Robert Greene mainin ära selle eest, et ta on olnud minu üheks suurimaks mõjutajaks ning ma olen varem korduvalt kasutanud tema soovitusi ja tööstiili. Teisteks mõjutajateks on olnud julged teadlased ja Obama, kelle ambitsioonikas rohkeid oskuseid näitav loomulik olek motiveeris rutem oma tegevusega alustama.
Tema raamatuid (48 Laws of Power ja Art of Seduction) lugesin läbi ühe korra otsides pealmiselt une pealt selgeks õpitavaid oskusi, mida tuli seal tihedamalt ette. Aeg-ajalt paistab tema soovitusi ka siin, kuid pärast kahte tema 500 lk. raamatu lugemist on mul hägusem arusaam, kas õpitu on temalt pärit või avastasin selle iseseisvalt.
Ta õppis ülikoolis kirjandust ja antiikaja ühiskondi ning oma raamatutes paistab see haridus välja sellega, et ta loeb vanu raamatuid ja kasutab paremaid ideid oma raamatutes. Võib-olla sealt sain mõtte hakata kontsentreerima teadusartikleid.
Järgimiseks valisin selliseid soovitusi mille kasutamisega vahele jäämine konflikte ei tekitaks ning probleemsema kohana kasutab ta ka agressiivsemate soovituste puhul samasugust soovitavat stiili, mis võib tema avaliku kaitsmise potentsiaalselt probleemsemaks teha. Samuti kasutab ta tihti sõnu alati või mitte kunagi kuigi erandid võivad tavalised olla.
Manipulatsioonide õpetamine võib olla ohtlik tegevus, kui kirjeldada olevikus elavate ohtlike ja mõjukate inimeste konkreetseid meetodeid, kuid paistab, et ta valis näidete toomisel selle vältimiseks surnud inimeste ja kaugete aegade sündmuste tutvustamise.
Soovitusi illustreerib ta oma subjektiivsete tõlgendustega ajaloost ning vahel ka mütoloogiaga. Mõlemal juhul võis leida vahel häid soovitusi.
Tema psühholoogiaga ma enamasti ei nõustu. Korduvalt kirjutab ta nagu tunneks linnatäis inimesi või suur publik korraga samu meeldivaid emotsioone kellegi hea stiili tõttu. Samuti lahterdab ta inimtüüpe palju ning mitmed isekad soovitused võivad nii sõjas kui kontoripoliitikas probleeme põhjustada.
Paremaks osaks on see, millistes äärmuslikke arengusuundi saab võtta sh. isiklikuks kasutamiseks või ennetavaks enesekaitseks.
Kuna ma olin enne selle lugemist evolutsiooni alguse hüpoteesi hiljuti mõelnud ja siis proovisin ka nendele arengusihtidele julgemalt mõelda ning mõningaid pisiavastusi oli võimalik ka kõige julgemate soovituste toel teha.
Võib-olla ma pean selle artikli kustutama või lühendama liigse ümberkopeerimise eest. Autoriõigustest tean, et harivatel (kasutasin lõike, mille teadmist pidasin kõigile vajalikuks nii juhisena kui hoiatusena), hindavatel ja kriitilistel põhjustel lubatakse teiste teostest vabamalt sisu tutuvustada, kuid sobivat piiri ma ei tea.
The 48 Laws of Power (1, 2)
Never outshine you master
- Never take your position for granted.
- Never let favors you receive go to your head.
NEVER PUT TOO MUCH TRUST IN FRIENDS, LEARN HOW TO USE ENEMIES
Do not rely on friends. They will never be totally honest with you. They will not openly disagree with you in order to avoid arguments.
- Skill and competence are more important than friendly feelings.
- Hiring friends will limit your power.
- All working situations require a kind of distance between people.
- You destroy an enemy when you make a friend of him.
Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.
- Use decoyed objects of desire and red herrings to throw people off scent.
- Use smoke screens (a poker face) to disguise your actions.
