The Revised 48 Laws of Power for People Who Aren't Evil Egomaniacs

Some of you might have tried reading “The 48 Laws of Power”, a classic book on human psychology written by Robert Greene. Most of the laws are undeniably true. But if you have any sense of morality, the book may leave you feeling very uncomfortable. Some of the laws are great, like, “Win through your actions, never through argument.” Other laws might leave a bitter taste in your mouth, like, “Let others do the work for you, but always take the credit.”

The examples given in the book are from historic stories of political leaders who would elegantly backstab each other to increase their position. Newsflash: these victors all eventually get backstabbed. This makes it almost seem like a book of what not to do if you want any chance at living a healthy and successful life.

 

THE RIGHT WAY TO BUILD PERSONAL POWER

Trying to gain power is not a bad thing. Power is wonderful, and our world is filled with good heroes who wield it well. Your personal power is important, and it is what helps you become a valuable person with a high quality of life. Many of us have had our power taken away at some point, or never learned how to build it in the first place. That’s why we often go seeking for it, but what we find is usually broken and selfish habits. Strategies like using your anger to get what you want works like black magic: every time we use it, it only hurts us in the end.

So, we’re is here to help you unlock your personal power through a different and unbeatable set of laws, because they are all focused on the good of the world (which includes you). True power comes from being valuable, honest, and giving. The 48 Laws of Power book is written in a way to get ahead by manipulating the opinions of others. What a shallow and disheartening way to live. If you want to enjoy true power, the kind that comes from opening your heart to the world and giving everything you can, we have made revisions to the laws below.

 

THE REVISED 48 LAWS OF POWER

✘  Law 1: Never outshine the master.
✔ Law 1: Stay humble and respect your mentors.

 

✘  Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn to use enemies.
✔ Law 2: Don’t use people. Understand we all make mistakes, and set up your life so that the actions of your friends or enemies does not make or break you.

 

✘  Law 3: Conceal your intentions.
✔ Law 3: Keep your intentions pure and for the good of the world. You will radiate more power than being shady.

 

✘  Law 4: Always say less than necessary.
✔ Law 4: Speak only the truth, and do it whenever it is necessary.

 

✘  Law 5: So much depends on reputation. Guard it with your life.
✔ Law 5: So much depends on your reputation, that’s right. But, build one based on good works and there’s no need to guard it. False attacks will be quickly brought into the light and destroyed.

 

✘  Law 6: Court attention at all cost.
✔ Law 6: Attract the right kind of attention by providing value in any situation.

 

✘  Law 7: Let others do the work for you, but always take credit.
✔ Law 7: Empower people to do work that helps both of you, and you will never need to take the credit.

 

✘  Law 8: Make other people come to you. Use bait if necessary.
✔ Law 8: Make other people come to you by always offering solutions to their problems. Then, delegate the work.

 

✘  Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument.
✔ Law 9: Beautiful. Actions speak louder than words. Smile and take the high road to instantly win any argument.

 

✘  Law 10: Infection: Avoid the unhappy and the unlucky.
✔ Law 10: Surround yourself with people who lift you up, so you can all help the unhappy and unlucky find personal freedom too.

 

✘  Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you.
✔ Law 11: Wrong. Teach a man to fish, and he will be an endless source of fish for you.

 

✘  Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim.
✔ Law 12: Wow, these start to get pretty scummy, huh. Victim? Use honesty and generosity to disarm your team members so you can trust each other.

 

✘  Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy.
✔ Law 13: Ask for completely one-sided help sparingly. Instead, take care of yourself and find ways to work together that makes life easier for everyone. Never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do for them.

 

✘  Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy.
✔ Law 14: Are you kidding? To avoid dying as a miserable person, be a good friend. Give endlessly to these people, and you will always have a loyal army behind you.

 

✘  Law 15: Crush your enemy totally.
✔ Law 15: If you are confronted with evil, crush your enemy totally. Heroes do not hesitate to fight for what is right.

 

✘  Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honor.
✔ Law 16: Don’t overstay your welcome or overstep your bounds. Give your best to a few people and projects, which makes your time and presence extremely valuable to others.

 

✘  Law 17: Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability.
✔ Law 17: Variety is the spice of life. Take risks, move fast, and don’t think about things like keeping others in suspended terror. People will just be excited to go on the ride with you.

 

✘  Law 18: Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous.
✔ Law 18: It’s true: loneliness kills. Find other people to go through life with, and help each other when times get tough. Give and take.

 

✘  Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with- do not offend the wrong person.
✔ Law 19: When dealing with powerful people, you are bulletproof if your actions come from good intentions for everyone involved.

