48 Laws of Power: Law #28 Enter Action With Boldness

Law 28: Enter action with boldness

  •      If you’re unsure then don’t do it
  •      Timidity is dangerous
  •      Any mistakes your commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity
  •      Everyone admires boldness, no one honors the timid

Lions Circle the Hesitant Prey. People have a sixth sense for the weaknesses of others. If, in a first encounter, you demonstrate your willingness to compromise, back down, and retreat, you bring out the lion even in people who are not necessarily bloodthirsty. Everything depends on perception, and once you are seen as the kind of person who quickly goes on the defensive, who is willing to negotiate and be amenable, you will be pushed around without mercy.

Boldness Strikes Fear; Fear Creates Authority. The bold move makes you seem larger and more powerful than you are. If it comes suddenly, with the stealth and swiftness of a snake, it inspires that much more fear. By intimidating with a bold move, you establish a precedent: in every subsequent encounter, people will be on the defensive, in terror of your next strike.

Reluctance and indecision make you seem passive, boldness makes you seem assertive and dominant. Do not be recklessly bold, you may weaken your position, be calculated in your boldness. If you’re caught by surprise, suppress the sensation of distress, think quickly and clearly and react with emphatic precision.

It is better not to move at all than it is to make your move with reticence. The whole “go hard or go home” motto touches upon this.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #27 Play On People’s Need To Believe To Create A Cultlike Following

Law 27: Play on people’s need to believe to create a cultlike following

  •      People want to believe in something
  •      Become the focal point of this and offer them a cause, a new faith
  •      Keep your words vague but full of promise
  •      Emphasize enthusiasm over rationality
  •      Give your new disciples rituals to perform and ask them to make sacrifices

Not sure if this “law” applies to individual interactions as much, but for business/entrepreneurship it’s very powerful.

I think the best examples of those above are how someone rebranded age-old things and made billions based on people’s vanity and wish to be a part of a group:

  • Exercise. You can do it alone. You can do it outside. It’s an ancient activity. Yet Crossfit makes you pay $250 a month for someone to tell you how to workout and you can’t do your own workout. You wear knee high socks, a headband, only drink from an Herbal Life water bottle, and do kipping pullups. Crossfit doesn’t sell exercise; they sell peer approval.
  • Coffee. Back in the day, only old people drank coffee. The only time you saw coffee was in one of these types of machines. There was normal and decaf only. There was no such thing as ice coffee. Starbucks took something old and rebranded it. They aren’t selling coffee; they’re selling an experience (associating with other economically able people in a leisure activity).
  • Instagram. Long ago, you shared photos with the people in your life. Instagram allowed people to create their own mini cultlike following by letting people share photos with others who don’t know them. What they are selling is “envy”.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #26 Keep Your Hands Clean

Law 26: Keep your hands clean

  •      Never appear soiled by mistakes
  •      Use others as scapegoats to disguise your involvement

The goal of this law is to prioritize your image. Be cognizant of your actions because every step you take affects your personal brand. Impulsive personalities usually have a terrible image. Meticulous individuals are usually deemed to have a spotless appearance by others.

This is why one of my career goals is to have a personal assistant in some capacity. Besides making your life easier and doing the mindless work, you are essentially paying them to be your cat’s paw, to reject requests/hurt feelings on your behalf and thus displace negative emotions away from you.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #25 Re-create Yourself

Law 25: Re-create yourself

  •      Create an identity that commands attention and never bores
  •      Be the master of your own image
  •      Use large gestures and actions-your character will seem huge and you’ll gain power

A lot of people focus on physically relocating to a place where no one knows you or has preconceptions about you. And that might work for a little bit. But if you’re unable to maintain a strong frame, you’ll fail even after physically relocating

I believe this law is better paired up with the law #17 that says “Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability”

You want to do this everywhere. Even in the place you grew up and people think of you as mama’s boy. Surprise them. Shock them. And then keep a poker face. If they want you to verbalize your reasons, say something to the tune of “I felt like it, so I did it”

The key to Law 25 is in thinking about what your end goal is, and then building an image that works for that agenda. Cultivate a persona that complements your personal and career goals, and use it to dazzle your audience, confuse your opponents, and seduce your allies.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #24 Play the Perfect Courtier

Law 24: Play the perfect courtier

  •      Master the art of indirection
  •      Assert power gracefully

Think about your past managers and bosses. Which ones did you work hardest for? I’m betting they were not the ones who were constantly belittleing you or telling you what to do in an agressive manner. You probably worked hardest for the ones who treated you with respect and shared a few jokes now and again.

