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A Guide to

Robert Greene’s

The 48 Laws of Power

Summary and Analysis,

Key Ideas and Facts

by I.K. Mullins

Copyright©2015 I.K. Mullins. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author.

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Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument

According to Greene’s Ninth Law of Power, you cannot win by arguing. You can win only through your actions. Your argument can temporarily change opinions, but it can create long-lasting resentment that will harm you in the long run.

For example, when Piero Sorderini, who was a mayor of Florence, told Michelangelo that the nose on a sculpture was too big. Michelangelo didn’t argue and created the appearance of changing the sculpture’s nose. As a result, Sorderini was pleased and no one got offended.


Analysis and Comments on the Ninth Law of Power

The Ninth Law of Power agrees with the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” According to Greene, the Ninth Law of Power can be applied in practice by using the following ideas:

  • Actions and demonstrations are much more effective than any speechmaking.
  • In some situations, symbols, such as a flag or a monument, can be understood by people without verbal communication.
  • Occasionally, an argument can be beneficial to you. When trapped in a web of deception, you might have to draw your adversary into an argument in order to confuse and distract.
  • When people agree with you politely, they might be thinking something entirely different.

* * *

The following ideas, facts and comments go beyond Greene’s book and provide additional insight into the Ninth Law of Power:

Actions can be used as a crucial tool of persuasion and manipulation. However, do not underestimate the power of words. Some actions reach people indirectly and in some abstract way. However, if you find words that reach people directly, often carrying strong emotional punch, then your words can affect them very strongly.


Law 10: Infection—Avoid the unhappy and unlucky

According to Greene’s Tenth Law of Power, sometimes your compassion may compel you to associate with unhappy and unlucky people. However, you can become infected with their emotional state be led to your own disaster. If you want to gain power, then you have to avoid such people and associate with happy and successful people.

For example, Marie Gilbert—aka Lola Montez of Ireland, Irish adventuress and “Spanish” dancer, was famous for her liaison with King Louis I of Bavaria. She used men with high social standing for her own gain. Many men suffered because of their association with Lola Montez who had an unstable and infectious character type.


Analysis and Comments on the Tenth Law of Power

According to Greene, people who are aware of the Tenth Law of Power can recognize and avoid unhappy and unlucky infectors by using the following tactics:

  • Be aware that unhappy infectors draw misfortune upon themselves. They typically have a stormy past, an unstable career and a history of broken relationships. They have the need to unsettle and destroy.
  • Don’t argue with such infectors and don’t try to help them. Don’t pass them onto your friends. Avoid their company and do not associate with them.
  • Associate yourself with people whose cheerfulness, resilience and intelligence attract happiness. Their positive qualities can infect you as well.
  • If you are predisposed to isolation, then force yourself to make friends with outgoing and extraverted people. Don’t associate yourself with people whose character has the same flaws as yours. They will only fortify those traits of your character that hold you back.

* * *

The following ideas, facts and comments go beyond Greene’s book and provide additional insight into the Tenth Law of Power:

  • One of the most dangerously toxic types of people are those who view themselves as perpetual victims. They blame other people for their own issues and mistakes.
  • Jealous and envious people are never happy with what they have. They feel miserable when something good happens in your life.
  • Some toxic people are always angry and bitter.
  • We can also call toxic those people who are consumed by greed and vanity.
  • Gossipers can also be very destructive. They do not make any distinction between facts and speculations.

In order to get away from such people, you can follow these steps:

  1. Establish boundaries and tell other people that you expect them to respect your boundaries.
  2. Tell people who poison your life and mind that you intend to sever any connections with them.
  3. If a person makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed out, then he or she might be a toxic person. Learn to recognize toxic people, do not rationalize their behavior and do not get involved with them in the first place.

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Go to Part I A Summary of Laws 17-24

Go Back to Part I A Summary of Laws 1-8

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