Understand The 48 Rules of Power To Stop Living Like A Puppet

Learn the methods of manipulation


Kenan Kolday

3 years ago | 6 min read

Leadership is about influence, and you are not a leader unless people follow you.
Why should people follow you?
Is being good and kind enough for people to follow you?
Is wisdom enough to attract people under your influence?
Why do charismatic leaders fail despite their huge influence?
How is it possible for a physically weak person to lead giant masses of people?
How did unethical and cruel leaders rule in history?

These questions and more have been tempting people to understand the rules of leadership. If you noticed, I intentionally used leadership but not management.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing— Peter Drucker

I guess the quote from the well-known leadership guru is simple enough to explain how leadership differs from management.

When it comes to the ruling, it is different than leading. It is impossible to rule with management techniques alone- rulers are also leaders. However, I see the practice of ruling as an intervention to the free will of people. It involves manipulation.

Influence and manipulation are twin brothers of the same mother.

Wherever there is an influence, there is manipulation too because our minds work with subliminal messages. Besides, actions, role modeling, and leading by example, are better ways to lead others instead of explaining detailed theories or convincing others.

I can hear some people asking how it is possible to rule millions of people without manipulation when surrounded by an incredible number of opportunities and threats. On the contrary, is it possible to move towards an ideal without positive manipulation?

Like everything in life, there is both the positive and negative use of manipulation. For me, influence is a natural effect of a leader, while manipulation is the intentional use of it for a good or bad purpose. It is our will that helps us make the right choice for us and the greater good. The problem starts when sinister rulers think they know what is good for others and enforce their beliefs and ideals against the people’s wills.

Robert Greene is an author of best-selling books on power, the art of war, manipulation, and social psychology. In his favorite book, The 48 Rules of Power, he blends the 6000-years-old techniques and methods used worldwide since the rise of human civilization.

I would like to share the list without further comments to let you read, further inquire, understand, and digest the rules outlines in the list below. I want to highlight that some of these techniques are negative, and some are positive, resembling the everlasting dance of good and evil in the cosmos. It is up to you to choose how you apply them. Even a positive technique can turn into a destructive weapon in a cruel tyrant’s hands- the world history is full of them.

Learn and understand these techniques to understand the nature of manipulation in life. In the modern world, all these methods are being used at a larger scale to serve the power elite’s intentions.

Look at the case of Cambridge Analytica, which developed a system to map people’s personalities and preferences just by following their activity in social media.
They delivered their services to western and eastern countries in the world and used their power negatively. In many countries, can you see that the news channels are just a repetition of each other and serve the news from a few seized media channels, even in the most democratic countries?
Do you know that the way leaders sit and meet in front of the media are designed to influence you, even at the detail of what they wear in which color?
Many news is filtered presented to avoid the truth behind them.
Our modern democracies force us to choose among a limited number of preselected leaders who do not serve for the greater good of their societies.
Continuous marketing campaigns are not giving you room to breathe to manipulate your customer decisions.

Influence and manipulation are everywhere. Forget about the leaders in power. When two people meet, the manipulation is there to survive as if to prove Darwin’s theory explaining evolution. Look at the Social Exchange of Needs Theory in psychology to understand what I mean and then question what you want, who you love, and why you want and love them? The truth will hurt.

Even when you are alone, self-manipulation is there. You will find many excuses to avoid living your comfort zone and marching towards your dreams. When you are stuck between your heart and mind and cannot follow your heart, you find an endless number of logical reasons pointing out the ambiguity of the future. The mind has incredible methods to rationalize even your darkest ideas. If you do not believe me, look at the answers all the captured Nazi officers at the end of World War II. It is beyond human understanding of they have created rational reasons for their brutal actions.

I guess it is enough that we speak about leadership, management, influence, and manipulation techniques. Here are below the 48 Rules of Power from Robert Greene.

By the way, there is a 49th rule that the authors shared separately in another office books.
Law 49 “You do not talk about the Laws of Power”.
I know that even this story is against his advice. He recommends not to speak about and share the 48 rules as it will only draw resentment upon you. Truths hurt. People do not like discomfort.