Now think about the people who have worked under you. Did you like the knowitalls who acted like they knew better than you? When around people working for you, don’t take credit for things that go well. Give them the credit even if it was you who made the difference. This sends the message to your people that you are fully aware that it is they who carry out the tasks and are dependent on them doing it right. This will help make them feel appreciated. People are much more likely to work hard if they feel their work is appreciated.

Make people WANT to help you out. That will always produce the best results.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #23 Concentrate Your Forces

Law 23: Concentrate your forces

  •      Intensity defeats extensity every time
  •      Find a fat cow that’ll give you milk for a long time

At first glance this law seems mainly applicable to business. The Paretto principle does not only concern women. Just like 80% of women fuck 20% of men, 80% of your business (and revenue) will come from 20% of your clients.

Example: During the Gamergate scandal, Intel pulled ads from Gamasutra and I believe other websites as well. Rather than trying to appease the mainstream majority, they appealed to the small percentage of gamers (mainly men) who are actually buying their products. And once the scandal blew over, they reinstated their ads.

However, I think this law really shines when it is applied to our personal endeavors. Many people advocate both expanding your hobbies and interests and pursuing multiple women, but even while you are in both those spheres simultaneously they require very different approaches. To master a new skill, it requires 10000 hours of practice. It requires fortitude and dilligence, especially in the face of setbacks and difficulties. With women, you need an abundance mentality and the ability to next them and move on for a multitude of reasons.

Unfortunately, men tend to mix up those mindsets. You have guys pouring time, effort, energy, and commitment into unworthy and ungrateful women when they should be walking away. On the other hand you have men moving from hobby to hobby like butterflies flitting between flowers, dropping an interest the second it gets difficult, boring, or even too expensive (lack of willingness to pay stemming from aversion to commitment).

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of becoming a “jack of all trades, master of none”. You have men who can code a little, cook a little, know a few words in another language, and have an okay body, but ultimately are useless in every aspect. They can’t build a website or app. Their chicken is dry. They’d be lost in a foreign country. They can’t drop those last pounds.

They lack the diligence or attention span to commit to a single interest long enough to gain benefit. They’re in it for the novelty and misplaced pride, sticking around just enough that they can add the latest hobby to their “collection” of skills.

Now don’t get me wrong, jack of all trades in general is more enjoyable than master of one. It opens up many more opportunities. You don’t need to become an expert on French literature to reap the benefits. My point is that a few weeks on Duolingo doesn’t cut it.

However, in terms of making money, you need to demonstrate value, prestige, and specialization. Keep digging that mine.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #22 Use The Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness Into Power

Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power

  •      When you’re weaker, never fight just for honor but surrender
  •      Do not give them the satisfaction to win, surrender
  •      Turn the other cheek to infuriate them

The idea here is to pick your battles, like several of the other laws. If you know you’re dealing with a stronger opponent that 99/100 times will beat you on whatever battlefield you’re fighting on, a lost battle doesn’t mean the war is over. Surrender, observe, train, get better, and strike when you’re more capable and ready.

Flipside: If you’re dealing with a weaker opponent that has everything to gain whilst you have everything to lose , then on the off chance they show you up/win it’s better not to give them the opportunity to siphon your power. Taking unnecessary risks out of ego is the worst thing a Machiavellian can do, don’t entertain an upstart just because they’ve called you a name or lashed out at your ego. Show self-restraint. “Lions care not for the opinions of sheep.” You can only control others when first you learn to master yourself. It is better to ignore upstarts and let your following do the dirty work for you rather than lay into your challengers yourself. Remember the law – keep your hands clean.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #21 Play A Sucker to Catch A Sucker- Seem Dumber Than Your Mark

Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker- seem dumber than your mark

  •      Don’t be stupid, but make your mark appear smarter than you
  •      Making them appear smarter hides your motives

Misdirection is one of the most valuable strategies for business, marketing, and even game.

