Contents of the 8th Summary of the 48 Laws of Power
Part 1: Video Summary
Part 2: Real Life Applications
Part 3: Negative Example
Part 4: Spirit of the Law
Part 5: Most Important Learnings
Video Summary of Law #8
This post analyses the Law "Make other People come to you, use Bait if Necessary". What follows is an in-depth summary with approximately 3300 words on making others lower their defences and come to you, prone to making mistakes.
Welcome, my most magnificent reader! Here is the first summary of the grandiose strategy book "The 48 Laws of Power". Why do I start with number 8 and not #1 you might ask yourself? You will find the answer nicely wrapped up and hidden in the text. Enjoy.
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.
Examples & Applications of Law #8
French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand decided to plot against his former master after Napoleon Bonaparte was sent to exile on the Italian island called Elba. A location in close proximity to the heart of Europe, so Napoleon's shadow still lingered over the whole continent. The masses still loved him, even after his defeat, and he was a disturbance to many influential people. They wanted to see him either dead or exiled to a far away country.
Talleyrand and his associates decided that the best course of action would be to enable Napoleon to take a seat on the throne once more. In In a dazzling operation, they helped Napoleon escape the island in broad daylight.
Napoleon did lead a comfortable life on Elba, but the lack of power anguished him. His lust for power was so big, that he did not see Talleyrand's plan for what it was. He didn't realise that France was an economic mess, unable to sustain another war.
When he arrived in France, Napoleon gathered a small army and marched on Paris. Many soldiers joined the ranks of their former general, and the city welcomed him with praise. Still having the support of the masses, he crowned himself emperor; picking up the war where he left. His position, this time, was different. Desolate, and led not only to his personal Waterloo, but he also was defeated at the actual battle of Waterloo. Now, he was not sent to an idyllic 5-star holiday on beautiful Elba. His enemies exiled him to a desolate island called St. Helena in Africa. So far, that his grip could not reach Europe and he no longer posed a threat.
Where did Napoleon go wrong? He became arrogant, power hungry, put his emotions before reason, believing that he could win unwinnable wars. Reasons that lead to his defeat and exile.
During the now legendary game between France and Italy during the Worldcup 2016 Final, a monumental scene unfolded. The two men who each scored one goal for their nation (7' Zidane and 19' Materazzi) clashed.
Marco Materazzi - being the sneaky and Machiavellian Italian he is - pulled on Zidane's shirt, prompting a response by the Golden Ball winner. Zidane said: „If you want my shirt, I can give it to you afterwards“.
To which Materazzi replied 'No, I don't want your shirt, I prefer the shirt of your sister, you son of a terrorist whore“.
Despite this not being a particularly nice thing to say, it made an excellent bait that enrages Zidane and drove him to give him a headbutt, resulting in a red card.
With their star player gone, the French team was demoralised, and Italy beat the leaderless 10-man squad in the penalty shootout.
During an interview about the incidence, Zidane stated:
"Let's not forget that provocation is a terrible thing. I have never been one to provoke; I have never done it. It's terrible, and it is best not to react."
Yes, it is never good to take a bait and end up in a trap. If, during stressful situations, you have no control over your emotions, you are going to end up losing the World Cup title.
Link to the story: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2010/mar/01/zinedine-zidane-marco-materazzi-headbutt
World War 1, Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron – because of his red plane and royal bloodline – was the most successful fighter pilot in the German airforce. He possessed intuition, lightning fast reflexes and could manoeuvre his plane like nobody else. This much is known. What is rather unknown is that despite being an excellent pilot, he was an excellent tactician, leader, instructor & tinker as well. He even advised in the creation of the Fokker plane. A new project with the goal to eliminate weaknesses of the current design. All that while being in his early to mid-twenties. A true genius, a man after my own heart.
Manfred von Richthofen had an aerial killstreak of 80 confirmed kills, a feat unmatched by his enemies. His strongest contender was a Canadian, boasting 72 air victories. His advantage of 8 kills was not impressive, but in terms of lethality, he trumped his adversaries by a huge margin, if we take his battle tactics into account.
Von Richthofen flew the only shiny red plane, and his reputation was legendary. Despite not being certain, I do believe that the Allied instructors briefed their pilots on the tactics he used... to no avail. His plan unfolded every single time. Maybe it was the signal colour red? Because the British crown had put a huge bounty on his head? Or because his enemies knew that he was a lethal opponent? We can not tell but one thing is certain, and that was the fact that his presence alone was enough to cloud the minds of the Allied pilots who were confronted with him.
His tactic made perfect use of this Law to bait people to come to him. He flew below his squad, baiting the enemies to attack him. A red plane, a legendary pilot, a huge bounty on his head, the lowest flying and first plane. All these things let the well-trained Allied pilots forget their training and take the bait Richthofen offered them. When they did, his squad would descend down on them and annihilate the attackers. While only being responsible for 80 aerial victories, through this tactic he was indirectly responsible for at least 10x of his personal count.
