Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 81 Maxims of Power & Strategy by Robert Greene (Colorized)

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Law #1: Never Outshine the Master Nicolas Fouquet made the mistake of appearing

larger than his King, Louis XIV, and spent his remaining days incarcerated.

Avoid victories over superiors.

It will cost you more than it is worth.

Law #2: Never Put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn How to Use Enemies

Michael III of the Byzantine Empire was saved from death by Basilius, who Michael in turn

favored with gifts and prestige.

Basilius, lusting for more power, murdered Michael out of greed.

Instead of showing gratitude.

He was insatiable.

Trust from a distance.

People are selfish and pursue their own interests.

Former opponents make more loyal and stronger friends.

Law #3: Conceal Your Intentions The Marquis de Sevigne wanted to seduce a

young countess.

Instead of being indirect and subtle he exposed his true feelings for her and she lost all

interest as he blurted out that he loved her.

Add a sense of unexplicable mystery to your character.

Law #4: Always Say Less than Necessary Law #5: So Much Depends on Reputation - Guard

It With Your Life During the second World War Erwin Rommel was

known for his superior skill in cunning and deceptive strategy.

All of the opposition were demoralized and doubting their chances of success facing him.

Your reputation preceeds you.

Build and protect it carefully.

Law #6: Court Attention at all Cost Pablo Picasso would not allow himself to fade

into the background.

He would rather paint something out of the ordinary and ugly, than be forgotten.

All publicity is good publicity.

Don't let yourself become one of many.

Law #7: Get Others to Do the Work for You Thomas Edison wasn't much of a scientist,

but a businessman.

He would capitalize on Nikola Tesla's genius and garner all the credit.

Hire talents capable of doing what you can't.

Law #8: Make Other People Come To You - Use Bait if Necessary

"When I have laid bait for deer, I don't shoot at the first doe that comes to sniff, but

wait until the whole herd has gathered round."

- Otto von Bismarck Force your opponent to react to your moves.

Law #9: Win Through Your Actions - Not Through Argument

Mucianus needed strong ships.

Without guarding his tongue his engineer argued that a different type than the one Mucianus

preferred would be much better for conquest.

Despite being right the engineer was sentenced to death.

Don't argue with authorities.

Agree and suggest an alternative, then demonstrate.

Law #10: Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

Lola Montez brought down the King of Bavaria and his whole kingdom by seducing him.

Her lust for destruction and chaos was insatiable.

Countless lives perished, because of her nature.

Cut off the firestarters.

Try to help them instead and you too will burn alongside them.

Law #11: Learn To Keep People Dependent on You

Otto von Bismarck led the King's hand in uniting a mighty Prussia.

None other than Bismarck was able to do so.

He proved himself to be an indespensable asset and had his strong position secured.

Be the only one who can do what you do or see yourself replaced in fear sooner or later.

Law #12: Use Selective Honesty to Disarm Your Victim

Count Victor Lustig was going to double Al Capone's 50'000$.

Instead of running with the money he gave it all back to Capone who thought he was being

played by a con artist.

Capone gave Lustig the 5'000$ simply to help the "honest" man.

Tell the truth to gain your opponent's trust.

Be honest when expected to be dishonest to throw your opponent off guard.

Law #4: Always Say Less than Necessary Due to his unpredictability Louis XIV would

have his courtiers tremble in fear when delivering bad news.

He would say "I shall see", have them leave the room and either take action or decide

to do nothing about the issue, but always with an intimidating silence.

Only speak when you have something meaningful to say.

Actions speak louder than words.

Kondraty Ryleyev was sentenced to death for rebelling against Russian czar Nicholas I

in 1825.

As Kondraty was to be hung, the noose around his neck, the rope tore and he fell to the


It was a miracle.

Immediately, a messenger was sent to inform the czar.

The czar, as he was signing the pardon, that would allow Kondraty to live, asked if he

had made any remarks after the incident.

The messenger replied "Sire, he said that in Russia they don't even know how to make


[Ominous Music] Kondraty was hung again the following day.

You can imagine

the rest.

Had Kondraty been silent in that moment of incredible luck, he would've lived.

As the one person who survived the failed coup dtat against Nicholas I, he would've

become a legend, the man who cheated death, his treason pardoned, the gods on his side,

but he just couldn't bite his tongue.

He couldn't stay quiet.

Perhaps his pride did not let him.

The point is; he may have enjoyed saying those words in that moment, but was it worth it?

He didn't only insult the king, but every single Russian by insinuating that they are

incapable of doing anything right.

Accepting this man's impudence would've been a sign of weakness on the czar's part.

Unfortuneately for Kondraty, the czar, unlike him, wasn't a fool.

Refrain from saying something, that you will regret in the future.

The more you speak the higher the chances that you will say something that you will

get you into trouble.

Perhaps it is best to let silence fill the air without feeling the need to speak it away,

especially, when your fate lies in someone else's hands.

Still today, a harmless joke or negative remark heard by the people in power can cost you

your livelihood.

Be aware of just how much weight your words can carry.

Imagine a great land owner in ancient times holds slaves of which one happens to be a


Unbeknownst to the owner the philosopher in question is Epictetus.

And he annoys the hell out of his master all day with his wiseacring.

"You know, Lord, even the poor are loved by the gods."

"Lord, putting blame on others is a sign of ignorance."

"No man is free who is not master of himself, Lord."


Violence is a poor form of power."

It's enough to drive one mad.

And after a while the slave owner can no longer bear it.

By force he clamps Epictetus' leg inside a wheel.

If he spins the wheel he'll break Epictetus' leg.

He asks Epictetus "Since you are so wise, what will happen when I turn this wheel?"


Then, Lord, my leg will break."

And he loses it given such audacity, such insolence.

He turns the wheel.

*wheel turns, bone breaks* The leg breaks.

And what's Epictetus' response?

"I told you so."

What is it that he told him?

He told him that the slave owner's gravitas cannot hold the candle to the philosopher's


The philosopher is beaten because he cannot be fathomed.

Law #13: Asking for Help Appeal to People's Self Interest

In 433 B.C., the Athenians found themselves in a favourable position.

The Corcyrans & the Corinthians were preparing for war.

Both parties wanted to secure the help of the Athenians.

