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William Franco
William Franco

The 48 Laws Of Power ##BEST##

Greene states that the better you become at handing power, the better friend, lover, and person you will become. This is because you learn how to make others feel good about themselves, which makes them dependent on you as a source of great pleasure to be around.

The 48 Laws of Power

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. Hide the extent of your own talents, as your masters may otherwise feel insecure. The better you make your master appear, the greater the level of power you will attain. Those above you want to feel secure and superior in their positions. This may involve making a few harmless mistakes so that you can ask your master for help.

Powerful people know how to impress others by saying less. The more you say, the more likely it is that you will end up saying something foolish. As people are constantly trying to work out what others appear to be thinking, silence makes them feel uncomfortable. By controlling what you reveal, you can wield great power. After all, they are likely to fill in the silences you leave, revealing more information about their own intentions and weaknesses.

Your reputation is the cornerstone of your power. You can use it to intimidate and win, but if it becomes tarnished, you open yourself up to being vulnerable to attack. Make your reputation impenetrable, and predict attacks before they occur. Aid yourself in this endeavor by destroying your enemies by exploiting holes in their reputations and letting the public destroy them.

The incurably unhappy tend to portray themselves as victims, and before you realize they are the cause of their own misfortune, they have infected you with their misery. Who you decide to associate with is critical. Through associating with the miserable, you waste your valuable time and drain your potential power.

Therefore, to become powerful, you must place yourself at the center of things. Activity should revolve around you. Resist the urge to retreat when things feel uncertain. Instead of turning inward, focus on seeking out old allies and forcing yourself into new social circles.

Choose your opponents wisely. There are some people that once defeated, will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge. Consequently, it pays to not offend the wrong person. The skill of correctly measuring people is the most important with regard to getting and maintaining power. Be sure to know everything about a person before you work with them.

Further, do not commit to anyone. Stay out of petty fights and squabbles. Feign interest, but let others do the fighting while you watch and wait. Often, it can be a good tactic to stir up quarrels between two parties and then gain power by acting as the go-between.

Surrender before you are about to be defeated. This buys you more time to plot your revenge, and to torment your conqueror. By surrendering, you deny them the satisfaction of destroying you. In doing so, you make the act of surrender a tool of power.

Conserve your energies by focusing them all into a single source of power. When looking for such a source, identify a single spring that will sustain you for a long time to come. You gain more power by finding a singular rich source than by flitting between many more shallow sources of power.

Power exists in concentrated form. In any organization, power will emanate from a small group of people who are holding all the strings. Consequently, power is like oil, you only need to strike it once to assure yourself a lifetime of wealth and power.

The courtier wields power through discrete avenues. By flattering and yielding to their superiors and only enforcing their power through charm and grace, they gradually accumulate an ever-increasing amount of power. There are several steps one can take to become the perfect courtier, and they involve the following:

Do not accept the role that society has given you. Forge your own identity, one that commands attention. Master your image rather than letting others dictate it for you. Remake yourself into a figure of power as if molding yourself from clay.

People want to believe in something. By inventing yourself as this cult-like entity, they will follow you and give you untold amounts of power. To become such a figure, you need to follow these steps:

Make your success seem easy. Conceal all the toil and tricks you used to attain it, as it otherwise arouses too much curiosity in others. Never reveal how you reached your position of power to anyone, or they may use it against you. There are great advantages to remaining silent. The more mysterious your actions appear, the greater your power appears to be. It will make it seem as if you have an exclusive gift that no one can replicate and that knows no limits.

By consistently going against the grain in public, people will begin to resent you for making them feel inferior. Practice blending in and hiding your true feelings to nurture the common touch. By doing so, you will be left alone to express your true beliefs in a targeted manner. Once a base of power is established, you can then begin to disseminate your beliefs gradually, and they are more likely to be adopted.

If you can stay calm while infuriating your opponents, you can gain an advantage. By finding their weaknesses, you can disturb them and play with them at will. The more angry they become, the more ridiculous they will appear. This will reduce their power.

Never trust anything that comes for free. Anything of worth is worth paying for. Most things that come for free come with a burdensome psychological price task. By paying, you avoid falling into the trap of having to be grateful, guilty, or deceitful. Further, being lavish with your money is a sign of power. Generosity softens up your opponents into being deceived.

If you have recently entered a position of power or are an outsider trying to make a claim for it, respect the way people have been living up until this point. Too much change will engender a revolt. To introduce change, make it seem like a gradual and gentle improvement on the past.

While appearing superior to others is dangerous, to appear faultless and without weakness is even more perilous. By displaying harmless vices, you prevent envy from developing, and you make yourself appear more approachable. By letting envy fester, it can manifest in a host of problematic ways that will ultimately try to rob you of your power. Stop it in its tracks by making yourself seem powerful but not faultless.

By being tangible, you open yourself up to attack. To be malleable, adaptable, and on the move makes you ungraspable. Accept that everything, everywhere changes, and embody this truth. By being as fluid as water, you protect yourself from the ever-shifting nature of reality. By refusing to adapt and to change, you fail to evolve and your power will be usurped. The powerful are constantly adapting, and their power comes from the speed at which they can change.