 

✘  Law 20: Do not commit to anyone.
✔ Law 20: As you mature, you move from dependence and independence to interdependence. Commit to projects that matter, and take your due credit for success or failure. Do not engage in anything that moves you back to dependence.

 

✘  Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker- seem dumber than your mark.
✔ Law 21: No one likes to be talked-down to. Be patient, keep things simple, and ask leading questions to help others come to conclusions by themselves.

 

✘  Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power.
✔ Law 22: Brilliant. By choosing not to fight & assuredly lose, you can simply continue building your empire while enemies burn each others’ castles down around you.

 

✘  Law 23: Concentrate your forces.
✔ Law 23: Focus. Succeed by relentlessly pushing and achieving each milestone you’ve set, one by one.

 

✘  Law 24: Play the perfect courtier (royal advisor).
✔ Law 24: Learn to give solid advice, and you will never be out of the loop. Do not grovel. Powerful people sense attempts at manipulation from a mile away, and if you happen to succeed, it’s only because they’ve decided to play along and manipulate you back.

 

✘  Law 25: Re-create yourself.
✔ Law 25: If who you are and what you do isn’t working or making you happy, level up.

 

✘  Law 26: Keep your hands clean.
✔ Law 26: Keep your hands clean, but that doesn’t mean outsource the dirty work. Refuse the dirty work.

 

✘  Law 27: Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult-like following.
✔ Law 27: Give people something real, transformative, and effective to believe in. Become someone striving to reach an ideal to inspire others.

 

✘  Law 28: Enter action with boldness.
✔ Law 28: Absolutely. Believe in yourself, fight for yourself, and come out swinging against any odds.

 

✘  Law 29: Plan all the way to the end.
✔ Law 29: Understand your actions have consequences. Make choices based on the best solution for everyone involved.

 

✘  Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless.
✔ Law 30: Climb mountains, tell no one. Your work will speak for itself.

 

✘  Law 31: Control opinions: get others to play with the cards you deal.
✔ Law 31: Give people choices and recommendations that always lead to positive results for both of you.

 

✘  Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies.
✔ Law 32: When speaking to others, speak to their best version of themselves.

 

✘  Law 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew.
✔ Law 33: When someone shows you their weakness, help them turn it into a strength for lifelong loyalty. Don’t use blackmail for short-term control that turns into lifelong grudges instead.

 

✘  Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one.
✔ Law 34: Hold yourself to a high standard. You are the hero of your own story, your own personal coach. Walk with the confidence of knowing you are an equal with all others, and watch doors open for you.

 

✘  Law 35: Master the art of timing.
✔ Law 35: Use observation, research, and plain old trial-and-error to learn how to say or do the right things at the right time.

 

✘  Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge.
✔ Law 36: True wealth and happiness comes from an elimination of desire for wants, not the fulfillment of desire for wants.

 

✘  Law 37: Create compelling spectacles.
✔ Law 37: Do great work that inspires, touches, and solves problems.

 

✘  Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others.
✔ Law 38: You cannot help people who do not feel comfortable around you. Lead from within. Don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.

 

✘  Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish.
✔ Law 39: Stay calm and don’t make decisions out of anger to avoid being caught by people who follow these old rules.

 

✘  Law 40: Despise the free lunch.
✔ Law 40: There’s no such thing, but give or take a “free” lunch to discuss win-win opportunities.

 

✘  Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes.
✔ Law 41: Be yourself and carve your own path. No one can ever do that better than you.

 

✘  Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.
✔ Law 42: Start at the root of any problem. Don’t just cover up symptoms.

 

✘  Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others.
✔ Law 43: You will be more successful by speaking to the emotions of other people, not just their rational side.

 

✘  Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect.
✔ Law 44: Such a twisted way to state the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated. Explain to others how you do not want to be treated with a steady voice and a locked-in gaze, if this becomes an issue.

 

✘  Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.
✔ Law 45: Too much change is difficult for everyone. When working towards the greater good, sell the vision while taking smaller steps and celebrating wins.

 

✘  Law 46: Never appear too perfect.
✔ Law 46: No one is perfect. Laugh about your most embarrassing mistakes to become more powerful than those wearing masks.

 

✘  Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory know when to stop.
✔ Law 47: Set goals, achieve them, and review your progress. A life of victory is not a life of excess.

 

✘  Law 48: Assume formlessness
✔ Law 48: Be like water: adapt and flow. Become an expert in dealing with change. Stick only to your core values.

 

At the very least, we hope these old and revised laws have given you a different perspective. Perhaps you are interested in changing your attitude or the treatment of others. After all, the best way to power is to become the hero of your own story. For this, we recommend our 160-page eBook, Kaizen Habits. Download that, absolutely free, below: 

FREE 160-PG BOOK: 27 HABITS FOR A STAINLESS STEEL MIND, A BODY MACHINE, AND A POWERFUL LIFESTYLE.