The Corinthians chose to remind them of an existing debt.

The Corcyrans on the other hand spoke only of mutual interests, the combined force of

their navy directed at Sparta.

The Athenians allied with the Corcyrans.

In sales of any kind, pragmatic arguments will always trump emotional appeals.

The past does not matter.

Don't count on loyalty.

Aim for win-win deals.

Law #14: Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, French

politican and mastermind behind Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat would hold himself back in conversation

and get others to talk endlessly of themselves to the point of betraying their own thought,

intent and strategy.

An interrogation disguised as a friendly chat, so subtle that the victim did not notice.

Learn to judge a person's character by what they reveal of themselves, so that you can

recognize a threat before it arises.

Test people's honesty before you consider trusting them.

Law #15: Crush Your Enemy Totally A priest asked the dying Spanish statesman

and general Ramon Maria Narvaez (1800-1868), "Does your Excellency forgive all your enemies?"

"I do not have to forgive my enemies," answered Narvaez, "I have had them all shot."

The last resort, when words are no longer heard and the enemy cannot possibly be reasoned

with, the chances for peace at their lowest, the only option is total destruction.

Merely wound the enemy, he will recover and show no mercy in turn.

Law #16: Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

A man said to a Dervish: "Why do I not see you more often?"

The Dervish replied, "Because the words 'Why have you not been to see me?' are sweeter

to my ear than the words 'Why have you come again?'"

- Mulla Jami, quoted in Idries Sha's Caravan of Dreams, 1968

Give people time to miss you by robbing them off your presence.

It's when we lose something, that we discover how valuable it had been to us.

On your return you will be appreciated all the more.

Law #17: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability Once Pablo Picasso had become a recognized

artist, others would assume that whatever action he took must have been calculated.

The art dealer Paul Rosenberg was confused, when one day Picasso told him they would no

longer work together.

Rosenberg couldn't find out why and offered him a much better deal.

The unpredictable is terrifying.

When you don't know what to expect you cannot prepare properly, you can't devise a clever

plan, because you're in the dark.

Put others in such position when negotiating.

Law #18: Isolation is Dangerous The more you are isolated, the easier it is

to deceive you.

You lose touch with reality.

When someone is urging you to cut friends and family out of your life realize that they

want to control and influence you all by themselves.

Whether they do this conciously or unconciously it is malicious.

Be careful in cutting yourself off from others for too long.

Introverted or not you may cause yourself great harm psychologically by pushing others

away from you.

Law #19: Do Not Offend the Wrong Person Muhammad, the shah of Khwarezm, and Inalchik

had beheaded Ghengis Khan's messengers who had come in peace with great gifts and offerings.

The Khan declared war, seized the enemy's capital and had Inalchik killed quote "by

having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears."

Later Ghengis Khan seized Samarkand, bringing his brutal conquest of Muhammad's vast empire

to an end.

What would've become of Adolf Hitler had he been given the chance of becoming an artist?

Perhaps history would be very different.

Avoid insulting others, you do not know who you're dealing with... even though we live

in a time where everyone is offended and the level of political correctness borders on

absolute madness.

Winston Churchill was one of the most powerful key players on the global stage during the

2nd World War.

He was also exceptional at giving inspirational speeches while drunk and quite fond of creating

art, when he wasn't pursuing more urgent matters like saving the world and defeating Adolf


Churchill's paintings became souvenirs, not necessarily, because they were masterpieces,

rather, because it was the one and only Winston Churchill who created them.

One day Churchill had an important meeting with a young, up and coming, ambitious man

working for a semi-successful news magazine.

In said man's office hung one of Churchill's greater and more expensive pieces of art.

During the meeting the man praised the piece & Churchill was flattered, but he also remarked

that he felt, something was missing.

It was too empty.

Perhaps there should've been a sheep on the grass.

With a smirk on Churchill's face they ended the meeting.

The next day, without any explanation, the young man received notice that he shall send

the painting back to Churchill.

He was confused.

What did it mean?

Why send it back?

Had he offended, perhaps even made an enemy of, Winston?

Fast forward a few days.

The young man received the same painting back.

This time with a sheep on the grass.

What happened here?

Unlike most people Churchill did not hold grudges over well-intentioned and respectfully

voiced criticism.

He was one of the most powerful men in the world at that time.

Why should he care what some inexperienced greenhorn nobody thinks of his art?

Churchill understood he was dealing with a hungry and ambitious youngster.

He might not have had any significant power at the time, but he was showing all signs

for future success... at the very least, potentially.

Churchill did not underestimate the man for the media including news magazines had and

unfortuneately still have great influence over the masses.

Churchill knew doing this little favor for the young man was of great importance.

It wouldn't take long until he became the head of one of the most popular news outlets


Law #20: Do Not Commit to Anyone Alcibiades, greek soldier & statesman found

himself courted by the Athenians and the Spartans, because he had influence on the Persians and

honored by the Persians, because he had influence over the Greek city states.

Instead of committing to one side, he played all of them in his favor.

Comitting is like handing yourself over to someone else.

It means more obligations and less control.

Law #21: Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker Socrates said "The only true wisdom is in

knowing you know nothing."

He didn't actually believe of himself that he did not know anything.

It was his way of disarming people.

Sometimes you have to play dumb, so that the other lets his guard down.

Being openly smart is foolish.

Being openly foolish is smart.

Law #22: Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

The Melians were promted to surrender, but declined the Athenians' offer.

Despite their alliance the Spartans did not come to their rescue.

Melos was conquered and their population slaughtered & sold into slavery.

To quote Cardinal de Retz "Weak people never give way when they ought to."

Avoid weakness, but when you find yourself in a weak spot, choose to fight another day.

You will lose the current battle, but the war is not over.

Law #23: Concentrate Your Forces The greater an Empire's territories the more


Great lands need strong borders.

Else they may be overrun by another barbarian tribe as seen with the collapse of Rome.

Your armies are strongest when forged together.

Divide them and they may not be able to protect the empire from an invasion.

Dedicate your complete focus to one front, using every resource at your disposal and

all of your energy to master your craft through total immersion.

Law #24: Play the Perfect Courtier One cannot spell courtiership without Charles

Maurice de Talleyrand Perigord, the man who brought down Napoleon Bonaparte, master of

the battlefield, with extreme subtlety.

