A blog is only as good as your comments.1
The Amazon book description page for The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green is a grabber: “Amoral, cunning, ruthless …,” a book for people who have an interest in “… total domination.” Who would not want to “Buy Now” just to see what is on the other side?
This brings a great question: What good is power (and total domination) if you aren’t good?
History is full of people who became very powerful but were warped in how it was used. Here the Ancients simply mean that we and the good leader should study the Cardinal Virtues, Justice, Wisdom, Courage and Temperance. Combine that with good character which is composed of true humility and penetrating introspection. Then continuously apply lessons learned every day, all day. Life is then a journey of stumbling, learning, getting back up but just a bit better, a little stronger for the test then repeat. So, let’s look at Law 1 to see how it is beneficial when built on good morals and character:
Law 1: Never Outshine the Master
• Do not showcase your superior talents,
or it will make those above you dislike you.
Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. Hide the extent of your own talents, as your masters may otherwise feel insecure. The better you make your master appear, the greater the level of power you will attain. Those above you want to feel secure and superior in their positions. This may involve making a few harmless mistakes so that you can ask your master for help.
If, however, you are more naturally charming than your master, it would be best to avoid working for them entirely. The Ancients may say:
What is the fruit of all these teachings (Ancient philosophy on how to live the Good Life)? Only the most beautiful and proper harvest of the truly educated – tranquility, fearlessness, and freedom.
Epictetus, Discourses, 2.2.21 – 23a
History is littered with very powerful and “successful” people. But at what cost? Civilizations progress when people are powerful, influential, accomplished, AND are respected and honored by others because as this leader thrives, all thrive. This doesn’t mean they are weak either. They see obstacles for opportunities. Rise above manipulation for power to learning the art of collaboration.
While Law #1 is good advice on how to get along with superiors, should we not seek be trusted, even revered? Thus, we will realize fearlessness and achieve personal then, then family, then corporate goals guided by an inspiring vision.
1 Sources for the blogs on The 28 Laws of Power, by Robert Green are also sourced by The Daily Stoic, by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, and The Practicing Stoic, by Ward Farnsworth. Put these books on your bookshelf. Carry them with you; there is so much time to be used well with reading.