Chapter One LAW 1 NEVER OUTSHINE THE MASTER JUDGMENT Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite--inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power. TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's finance minister in the first years of his reign, was a generous man who loved lavish parties, pretty women, and poetry. He also loved money, for he led an extravagant lifestyle. Fouquet was clever and very much indispensable to the king, so when the prime minister, Jules Mazarin, died, in 1661, the finance minister expected to be named the successor. Instead, the king decided to abolish the position. This and other signs made Fouquet suspect that he was falling out of favor, and so he decided to ingratiate himself with the king by staging the most spectacular party the world had ever seen. The party's ostensible purpose would be to commemorate the completion of Fouquet's chateau, Vaux-le- Vicomte, but its real function was to pay tribute to the king, the guest of honor. The most brilliant nobility of Europe and some of the greatest minds of the time--La Fontaine, La Rochefoucauld, Madame de Sevigne --attended the party. Moliere wrote a play for the occasion, in which he himself was to perform at the evening's conclusion. The party began with a lavish seven-course dinner, featuring foods from the Orient never before tasted in France, aswell as new dishes created especially for the night. The meal was accompanied with music commissioned by Fouquet to honor the king. After dinner there was a promenade through the chateau's gardens. The grounds and fountains of Vaux-le-Vicomte were to be the inspiration for Versailles. Fouquet personally accompanied the young king through the geometrically aligned arrangements of shrubbery and flower beds. Arriving at the gardens' canals, they witnessed a fireworks display, which was followed by the performance of Moliere's play. The party ran well into the night and everyone agreed it was the most amazing affair they had ever attended. The next day, Fouquet was arrested by the king's head musketeer, D'Artagnan. Three months later he went on trial for stealing from the country's treasury. (Actually, most of the stealing he was accused of he had done on the king's behalf and with the king's permission.) Fouquet was found guilty and sent to the most isolated prison in France, high in the Pyrenees Mountains, where he spent the last twenty years of his life in solitary confinement. Interpretation Louis XIV, the Sun King, was a proud and arrogant man who wanted to be the center of attention at all times; he could not countenance being outdone in lavishness by anyone, and certainly not his finance minister. To succeed Fouquet, Louis chose Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a man famous for his parsimony and for giving the dullest parties in Paris. Colbert made sure that any money liberated from the treasury went straight into Louis's hands. With the money, Louis built a palace even more magnificent than Fouquet's--the glorious palace of Versailles. He used the same architects, decorators, and garden designer. And at Versailles, Louis hosted parties even more extravagant than the one that cost Fouquet his freedom. Let us examine the situation. The evening of the party, as Fouquet presented spectacle on spectacle to Louis, each more magnificent than the one before, he imagined the affair as demonstrating his loyalty and devotion to the king. Not only did he think the party would put him back in the king's favor, he thought it would show his good taste, his connections, and his popularity, making him indispensable to the king and demonstrating that he would make an excellent prime minister. Instead, however, each new spectacle, each appreciative smile bestowed by the guests on Fouquet, made it seem to Louis that his own friends and subjects were more charmed by the finance minister than by the king himself, and that Fouquet was actually flaunting his wealth and power. Rather than flattering Louis XIV, Fouquet's elaborate party offended the king's vanity. Louis would not admit this to anyone, of course--instead, he found a convenient excuse to rid himself of a man who had inadvertently made him feel insecure. Such is the fate, in some form or other, of all those who unbalance the master's sense of self, poke holes in his vanity, or make him doubt his preeminence. OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW In the early 1600s, the Italian astronomer and mathematician Galileo found himself in a precarious position. He depended on the generosity of great rulers to support his research, and so, like all Renaissance scientists, he would sometimes make gifts of his inventions and discoveries to the leading patrons of the time. Once, for instance, he presented a military compass he had invented to the Duke of Gonzaga. Then he dedicated a book explaining the use of the compass to the Medicis. Both rulers were grateful, and through them Galileo was able to find more students to teach. No matter how great the discovery, however, his patrons usually paid him with gifts, not cash. This made for a life of constant insecurity and dependence. There must be an easier way, he thought. Galileo hit on a new strategy in 1610, when he discovered the moons of Jupiter. Instead of dividing the discovery among his patrons--giving one the telescope he had used, dedicating a book to another, and so on--as he had done in the past, he decided to focus exclusively on the Medicis. He chose the Medicis for one reason: Shortly after Cosimo I had established the Medici dynasty, in 1540, he had made Jupiter, the mightiest of the gods, the Medici symbol--a symbol of a power that went beyond politics and banking, one linked to ancient Rome and its divinities. Galileo turned his discovery of Jupiter's moons into a cosmic event honoring the Medicis' greatness. Shortly after the discovery, he announced that "the bright stars [the moons of Jupiter] offered themselves in the heavens" to his telescope at the same time as Cosimo II's enthronement. He said that the number of the moons--four--harmonized with the number of the Medicis (Cosimo II had three brothers) and that the moons orbited Jupiter as these four sons revolved around Cosimo I, the dynasty's founder. More than coincidence, this showed that the heavens themselves reflected the ascendancy