Ironically, this law led not only to him becoming the most valuable German Luftwaffe asset... but also to his death. A head injury he sustained during a battle, was said to have changed his temper to the worse. The injury maimed his use as a fighter pilot. Men like von Richthofen do not simply stop and give up when things are looking hopeless. Hence he ignored the plea to stop flying and start instructing. Flying was his life and he would give his life for it.
During his last battle, he succumbed to rage and took the bait in the form of an enemy plane, trying to escape into hostile territory. He didn't pay attention to his surrounding, flew too close to the ground, and this is where an anti-air gunner shot him. His head injury led to a bloody rookie mistake and the greatest fighter pilot of his time, an unexpendable hero, died a very expendable death.
Real Life Application
Donald Trump has built himself an impressive office in his Trump Tower. Whenever a journalist inquires an interview, Trump invites him into the den of the lion; his own playground. As soon as he is the president (Update: he is now), the Oval office in the Air Force one will be similar. A place to discuss business, where his counterparts are always kept on their toes. Being in a well-known territory puts one into a much better bargaining position. Whenever a person is confronted with a new environment, he tends to be alert and less confident than he normally would be. The same effect can be noticed when going to a new bar or even sleeping in a hotel room. Half your brain is awake and active, scanning for dangers.
Megyn Kelly & others tried to bait him into the Fox News Republican Debate in Cleveland. He knew that the debate would be biased and the cards not stacked in his favour. The hostess never treats Trump with much respect and obviously had the sole goal of rhetorically embarrassing him in front of the American viewers, raising various potential accusations.
Trump smelled the trap and declined the invitation. Despite not even showing up, he was repeatedly attacked by his opponents, and the topic "Trump" dominated the beginning of the debate. Neither his reputation nor his polls suffered from not attending; he even received a lot of free publicity because he had the participants blaspheme about him in his absence. A risky move that ultimately worked out in his favour.
Piccolò Pretendiavelli found himself in an advantageous position but waited too long for the perfect moment. Instead of acting boldly and seizing the moment, he laid out a sneaky trap with an appealing bait. Unfortunately, his opponent didn't take the bait in time, which resulted in Piccolò losing the initiative and favoured position. Without the element of surprise, Piccolò Pretendiavelli perished at the hands of his foe.
Why did his opponent not take the bait? Because it was the wrong one. Piccolò didn't think in terms of what bait adversary wants but instead what he himself would happily grab.
After his crushing defeat, Piccolò had to get back on the feet, rebuild his little empire. Abandoning all rational thought, he got lured by a get rich quick scheme, in which he gladly bought into. While looking for the free lunch, he didn't make an effort to thoroughly think this offer through.
His own tactic of baiting was made obsolete, by not seizing his opportunities. Subsequentially he fell victim to the promises of a quick fix for all his problems. Now he has lost everything and won't ever be able to recover.
Don't become a victim to quick success promises. Success & power and basically everything else worth having, is about long-term results, despise the free lunch. Think in terms of what the fish wants.
The successful angler always thinks in terms of what the fish wants, not in terms of the bait he himself would enjoy.
Spirit of Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary
Make other people act & react, seek to anger them
If you are asked for help, make sure to make them do a small deed for you. Don't bend over and willingly do all the work, fix every problem with your own resources (this includes time and even money). A technique working like a charm for holding people accountable for their actions. Example if you lend money to someone, have them sign an agreement to pay you back. Make them help you out on a continual basis, have them gather beneficial information, tell them to do your chores or provide you with favours. Think of something that forces them to invest a little of their own. If you act, you need to make sure that they react. Otherwise, you will most likely be taken advantage off.
To find out about a person's secrets and weaknesses, you have two options. Either you do the work yourself, ask around, do your research and analyse him, have associates spy on him, etc. Or the second, more preferable option: Bait him into revealing his needs.
To do the later, you want to get him emotionally invested. Take for example a sales situation. One of the most successful tactics is to ask your prospect if he has had problems in the past with your competitor or some situation/product. Expand on that and dig deep. Dig so far as to reach the molten core. Ask him what happened, asked him about the consequences for him and his company. The disastrous effects it had on his reputation or family. Make him paint the picture all over in his head. Again and again. Then show him that he will be free of those negative emotions and troubles if he buys your products or service. If executed correctly, the price will play a minor role, and you will be able to charge more. Remember: getting a customer to pay a premium price is often just as complicated as getting him to buy your service/product for a lower price.
Bait people into your frame/territory
Bait people into your reality. Impose your frame upon them. Don't let them draw you into their frame & reality and taunt you to go out of your way to accommodate them. Heinz Prüller, legendary Formula 1 commentator, used to say: "Whoever brakes, loses." Sometimes it is essential to use one's breaks but overdoing it will spell bad luck on your endeavours.
You need a proper bait, see Law 13 appeal to self-interest. Offer them an initiative to take the action you want them to. Think about what constitutes the perfect bait. Properly analyse their motivations, needs and weaknesses. Do a person-related SWOT analysis so to say.
