Moral Critique of Law #11: The 48 Laws of Power
I read the book The 48 Laws of Power out of a curiosity and a hunger for something greater for myself. What I found was a book that could be seen as ruthless and manipulative in it's principles. I have decided to write a series of critiques of each of the laws. I will discuss the good and the bad of the law as well as a key that I've found to upholding the law without losing your morality.
Now, I will discuss Law #11.
Law #11. Learn to keep people dependent on you.
"To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you."
-Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
Maintaining your independence is a good thing. So, is remaining indispencable. When you seek to be the best in your profession or serve humanity in a way that is greatly needed, you become a great assett. You also become invaluable. You are able to charge more money for what you do, because you will be well sought out. Having this as your mantra leads you to want to strive to be the best and seek out new skills and qualifications. Put simply, settling for mediocrity will never get you above average level. Raising the bar for yourself raises the bar for other people.
Maining a high standard for yourself in order to serve others is good. Keeping people dependent on what you offer does not serve them and may be detrimental to you as well.
Think about it like a mother who spoils her children. She continues to give them everything they want, money, food, shelter, clothes...without giving them the knowledge to get these things for themselves.
"If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime." -Chinese proverb
What will happen if this hypothetical mother should die or can no longer support these children. She has not only hurt them, but she has hurt themselves, because they are not long useless to themselves, they are also useless to her as well.
If you go out of control with this law, you could become like a loan pillar holding up a fortress. If something happens to you, the whole thing could come crashing down. Furthermore, the weight of that fortress on you can put a stress and strain on you that you may not be prepared to handle.
The key to this law is to make yourself invaluable, but also delegate responsiblities in such a way that you are supported by others. Teach people how to help you to help others. Develop a support network, of which you are the head.
You may want to make sure that what you are contributing to your network is something that no one else in the network can contribute. Maybe you have the money or some special skill that no one else in the network can contribute.
However, bear in mind that even with that being the case, you are still replaceable. People can always find someone with more money or knowledge than you. Even if you are the first person to come up with an idea, unless it is proprietary, someone else may be able to come in a scoop that idea from under you, duplicate it or refine it to meet there own needs.
A healthy dose of humility is always useful. Avoid a selfish and/or egotistical attitude, because it could bring you enemies who may seek your downfall.
Humility doesn't mean being a pushover. If you are the best neurosurgeon in a specific procedure, delegate other procedures to other neurosurgeons and encourage your subordinates with a supportive demeanor. Develop a network of individuals that you can call upon when you, yourself, need support. In the end, you won't be under too much pressure, you will still maintain your high level of value and if you are gone, you will be missed, but the whole system will not crumble around you.
Have you read The 48 Laws of Power? What did you think of Law #11?
You can probably get this book on Amazon.com for less than $15 or bid on it on eBay, but read it with a compassionate heart and watch the Laws of Power work magic in your business, relationship and life! Then, join the conversation in the comment box below!
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