The 48 Laws of Power Summary

AttitudeLifeMindsetPersonal DevelopmentSuccess

All of us a deep desire to look superior than others.
But in the world we live in, there are social hierarchies. People act nice and pretend that they are generous, but when it comes to attaining power, they would do anything to gain power.
Note that power may be in any form. It may be status, money, or something else.
So if you want to become powerful, this video series is for you.
Because in this series, we are going to discuss from the book “The 48 Laws Of Power” written by Robert Greene.
Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s get started.

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Lesson #1: Avoid making your boss feel inferior and insecure.

Alongside the desire of seeking power, we also have a desire for validation.
We like to impress other people with our qualities.
In the first law, the author discusses how in our efforts to impress our superior, we actually stir up their insecurities and end up losing power instead of gaining it.
You may think that by showing that you are better than your superiors, you are impressing them. But this is far from the truth.
People who are high in social hierarchies are just as human as you. And they are not immune to insecurities.
They may appear powerful and stoic from the outside, but watch them long enough and you’ll realize that they all have a competition anxiety.
They try to control their environment to make sure they are always on the top.
When you show more qualities than them, they fear that you will take their position and they will lose their power.
And no matter how much we talk about equality, when it comes to power, some people will always have more power than others.
For instance, 20% of people in the world hold power over the 80% people on the planet.
We think that if we show our talents to these people, they will accept our strenghts and allow us to share their power.
But reality is that power can mess up a person’s mind.
Once you have it, you don’t want it to share with others, unless it helps you gain more of it. That’s just how human psychology works in the real world.
You will always encounter people in your life who have more power than you. So learning how to deal with powerful people is important.
And remember, one can’t always remain weak.
Because powerful people rule over weak people.
What should you do then?
Well, the author suggests that you should make your superior look good in front of others and make sure that you are not adding fuel to their insecurities.
For example, if you are intelligent than you superiors, don’t outshine them in front of other people, pretend that it’s because of your superiors that you are able to think clearly.
Yes, the author suggests that you use flattery to impress your superiors and gain power.
If I share my personal opinion on this law, this kind of approach might make you powerful in the external world, but in your mind, it is only going to make you weaker.
However, you can use this law in certain situations for your benefit and avoid problems that happen when the master’s ego is hurt.
Especially if you work in corporate. You wouldn’t want to hurt your boss’s ego unless you are confident in your abilities to find another job with higher salary.

Lesson #2: Be wary of your friends and make use of your enemies.

All of us tend to put so much trust in our friends.
Trusting your friends isn’t bad. But know that not all of your friends are really your friends.
You never know how they truly feel.
People often act nice to avoid arguments, says the author.
And when you have friendship with someone, you want it to stay strong.
This is why you see many people hate philosopher who bring up crazy arguments.
Generally, people avoid them as they question anything or everything they see.
On the flip side, friends hide their true feelings to avoid any confrontation.
Every time you argue with your friends, feeling get hurt.
A friend might hold grudge against you and you might never know about it.
The dangerous part is that your friends know a great deal about you. They can quickly turn into enemies and use that same information against you.
It is often the insiders that can potentially cause great damage.
Also, not all of your friends will help you during hard times.
So stay friends with people, but avoid putting blind trust.
The author suggests using enemies instead of friends.
Why does he say so?
That’s because when you know someone is your enemy, the intentions are clear.
An enemy will never act like your friend.
But with friends, you are not sure about their feelings and intentions. Most of the time, they will act like your friends, and they can turn into an enemy based on the situation.
In the end, you can’t put hundred percent trust in anybody, be it your friends or enemies.
Always keep your eyes and ears and be prepared for the worst.

Lesson #3: Don’t become an open book for your enemies.

