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Moral Critique of Law #8: The 48 Laws of Power

Updated on January 25, 2014

I read the 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 #8.

Law #8. Make other people come to you - use bait if necessary.

"When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains - then attack. You hold the cards."

-Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

The Good

It often works to one's advantage to allow the object of one's intentions make the first move rather than pursuing them and risking their evasive actions. This is true in chess, in love and in life. It is also true in fishing and takes a lot of patience. The reason for acting in this way, is so that the other person feels that they are in control. They feel that they made the decision to act. People do not like to give up control. So, when you are patient and wait on other people to make the first move, you are giving them the power to act and feel in control. They, in turn, trust you and feel comfortable around you, because they believe you are not out to manipulate them.

The Bad

The dark side of this is that you ARE manipulating the person. Especially if you are using some kind of bait as the law suggests. If you are looking for people to work with you, or searching for love, wouldn't you prefer someone who chooses you, rather than someone who you "tricked" into following you? When things don't happen organically, you run the risk of having to keep up a "front" or keeping secrets that could damage the relationship in the end.

The Key

It is OK, to read dating books and personal empowerment books to learn how to manage people or obtain the results you want. However, something has to be said for allowing things to happen organically (or at least semi-organically). Using "bait" is not necessarily bad, but it is important to allow the other person to act and not to force their hand.

When using dating books, personal empowerment books or other types of "bait" (eg. dressing a certain way, offering employees a higher salary or benefits, etc.) in order to win them over to your way of thinking or encourage them to go along with your intention/desire, make sure whatever you are offering is sustainable, because if it is not you run the risk of losing your "catch" once what you're offering runs out.

One way to do this is to make sure that what you're offering is something you believe in. If you are planning to change your personality based on some dating rules, make sure you believe in "the spirit" of the rules, because that will make you more likely to maintain it after the person is yours. If you are offering someone a higher salary for working for you, make sure you believe that person (and/or that job position) is worth it, because then when you are making budget cuts, it is easier to make decisions (like whether or not to keep this person at this particular pay rate) without compromising your principles. If you are changing the way you dress to get a job, consider why dressing like that is appropriate and/or necessary for the position so you do not feel inconvenienced by it.

Also, accept the possibility that the other person just may not "bite". If not you stand the risk of becoming irrational and that seems to be the opposite of what this law is trying to achieve.

Have you read The 48 Laws of Power? What did you think of Law #8?

You can probably get this book on 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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