ascended to a position of power or if you are an outsider attempting to stake a claim for it. An uprising will result from excessive change. Make a change appear to be a moderate and progressive improvement over the previous in order to introduce it.
Law 46. Never Appear Too Perfect
Even more risky than seeming superior to others is appearing immaculate and without flaws. You prevent envy from growing and come off as more approachable by displaying mild vices. By allowing envy to grow, it can take on a variety of negative forms that will ultimately attempt to strip you of your authority. Stop it dead in its tracks by coming across as strong but not flawless.
Law 47. Don’t Go Past the Mark You Aimed For: In Victory, Learn When to Stop
Don’t let success deceive you. When you succeed, that’s frequently when you’re most exposed. Keep your overconfidence in check so you don’t go beyond your intended goal. There might be more foes made as a result than you can handle. Extensive strategic planning is needed. When you’ve succeeded, halt.
Law 48. Assume Formlessness
Being tangible makes you vulnerable to harm. You become ungraspable if you are flexible, adaptable, and active. Recognize and live the truth that everything changes, everywhere. You safeguard yourself from the reality’s ephemeral character by being as fluid as water. You won’t evolve if you don’t alter, and someone else will seize your position. The ability to shift quickly allows the powerful to continuously adapt, which gives them power.