48 laws of Power

“The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene is a self-help book that offers advice on how to gain and maintain power. Here is a summary of each law:

  1. Never Outshine the Master – Make those above you feel superior. Do not show your talents too much; it might make your superiors feel insecure.
  2. Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends; Learn How to Use Enemies – Be wary of friends—they will betray you more quickly because they are more easily aroused to envy. Enemies are more predictable and can be won over with greater ease.
  3. Conceal Your Intentions – Keep people off-balance by never revealing the purpose behind your actions.
  4. Always Say Less Than Necessary – When trying to impress, the more you say, the more common you appear and less in control.
  5. So Much Depends on Reputation; Guard It with Your Life – Reputation is the cornerstone of power, and it is critical to maintain it and protect it.
  6. Court Attention at All Costs – Everything is judged by appearance, what is unseen counts for nothing. Never get lost in the crowd.
  7. Get Others to Do the Work for You, but Always Take the Credit – Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of others to further your own cause.
  8. Make Other People Come to You; Use Bait if Necessary – When you force others to act, you are in control.
  9. Win Through Your Actions, Never Through Argument – It is more powerful to agree through actions rather than through argument.
  10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky – You can die from someone else’s misery—emotional states are as infectious as diseases.
  11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You – If they need you, you have more power.
  12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm Your Victim – A timely gift or honest admission can disarm even the most suspicious person.
  13. When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest, Never Their Mercy or Gratitude – If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds.
  14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy – Learn to probe and find valuable information while giving away nothing.
  15. Crush Your Enemy Totally – All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely.
  16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor – Too much circulation makes the price go down.
  17. Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability – Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions.
  18. Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself; Isolation is Dangerous – The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere; everyone has to protect themselves.
  19. Know Who You’re Dealing with; Do Not Offend the Wrong Person – Never assume that the person you are dealing with is weaker or less important than you are.
  20. Do Not Commit to Anyone – Fools rush to pick a side. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself.
  21. Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker; Seem Dumber than Your Mark – No one likes feeling stupider than the next person.
  22. Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power – When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead.
  23. Concentrate Your Forces – Concentrate your forces to a point where they can make the maximum impact.
  24. Play the Perfect Courtier – Master the art of indirection, flattery, and the social arts.
  25. Re-Create Yourself – Create an identity that commands attention and never bores.
  26. Keep Your Hands Clean – Never get your hands dirty in public; maintain an untarnished reputation.
  27. Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following – People have a need to believe in something; become the focal point of such desire.
  28. Enter Action with Boldness – If you are unsure, do not show it.
  29. Plan All the Way to the End – By planning to the end, you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances.
  30. Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless – Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease.
  31. Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards You Deal – The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice.
  32. Play to People’s Fantasies – The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant.
  33. Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew – Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall.
  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.
  35. Master the Art of Timing – Never seem in a hurry—hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself.
  36. Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge – By acknowledging a petty problem, you give it existence and credibility.
  37. Create Compelling Spectacles – Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power.
  38. Think as You Like but Behave Like Others – If you make a show of going against the times, people will paint you as the enemy.
  39. Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish – Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive.
  40. Despise the Free Lunch – What is offered for free is dangerous—it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation.
  41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes – What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after.
  42. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Scatter – Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual.
  43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others – Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you.
  44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect – The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception.
  45. Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform Too Much at Once – If you are too zealous in your efforts to change, you will create resistance.
  46. Never Appear Too Perfect – Appearing better than others is dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses.
  47. Do Not Go Past the Mark You Aimed For; In Victory, Learn When to Stop – The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril.
  48. Assume Formlessness – By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack.