If you’re a “Mr. Nice Guy” like me, The 48 Laws Of Power won’t tell you what you want to hear. However, it might be what you need to hear, at least in some cases. I don’t agree with all the laws, but there’s a solid reason behind each of them. All in all a great read with lots to learn!
The 48 Laws Of Power draws on many of history’s most famous power quarrels to show you what power looks like, how you can get it, what to do to defend yourself against the power of others and, most importantly, how to use it well and keep it.
Most of the 48 laws draw on a specific situation from history to bring out the lesson, and even though some of them seem to contradict one another, there’s a precious lesson to be learned from every single one.
Here are some 3 major lessons from the book:
- Always make superiors look smarter than you.
- Confuse competitors by acting unpredictably.
- Don’t force others to do what you want, seduce them instead.
Lesson 1: Always make superiors look smarter than you.
The one thing people in a position of power don’t want is to look powerless. But when you flaunt your skills right in front of them, that’s exactly what happens. The French minister of finance under King Louis XIV, Nicolas Fouquet, paid for that lesson with a life in prison. When he threw an excessive party at his chateau in favor of the king, the king accused him of stealing, for no one man could legally be that wealthy, and threw him into prison.
So instead of showing off how good you are, make your boss look like she’s the smartest person in the room, even if you know she isn’t. Give away credit and you’ll be given responsibility in return.
For example, when Galileo Galilei discovered the four moons of Jupiter, he could’ve taken all that credit. Instead, he named them after the Grand Duke, Cosimo II de’ Medici, and his brothers. As a result Cosimo appointed him as his official philosopher and mathematician, securing Galileo’s funding for his research for years to come.
Lesson 2: Make errors on purpose to confuse your competition.
Sometimes the competition seems to always be one step ahead of you. That’s likely because they’ve invested time and energy into researching you and finding out your behavior patterns. When that happens, your best move is to act unpredictably. Do the opposite of what you think people expect, make a mistake on purpose, or just disappear for a while.