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19 Comments

  1. Morgan Landry

    This is an interesting take on an old adage. I like the positive viewpoint and moral compass being added.

    Reply
  2. Eric One

    This. This is why I keep coming back. I’ve been struggling with quitting smoking lately, and it’s taking all my mental faculties to stay on task, but this sort of statement is why I’m always happy to travel back here to CNQR. I really enjoy nearly 100% of these mantras. I think my favorite is 46. You can’t take life too seriously; You’ll never get out alive.

    Reply
  3. Patrick McWilliams

    Wow, this book was (far down) on my to-read list. Glad I read this post first. Great tips!

    Reply
  4. Aaron

    My mouth was wide open reading some of the original laws. That’s crazy how sharp and manipulated they were. Great perspective.

    Reply
  5. Krishna

    I have read the book and I also feel that it was very manipulative. And I argue about this with my friends. I always lose because I am unable to answer the question. Are the laws effective? For getting Power probably.

    So should this be the Strikeout New Title<48 laws to lead a fulfilled life?

    Reply
  6. Stark Pister

    Definitely an improvement on a lot of those “laws”. I appreciate the insights.

    Reply
  7. Q Z

    I thought the 48 laws of power book had a lot of accurate things to say about how to gain power in today’s world but the laws did not go along with my core values. I would never compromise on my core values.

    I don’t think getting power should be the ultimate goal for any of us. So while following the modified laws might not make you as powerful of a person, it will make you a more successful person. There’s a distinction between being able to manipulate others and being able to create change in the world in the direction which you prefer.

    Reply
  8. Nic Vermillion

    Definitely prefer the revised version. This is good to read before doing Compass Campaign. Helps with self reflection.

    Reply
  9. James Keogh

    Wow, I’m glad I never read that book. With that said, I love the new interpretations of the laws. I practice many of them already, while learning many new ones. The content CNQR provides is awesome!!

    Reply
  10. JustWorld

    You obviously haven’t read the book. Most of the “rewritten laws” are blatantly ignoring what was stated in the book or just rewriting the original law in longer and “nicer” sounding way.

    > ✘ Law 8: Make other people come to you. Use bait if necessary.
    ✔ Law 8: Make other people come to you by always offering solutions to their problems. Then, delegate the work

    That is using bait still. You literally just added words to make it sound nicer. Offering a solution is still bait.

    You are falling victim to what is known as the “Just World Fallacy” https://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/just-world-hypothesis/

    The world isn’t just. If you want success you must act like your competitors do or you will be taken advantage of.

    Reply
    • Jordan At Conquer Today

      I absolutely loved your response to this. Of course I have the read the book and multiple opinion articles. I’ve also read his work, “Seduction”.

      Yes, Law 8 still involves using bait. But I didn’t realize this until you pointed it out, so thank you. These rewritten laws are still there to help you gather power, and as we stated there is nothing wrong with that.

      But I have been baited through lies and promises versus someone who helped me succeed, and there is a very big difference in my mind.

      The world is not just by any means. Good and evil will always remain balanced like Yin and Yang. Many psychologists state that trying to seperate yourself into good and evil is unhealthy, and you should follow your survival instincts.

      But when there are people flying to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane relief, and other people shooting 50+ individuals through a Vegas hotel window, you must take a side. You must make a distinction between good and evil behavior.

      If you want success, you should define what that means to you. Perhaps it includes physical wealth, but if it does not include mental and spiritual wealth that person is foolish. Acting like your competition will just make you blend into a sea of others trying to step on each other like chickens in pecking order.

      There are still many commonalities between that behavior and humans, but I believe we have evolved to succeed through cooperation. Again, I am very thankful for your rebuttal, I hope the conversation can continue someday.

      Reply
  11. Callum

    Really enjoyable post.

    48 laws of power left me with a sour taste. It was however a very enlightening book.

    In my opinion, about 50% were laws to be used. They could have done with some amending, which you have done well with this post.

    The other 50% were more pointing things out to me. It started to make me think about certain people in my life. It had examples and offered ways to “counter” when someone is using unethical power strategies.

    I think if you’re rather naive, this book will make you grow up a bit. And realise that there are real power dynamics being played.

    But if you are naive, you might blindly follow what this book lays out. Which will frankly turn you into a bad person, which this post brilliantly addresses.

    Understand the game, then decide how you want to play it.

