The 48 Laws of Power - Deepstash
The 48 Laws of Power


91.2K reads

The 48 Laws of Power

by Robert Greene

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Never outshine your master.

  • A master who cannot bestow on you the gifts of his experience may direct rancor and ill will at you instead


14.1K reads

Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use your enemies

  • Friends are easily aroused to envy
  • Without enemies around us, we grow lazy. An enemy at our heels sharpens our wits, keeping us focused and alert. It is sometimes better
  • Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure
  • Work with enemies because the relationship is based on mutual self-interest, and not be contaminated by personal feelings


5.91K reads

Conceal your intentions

  • By telling your plan and being honest about it makes you predictable
  • Bland facial expression is the simplest smoke screen to hide your thoughts
  • Another effective smoke screen is the pattern, the establishment of a series of actions that seduce the victim into believing you will continue in the same way. The pattern plays on the psychology of anticipation: Our behavior conforms to patterns, or so we like to think.


5.11K reads

Always say less than necessary

  • The more you say, the more common you appear
  • "Human tongue is a beast that few can master"
  • Once the words are out, you cannot take them back. Keep them under control. Be particularly careful with sarcasm: The momentary satisfaction you gain with your biting words will be outweighed by the price you pay


4.94K reads

So much depends on reputation, guard it with your life.

  • You must work to establish a reputation for one outstanding quality, whether generosity or honesty or cunning
  • If your reputation is stained, it is wise to associate with someone whose image is counteract with your own


4.69K reads

Court attention at all cost

  • At the beginning of your rise to the top, then, spend all your energy on attracting attention. Most important: The quality of the attention is irrelevant
  • Court controversy, even scandal. It is better to be attacked, even slandered, than ignored
  • BUT Never appear overly greedy for attention, for it signals insecurity, and insecurity drives power away


4.19K reads

Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit

  • Kissinger played the game expertly: He took credit for the work of those below him while graciously giving credit for his own labors to those above
  • Never do yourself what others can do for you


3.72K reads

Law #8

Make other come to you use bait if neccessary

  • The essence of power is the ability to keep the initiative, to get others to react to your moves, to keep your opponent and those around you on the defensive
  • You yourself must learn to master your emotions, and never to be influenced by anger; meanwhile, however, you must play on people's natural tendency to react angrily when pushed and baited


2.85K reads

Win through your actions, never through argument

  • Each man believes that he is right, and words will rarely convince him otherwise
  • Demonstrate, do not explicate


3.72K reads

Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky

  • Recognize the fortunate so that you may choose their company, and the unfortunate so that you may avoid them
  • Those misfortunates among us who were brought down by circumstances beyond their control deserve all the help and sympathy we can give them
  • But there are others who are not born to misfortune or unhappiness, but who draw it upon themselves by their destructive actions and unsettling effect on others. Avoid this kind of person immediately


2.49K reads

Learn to keep people dependant on you

  • Such is the fate of those who do not make others dependent on them. Sooner or later someone come along who can do the job as well as them; someone younger, fresher, less expensive, less threatening
  • Be the only one who can do what you do, and make the fate of those who hire you so entwined with yours that they cannot get rid of you
  • Better make others depends on you out of fear of consequences of losing you than out of love of your company


2.1K reads

Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

  • Give before you take
  • A gift brings out the child in us, instantly lowering our defenses
  • Selective kindness will often break down even the most stubborn foe: Aiming right for the heart, it corrodes the will to fight back
  • As with any emotional approach, the tactic must be practiced with caution: If people see through it, their disappointed feelings of gratitude and warmth will become the most violent hatred and distrust


2.06K reads

When asking for help, appeal to people's self-interest, never to 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
  • Every person you deal with is like another culture, an alien land with a past that has nothing to do with yours. Yet you can bypass the differences between you and him by appealing to his self-interest
  • At each step on the way to acquiring power, you must train yourself to think your way inside the other person's mind


1.76K reads

Pose as a friend, work as a spy

  • If you have reason to suspect that a person is telling you a lie, look as though you believed every word he said. This will give him courage to go on; he will become more vehement in his assertions, and in the end betray himself. Again, if you perceive that a person is trying to conceal something from you, but with only partial success, look as though you did not believe him. The opposition on your part will provoke him into leading out his reserve of truth and bringing the whole force of it to bear upon your incredulity.


