The top 10 laws from the 48 laws of power by Robert Greene
In the proceeding paragraphs I will be going over the top 10 laws in the book that is banned in some prisons - The 48 laws of power by Robert Greene - based on there adaptability to the current world we live in, ability to help gain power and my personal opinion after reading the book and experimenting with some of the advice myself.
#1. Law 4 Always say less than what is necessary
This is one of my favorite laws of the book and one that I practice in my everyday life.
There are many reasons why talking less than necessary is a valuable skill to acquire and it all comes down to having more power than the other person.
Many people would believe that by talking less you are giving up control of a conversation when in actual fact this is an offensive play, putting the other person on the defensive.
This is often used as a sales technique in which the seller will offer a deal to their prospects and wait roughly around 4 to 8 seconds in silence which compels the buyer to fill the silent void by agreeing to the deal.
By talking less, you make people reveal more about themselves and if you are a good listener, you can use this information to your advantage. One of my favorite quotes is this, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” so stick to that ratio when speaking and listening.
Looking at it from the opposite perspective, you also don’t want to give too much away about yourself, so keeping quiet about your next move is a great skill to have.
Another reason to only talk when necessary… is exactly that, it is not necessary. We often stuff words into our sentences maybe to sound more intelligent, but it often has the opposite effect and can lead to slipping up and saying the wrong thing entirely.
Lasty, your words have great value and the more you talk, the more the value depreciates. The quietest person in the room is often the most valuable and intelligent.
One of the stories that this book uses to display this is that of Louis XIV He famously used the phrase “I shall see.” when asked questions by his servants and courtiers, making it hard for them to know his true intentions.
This rule should be practiced with caution because silence can arouse suspicion and insecurity in those around you, so use it wisely.
#2. Law 11 Learn to keep people dependent on you
This is one of Robert Greene’s the author favorite laws in the whole book and I can totally see why it is.
Keeping people dependent on you might sound very manipulative and an unheard of tactic, however, it is actually very common, especially in the workplace.
Those that have a certain set of skills, values or characteristics that sets them apart from everyone else are the ones that get a raise or even a promotion and climb the career ladder, because others success is dependent on that one person who can’t be replaced.
You need to be able to do something that nobody else can do, or at least the way that you do it. This can be done by dedicating your time and efforts to one attribute, whether it be learning the new skill or having a certain personality trait.
A funny example of this law used in the book is that of Louis XI who had an astrologer who had previously predicted the death of someone correctly, this made king Louis believe in the man’s ability but also scared him because of the accuracy so he ordered his guards to kill the astrologer on his command at an arranged meeting.
Before Louis signaled for the astrologer to be killed Louis asked him what his fate would be and when would he die. Sensing that he was about to be killed the astrologer replied “I will die three days before your majesty.”
The king spared the man’s life out of the fear his prediction would be right, showering the astrologer with gifts and medical support to ensure that he would live a very long life. In the end the astrologer ended up living longer than the king himself.
#3. law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim
this is a great weapon to disarm anyone that you need to get the better of. Everybody, especially people that you don’t already know automatically have their back up and won’t trust you with anything. You need to use selective honesty and generosity to break them down.
It can also be used as a trojan horse when dealing with enemies. Make them think that you are giving and then strike them whilst their guard is down.
Trust is such an important thing when it comes to relationships and power and that’s why using honesty as a weapon to break down people’s barriers.
You must keep in mind that this law works both ways and you need to defend yourself from people using it against. Always be wary receiving a gift because you know that they will want something in return.
#4. Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self interest, never their mercy or gratitude
This is something that doesn’t just apply in the realms of power but, something that should be understood in every day life. You are on this journey alone and you can’t expect anything from anyone.
If you want something from someone, don’t tell them all the things you’ve done for them in the past because gratitude can’t be used like a currency where it is owed, people don’t like to pay their debts and they definitely don’t like being guilt tripped into things.
You need to appeal to people’s self interest, show them how they are going to benefit from helping you, make them feel like they are getting a good deal.