You are a courtier, or courtier [French], whether you like it or not.

You must play the game of power so you might as well choose to be good at it.

The perfect courtier obeys his masters, but shines in his own light.

He is not powerless, doesn't trust, but appears trustful, doesn't talk much, but finds the

right words and the right timing when he does.

Everyone likes him.

He is charming, witty and helpful.

He appears to be neutral, a paragon of honesty and fairness.

He always has a genuine smile on his face and we don't doubt his intentions for one


Although he is a great talent, we are not threatened by him.

We seek him as an ally.

This way, the perfect courtier holds more power than the king himself, without the dangers

of that position.

As we target highest authorities, he's in the shadows observing the current state of

the chess board.

Pieces may fall and be sacrificed on both ends, but he is winning regardless.

Learn the art of courtiership.

Law #25: Recreate Yourself Others will call you what they think you are

or what they think they see in you.

It's all superficial.

Every now and again you'll receive a genuine compliment, but your parents, friends, society,

even your government expects you to be someone or something else.

It's important that you choose to be whatever you want to be and that you feel free to change

whenever you like.

You have the freedom to dismiss the opinions of others, even to put on a good show like

Gaius Julius Caesar.

The world is your stage.

It's up to you what role you want to play.

Think of life like a book and you're writing it.

You're the main character, so act like it.

Law #26: Keep Your Hands Clean As written in Niccolo Machiavelli's letter

to the prince, Cesare Borgia was using Remirro di Orco as a tool to take gruesome action

against all of his enemies.

In the end he used him as a scapegoat, put the full blame on di Orco and threw lavish

banquets for the common folk, presenting not only his clean slate, but positive change.

It is the ultimate act of betrayal.

To have someone's back only to find out they've been using you this whole time.

Avoid falling into the trap of being someone's cats-paw or scapegoat.

Law #27: Play on Peoples Need to Believe "There are two different types of people in

the world, those who want to know, and those who want to believe."

- Friedrich Nietzsche We strive to find meaning in a world full

of formless chaos.

Hence most of us resort to the comfort of believing in unproven divine entities.

Your quest for answers and your need to belong is used against you, whether for your recruitment

as a mindless disciple or your loyal customership for a particular brand.

Christopher Hitchens wrote: "Beware the irrational, however seductive.

Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself."

End quote.

If someone claims to have all the answers, they are full of shit.

Fall prey to them and all you are doing is giving more power to those who don't have

your best interest at heart.

You cannot let others think for you.

If something doesn't make sense to you, perhaps like right now, feel free to dismiss it, but

consider doing so on your own behalf.

Law #28: Enter Action with Boldness If you're confident enough to play the role

of Monsieur Lustig, one of the greatest con artists in history, selling the Eiffeltower

to greedy scrap metal business owners looking to make a fortune over night for millions

of dollars, not once, but twice - one thing is crystal clear.

You're not playing around.

You don't hesitate and your moves have a high rate of success, be that in seduction, strategy

or power games.

There's that one split second before a box fight, where Mike Tyson's opponent will flinch

and break eye contact.

He already knows he's beaten.

There's that scene where Marco Polo & Kublai Khan stare down a wolf.

It's hesitation versus boldness.

In order to be fearless, you need courage.

Be bold.

Law #29: Plan all the Way to the End Excerpt from the book: "The Gods on Mount


Looking down on human actions from the clouds, they see in advance the endings of all great

dreams that lead to disaster and tragedy.

And they laugh at our inability to see beyond the moment, and at how we delude ourselves."

Before you take action consider the possible outcomes and consequences, calculate the risk,

then execute, if it's worth doing.

However, as time goes on things reform and it would be foolish to stick to a plan that

ignores change.

Law #30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless Harry Houdini made his stunt performances

look like they were a walk in the park, a piece of cake, as easy as stealing a child's


No one saw just how much work, preparation and practice went into every piece of the


This illusion we call magic.

Make it look like it was improvised, made up on the spot and it will seem genuine.

Boast how much work went into something and its natural allure, the magic, is gone.

Law #31: Get others to Play with the Cards you Deal

Ivan the Terrible let Russia choose between him as their czar or total destruction from

its enemies, the Boyars.

He made them see that they could only possibly be protected by him.

It wasn't really a choice and the Russians probably had other options that they were

unaware of.

They begged him to come back to the capitol and lead them.

This was what he wanted all along.

People like to think they have a choice.

Present them options that will work for you either way.

This is the norm in elections and anything of real importance.

Just like Houdini's performance it is an illusion.

Law #32: Play to Peoples Fantasies People's need to believe, people's fantasies

- there isn't a big difference.

Il Brigadino was an Alchemist.

People believed he could turn objects like wood into gold.

Ironically the only gold he ever made was given to him by the people who wanted him

to multiply it.

And others started to learn and practice alchemy.

Stop clicking on How to Make a Million Dollars Overnight type clickbait, stop buying 6-min

ab workout programs and stop going to the 7 Steps On How to Pull Hot Chicks Within Hours

event and get real.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Imagine the owner of a small print shop that produces labels dies of old age.

His son inheriting the shop goes through all the paper and books and he finds a box with

a sticker on top, on which his father handwrote "Don't open" ...

He respects his father's wish and does not open the envelope.

[5 seconds silence] But he can't let it go.

Don't Open ... don't open ... do not open ... what does it mean?

What could be inside this little box?

The son imagines all sorts of things.

After 5 years, he can no longer take it and so he opens it.

... [Box opening sound] And what's inside?

About a hundred labels saying "Don't open" We search for the truth.

We hope we can find it behind the curtain wall and when we think we've found it we discover

the truth is nothing more than an empty envelope.

Law #33: Discover Each Mans Thumbscrew Cardinal Richelieu would find out the weaknesses

of everyone around him, then worked on it by being useful to them until they were of

no use to him.

One by one he worked his way up to the king, who at the time was a mere child.

Know the weak spots of your opponents, the crack in their defense and you will know what

to work with, when you need it.

In reverse do not betray your own weaknesses.

Law #34: Be Royal in Your Own FashionAct Like a King

Christopher Columbus did not accept his low standing in the world he was born.