of the Medici family. After he dedicated the discovery to the Medicis, Galileo commissioned an emblem representing Jupiter sitting on a cloud with the four stars circling about him, and presented this to Cosimo II as a symbol of his link to the stars. In 1610 Cosimo II made Galileo his official court philosopher and mathematician, with a full salary. For a scientist this was the coup of a lifetime. The days of begging for patronage were over. Interpretation In one stroke, Galileo gained more with his new strategy than he had in years of begging. The reason is simple: All masters want to appear more brilliant than other people. They do not care about science or empirical truth or the latest invention; they care about their name and their glory. Galileo gave the Medicis infinitely more glory by linking their name with cosmic forces than he had by making them the patrons of some new scientific gadget or discovery. Scientists are not spared the vagaries of court life and patronage. They too must serve masters who hold the purse strings. And their great intellectual powers can make the master feel insecure, as if he were only there to supply the funds--an ugly, ignoble job. The producer of a great work wants to feel he is more than just the provider of the financing. He wants to appear creative and powerful, and also more important than the work produced in his name. Instead of insecurity you must give him glory. Galileo did not challenge the intellectual authority of the Medicis with his discovery, or make them feel inferior in any way; by literally aligning them with the stars, he made them shine brilliantly among the courts of Italy. He did not outshine the master, he made the master outshine all others. KEYS TO POWER Everyone has insecurities. When you show yourself in the world and display your talents, you naturally stir up all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity. This is to be expected. You cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others. With those above you, however, you must take a different approach: When it comes to power, outshining the master is perhaps the worst mistake of all. Do not fool yourself into thinking that life has changed much since the days of Louis XIV and the Medicis. Those who attain high standing in life are like kings and queens: They want to feel secure in their positions, and superior to those around them in intelligence, wit, and charm. It is a deadly but common misperception to believe that by displaying and vaunting your gifts and talents, you are winning the master's affection. He may feign appreciation, but at his first opportunity he will replace you with someone less intelligent, less attractive, less threatening, just as Louis XIV replaced the sparkling Fouquet with the bland Colbert. And as with Louis, he will not admit the truth, but will find an excuse to rid himself of your presence. This Law involves two rules that you must realize. First, you can inadvertently outshine a master simply by being yourself. There are masters who are more insecure than others, monstrously insecure; you may naturally outshine them by your charm and grace. No one had more natural talents than Astorre Manfredi, prince of Faenza. The most handsome of all the young princes of Italy, he captivated his subjects with his generosity and open spirit. In the year 1500, Cesare Borgia laid siege to Faenza. When the city surrendered, the citizens expected the worst from the cruel Borgia, who, however, decided to spare the town: He simply occupied its fortress, executed none of its citizens, and allowed Prince Manfredi, eighteen at the time, to remain with his court, in complete freedom. A few weeks later, though, soldiers hauled Astorre Manfredi away to a Roman prison. A year after that, his body was fished out of the River Tiber, a stone tied around his neck. Borgia justified the horrible deed with some sort of trumped-up charge of treason and conspiracy, but the real problem was that he was notoriously vain and insecure. The young man was outshining him without even trying. Given Manfredi's natural talents, the prince's mere presence made Borgia seem less attractive and charismatic. The lesson is simple: If you cannot help being charming and superior, you must learn to avoid such monsters of vanity. Either that, or find a way to mute your good qualities when in the company of a Cesare Borgia. Second, never imagine that because the master loves you, you can do anything you want. Entire books could be written about favorites who fell out of favor by taking their status for granted, for daring to outshine. In late-sixteenth-century Japan, the favorite of Emperor Hideyoshi was a man called Sen no Rikyu. The premier artist of the tea ceremony, which had become an obsession with the nobility, he was one of Hideyoshi's most trusted advisers, had his own apartment in the palace, and was honored throughout Japan. Yet in 1591, Hideyoshi had him arrested and sentenced to death. Rikyu took his own life, instead. The cause for his sudden change of fortune was discovered later: It seems that Rikyu, former peasant and later court favorite, had had a wooden statue made of himself wearing sandals (a sign of nobility) and posing loftily. He had had this statue placed in the most important temple inside the palace gates, in clear sight of the royalty who often would pass by. To Hideyoshi this signified that Rikyu had no sense of limits. Presuming that he had the same rights as those of the highest nobility, he had forgotten that his position depended on the emperor, and had come to believe that he had earned it on his own. This was an unforgivable miscalculation of his own importance and he paid for it with his life. Remember the following: Never take your position for granted and never let any favors you receive go to your head. Knowing the dangers of outshining your master, you can turn this Law to your advantage. First you must flatter and puff up your master. Overt flattery can be effective but has its limits; it is too direct and obvious, and looks bad to other courtiers. Discreet flattery is much more powerful. If you are more intelligent than your master, for example, seem the opposite: Make him appear more intelligent than you. Act naive. Make it seem that you need his expertise. Commit harmles


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