Play stupid. Stay quiet. Act like you don’t already know about something and have other people explain it to you, they’ll reveal all that they know: people are suckers for gossip.

Showing off all that you know, immediately, is a fools game. I can do this, I speak all these different languages, I drive such and such car. I know, I’m guilty of this as well.

But people do not want to know everything about you, especially at first.

People want mystery, they want to feel like they’re uncovering a great conspiracy, or that they’re revealing parts of your life and personality on their own. You can’t simply manufacture mystery, just like desire.

If you speak another language, slowly inject it into conversations. If you know how to golf, don’t go around telling people about how low you can shoot, let them see for themselves. Life is boring enough without having to read someone’s damn Facebook bio, blabbing on and on about themselves.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #20 Do Not Commit to Anyone

Law 20: Do not commit to anyone

  •      Fools rush to pick a side.
  •      Do not commit to a cause but yourself
  •      Maintain independence
  •      Make people chase you and play people against one another

1.) Keep your options open in your career. Don’t be afraid of sending out your resume to see if better opportunities exist. Consider starting your own company if you can find a market for your skills.

2.) Do hobbies or activities that let you meet new people- this prevents you getting stuck with the same social group. I find that going to language classes and climbing has been a great way for me personally to meet people.

I would say that the only people you can commit to these days is your immediate family. This is due to kin selection, which is beyond the point of this discussion.


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48 Laws of Power: Law #19 Know Who You’re Dealing With – Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with – do not offend the wrong person

  •      Never assume everyone will react the same way.
  •      Choose your victims carefully.
  •      Never offend the wrong person.

Transgression: My bro is a head football coach. For his first game at his new school I was having a talk with an old guy up in the booth because my bro had to let their film guy go because he didn’t know what he was doing, so I agreed to film for him. I’m also an area coach, it’s not my career but I love the game and the lessons it can teach.

The old guy started lamenting how excited he was for my brother to turn the program around and build some tradition there. Wanting to soften expectations I said something to the effect of “.500 is the best we can hope for this year, nobody has gotten it done in the past and building this will be a multi year process.”

The old guy was the AD and had previously been the head football coach in the 90s. He didn’t show it but definitely took personal offense to the comment.

The next year my brother had to let a middle school coach to because he was in incompetent and it was May so I agreed to leave my school to help him shepherd a good ms class up to varsity.

From day 1 that AD was doing everything he could to sabotage my student athletes season. Not having our field lined properly, starting an investigation about coaching conduct in regards to player treatment, indulging every bullcut haired mom’s concerns and dragging me into meetings. Making us play 7 minute quarters instead of 8 for travel, shutting the stadium lights off the second the game was completed, not finding a replacement game when an opponent cancelled. Making me sit out a week after a parent battered me after a game because he heard from the other parents that their kids were called into the earlier mentioned investigation, so “if there was a problem the kids would feel safe to come forward” and all this other bullshit.

I hurt his ego on accident and he took every opportunity he could to sabotage these kids’ season, on purpose.

You want to see what a man’s made of? Give him a little bit of power and see how he uses it.

It didn’t matter that these kids won every game except for the 1 week I was barred from practice, or that they learned to love the game, or that we ended the season with 5 more kids than we started with, with a record number of kids going out. It didn’t matter that my boys won the first football league title at any level since joining that league 20 years ago, or that I worked my ass off picking kids up and dropping them off if they didn’t have a ride, or that I was a strong masculine role model for some of those kids that hadn’t experienced that in maybe their whole lives, it didn’t matter that I paid out of my own pocket to equip some of these kids or to feed them when the AD budget somehow didn’t leave Disbursement funds for just the 8th grade team.

It only mattered that I offended his ego. You want to see what a man’s made of? Give him a little bit of power and see how he uses it.


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