He recreated his family tree, married into nobility and peddled with kings.

Now, unless he was mad, people thought, there must be valid reasons behind his bold requests.

He must be legitimate.

Ask for less, receive less.

What you tolerate is what you end up with.

Do not think lowly of yourself.

You're a king in your own right.

You're a queen in your own right.

Princes & princesses are no good today.

Law #35: Master the Art of Timing Joseph Fouché was switching sides whenever

he sensed danger.

His biography is riddled with nigh impossible escapes from death.

He did not deem it necessary to be loyal to disloyal men.

Say what you want of his attitude, but he certainly knew when to act and when to lay


With time comes change.

It is important to not only know how to adapt, but at what exact moment for maximum effect.

Too fast and you're a traitor.

Too late and you're imitating the others.

In any case, learn to use time to your advantage.

Law #36: Disdain Things You Cannot Have King Henry VIII of England ignored his wife

Cathrine of Aragon for denying him a son.

With Thomas Cromwell on his side he devised a clever plan to marry Anne Boelyn.

When you ignore someone they cannot argue with you.

They cannot influence you.

You're out of reach and they can't do anything about it.

If there is something you cannot and will never have, it is best to push it aside with


... Sisyphus

was happy ... You do not understand the problem at all.

"If the individual evolves, the society dissolves."

The society exists only because the individual is not allowed to evolve.

All these powers have their prestige.

They are not ready to let man evolve, to let man grow to a point where they and their institutions

will become useless.

There are many situations that will help you to understand.

It happened in China, twenty-five centuries ago:

Lao Tzu became very famous, a wise man, and he was without doubt one of the wisest men


The emperor of China asked him very humbly to become his chief of the supreme court,

because nobody could guide the country's laws better than he could.

He tried to persuade the emperor, "I am not the right man," but the emperor was insistent.

Lao Tzu said, "If you don't listen to me ... just one day in the court and you will be convinced

that I am not the right man, because the system is wrong.

Out of humbleness I was not saying the truth to you.

Either I can exist or your law and your order and your society can exist.

So ... let us try it."

The first day a thief who had stolen almost half the treasures of the richest man in the

capital was brought into the court.

Lao Tzu listened to the case and then he said that the thief and the richest man should

both go to jail for six months.

The rich man said, "What are you saying?

I have been stolen from, I have been robbed - what kind of justice is this, that you are

sending me to jail for the same amount of time as the thief?"

Lao Tzu said, "I am certainly being unfair to the thief.

Your need to be in jail is greater, because you have collected so much money to yourself,

deprived so many people of money ... thousands of people are downtrodden and you are collecting

and collecting money.

For what?

Your very greed is creating hese thieves.

You are responsible.

The first crime is yours."

Lao Tzu's logic is absolutely clear.

If there are going to be too many poor people and only a few rich people, you cannot stop

thieves, you cannot stop stealing.

The only way to stop it is to have a society where everybody has enough to fulfill his

needs, and nobody has unnecessary accumulation just out of greed.

The rich man said, "Before you send me to jail I want to see the emperor, because this

is not according to the constitution; this is not according to the law of the coutnry."

Lao Tzu said, "That is the fault of the constitution and the fault of the law of the country.

I am not responsible for it.

Go and see the emperor."

The rich man said to the emperor, "Listen, this man should be immediately deposed from

his post; he is dangerous.

And he is very rational.

What he is saying is right; I can understand it - but he will destroy us!"

The emperor understood it perfectly well.

"If this rich man is a criminal, then I am the greatest criminal in the country.

Lao Tzu will not hesitate to send me to jail."

Lao Tzu was relieved of his post.

He said, "I tried to tell you before; you are unneccesarily wasting my time.

I told you I am not the right man.

The reality is that your society, your law, and your constitution are not right.

You need wrong people to run this whole wrong system.

Law #37: Create Compelling Spectacles Dr. Weisleder healed his patients with the

mere energy of moonlight.

Why was this obvious scam so successful?

Well, people didn't have the internet back then, but they also believed it was too spectacular

to be fraud.

The grandiosity, the associated status, rich and famous personalities were waiting in line

to be healed and healed again.

Using symbols as powerful as the moon and the very absence of explanation let people

fill in the logical gaps all by themselves.

If everyone believes it, it must be true.

Mark Twain wrote "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to

pause and reflect."

Law #38: Think As You Like, But Behave Like Others

478 B.C the fearless and experienced warrior Pausinias and his Greek troops captured part

of the Persian empire.

Being the overseer of these lands went to his head and he began acting rather strangely,

even for Pausinias.

He spoke ill of his own people.

Feeling and showing superiority breeds hate.

His god-complex and constant need to stand out had him killed in the end.

You want to fit in, whether you share common beliefs or not.

Being better or different in any way just causes trouble through other people's envy

and disdain.

They'll ostrasize you from the group and slander your reputation.

How much money do you make?

About 70% of whatever they make.

Once there ruled in the distant city of Wirani a king who was both

mighty and wise.

And he was feared for his might and loved for

his wisdom.

Now, in the heart of that city was a well, whose water was cool and

crystalline, from which all the inhabitants drank, even the king

and his courtiers; for there was no other well.

One night when all were asleep, a witch entered the city, and poured

seven drops of strange liquid into the well, and said, “From this

hour he who drinks this water shall become mad.”

Next morning all the inhabitants, save the king and his lord

chamberlain, drank from the well and became mad, even as the witch

had foretold.

And during that day the people in the narrow streets and in the

market places did naught but whisper to one another, “The king is


Our king and his lord chamberlain have lost their reason.

Surely we cannot be ruled by a mad king.

We must dethrone him.”

That evening the king ordered a golden goblet to be filled from the


And when it was brought to him he drank deeply, and gave it

to his lord chamberlain to drink.

And there was great rejoicing in that distant city of Wirani,

because its king and its lord chamberlain had regained their reason.

Law #39: Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish This is the good old lay a trap with bait

and wait.

Monkey see, monkey do.

The spiderweb.

Mice desire cheese so much, they won't even see the obvious construction around it.

When you know your enemies and their weaknesses you know what they react to and you use this

knowledge against them.

Create a false alarm.

They'll make a run to save what they hold so dearly and weaken themselves by exposing

their flank.