In this law, the author discusses why we should never reveal all of our plans in front of others.
The thing is: People can’t destroy what they don’t know and they don’t respect what they already have.
In simple words: If they know all about you, you become boring and predictable.
Anything that is predictable, becomes less valuable.
In order to gain power, you have to become valuable in the eyes of others.
We reveal our plans in front of others because it gives us a sense of achievement. We think that we are building some kind of rapport with them and appearing honest.
Yes, that might build some connection, but it’s much easier to be respected by staying mysterious.
Mystery creates a sense of fear. And fear creates respect.
And remember, other people are also trying to win the power game. So when they know your intentions or what you are up to, it becomes easier for them to set traps and hinder your progress.
Moreover, they start working harder to win the game. Thus, creating more competition for you.
Most people can’t control their tongue.
They keep revealing secrets about themselves hoping that other people will like them. But they appear stupid because of it.
When you speak more than necessary, it only shows that you lack patience and self-control.
Once your intentions are revealed, your hidden enemies get a chance to prepare against.
This is why don’t reveal all of your intentions. Hide some of them.

Lesson #4: Don’t open your mouth without purpose.

This law and the previous one are similar.
When you say less than necesssary and only speak with purpose, it makes you appear more thoughtful and itimidating.
People get uncomfortable when they fail to make you reactive with their words.
And the reason they get uncomfortable is becaue they fail to predict your next move or what you’ll say next.
And when this happens, you words carry more over when you actually open your mouth.
Obviously, unless you something that’s actually stupid. Just because someone can’t speak, it doesn’t automatically make him impactful.
You have to back your behavior with your words.
Speaking less gives you time to think.
You prevent yourself from saying something foolish.
You appear more powerful and in control of the situation. Note that this is a leadership quality.
Leaders control their situations instead of reacting to them.
Silence is also a powerful form of response.
Use it often.
For example, if a person isn’t listening to your words and is just focused on self-expression or deliberately talking illogical stuff just to get on your nerves, you can stop responding.
This will force them to stop or change their behavior towards you.
By staying silent, you do non-verbal communication with the other person.
Most people can’t use silence, therefore when you use it smartly, it gives you leverage.
Obviously, don’t overuse this.
If there is a need to say something, say it.
Don’t be afraid to express yourself in the times of need.

Lesson #5: Guard your reputation.

This law says that you should guard your reputation with your life.
Obviously, your life is more important than your reputation. It just means that your reputation is important.
People will judge you with your reputation.
Reputation is power.
Your reputation is your social status.
But it’s not just about how many people know you.
It’s more about how much they respect you and fear you.
You can have so much status and popularity, but not all people will have the same respect for you.
Many people think that if they just “be themselves” and be cooperative to all people, they will be respected.
However, in reality, when you have no reputation, nobody really cares except your closed ones. People won’t take you seriously if you have no solid reputation.
This is the reason many politicians or celebrities are careful about their image in media.
Once your reputation is damaged, it’s hard to repair it.
People who want to gain power over you will try to damage your reputation. This is why the author suggests that you should anticipate potential attacks on your reputation.
The catch is to be subtle while guarding and building your reputation.
The author says that your reputation should be simple and around one quality.
For instance, if you are good at public speaking, try building your reputation around it.
When you try to build your reputation around too many things, it confuses people.
And it is also hard to manage your reputation when you are doing so many things.

Lesson #6: Attract attention to stay in power.

Weak people are invisible.
They never get any attention.
While on the flip side, powerful people make sure they get attention.
And also, many times, attention has the power to make you powerful.
But don’t misinterpret this by thinking if you just manage to get some attention, you will become powerful.
To become powerful, you have to learn how to attract attention from other people.
You have to learn both the things: You should know when to hide your intentions and when to shine bright like a star.
People have to look up to you.
And if they see you as some average person, they don’t respect you that much.
Most people bad self-image issues. So if you are similar to them, they can’t respect you.
You have to become extraordinary at something.
To do that you will have to learn a skill that most people don’t have.
Your work should look like magic to other people. They must be scratching their head in awe and asking “How did he/she do it?”
The only challenge with attention is that, it’s has a short duration.
Don’t get complacent after you get all those eyes on you.
Once you get the attention, you have to make sure that you are entertaining enough.
By entertaining, I mean that you have to become unpredictable.
Keep changing how you do certain things.
For instance, Picasso kept himself in limelight by changing his art style even when it pissed some people off.
Note here that attention doesn’t always have to be positive.
Some people thrive off with negative attention too.
However, the best approach is to be sometimes positive and sometimes negative so that people get a story to share with their friends.
Remember, all heroes and villains have ups and downs in their life stories.