    Reply
  12. Boris

    While I thought that the original was heartlessly machiavellian I think the ‘revised’ laws of power often sound either naive or delusional. For instance Laws 7 and 9 both strike me as naive because they’re reliant on people being able to rationally judge situations (something which people often don’t do) and not make judgements based on self interest (things which all people will inevitably do, in one way or another). There are several others mentioned (like law 19) which I could apply this. I would also say that the revised law 15 is outright delusional. At least the original didn’t pretend towards moral superiority, the reality is that moral superiority is a clever disguise for self-interest. I think the Author read the original laws of power, realised the brutal accuracy of these ideas, then tried to couch them all in terms his conscience could live with and help maintain the illusion that he is a good person. I don’t care what philosophy a person lives by, just don’t lie to yourself about it. Personally I’m content with a small measure of power. Ultimately regardless of how powerful you are it doesn’t change the fact that true power is an illusion, we influence and cajole but in the end we truly control nothing but our own decisions

    Reply
    • User

      Brilliant reply. It’s hard to imagine the author of this article to have even read the book in it’s entirety in the first place. If I’m not mistaken the book addresses moral superiority many times, which you’ve layed down perfectly.

      Reply
  13. Vicky

    They’re great. They give you a feeling of control and respectfulness in society.

    Reply
  14. Michael

    Thanks for the politically correct version. The point of Robert Greene’s book is to protect yourself from other peoples’ power. It’s not to learn how to manipulate people, it’s to protect you from being manipulated. Once you master the 48 laws of power, you can manipulate those who manipulated you. People are not basically good. People are animals protecting their own self interests. Idealism is a dead concept. It’s been replaced by nepotism and entitlement. Friends and family have been replaced by fans and acquaintances. Fans are people who like whar you can do for them. If you help people with their dreams they won’t help you with yours. Unfortunately, the most important person to you is yourself. lo siento mucho

    The Doomed
    A Perfect Circle
    [Verse 1]
    Behold a new Christ
    Behold the same old horde
    Gather at the altering
    New beginning, new word
    And the word was death
    And the word was without light
    The new beatitude:
    “Good luck, you’re on your own”
    [Verse 2]
    Blessed are the fornicates
    May we bend down to be their whores
    Blessed are the rich
    May we labor, deliver them more
    Blessed are the envious
    Bless the slothful, the wrathful, the vain
    Blessed are the gluttonous
    May they feast us to famine and war
    [Chorus]
    What of the pious, the pure of heart, the peaceful?
    What of the meek, the mourning, and the merciful?
    All doomed
    All doomed
    [Verse 3]
    Behold a new Christ
    Behold the same old horde
    Gather at the altering
    New beginning, new word
    And the word was death
    And the word was without light
    The new beatitude: “Good luck…”
    [Chorus]
    What of the pious, the pure of heart, the peaceful?
    What of the meek, the mourning, and the merciful?
    What of the righteous? What of the charitable?
    What of the truthful, the dutiful, the decent?
    [Outro]
    Doomed are the poor
    Doomed are the peaceful
    Doomed are the meek
    Doomed are the merciful
    For the word is now death
    And the word is now without light
    The new beatitude:
    “Fuck the doomed you’re on your own

    Reply
  15. Mello

    Some of these just repeat the old rules and while some are great – as one can gain trust and power through transparency and honesty – some of these rules are a bit childish and naive. No one can gauge another person’s intentions. You’re not “bulletproof” just because you mean well (or you think you do). And one’s reputation should be guarded with one’s life. A good (or powerful) reputation can do 90% of the work for you. Just because you’re a good person doesn’t mean you’re immune to slander, lies, and attacks on your reputation. Many people have fallen from grace in the eyes of the public from simple bullshit lies and you have to have an overbearingly good reputation (and a dedicated following) to beat back those attacks in today’s society (or the lies have to be piss poor). Even if those false attacks are “brought to light” once your reputation is dead, it’s dead. And it’s hard to revive.

    Reply
  16. John

    This is pretty shallow and I might also note written for a blog already called “Conquer Today.”

    Not “Make It a Happy Day,” or “Make It a Joyful Day.”

    You’ve either restated Greene in more positive terms, which echoes his original arguments or provided a useless platitude for a refutation without any evidence. I see from other comments that many people would agree.

    The book “Power” more than adequately defends each of the “laws.” It is not a definitive moral guide, but it is also not the worse example of how humans interact.

    Nobody says that you are not allowed to be positive, kind and generous in spirit. It is a wonderful and self-nurturing practice to help others. It is how we evolved. However, don’t think that everyone around you is going to burst into song like a High School Musical because you feel like being nice today.

    Keep doing what you are doing. I respect that you have a blog, give away an eBook and do other marketing related to your interests. I am happy for you.

    Reply

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