That's where you hit them.

That's certainly where they will hit you, if you fall for it.

Keep yourself from being reactive.

All that rage, blinding emotions, fear, desire.

It makes you predictable and it makes you weak.

Don't be impulsive.

Law #40: Despise the Free Lunch Louis XIV had an eagle eye for the stategic

power of money.

He would gift paintings of great value to people who didn't like him very much, until


This way he got nobility, the keys to power, on his side.

At the same time he increased operational costs for the aristocrats who wanted him gone.

It's ingenious.

He took money from his enemies and gave it to his new friends.

Two birds with one stone.

This is one of my favorite laws, because it states that cheap misers miss out on opportunities.

It pays to be generous and it pays not to accept "free" gifts.

What is the Return of Investment (ROI) on paying for someone's coffee?

You sit down at Starbucks with an influental, connected and experienced entrepreneur.

You get to talk to him for 10 minutes, ask his advice, learn from his mistakes.

I don't care if the coffee costs 50$, I'm paying, because there is a lot of upside.

In Greek mythology Polyphemon used to invite tired travellers into his small estate situated

in Attica.

He would generously offer his guests dinner and a place to stay the night.

But Polyphemon had a twisted mind and a very dark secret, much to the detriment of those

who fell for his hospitality.

He wanted the bed to perfectly fit the travellers, who lay in it.

Determined to achieve that symmetry he did the following; if his guests were too tall,

Polyphemon would decapitate them.

If they were too small, he would stretch them, which earned him the pseudonym Procrustes,

which meant "the stretcher."

One day Theseus, the hero of this little story about justice, came around and flipped the

script on Procrustes, decapitating him using his very own method.

Law #41: Avoid Stepping into a Great Mans Shoes

Alexander the Great's father had set the standard of achievement very high.

Alexander wasn't going to be content in his father's shadow.

He wasn't going to rest on his father's and later on his own laurels.

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."

Now imagine if Alexander the Great had had a son who wanted to be a conqueror.

That he would pale in comparison is an understatement.

Not a soul would've attributed his success to him for he'd achieve everything on the

shoulders of his father.

Don't make it your life's task to be better at being someone else.

Instead go your own way.

Unapolagetically be your best self.

Law #42: Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Scatter

"When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter."

"Cut the snake at the head."

What is an army without its generals, without leadership?

Whole empires have been secured off of conscientious leaders with iron willpower and vision.

Take them away and much like Alexander's empire after his death, they break apart and crumble,

turning on eachother, defecting and deserting.

Often the glue that sticks everything together constists of a few key people at the top in

any kind of organization, any kind of social group or hierarchy.

Do with this information what you will.

Law #43: Work on the Heart and Mind of Others October of 1793, the French Revolution declared

the end of the monarchy.

Marie-Antoinette knelt at the guillotine for she never cared about the people's opinion

of her as their queen.

She thought herself above the common folk.

Pampered and disgustingly narcassistic she paid the price, never learning from her mistakes.

You should influence people and win friends as Dale Carnegie suggests.

It is more, than beneficial to be recognized for your kindness and helpful demeanour.

Be agreeable or face the consequences of being indifferent.

Be humble or be humbled.

Law #44: Disarm and Infuriate With the Mirror Effect

Alcibiades charmed the Athenians, got accused of profaning sacred statues and fled, then

charmed the Spartans, impregnated the king's wife and fled, then charmed the Persians and

helped Athens win their war against Sparta.

They welcomed him back with open arms.

"Wherever Alcibiades went, whoever he had to deal with, he would leave behind his own

values and appear to share the values of his victims.

No one could resist a man who not only concurred with them, but also admired their ways of

living, seeming to be one of their own."

You like people, who like you, who are like you.

Match people's energy, speak their language, eat their food, find common ground and even

envious people will drop their preconceived notions about you.

Law #45: Preach Change But Never Reform Quickly Change is imperative, but human beings love

the comfort familiarity provides.

The unknown, disorder and chaos are very disruptive and undesirable to us, even when it is for

the better.

Hence, we need small, incremental changes that build over a long period of time allowing

everyone to adjust at a comfortable pace.

You are moving things in the right direction, while avoiding stirring up too much anxiety

and dissent.

Change things gradually, one step at a time, dragging the voluntary rest of us with you.

Imagine Odysseus, the Greek legend, is coming back home from his journey.

He's experienced 10 years of war and 10 more years of adventurous wandering

of which he spent 7 years at sea longing for his family.

Odysseus enters his home and puts down his sword, bow and some arrows.

He's overjoyed to see his wife and children.

He learns about his wife's shenanigans and he cuts down her suitors.

"At last, we can enjoy life together!" he says to his spouse.

But something seems off.

Odysseus has rediscovered his palace, his old life and his spouse, who, unlike him,

have aged 20 years.

... And boredom creeps in.

Nostalgy originally meant homesickness, the desire to be back in that place one has left.

But homesickness also comprises of the pain you feel when you discover upon your return

that things have changed, that the place you go back to is no longer the place you've been

longing for.

The reality never equates to the nostalgia or the memory one has of it.

There is no cure for that feeling and you can never truly return back home...

Law #46 Never Appear Too Perfect "It takes great talent and skill to conceal

ones talent and skill."

- La Rochefoucauld If you have been paying attention, you will

have noticed that a lot of these power plays revolve around the master and the student

or slave, domination and submission, superiority or authority and inferiority, ego, pride,

arrogance and envy, jealousy, hatred.

It's a very vicious and ultimately destructive cycle.

Everyone wants to be the king, no one wants to be the pawn.

Me, I don't want to be a pawn, but I don't want to be the king either.

I don't want to envy nor be envied.

I want to be the faceless man behind the throne.

I don't want to be on the chessboard.

I don't want to be a visible target, but I still want to win at the game of power no

matter what side loses.

Law #47: In Victory Learn When To Stop In 1751 Madame de Pompadour found herself

unable to satisfy Louis XV's lust.

To hold onto her privileged position she arranged younger, prettier women to keep the king happy.

This was a loss for she had to swallow her pride and share Louis with others.

They, however, could not compete with her charm, talents, taste and flawless sense for


"Her reign as mistress had lasted an unprecedented twenty years."

