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Law 1: Never outshine the master.
Law 2: Don't overtrust your friends. Use your enemies.
Law 3: Mask your intentions.
Law 4: Always say less than necessary.
Law 5: Protect your reputation at all costs, since your reputation shapes others’ expectations.
Law 6: Be conspicuous & stand out. Bad publicity is still publicity.
Law 7: Get others to do the work and take the credit. Save your time/energy while building your base.
Law 8: Make people come to you, so you hold all the cards.
Law 9: Win through actions, not argument. Prove your point without offending people.
Law 10: Don’t get infected by misery.
Law 11: Make yourself indispensable, so it’s harder to cut you off.
Law 12: Disarm people with strategic honesty & generosity–use these as tools to win people over.
Law 13: Get help by appealing to self-interest, not goodness.
Law 14: Be a spy. Gather intelligence to know your opponents.
Law 15: Crush your enemy totally. Don’t give them a chance to recover.
Law 16: Raise your value through absence and scarcity. Don’t let people take you for granted.
Law 17: Keep others in suspense by being unpredictable. Keep them second-guessing.
Law 18: Don’t isolate yourself behind a fortress. Have eyes and ears everywhere.
Law 19: Know your opponents and who you’re dealing with.
Law 20: Stay neutral as long as possible to maintain your independence (vs committing to 1 side).
Law 21: Make your victims feel smarter than you, so they drop their guard.
Law 22: Use surrender as a tool. Bide your time for retaliation.
Law 23: Concentrate your forces. Don’t spread them too thin.
Law 24: Be a masterful courtier to balance the various players and power brokers.
Law 25: Create your own identity and use it like a costume.
Law 26: Don’t dirty your hands. Get others to do your dirty work.
Law 27: Create a cult-like following. Play on what people want to see/hear.
Law 28: Act boldly, so you seem confident.
Law 29: Plan till the end, so you won’t be caught by surprise.
Law 30: Make your achievements seem effortless. Don’t show your real success secrets.
Law 31: Control the options but let people think they’re in control.
Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies so they keep following you.
Law 33: Find your opponent’s fatal weakness to break their defences.
Law 34: Act in the way you want to be treated. Be regal and authoritative.
Law 35: Master the art of timing. Strike only at the right hour.
Law 36: Feign disinterest and ignore what you can’t have.
Law 37: Dazzle people with spectacles so they don’t see what you’re really doing.
Law 38: Hide your unorthodox thinking. Pretend to blend in.
Law 39: Stir up waters to catch the fish. Make your opponents reckless while you stay calm.
Law 40: Beware the free lunch. There’re always strings attached.
Law 41: Chart a new course rather than try a big man’s shoes.
Law 42: Strike the shepherd to scatter the sheep. Isolate the leader.
Law 43: Win both hearts and minds. Appeal to both feelings and logic.
Law 44: Unbalance and confuse with the mirror effect (mask reality with illusion).
Law 45: Introduce change gradually. Drastic reforms bring resistance.
Law 46: Don’t seem too perfect or you’ll invite jealousy.
Law 47: Don’t push too far in victory. Know when to stop.
Law 48: Be formless and unpredictable.
“Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by other's experience.”
Pick up a bee from kindness, and learn the limitations of kindness.
You must learn to grab a sword not by its blade, which would cut you, but by the handle, which allows you to defend yourself. The wise man profits more from his enemies, than a fool from his friends.
“Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.”
Undutiful words of a subject do often take deeper root than the memory of ill deeds.... The late Earl of Essex told Queen Elizabeth that her conditions were as crooked as her carcass; but it cost him his head, which his insurrection had not cost him but for that speech.
In the beginning, you must work to establish a reputation for one outstanding quality, whether generosity or honesty or cunning. This quality sets you apart and gets other people to talk about you. You then make your reputation known to as many people as possible (subtly, though; take care to build slowly, and with a firm foundation), and watch as it spreads like wildfire.
I had no need to be a mathematician because I could always hire one.
The Vulture. Of all the creatures in the jungle, he has it the easiest. The hard work of others becomes his work; their failure to survive becomes his nourishment. Keep an eye on the Vulture—while you are hard at work, he is circling above.
Do not fight him, join him.
Life is short, and life is not life without knowledge. It is therefore an excellent device to acquire knowledge from everybody.
When I have laid bait for deer, I don’t shoot at the first doe that comes to sniff, but wait until the whole herd has gathered round.
“The truth is generally seen, rarely heard.”
Only create associations with positive affinities.
Make this a rule of life and you will benefit more than from all the therapy in the world.
It is better to be feared than loved. Fear you can control; love, never.
A Viper crushed beneath your foot but left alive, will rear up and bite you with a double dose of venom. An enemy that is left around is like a half-dead viper that you nurse back to health. Time makes the venom grow stronger.
Everything in the world depends on absence and presence. A strong presence will draw power and attention to you—you shine more brightly than those around you. But a point is inevitably reached where too much presence creates the opposite effect: The more you are seen and heard from, the more your value degrades.
When you meet a swordsman, draw your sword: Do not recite poetry to one who is not a poet.
When you want to court a woman, court her sister first. Stay aloof and people will come to you.
keep yourself free of commitments and obligations—they are the device of another to get you into his power
One should not be too straightforward. Go and see the forest. The straight trees are cut down, the crooked ones are left standing.
HOW TO CREATE A CULT IN FIVE EASY STEPS
Step 1: Keep It Vague; Keep It Simple.
Step 2: Emphasize the Visual and the Sensual over the Intellectual.
Step 3: Borrow the Forms of Organized Religion to Structure the Group.
Step 4: Disguise Your Source of Income.
Step 5: Set Up an Us- Vs -Them Dynamic.
When you are as small and obscure as David was, you must find a Goliath to attack. The larger the target, the more attention you gain. The bolder the attack, the more you stand out from the crowd, and the more admiration you earn. Society is full of those who think daring thoughts but lack the guts to print and publicize them. The world will enjoy the spectacle, and will honor the underdog—you, that is—with glory and power.
He who asks fortune-tellers the future unwittingly forfeits an inner intimation of coming events that is a thousand times more exact than anything they may say.
The Hawk. Patiently and silently it circles the sky, high above, all-seeing with its powerful eyes. Those below have no awareness that they are being tracked. Suddenly, when the moment arrives, the hawk swoops down with a speed that cannot be de fended against; before its prey knows what has happened, the bird’s viselike talons have carried it up into the sky.
MAN: Kick him—he’ll forgive you.
Flatter him—he may or may not see through you. But ignore him and he’ll hate you.
“Nothing is more costly than something given free of charge.”
Necessity is what impels men to take action, and once the necessity is gone, only rot and decay are left.
A Flock of Fatted Sheep. Do not waste precious time trying to steal a sheep or two; do not risk life and limb by setting upon the dogs that guard the flock. Aim at the shepherd. Lure him away and the dogs will follow. Strike him down and the flock will scatter—you can pick them off one by one.
Admiration is happy self-surrender; envy is unhappy selfassertion.
Good luck is more dangerous than bad luck. Bad luck teaches valuable lessons about patience, timing, and the need to be prepared for the worst; good luck deludes you into the opposite lesson, making you think your brillliance will carry you through. Your fortune will inevitably turn, and when it does you will be completely unprepared.
"A good curated idea should be like a girl's skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest."
Curious about different takes? Check out our The 48 Laws of Power Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.
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