The 48 Laws of Power Summary

Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary Law 5: So much depends on reputation, guard it with your life Law 6: Court attention at all costs Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit Law 8: Make other people come to you, use bait if necessary Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument Law 10: Infection: Avoid the unhappy or the unlucky Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self interest, never their mercy or gratitude Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy Law 15: Crush your enemy totally Law 16: Use absence to increase strength and honor Law 17: Keep others in suspended terror, cultivate an air of unpredictability Law 18: Do not build a fortress to protect yourself, isolation is dangerous Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with, do not offend the wrong person Law 20: Do not commit to anyone Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker, seem dumber than your mark Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power Law 23: Concentrate your forces Law 24: Play the perfect courtier Law 25: Re-Create Yourself Law 26: Keep your hands clean Law 27: Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult like following Law 28: Enter action with boldness Law 29: Plan all the way to the end Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless Law 31: Control the options, get others to play with the cards you deal Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies Law 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion. Act like a king to be treated like one Law 35: Master the art of timing Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have, ignoring them is the best revenge Law 37: Create compelling spectacles Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish Law 40: Despise the free lunch Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect Law 45: Preach the need to change, but never reform too much at once Law 46: Never appear too perfect Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for. In victory, know when to stop Law 48: Assume formlessness