Lesson #7: Learn to take credit for other people’s work.

Many people misinterpret this law.
You don’t have to become a bad person and make others work for you in a literal sense.
You just have to be smart about where you put your time and energy.
The thing is: Most people jump into work without thinking too much. They don’t even realize that they don’t have to do all the work by themselves.
You can always use other people’s talents, time, and energy to get closer to your goals.
That’s exactly what all business owners in the world are doing. It’s not like they don’t know how to work. They are just smart — smarter than the people they are hiring.
Here is what they do: They make others do the work. But in the end, they take all the credit.
All CEOs get appreciation for the work that other people do for them.
Life is really unfair.
There are so many hard working people, but they never get the credit for the work they do because they just don’t know how to take the credit.
If you are someone who wants to feel validated and be given credit for doing something, make sure other people know that that you were the guy behind the achievement.
Don’t get lost in the crowd.
See, this why the previous law about getting attention is important.
If they don’t see you, if they never pay attention to you, they won’t give any credit to you.
And remember, that there is nothing wrong in taking the credit when you have contributed to the final result in some way.
Just don’t be one of those people who take credit without doing anything. The author calls them vultures in the book. They just wait for a simple-minded hardworking person, and try to find any opportunity to take the credit so that they don’t have to do anything.

Lesson #8: Make your opponents come to you — as if they are in control.

This law teaches how aggression can sometimes make you weak instead of making stronger.
When you get aggressive, you are not able to think clearly.
And when this happens, your enemies can throw tactical baits and make you act according to their wishes.
But according to this law, you should be the one in control, and make your enemies come to you.
When you force others to do something, you are in control.
This gives you time to plan your moves.
In other case, when you act in aggression, you energy goes in all different direction — you lack clarity and focus.
To be able to do this, you must be good at managing your emotions.
And you must also realize that your enemies also have emotions.
That means: if you are good at controlling your emotions and they are not, you already have advantage over them.
They will be reactive — losing their energy while fighting the power battle, while you will be multiple steps ahead of them planning your future moves.
This law forces you to be strategic.
But yes, there are also exception to this law.
Somtimes, you have to show aggression to show power.
As long as aggression is under your control, you are good to go.
Aggression becomes problematic only when others use it against you.
So you must be aware in all situations.

Lesson #9: Avoid arguments. Show through your actions.

You will always meet people once in a while that will never understand your words, no matter how articulated they are.

We think that by explaining ourselves, we can solve conflicts. But this is a paradox.

The more you explain, the less they understand.

You can’t achieve much by explaining if the other is a bad listener or has a few screws loose in their brain.

The question is: What do we do if we find ourselves in that situation.

The answer? Show through your actions.

Even if you win arguments with illogical people, you have already lost.

You see, if they were rational, they would have understood.

Irrational people usually rely on their emotions.

If they are feeling good while having argument with you, no arguing will convince them that you are right.

And if you do win the argument by force, they will never agree because of their ego and always invent illogical arguments in their minds to convince themselves that they were right from the beginining.

Such people never question their own beliefs.

So to win against them, they have to see your actions, not your words, and then come to self-realization.

Unless this happens, you will only waste your time by arguing.

Where words don’t work, actions do.

In heat of argument, people often lose their ability to think clearly.

The logical part of their brain is taken over the primal (emotional) part of their brain.

In most debates, people are usually acting as if they are actively listening and understanding each others’ perspecties, but we all are humans, and we never like hearing the truth if it doesn’t serve our selfish agendas.

The more you argue, the more you hurt the feelings of other people, even if you have right intentions.

So if you want to gain power and respect from other people, avoid arguments.