1.53K reads

Crush your enemy totally

  • Those who seek to achieve things should show no mercy
  • In your struggle for power you will stir up rivalries and create enemies. There will be people you cannot win over, who will remain your enemies no matter what. But whatever wound you inflicted on them, deliberately or not, do not take their hatred personally. Just recognize that there is no possibility of peace between you, especially as long as you stay in power


1.44K reads

Use absence to increase respect and honor

  • Familiarity in this existence makes all things tame
  • Absence diminishes minor passions and inflames great ones, as the wind douses a candle and fans afire


  • The need to withdraw only comes after you have established your presence; leave too early and you do not increase your respect, you are simply forgotten


1.53K reads

Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability

  • A person of power instills a kind of fear by deliberately unsettling those around him to keep the initiative on his side
  • Scrambling your patterns on a day-to-day basis will cause a stir around you and stimulate interest


  • Too much unpredictability will be seen as a sign of indecisiveness, or even some more serious psychic problems. Patterns are powerful, and you can terrify people by disrupting them. Such power should only be used judiciously


1.23K reads

Do not build fortress to protect yourself, isolation is dangerous

  • Because humans are social creatures by nature, power depends on social interaction and circulation. To make yourself powerful you must place yourself at the center of things


1.64K reads

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
  • We forget a lot in our lives, but we rarely forget an insult
  • Swallow the impulse to offend, even if the other person seems weak. The satisfaction is meager compared to the danger that someday he or she will be in a position to hurt you


1.23K reads

Do not commit to anyone

  • Desire is like a virus: If we see that someone is desired by other people, we tend to find this person desirable too
  • Alcibiades tactic: Put yourself in the middle between competing powers. Lure one side with the promise of your help; the other side, always wanting to outdo its enemy, will pursue you as well. As each side vies for your attention, you will immediately seem a person of great influence and desirability


1.23K reads

Play a sucker to catch a sucker. Seem dumber than your mark

  • The feeling that someone else is more intelligent than we are is almost intolerable
  • We usually try to justify it in different ways: “He only has book knowledge, whereas I have real knowledge.” “Her parents paid for her to get a good education. If my parents had had as much money, if I had been as privileged.. . .” “He's not as smart as he thinks.” Last but not least: “She may know her narrow little field better than I do, but beyond that she's really not smart at all.
  • never inadvertently insult or impugn a person's brain power


990 reads

Use the surrender tactic: turn weakness into power

  • Surrender conceals great power: Lulling the enemy into complacency, it gives you time to recoup, time to undermine, time for revenge
  • You have to remember that you only appear to surrender, like the animal that plays dead to save its hide


1.15K reads

Concentrate your forces

  • Beware of dissipating your powers; strive constantly to concentrate them
  • Prize intensity more than extensity. Perfection resides in quality, not quantity


1.28K reads

Play the perfect courtier

  • Never seem to be working too hard. Your talent must appear to flow naturally, with an ease that makes people take you for a genius rather than a workaholic
  • Most important: Do not ask for favors on another person's behalf, least of all a friend's
  • Do not overstep your bounds. Do what you are assigned to do, to the best of your abilities, and never do more


998 reads

Recreate yourself

  • The world wants to assign you a role in life. And once you accept that role, you are doomed
  • Adopt the plasticity of the actor, who can mold his or her face to the emotion required.


1.08K reads

Keep your hands clean

  • By apologizing you open up all sorts of doubts about your competence, your intentions, any other mistakes you may not have confessed
  • Power depends on appearances, and those in power must seem never to make mistakes
  • All men make mistakes, but the wise conceal the blunders they have made, while fools make them public


975 reads

Play on people need to believe to create a cult like following

  • Always in a rush to believe in something, we will manufacture saints and faiths out of nothing


1.09K reads

Enter action with boldness

  • Hesitation puts obstacles in your path, boldness eliminates them
  • If boldness is not natural, neither is timidity. It is an acquired habit, picked up out of a desire to avoid conflict. If timidity has taken hold of you, then, root it out. Your fears of the consequences of a bold action are way out of proportion to reality, and in fact the consequences of timidity are worse


864 reads

Plan all the way to the end

  • Most men are ruled by the heart, not the head. Their plans are vague, and when they meet obstacles they improvise
  • But improvisation will only bring you as far as the next crisis, and is never a substitute for thinking several steps ahead and planning to the end.
  • Experience shows that, if one foresees from far away the designs to be undertaken, one can act with speed when the moment comes to execute them


747 reads

Make your accomplishments seem effortless

  • Keep your effort and your tricks to yourself and you seem to have the grace and ease of a god
  • What is understandable is not awe-inspiring, we tell ourselves we could do as well if we had the money and time


855 reads

Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal

  • unlimited options would actually paralyze us and cloud our ability to choose. Our limited range of choices comforts us
  • Push them to “choose” what you want them to do by appearing to advocate the opposite.