#5. Law 16: Use absence to increase strength and honor
This is the simple rule of supply and demand, the more absent you are, the more you are craved for and wanted. The easier it is to obtain you physically and mentally, the more your value drops.
Have you ever heard the term “absence makes the heart grow stronger”? well this law is the epitome of that. You see this all the time in relationships, we always want what we can’t have.
You also see this in E commerce products and marketing, businesses will have a “drop” of a certain product, but there will only be a certain amount of the item or a limited amount of time to buy it, this builds a necessity around the product using the scarcity bias.
#6. Law 21 play a sucker, to catch a sucker
This is a great law for someone on the come up who is just starting out. No matter how clever, skilful and amazing you are, let other people think they are better than you in every way.
This is similar to something I do in my own life. If I notice someone underestimate I don’t cause a fuss or try and prove them wrong, I play along with it, bidding my time playing the long game and then strike in spectacular fashion when the time is right.
People don’t like their vanity being broken so, by showcasing people as better than yourself it makes them feel more comfortable around you and look at you as less of a threat, this helps you hide your true motives and intentions behind a façade of stupidity.
#7. Law 25 re-create yourself
This is my favorite law of the book because it’s the first step in any direction you want to go, you can’t accomplish any of the other laws without firstly successfully following this law.
It’s also just a positive goal to work on that is required when striving for self actualization.
In life you will be told who you are and be put in a box for the rest of your life… if you let it! This law is all about breaking the mold and creating a brand new version of yourself that is far different from the perspective of you from others and your older self.
Make sure the person that you are building has a great character, strong values and will be remembered long after your time with a positive legacy.
#8. Law 27 create a cult
Firstly I would just like to clarify that we are not advising you to start cult, it’s just that some of the concepts can be seen and are very useful in the modern day world.
Nearly everybody in the world has some form of social media whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook and most of these people want to grow an audience and become the next big influencer, whether it be for monetary gain or a higher social status.
Building a strong community of loyal fans and followers shares a lot of similarities of how cults are created, grown and organized.
One of the examples that the book uses is the “us vs them” which I personally don’t like but I accept that it’s true just through my own observations of the world – your either pro or anti, left or right and so on, although I don’t like this idea I do understand that it creates an identity that can bring a group of people together under one thought, person or ideology.
#9. Law 33 discover each man’s thumbscrew
A thumbscrew is something that can be used as leverage, it’s usually somebody’s insecurities, weaknesses or guilty pleasure that you can use to your advantage.
People tend to keep these things close to their chest making them much harder to find, this is why you need to use all different tactics to draw them out, from reading their body language to pushing them outside of their comfort zone.
One way of finding out other peoples shortcomings is by firstly opening up about your own, this builds trust and allows them to open up more about themselves. You don’t need to give them ammunition to use against you by telling them your whole life story, just a short example of your struggles to help them relate.
I personally think that it’s great to also know people’s strengths and what motivates them. It’s about knowing other people’s incentives, what pushes and pulls them.
#10. Law 36 disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge
On your way to the top you are going to have many people drag you down out of anger or jealousy, and your natural reaction is to bite back, trust me I know what it’s like to have haters! Although it can be infuriating to let them get away with it, ignoring them is often the best thing you can do.
Giving people the attention they’ve looking for by pulling you down, is putting them on an equal level to you but by ignoring them you show that you are in a more powerful position than them.
It can also look like you have done something wrong if you argue back and forth with them as they will play the victim which doesn’t display a good image in the public eye so, it’s better to just let them have the last word.
there's 38 more laws in this book as well as the ones that you have just read in more detail so, if you want to learn more about human nature when it comes to power you can get the book here.
this book shares some insight into how to become powerful but, it is important to use these laws ethically and not for evil!
Some of the links in this blog may be affiliate links which means if you make purchase on a product, I will make a commission of it but, IT WILL NOT be at an extra cost to you. Any money I make through this is put towards the upkeep and improvement of this blog. Thank you in advance, Jake.