They have to agree with you.

By arguing, you lose respect.

And remember, the less you say, the more powerful and stoic you appear.

Nobody respects a person who can’t control their emotions.

Lesson #10: Avoid unhappy and unlucky people.

To become powerful, you must be in control of your emotions.

And the people you associate yourself with impact your emotions.

If people around are always unhappy and complaining, you will become like them.

Emotions are infectious.

It’s not like you will always be happy.

But there is no point in surrounding yourself with people who constantly create problems in your life.

Even if you try to help them, they will find another ways to create problems.

And in that whole process, your mental health will get ruined.

Always remember this: you can’t help those who aren’t willing to themselves. If you try to by force, they will become your number one enemy.

So it’s always better to avoid such people.

Chances are that if you try to help them, you’ll become like them.

So the choice is yours. It’s much better to become powerful and help those who actually would appreciate your help instead of those who don’t want to change.

One might think “why would someone want to be unhappy?”

Yes, it doesn’t make any sense to be sad and depressed all the time. However some people get used to living like this.

So when you try to change them, they don’t like it.

They have accepted their miserable life and lost all hope.

Even if you fix them once, and make them happy, they will attract more sadness through their self-destructive behaviors.

If you spend more time with them, you’ll learn this habit too.

So stay away unfortunate people.

Find people who would lift you up mentally, financially, and spiritually.

Lesson #11: Learn to keep other people dependent on you.

When people can do something without you, they are not going to value you.

Because they can easily find someone else to do that same thing.

But if there is something that only you can do, and not many people are capable to doing it, this increases your demand.

For example: Many masterchefs take the help of other chefs, but there are secret ingredients that only they know to make a certain recipee. This keeps other members of the staff dependent on the masterchef.

The funny fact is that some people will not like you for having a special trait.

Your superiors will not like you having a skill that they don’t have.

But they will realize that you are not easily replaceable, and this will keep you in power.

There is one thing to keep in mind though.

When you keep people dependent on you, they will always try to catch up to you so that they gain more power.

So you will have to stay vigilant all the time and keep improving so that your competition doesn’t replace you.

You can’t relax like other people.

This is the price you will have to pay if you really want more power.

Also, keep in mind that don’t overuse this law as you will also have to depend on other people.

So don’t think you are the boss as all the others are dependent on you.

In real world, there is always someone better than you and you can’t act like an island.

Dependence will be mutual in most real-life situations.

Just try not to be someone who is too easy to replace.

Because if your superiors can replace you, then chances are that they will replace you in future if they find a better alternative.

Think that you are king. And imagine how a king keeps the people in the state dependent on him.

Also note that dependence can be in any form.

Dependency isn’t always about the exchange of resources.

People can depend on you for other non-material things like happiness, security, etc.

Also, maintaining the dependency is the real challenge here.

Some people feel like a king when they are needed, but as soon as the problem is solved, people forget and become independent.

That’s because nobody likes to stay dependent on another person.

Every time you depend on someone, you lose power in some form.

Lesson #12: Honesty can be used to manipulate people, but use it your own risk.

We live in a world full of dishonest people.

And no matter how much people think that being clever and manipulative is the key to all success, honesty is still respected.

So when you are honest with people and they believe you are honest, they lower their guard. And trust your words.

Now, if your intention is to manipulate them, you can use this opportunity to make them weaker and win the power game.

But remember, this kind of thing is stupid.

That’s because when you are dishonest, first of all, you are deluding yourself and living a false narrative.

To do wrong, you have to become wrong. Period.

Second, once people know that they were tricked, you will never get that same reputation back.

This is why it’s dangerous.

If not used smartly, it can have leave holes in your public image that will be beyond repair.

The feeling that someone was used for a selfish purpose is one of the worst feelings.

People will feel disappointed if they find out you were using them all that time.

Technically, this law of power asks you to become a snake that bites when the other person’s guard is down.

Other laws (lessons) are coming soon…

Shami Manohar


The Brain Behind Wizbuskout.com

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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