805 reads

Play to people's fantasies

  • People rarely believe that their problems arise from their own misdeeds and stupidity
  • Change is slow and gradual. It requires hard work, a bit of luck, a fair amount of self-sacrifice, and a lot of patience.
  • Truth is cold, sober fact, not so comfortable to absorb. A lie is more palatable. The most detested person in the world is the one who always tells the truth, who never romances


684 reads

Discover each man's thumbscrew

  • If you sense that a man has a need to be loved, openly flatter him
  • People who thump their chests are often big cowards, you will often find people's weaknesses in the opposite of the qualities they reveal to you
  • All you have to do is find ways to make people feel better about their taste, their social standing, their intelligence


673 reads

Law #34

Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one

  • Never lose your self-respect, nor be too familiar with yourself when you are alone
  • It is within your power to set your own price. How you carry yourself reflects what you think of yourself
  • Never make the mistake of thinking that you elevate yourself by humiliating people


698 reads

Master the art of timing

  • steady continuous effort is irresistible, for this is the way in which Time captures and subdues the greatest powers on earth
  • Without patience as your sword and shield, your timing will fail and you will inevitably find yourself a loser


779 reads

Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge

  • You choose to let things bother you. You can just as easily choose not to notice the irritating offender, to consider the matter trivial and unworthy of your interest
  • By acknowledging other people, even if only to fight with them, you open yourself to their influence
  • Uncontrollable desire makes you seem weak, unworthy, pathetic


689 reads

Create compelling spectacles

  • Find an image or symbol from the past that will neatly fit your situation, and put it on your shoulders like a cape. It will make you seem larger than life
  • Visual is the sense we most depend on and trust


749 reads

Think as you like but behave like others

  • Disagreement is regarded as offensive because it is a condemnation of the views of others
  • there is no point in making a display of your dangerous ideas if diey only bring you suffering and persecution


743 reads

Stir up water to catch fish

  • To show your frustration is to show that you have lost your power to shape events; it is the helpless action of the child who resorts to a hysterical fit to get his way
  • Tantrums neither intimidate nor inspire loyalty
  • We have to realize that nothing in the social realm, and in the game of power, is personal
  • When the waters are still, your opponents have the time and space to plot actions that they will initiate and control. So stir the waters, force the fish to the surface, get them to act before they are ready, steal the initiative


537 reads

Despise the free lunch

  • By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit
  • Powerful people judge everything by what it costs, not just in money but in time, dignity, and peace of mind


759 reads

Avoid stepping into a great man's shoes

  • Power depends on appearing larger than other people, and when you are lost in the shadow of the father, the king, the great predecessor, you cannot possibly project such a presence
  • If you have the kind of intelligence and instinct that will point you in the right direction, playing the rebel will not be dangerous. But if you are mediocre, as Joseph II was in comparison to his mother, you are better off learning from your predecessor's knowledge and experience, which are based on something real.


557 reads

Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

  • Do not waste your time lashing out in all directions at what seems to be a many-headed enemy. Find the one head that matters
  • Stirrers thrive by hiding in the group, disguising their actions among the reactions of others. Render their actions visible and they lose their power to upset


631 reads

Work on the hearts and minds of others

  • it is so infuriating to meet with a person who makes no effort to seduce you or attempt to persuade you, even if only for the purpose of deception
  • The men who have changed the universe have never gotten there by working on leaders, but rather by moving the masses. Working on leaders is the method of intrigue and only leads to secondary results. Working on the masses, however, is the stroke of genius that changes the face of the world


541 reads

Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

  • Do what your enemies do, following their actions as best you can, and they cannot see what you are up to, they are blinded by your mirror
  • The secret to gaining ascendancy over large numbers, he came to believe, was not to impose his colors but to absorb the colors of those around him


593 reads

Preach the need for change but never reform too much at once

  • Because the world is and always has been full of insecurity and threat, we latch on to familiar faces and create habits and rituals to make the world more comfortable
  • Just as you cannot make people see the world your way, you cannot wrench them into die future with painful changes


575 reads

Never appear too perfect

  • Only a minority can succeed at the game of life, and that minority inevitably arouses the envy of those around them
  • Once success happens your way, the people to fear the most are those in your own circle. Feeling of inferiority gnaw at them; the thought of your success only heightens their feelings of stagnation
  • Never be so foolish as to believe that you are stirring up admiration by flaunting the qualities that raise you above others


670 reads

Do not go past the mark you aim for, In victory learn when to stop

  • In the realm of power, you must be guided by reason. To let a momentary thrill or an emotional victory influence or guide your moves will prove fatal
  • Mistakes are always made when people get to the easy places
  • Success plays strange tricks on the mind. It makes you feel invulnerable, while also making you more hostile and emotional when people challenge your power


695 reads

Assume formlessness

  • Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed
  • Learn to move fast and adapt or you will be eaten.
  • Formlessness is a tool. Never confuse it with a go-with-the-flow style, or with a religious resignation to the twists of fortune


1.05K reads

  • In pursuit of power, you must change who you are
  • Mediocrity doesn't attract power
  • Patience is key
  • Control your emotions
  • Be aware of your actions


1.11K reads


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