Don't push too far or you risk losing it all.

Know when to take a loss and move on.

Law #48: Assume Formlessness The Spartans, the most powerful infantry the

world had ever seen at the time, lost the war with Athens, for they were outnumbered

and unwilling to change their views.

They did not adapt to circumstance.

They did not build walls.

They did not want to conquer new lands, nor engage in trade for gold gave rise to corruption.

Meanwhile Athens was thriving through constant reform.

Sparta fell behind and collapsed.

Don't fight change.

When you catch yourself in the futile attempt to resist a new order, remind yourself that

you not only missed the opportunity to predict it, but to adapt to it in time.

You have to be antifragile.

As Bruce Lee said, and this is the closing statement, "You must be shapeless, formless,

like water.

When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup.

When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle.

When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.

Water can drip and it can crash.

Be water my friend."

"The art of war is to win without bloodshed or the use of force.

(Otherwise) the minimum necessary use of violence."

Part I) Self-Directed Warfare 1) Declare War on Your Enemies

In 401 BC Xenophon led Greek mercenaries into Persian territory.

When their leader died and they had nothing more to fight for, surrounded by the enemy,

they had to become a concentrated force fighting their way back home.

The soldiers' spirit was crushed.

They had weak morale and started fighting eachother.

Xenophon united them, thus defeating the inner enemy.

Focusing on survival, the prospect of getting home alive to family and friends made them


You cannot swing a sword without knowing what to hit with it.

It's you against the world and it's you against yourself.

Fight your inner demons.

Do not let your mind, your emotions and your ego control you.

Know yourself and external enemies won't be able to harm you.

You can stand up against anyone (mental fortitude).

2) Do Not Fight the Last War Miyamoto Musashi is one of history's most

dangerous Samurais, because he used to switch up his fighting pattern, changing his tactics

regularly to keep his opponents guessing and on the defensive.

The nervousness and paranoia this inflicted on his rivals made them easy targets.

What has worked in the past, may not work again.

Forget the past.

Adapt to current times, ever-changing, ever-evolving.

George Bernard Shaw said "The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes

my measurements anew each time he sees me.

The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them."

3) Amidst the Turmoil of Events, Do Not Lose Your Presence of Mind

Lord Nelson disobeyed his hysterical commander in the battle at Copenhagen in 1801, keeping

a calm head in a most hectic situation.

By disregarding his commander's authority and seeing the battlefield for what it was

Lord Nelson defeated the Danish navy.

You have to stay alert, when everyone else is in uproar.

Do not be intimidated by chaos.

Do not panic.

You seek out the conflict reacting swiftly, when the opportunity presents itself.

4) Create a Sense of Urgency and Desperation Fyodor Dostoevsky knew his days were numbered.

Facing his execution he made use of his time by creating each of his works as if they were

his last, because they very well could've been.

Once you come face to face with death, you eliminate life's non-essentials.

You overcome trivialities we foolishly care about every day taking our lives for granted.

Dostoevsky's work is exceptional, because he was restless.

He did not seek comfort.

You cannot wait for the right time.

You are never fully prepared to start.

"Tu fui ego eris."

As you are, I was.

As I am, you will be.

(A gravestone inscription reminding you that death is unavoidable)

Part II) Organizational (Team) Warfare 5) Avoid The Snare of Groupthink

General George Marshall taught his philosophies on leadership to a handful of protégés he'd

put into authoritative positions with high risk responsibilities.

One of these men was Dwight Eisenhower.

The General could rely on his subordinates, as they held the same beliefs and ran their

positions according to his vision.

You want a chain of command you can rely on.

You are the General, but you cannot have your head everywhere.

Put remote systems and loyal leaders into place that will guarantee the desired outcome.

Use them to balance your weaknesses with their strengths and ensure they always keep you

up to date.

In any case, be careful not to give up too much of your own authority and leverage.

6) Segment Your Forces In 1805 Napoleon Bonaparte faced an attack

by Austrian troops led by Karl Mack, upon which Napoleon divided his troops and sent

them into battle with specific instructions of surrounding the enemy.

The French units were free to move, flexible and quick.

The Austrian troops surrendered.

This is the opposite of Concentrating Your Forces, hence it's on you to know, when to

unite and when to divide your army.

Slow, but strong or fast and precise.

7) Transform Your War into a Crusade 281 BC Hannibal arranged competitive war games

to demonstrate how far his men would go to join the upcoming fight, to show what they

were made of.

This is a lesson in leadership.

Managing men well means 1) leading by example.

You use the effects of emotion by emphasizing that you are 2) fighting for a noble cause

and that "God is on your side."

It's 3) all about the team, its spirit, the collective energy and 4) the achievement of

the mission ahead.

You 5) punish and reward behavior accordingly.

You 6) bond together through each action and 7) get rid of the black sheep, who disrupt

your leadership.

Part III) Defensive Warfare 8) Pick Your Battles

Winston Churchill said "You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones

at every dog that barks."

Now the trick is in discerning which dogs not only bark, but also bite.

You'd be surprised how few of them actually do and even fewer ever get the opportunity.

Control your ego and ignore the insignificant rest.

Do not let pride worsen your situation.

Some battles you cannot win.

Never start them in the first place.

Know your limits.

Some battles you can win, but at too high a cost.

A Pyrrhic victory will ruin you.

Make your battles worth your time and resources.

Why would you fight a battle with grim odds, when you don't have to?

Your energy is limited.

Don't waste it.

9) Turn the Tables In the 1944 Democratic Presidential race,

the Republican party slandered Franklin Roosevelt, but he did not respond until they attacked

his dog.

Roosevelt humiliated his opponent by defending his pet friend and exposing their desperate

move for what it was.

Roosevelt was not easily irritated.

He let his opponents make the first move, waiting and biding his time.

This way he could analyze their strategy and attack his rivals' weaknesses.

In history defenders are more often victorious, than attackers.

We humans do not like aggressors.

We don't like bullies.

We have a heart for the victims of such attacks, even when they lay the bait and provoke it.

Stay calm and turn the situation into your favor.

10) Create a Threatening Presence 1862 Stonewall Jackson put on a dominant act

intimidating George McClellan during the American Civil War by pointing to all of his opponents'


Build the reputation of being a force of nature, a force to be reckoned with.