However, I do want to share this list of 48 rules to help you open up your eyes.

Law 1: Never Outshine the Master
Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends. Use Your Enemies
Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions
Law 4: Always Say Less than Necessary
Law 5: Protect Your Reputation at All Costs
Law 6: Court Attention at All Costs
Law 7: Get Others Do the Work For You, But Take the Credit
Law 8: Make People Come to You
Law 9: Win Through Actions, Never Through Argument
Law 10: Don’t Get Infected by Misery and Misfortune
Law 11: Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
Law 12: Use Selective Honesty & Generosity to Disarm Your Victim
Law 13: Get Help by Appealing to Self-Interest, Never to Their Mercy
Law 14: Pose As a Friend Work As a Spy
Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally
Law 16: Raise your Value Through Absence and Scarcity
Law 17: Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
Law 18: Don’t Isolate Yourself Behind a Fortress
Law 19: Know Who You’re Dealing with
Law 20: Do Not Commit to Anyone
Law 21: Play A Sucker to Catch a Sucker: Seem Dumber Than Your Mark
Law 22: Use the Surrender Tactic
Law 23: Concentrate Your Forces
Law 24: Play the Perfect Courtier
Law 25: Re-Create Yourself
Law 26: Keep Your Hands Clean
Law 27: Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following
Law 28: Enter Action With Boldness
Law 29: Plan All The Way to The End
Law 30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
Law 31: Control the Options
Law 32: Play to People’s Fantasies
Law 33: Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew
Law 34: Be Royal in Your Own Fashion — Act Like a King to Be Treated Like One
Law 35: Master the Art of Timing
Law 36: Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge
Law 37: Create Compelling Spectacles
Law 38: Think As You Like, But Behave Like Others
Law 39: Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish
Law 40: Despise the Free Lunch
Law 41: Avoid Stepping Into a Great Man’s Shoes
Law 42: Strike the Shepherd to Scatter the Sheep
Law 43: Work on The Hearts and Minds of Others
Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
Law 45: Preach the Need for Change, But Never Reform Too Much at Once
Law 46: Never Appear Too Perfect
Law 47: Do Not go Past The Mark You Aimed For, In Victory, Know When to Stop
Law 48: Assume Formlessness

Now that you know the 48 rules of power, observe the world and the people around you. See which methods and techniques they are using on you and others.

On the contrary, you can also use this list to hold a mirror to her self, even your darkest corners of your inner labyrinth. Try to see and understand how you manipulate others at work, social life, and even family life.

Don’t lie to yourself. We, humans, all use manipulation to get what you want. Being a member of Homo Sapiens still has not made a significant improvement to our animal aspect. Otherwise, we would not still be fighting with each other behind the physical borders we have created. Or, the happiness of the economically and technologically advanced would not depend on the unhappiness of the underprivileged.

However, we have bigger potential than who we are and what we do now.Living in the shadows or average levels of the ego is not true humanity. Unless we reach our higher consciousness, we will still be the slaves of our animal aspect. It is up to us to choose with our free where we want to go.

I already mentioned in the subtitle-don’t kill the messenger. The message is tough, I know. But an unexamined life is not worth living. Living in the ego’s shadows is a life in regret, especially when you know the Truths. It is better to be a seeker after Truth and rise above the pendulum of life.



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Created by

Kenan Kolday

Fortune 500 Corporate leader, spiritual coach, published author, & futurist. Kenan Kolday is an Industrial Engineer with an MBA and is recognized as an accomplished leader with 23 years of experience in global companies. In light of his life mission to make a meaningful difference in others' lives for a better world, he published 7 books, spent 20,000+ hours in spiritual development, coached others for 2000+ hours, delivered 120+ seminars, and led 3 start-ups & 2 transitions. Read his ROBOT WITH A SOUL TRILOGY to discover future trends and the path to self-mastery. The book unites philosophy, science, and theology, including the ancient wisdom of Hindu and Buddhist sages. too. Visit for all his books.







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