Scarcity makes for a great bait. Hence you should abide Law 16 and "use absence to increase respect & honour". Whatever is only available in small rations, usually is in high demand. There is a magnificent book by Friedrich Torberg called "Tante Jolesch", a collection of amusing yet bittersweet anecdotes about Jewish life and personalities in pre-Nazi Vienna and Prague, and in the emigration. Aunt Jolesch used to serve her family the most delicious Krautfleckerl (= pasta & cabbage) and her cooking skills were one of the reasons why the family was always looking forward to visiting Aunt Jolesch. When auntie was mere moments ahead of meeting the grim reaper, her family asked her for her secret recipe that made her Krautfleckerl taste like heaven. Here is her answer:
There is no secret. I always used to cook a bit too little of them.
Other great baits are appealing to the fear of pain & loss or greed.
Subtlety and deception play a key role in most laws of power, including this one. You want to bait your opponent to come to you, while still maintaining the illusion that he is in control. That has a free will and planned his next step carefully, while actually being a puppet who acts according to your plan. First, you need to know what constitutes the perfect bait. Analyse his strengths & weaknesses, his needs & fears.
The application of this law is often found among various shady corners on the internet, called Link baiting. Fancy headline, no useful content. This would be a small scale application of this law, but it could also be used to the bigger players. Journalists, media, customers, influencers can all be baited into coming to you and getting them to buy your products and promote your brand, by luring them with fancy appearances, promises and well-made promotional campaigns. Content doesn't matter, what matters is how it seems to be.
Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration. ~Niccolo Machiavelli
An enemy lured into hostile territory will become demoralised and prone to mistakes. If you force him to act or lose his temper, you will find yourself in an advantageous situation.
"Good warriors make others come to them, and do not go to others. This is the principle of emptiness and fullness of others and self. When you induce opponents to come to you, then their force is always empty; as long as you do not go to them, your force is always full. Attacking emptiness with fullness is like throwing stones on eggs."
Zhang Yu, commentator on The Art of War
Feed them false information
One of the finest wisdoms in The Art of War by Sun Tzu states:
Appear weak when you are strong and appear strong when you are weak.
This is one of Sun Tzu's credos and works in our modern world just as well as in ancient China. A magnificent book and essential reading in many business schools as well as military education institutes. Sun Tzu was an advocate of using spies and false information to gain the upper hand.
It is of utmost importance to artfully feed the enemy false information. Dangle a juicy carrot in front of their heads. An example would be the weaker Japanese army destroying the Russian fleet during the Russo-Japanese war in 1904. They fed the Russians false information, who then took the bait, believing it would offer them a huge advantage. When they found out that they were tricked and outmanoeuvred by the Japanese, it was too late, and their navy perished.
Appear strong when you are weak, appear disinterested when you are interested. People will withhold information from you, if they believe that it benefits you. If you seem disinterested, they might start to bombard you with it. Similar to the golden rule of selling: Shut your mouth after asking the closing question. If you talk first, you lose.
Don't fall victim to games yourself
Know that your adversaries will use the technique of rocking your emotional state, baiting you into emotionally investing or angering you. Evoking the fear of pain or loss, merely to advance their own agenda. Realise this and stop yourself from getting taken advantage of. Aim to become as stoic as possible.
Control your emotional state, and you will become immune to people baiting or taunting you. Do not lose your temper or show hesitation, fear or other weak emotions, and people will start to believe that you come from a superior position.
Don't accept unfavourable conditions. Ever. Example if you go on a new date, and she wants to bring another friend with her. Decline. If you are a coach who gets paid per hour and are in a negotiation situation, don't go lower than your minimum
This is the reversal of Law 31, "get others to play with the cards you deal". Sometimes you have to choose the lesser evil, but you need to carefully analyse if your enemy hasn't crafted a plan where you lose, no matter what course of action you take. Evaluate both of your choices and try to come up with a Plan C, if the others prove disadvantageous. Like Bruce Lee said, a winner creates his own opportunities rather than relying on luck or grabbing for carrots others have dangling in front of his head.
Real Power is the degree to which a person has control over their own circumstances. Real Power is the degree to which we control the directions of our lives. - Rollo Tomassi
Most Important Learnings
- Never submit to rage and get lured into your opponent's frame. Reverse it.
- Make your enemy dig his own grave and thank you for it
- Spent as much time as needed on doing an in-depth analysis of your adversary
- Feed the enemy false information, appear weak when you are strong
- Control your emotional state, and you will become immune to people baiting or taunting you
- Bait subtly, don't reveal your intentions
- Power is about long term results, despise the toxic free lunch
I hope you enjoyed reading my interpretation of the 8th law of power and if you have more examples of the possible applications or questions of any kind or wish to share your thoughts and experiences, please feel free to do so. Grab the book here and support the author if you don’t already own it.
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About the Author
A modern Renaissance man with a taste for Ancient Philosophy, Grand Strategy & Realpolitik, on the lifelong journey of cultivating Mastery. He serves his duty in the political sphere as Head of Strategic Communications in the social-democratic party. Chief Adviser of Modern Machiavelli and CEO of Strategos.Solutions, a digital strategy consulting agency.