The 48 laws of power, to me, is one of the greatest books…of all time. Robert Greene covers every aspect required for those who crave power, at whatever hierarchy they find themselves in life. The book covers 48 organized and adequately proven laws, backed by historical happenings and power plays of time past, by people like Thomas Edison, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar and many more.
Power, as you know, is characterized by a lot of seduction, ruthlessness, manipulation, deception, lies, and sometimes even murder. Hence, a number of the laws have a level of evil to it. I have compiled a list comprising 6 laws that I consider to be the most unconventional of the pack.
- LAW 7: Get others to do the work for you but always take the credit
This is the law that houses the popular story of Thomas Edison and how he took credit for the works of Nikola Tesla. The law in itself is very clear – “never do what others can do for you”. Why work hard to do anything when you can leach upon someone else’s hard work and take advantage of it to further your own cause. Wicked? Well…
- LAW 8: Make other people come to you- use bait if necessary
Making other people come to you does not seem so bad, until you have to use bait. You simply set traps by making the opponent come to you by creating an illusion that he/she is in control. A very subtle form of manipulation, Greene says if you can get other people to dig their own graves, why sweat yourself? An example of this is how pickpockets put up signs that read “Beware of pickpockets” just so they know the pockets to pick from
- LAW 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim
This law validates deception by using the perfect smokescreen; that is, putting up a nice or honest façade.
“The essence of deception is distraction and distracting the people you want to deceive gives you the time and space to do something they won’t notice”.
An act of kindness or generosity is the most powerful tool for distraction because it disarms suspicions. Like the Trojan horse of the Greek, give solely for the purpose of taking more.
- LAW 15: Crush your enemy totally
Two words – Total Annihilation. In simpler terms, have no mercy. Do not leave your enemies half dead (contextually or otherwise), as they will spring up more determined, more embittered, and someday take revenge. If you have seen the 1972 movie “The Godfather”, you would certainly understand the need for this.
“A viper crushed beneath your foot but left alive, will rear up and bite you with a double dose of venom”
- LAW 26: Keep your hands clean
I really wish this law was talking about personal hygiene rather than another evil power tactic. Law 26 continues from Law 5 (So much depends on your reputation- guard it with your life)
This law is broken down into 2 interesting parts.
- Conceal your mistakes – have a scapegoat around to take the blame: Simply put, push all of your mistakes and sins to someone else and let him be persecuted for it.
- Make use of the Cat’s paw: Robert Greene explains the Cat’s paw as someone who does the dirty and dangerous work for you; staining their own hands while yours remain spotless. The Cat’s paw saves your appearance and your energy.
- Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies
Playing to people‘s fantasies is another form of easy deception. Promise the moon and the big pot of gold and you will take hold of the masses. The politicians that use this tactic are usually the people‘s favorites, at least for a while. Nobody really wants to hear the truth- a lie is more palatable.
While Robert Greene has been chastised for some of these laws, it is important to note that power is a dirty game. If you have not read this masterpiece yet, you certainly should or simply watch this space for the full review. If you have, tell me what you think about these- are they truly the meanest laws?