The 48 Laws of Power List (+ Infographic)

This is a list of The 48 Laws of Power.

Bookmark this page for a quick Machiavellian shot with a short form list of the 48 Laws of Power.

Bonus: scroll below for a high-quality infographic of the “48 Laws of Power”.

The 48 Laws of Power List

The titles are the laws, while the bullet points provide a quick explanation:

Law 1: Never Outshine the Master

  • Do not showcase your superior talents, or it will make those above you dislike you

Law 2:  Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends. Use Your Enemies

  • Friends will envy and resent you, turn into frenemies, and plot against you. Turn your enemies into allies, instead

Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions

  • Never say what you’re really up to

Law 4: Always Say Less than Necessary

  • Powerful people impress by talking less

Law 5: Protect Your Reputation at All Costs

  • Reputation is the cornerstone of power. If you want to destroy someone, attack their reputation

Law 6: Court Attention at All Costs

  • Stand out from the crowd

Law 7: Get Others Do the Work For You, But Take the Credit

  • Do what most bosses do: use your team, but present the result as if it happened because of them

Law 8: Make People Come to You

  • Avoid chasing people, but make others approach you and ask you for favors

Law 9: Win Through Actions, Never Through Argument

  • Talk is cheap, actions always speak louder

Law 10: Don’t Get Infected by Misery and Misfortune

  • Avoid the losers and complainers, associate with the happy and the winners

Law 11: Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

  • Make yourself indispensable

Law 12: Use Selective Honesty & Generosity to Disarm Your Victim

  • One act of honesty will cover a dozen of dishonest ones
  • First, make them trust you, and then you deceive them big

Law 13: Get Help by Appealing to Self-Interest, Never to Their Mercy

  •  If you need help, don’t remind people of the past good you’ve done for them. Instead, find what’s in it for them today

Law 14: Pose As a Friend Work As a Spy

  • Gather intelligence and learn people’s secrets by getting close to them

Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally

  • Don’t wound. Kill

Law 16: Raise your Value Through Absence and Scarcity

  • Don’t be too present. Create value through scarcity and absence

Law 17: Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability

  • Predictability makes you an easy target. Make your moves more random, become more unpredictable

Law 18: Don’t Isolate Yourself Behind a Fortress

  • Isolation is dangerous and cuts you off from information: mingle with the people, instead

Law 19: Know Who You’re Dealing with

  • Pick good targets, and don’t cross the wrong people

Law 20: Do Not Commit to Anyone

  • Maintain your Independence as long as possible

Law 21: Play A Sucker to Catch a Sucker: Seem Dumber Than Your Mark

  • Seem dumber than you really are and your opponent will lower his guard

Law 22: Use the Surrender Tactic

  • Don’t fight until the bitter end, but surrender and regroup

Law 23: Concentrate Your Forces

Law 24: Play the Perfect Courtier

Law 25: Re-Create Yourself

  • Be the master of your own identity, don’t let others define you

Law 26: Keep Your Hands Clean

  • Use others to do the illegal and immoral deeds while you look above reproach

Law 27: Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following

  •  Create a cult-like following where you are the cult-master

Law 28: Enter Action With Boldness

  • Timidity is weak. Do it boldly and convinced, or don’t do it at all

Law 29: Plan All The Way to The End

  • Make your luck by drafting proper and accurate plans that begin from the most important part: the end goal

Law 30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

  • You look immensely competent and powerful when you achieve your goals without breaking a sweat

Law 31: Control the Options

  • Make people feel like they had a choice, but truly only give choices that see you as the winner

Law 32: Play to People’s Fantasies

  • Give people what they want to hear, not the truth

Law 33: Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

  • Find your opponent’s weaknesses, insecurities, and hot buttons

Law 34: Be Royal in Your Own Fashion – Act Like a King to Be Treated Like One

  • Act like the person you want to become

Law 35: Master the Art of Timing

  • Never seem in a hurry, but look calm and collected like you always have things under control

Law 36: Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge

  • If you can’t have something, pretend it doesn’t even register in your brain. Pretend it doesn’t exist

Law 37: Create Compelling Spectacles

  • Dazzle people with big shows that cover the harsher reality that you don’t want them to see

Law 38: Think As You Like, But Behave Like Others

  • When you go against the grain you communicate you feel superior. People will resent you. Blend in, instead

Law 39: Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish

  • Make your enemies angry and emotional

Law 40: Despise the Free Lunch

  • Freebies come with strings attached. Instead of taking freebies, offer them: generosity is a sign and magnet for power

Law 41: Avoid Stepping Into a Great Man’s Shoes

  • Don’t follow great leaders in their footsteps or you look like a smaller hanger-on. Carve your own path, instead

Law 42: Strike the Shepherd to Scatter the Sheep

Deal with the problem at its source. Strike the source of the trouble, the leader, or the main instigator

Law 43: Work on The Hearts and Minds of Others

  • Influence beats dominance. Direct people gracefully, master the art of gentle influence
  • Appeal to hearts (emotions) first and foremost. Then deal with the minds (rationality)

Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

  • Copy with they do: it’s a great technique to stir water and make them angry and emotionally unhinged

Law 45: Preach the Need for Change, But Never Reform Too Much at Once

  • Change is traumatic, and people will resist it: make your changes slow and gentle

Law 46: Never Appear Too Perfect

  • Make the average masses feel closer to you with strategic vulnerability

Law 47: Do Not go Past The Mark You Aimed For, In Victory, Know When to Stop

  • Don’t push too far, stop when you achieve your goal

Law 48: Assume Formlessness

  • Everything changes. What worked today won’t necessarily work tomorrow. And you must adapt to thrive

The 48 Laws of Power Infographic

Here are the 48 Laws of Power in pictorial format:

the 48 laws of power list in infographic form

Also check out:

As well as:

  • Manipulation: a primer on manipulation techniques and games people play
  • Dark Psychology: a primer on the dark side of influence and psychology
  • Machiavellianism: become more Machiavellian, and you won’t even need any list anymore
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