Unpredictability, madness, sudden and bold aggression is terrifiying.

Plant a seed of doubt in your opponent's mind and feed his paranoia.

Make them believe they cannot win and they will retreat.

To scare them means to break them.

But be careful.

Your opponent may call your bluff, if you're unwilling to back up your words with action.

Don't merely bark.

11) Trade Space for Time In the beginning of the Chinese Civil War

Mao Tse-tung's communists were forced to retreat.

Had the national party fought them at that time, they would have won.

But the communists took the opportunity and gathered support by uniting the peasantry,

defeating the nationalists in 1949 with a decided advantage.

This is similar to the Surrender Tactic.

Napoleon Bonaparte said "Space we can recover, time never."

You grant your opponent a small win in order to take up more space, grow your leverage

and weaken the enemy before battle.

Frustrate them by fighting on your terms.

This is classic Sun Tzu's Art of War material.

The enemy gives you chase you retreat.

The enemy retreats you pursue.

It's all about the advantage that determines the end result.

Part IV) Offensive Warfare 12) Lose The Battles But Win The War

Alexander the Great planned his campagin far into the future, which distinguished him from

other leaders.

One example of his purposeful goals was the capturing of all greater Persian Mediterranean

ports, effectively leaving the enemy without a navy and taking the sea component out of

future equations.

It wasn't obvious until it was too late.

Even though it has become a cliché; think several moves ahead.

Determine the bullseye, plan to the end and confuse your opponent leaving him unable to

read your actions, since they don't seem to have a connection.

In other words, make them focus on the trees so that they can't see the forest.

13) Know Your Enemy Prince Metternich met Napoleon Bonaparte hoping

he could find his weak spots.

A few years later he had helped arrange Napoleon's marriage to Marie Louise, who wasn't the most

pleasant wife.

Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo had also been the work of Metternich's spying in broad daylight.

Know thyself and know thy rival.

One of the greatest skills in war, as in seduction as in business is the ability to read people.

Master non-verbal communication, hide your observations and devise the most effective

tactics based on your insights.

14) Overwhelm Resistance With Speed and Suddenness In 1218 Genghis Khan overcame his opponent,

the one who shall not be named, with The Blitzkrieg Strategie.

He segmented his forces for mobility, lost small battles on purpose, then shifted to

serious and fast attacks, which the enemy had not anticipated.

You start by making slow moves to set the pace to which your rival adjusts, then exploit

the Überraschungsmoment to win the war quickly.

15) Control the Dynamic In 1942 during the 2nd World War, Erwin Rommel

fought the British on the North African deserts, using smaller units, keeping them on the move

and out of the opponent's reach.

In order to reduce the gap between events and status updates he'd often join the front


You're in control.

Be assertive.

Zugzwang, navigate your opponent by forcing him to move, directly into your area of defense.

The only downside to control might be not admitting that you have it.

16) Hit Them Where it Hurts In 209 BC Publius Scipio conquered Nova Carthago,

which was the Carthaginian capital in Spain.

Scipio destroyed Hannibal's armies' vital supply lines.

Within 5 years Scipio captured Carthage and ended Hannibal's saga.

Everything has a center of gravity.

Take a hold of it and unbalance the remaining structure, cutting supply lines, belief systems

and chains of command.

17) Defeat Them in Detail Divide et Impera -- the Divide and Conquer

Strategy In 490 BC the Persians landed on the plains

of Marathon 24 miles near Athens, splitting their army at night, planning to attack Athens

by sea.

The Greeks attacked the remaining Persians, then ran all they way back to Athens to safeguard

the city.

This is the origin of "running a marathon."

Divide large units and they're easier targets.

When your enemies are on the defensive, they will try to unite and face you with their

full force.

You do not allow them such strength.

18) Expose and Attack Your Enemy's Soft Flank In 1796 Napoleon Bonaparte baited Baron Joseph

Alvinczy into charging forward, hence exposing his armies flank.

This was the opportunity Napoleon had hoped for, surrounding and defeating his opponent

once more.

Disorient your rival, make him drop his guard through indirection, then deliver a powerful

blow to his exposed and vulnerable side.

19) Envelop The Enemy In 1778 the Zulu warriors fought the British

in Natal pressuring them with surprise attacks out of nowhere by knowing their home territory

by heart.

Enclosing the opponent does a number on his mental well-being.

Feeling trapped they will retreat, if they can.

20) Maneuver Them Into Weakness Bokuden, a master samurai who was practicing

the art of "winning without hands" was challenged by a young swordsman.

Bokuden decided they should have the duel on an island.

As soon as the swordsman left the boat, the grandmaster pushed it away from the shore,

leaving the young warrior stranded.

Outsmart the opponent, avoiding an advantageless direct attack, through calculated moves, which

grant you greater control over the situation at hand.

21) Negotiate While Advancing In 359 BC Alexander the Great's father Philip

II of Macedonia came to power, Athens refusing to recognize him.

He spoke of peace and prosperity as he continued to expand his empire uniting other Greek city-states

to lead an attack on the Persians.

Negotiate, willing to come to a win-win arrangement, but keep moving focusing on your organization's


You avoid immediate conflict, while furthering your interests.

Your demands are bold, yet ever-more reasonable, as your shadow grows.

22) Know How To End Things In 1937 Lyndon Johnson won the election for

a Texas Congressional seat with the help of his friends in the party, defeating the older

and experienced politicians.

Not wasting a second he humbly took to them, thanked them and expressed his hopes for future

collaboration, successfully.

Show humility in victory and let fresh wounds heal.

It's in your best interest that everyone accepts the outcome, comes to terms with it and moves


The exit strategy -- Ende gut, alles gut.

Part V) Unconventional (Dirty) War 23) Weave a Seamless Blend of Fact and Fiction

In the 2nd World War, the allies made use of key tactics that would cloud and slow down

Adolf Hitler's decision-making before the invasion at Normandy.

They sat a Doppelgänger of General Montgomery in a theater far away.

In Engand they set up what looked like an army, but wasn't.

Misinform your opponent, make him see upside down, while you see what is at all times.

Make a weak spot look strong, make a strong spot look weak.

