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Home ยป The 48 Laws of Power: a list

The 48 Laws of Power: a list

Here is a list of the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, along with a brief summary of each.

  1. Never outshine the master – Do not appear better or more successful than your superiors, as it will make them feel insecure and threaten their power.
  2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies – Friends can be fickle, but enemies can be reliable and useful for advancing your goals.
  3. Conceal your intentions – Do not reveal your true intentions, as this will give your opponents an advantage.
  4. Always say less than necessary – Speak sparingly, as this will make you seem more mysterious and powerful.
  5. So much depends on reputation, guard it with your life – Your reputation is critical to your success, so protect it at all costs.
  6. Court attention at all costs – Attention equals power, so seek it out whenever possible.
  7. Let others do the work for you, but always take the credit – Delegate tasks to others, but take credit for their accomplishments to build your reputation.
  8. Make other people come to you – Make others come to you to create the impression that you are powerful and in control.
  9. Win through your actions, never through argument – Actions speak louder than words, so focus on achieving your goals through your actions, rather than through argument.
  10. Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky – Negative people can bring you down, so avoid them whenever possible.
  11. Learn to keep people dependent on you – Make others dependent on you for favors, information, or resources to maintain your power.
  12. Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim – Use honesty and generosity to build trust and disarm your opponents.
  13. When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest – Appeal to people’s self-interest to get them to help you.
  14. Pose as a friend, work as a spy – Pretend to be a friend to gain information about your opponents.
  15. Crush your enemy totally – Do not leave your opponents any chance of coming back to challenge you.
  16. Use absence to increase respect and honor – Make yourself scarce to make people appreciate your presence and respect you more.
  17. Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability – Cultivate an air of unpredictability to keep others off balance and uncertain.
  18. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – Building fortresses will make others see you as weak and defensive.
  19. Know who you’re dealing with – Understand your opponents and their motivations to anticipate their actions and counter them effectively.
  20. Do not commit to anyone – Keep your options open and do not commit to anyone until it is in your best interest to do so.
  21. Play a sucker to catch a sucker: seem dumber than your mark – Appear weaker or less intelligent than your opponent to get them to underestimate you.
  22. Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power – Surrendering can sometimes be a strategic move that can turn a weakness into a strength.
  23. Concentrate your forces – Focus your efforts on a single goal to achieve maximum impact.
  24. Play the perfect courtier – Flatter and please those in power to gain their favor and support.
  25. Re-create yourself – Reinvent yourself to stay relevant and adapt to changing circumstances.
  26. Keep your hands clean – Do not engage in dirty or unethical behavior, but use others to do so for you.
  27. Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult-like following – Create a following by playing on people’s need to believe in something greater than themselves.
  28. Enter action with boldness – Act boldly to create the impression that you are powerful and in control.
  29. Plan all the way to the end – Plan for the long-term and think through the potential consequences of your actions.
  1. Make your accomplishments seem effortless – Make your accomplishments seem easy and effortless to create the impression of natural talent and ability.
  2. Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal – Control the options available to others to increase your power and influence.
  3. Play to people’s fantasies – Appeal to people’s fantasies and desires to gain their support and loyalty.
  4. Discover each man’s thumbscrew – Understand what motivates and controls others to gain an advantage over them.
  5. Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one – Project an image of royalty and power to be treated with respect and deference.
  6. Master the art of timing – Understand the importance of timing and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
  7. Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge – Do not dwell on things you cannot have, but instead focus on what you can achieve.
  8. Create compelling spectacles – Create memorable and impressive experiences to gain attention and create a lasting impression.
  9. Think as you like but behave like others – Conform to social norms and expectations to fit in and avoid drawing unwanted attention.
  10. Stir up waters to catch fish – Create conflict and drama to draw attention and gain an advantage over your opponents.
  11. Despise the free lunch – Do not take anything for granted or expect anything to be given to you for free.
  12. Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes – Do not try to imitate or replace a great leader, but instead forge your own path and identity.
  13. Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter – Target the leaders of your opponents to weaken their power and influence.
  14. Work on the hearts and minds of others – Use emotional appeals and psychological tactics to influence and persuade others.
  15. Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect – Mirror your opponents’ behavior to disarm and frustrate them.
  16. Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once – Advocate for change, but do so gradually and strategically to avoid resistance and backlash.
  17. Never appear too perfect – Appear humble and flawed to create a sense of relatability and approachability.
  18. Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop – Do not overreach or overextend yourself, and know when to stop and celebrate your successes.
  19. Assume formlessness – Be adaptable and flexible, and do not become tied to any particular identity or strategy.
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