Do the opposite of what your opponent is really wishing for.

However, don't fully rely on deception.

A skilled opponent might see through the illusion, play along and beat you at your own game.

24) Take The Line of Least Expectation In 219 BC Hannibal attacked the Roman army

baiting them through erratic behavior.

As the Romans crossed the Trebia, they found themselves facing gigantic war elephants.

Other times the Romans tried to bait Hannibal, but to no avail.

Great advantage comes from not meeting your opponent's expectations.

Others have a mental model of you based on past experiences, stories and conflict.

By going against this image they've created you surprise them in your favor.

25) Occupy the Moral High Ground Martin Luther, a German priest, argued against

Pope Leo X that only god can forgive one's sins, as the pope was trying to earn money

by selling privileges.

Luther revealed the hypocrisy, justifying his arguments as moral, attacking the reputation

of the pope and refuting him based solely on the bible.

You're good, your opponent is evil.

You create an us versus them dynamic, demonize the other and present your side as the virtuous


However, you may lose support seeming righteous and condescending.

26) Deny Them Targets In 1812 Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.

His French forces of 450'000 men were decimated to a mere 100'000 losing even more men on

their retreat.

The Russians were playing for time, drawing the French forward with little conflict, destroying

any resources they could not carry.

Guerrilla (Geh-Rrih-Ya) warfare works best on the minds of large armies, tiring and starving

the enemy, using nature to your advantage by letting them freeze in the cold or dry

up in the sun.

When your rival is ready to fight, frustrate him through your absence.

27) Seem to Work for the Interests of Others While Furthering Your Own

In 1467 the Duke of Burgundy allied with England in the hopes of attacking Louis of France

in unison.

Louis, however, was informed of the Duke's intentions and allied with England in the

same breath, crossing his adversary's plans.

Make strategic alliances that benefit you.

Do not hesitate to do favors for those who will be of help in the future.

As you treat others kindly and generously, you put them in your debt.

Keep in mind, rarely does anyone help you without an agenda.

28) Give Your Rivals Enough Rope To Hang Themselves In 1635 the French founded L'Académie Française

to protect their language from deteriorating.

When the Bishop the Noyons was given the position of counsel his arrogant and repelling demeanor

proved to be a threat to the cause.

He was given a speech to perform, with which he would make a total fool of himself.

His blindspots didn't allow him to recognize what humiliation he would bring over himself.

At last the Bishop left the academy on his own.

Some individuals are inherently self-destructive.

You let your adversaries end themselves as active agents in their own demise.

As they overreact, hurting their own reputation, show your innocence.

"Don't interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

29) Take Small Bites In the 2nd World War Charles de Gaulle visited

Winston Churchill to ask for permission for a small broadcast to his fellow countrymen

in France.

It was a small favor and Churchill didn't want to offend a fresh ally.

De Gaulle spoke to his people who had been suffering under the Blitzkrieg invasion of

the Germans.

De Gaulle promised to talk to them again the following day, which hadn't been part of the

bargain, but Churchill played along.

What harm could it do?

De Gaulle became more aggressive, calling the French people to arms, gathering ever-more

support, eventually leading his newly-recruited forces in Africa, creating the French Resistance

and becoming all too powerful, step by step.

When Churchill, regretting his decisions and Franklin Roosevelt wanted to replace de Gaulle

with a passive alternative, de Gaulle's supporters stood by him.

In order to avoid confrontation, people will give you more leeway and give in to small


With short attention spans they repeat mistakes, allowing your power to grow, as you play for


30) Penetrate Their Minds In renaissance Florence the Medici discharged

Niccolò Machiavelli from his post.

Aiming to regain favor he then wrote a titleless letter to the Florentine government, on how

to take over and keep power as a ruler.

He didn't receive the thanks he was hoping for, but he kept writing, which improved his

remaining life and immortalized him as one of the most influental writers on the art

of governance and modern politics.

After his death the letter was published as "The Prince", another manuscript as "Discourses

on Livy."

Words are weapons.

Articulate and profound communication, the precise expression of valuable ideas, can

lift you out of poverty, end wars before they begin, make powerful friends and with a bit

of luck withstand the fall of time.

31) Destroy From Within Wilhelm Canaris infiltrated the German Defense


Adolf Hitler himself assigned Canaris in 1933 trusting his counsel, being impressed by his


It would take the German SS a full decade until they realized he had been working against

them, successfully.

Troy's walls were unbreakable, their archers well-seasoned and devestatingly accurate,

but it was the Trojan horse that they willingly let inside the city, mistaking it for a gift,

that crushed them.

Do not attack a fortification with full force, use deception and destroy from within.

32) Dominate While Seeming to Submit Mahatma Gandhi arranged a 200 mile march as

a peaceful protest against an imposed Salt Tax and deeming it harmless the authorities

stood idle, permitting it.

The march turned out to be a big success, thousands walking the streets in support of

Indians, but in disapproval of the British.

The government was too late to sabotage the passive-agressive move.

Peaceful non-aggression can be more effective, than any act of violence.

Your animosity is subtle.

While your opponent feels in control, since you don't appear to be eager for power, you

covertly fight for your cause.

33) The Chain Reaction Strategy The Nizari were an organization pursuing their

own interests by using assassins who hid in plain sight becoming one with large crowds

in the streets only to emerge and assassinate their targets with a dagger creating chaos

and spreading uncertainty in what was once a familiar and peaceful surrounding, while

increasing their power by recruiting anyone who felt betrayed by the state and its violent

attempts to squash the rebellion.

Unlike some would lead you to believe, throughout history the templars had improved the lives

of the common folk by building safe roads, the assassins on the other hand murdered to

further their own selfish cause.

However, not only evil can spread far and quickly through the chain reaction ... you

can be the change you want to see in the world and in popularizing this sentiment with your

help good may triumph over evil.

"When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

When I found I could not change the world, I tried to change my nation.

When I found I could not change the nation, I tried to change my town.

When I found I could not change the town, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself.

And suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact

on my family.

My family and I could have made an impact on our town.

Their impact could have changed the nation.

And I could indeed have changed the world."

- Unknown Monk 1100AD

The Description of 81 Maxims of Power & Strategy by Robert Greene (Colorized)