- False sincerity is one powerful tool that will send your rivals on a wild goose chase.
- Publicly declare your false intentions to give misleading signals.
- A noble gesture can be a smoke screen to hide your true intentions.
- Blend in and people will be less suspicious.
Coriolanus was a great military hero of ancient Rome. People held him in awe, until he opened his mouth. He spoke his mind, hardly able to control his arrogance and boastfulness. He slandered and insulted people. The more speeches he made, the less people respected him. He suffered the people’s wrath and was eventually banished from the city.
- Saying less will keep you from saying something foolish or even dangerous.
- Once the words are out you cannot take them back.
- Keeping silent makes people reveal more about themselves. This is information you may be able to use against them later on.
Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.
During China’s War of the Three Kingdoms (A.D.207-265), General Liang was able to fool his rival Sima Yi simply by letting his track record for being an undefeated leader in battle do the work for him. Liang’s troops were far outnumbered by Sima Yi’s, yet he devised a clever last resort plan. Liang donned a Taoist robe and played the lute upon the wall of the city he was defending. His soldiers opened the gates and hid. When Sima Yi’s troops advanced upon the unguarded city, Yi recognized his opponent sitting alone upon the wall. Fearing a trap, Sima Yi called his soldiers to retreat.
- Sow doubt and spread rumors about your rival. Even if they vehemently deny it, people will still be wondering why they are so defensive.
- Use humor or gentle mockery at your rival’s expense.
- A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strengths without your having to spend much energy.
- Never appear desperate in your self-defense against the slander of others.
- Be careful not to go too far in attacking another’s reputation, it draws more attention to your vengefulness than to the person you are slandering. Use subtler tactics like satire and ridicule.
Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.
Nicola Tesla was a Serbian scientist who never learned how this law was used against him time and again. His invention, the AC or alternating current system was associated not with his name but with that of George Westinghouse, who funded his research. Both Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse were ruthless businessmen who took credit for Tesla’s work. In the end, Tesla was living in poverty, while royalties for his life’s work went to Edison and Westinghouse. He accepted small sums as buy-outs for his work, when in reality his creations could have been worth millions. Even Marconi made use of a patent filed by Tesla in 1897. Tesla was the real “father of radio” but received no money or credit for this invention.
- Save time and energy by hiring others to do the work.
- Your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered.
- Borrow from history. Use the past and profit by others’ experience.
- You can only exploit others’ talents if your position is unshakable.
- Demonstrate, do not explicate.
- Arguing will only offend your superior.
- Learn to demonstrate the correctness of your ideas indirectly.
- Choose your battles carefully.
- Don’t bother demonstrating if time and experience will eventually teach the other person what you are trying to say. Save your energy and walk away.
- No one can argue with a demonstrated proof.
- In the game of power, the people you associate with are critical.
- An infector can be recognized by the misfortune they draw on themselves, their turbulent past, a long line of broken relationships, unstable careers, the very intensity of their emotions, and the force of their character.
- Gravitate towards prosperous, cheerful, and gregarious people.
Michelangelo was able to keep his patron Pope Julius II dependent on him. When he and the pope quarreled over the building of the pope’s marble tomb, Michelangelo left Rome in disgust. The pope sought him out and begged the artist to stay. Michelangelo knew he could always find another patron, but the pope knew he could not find another Michelangelo.
Michelangelo’s power was intensive, depending on one skill. Henry Kissinger’s power was extensive. He was so involved in so many areas of the political structure that to remove him would lead to chaos. The intensive form of power provides more freedom than the extensive.
- Be the only one who can do what you do. Make the fate of those who hire you so entwined with yours they cannot possibly get rid of you.
- If you are ambitious, it is wiser to seek out weak masters with whom you can create a relationship of dependency.
- Possess a talent or creative skill that sets you apart from the crowd.
- By knowing other people’s secrets and holding information they wouldn’t want made public, you seal your fate with theirs.
If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.
Most people are very pragmatic, and when negotiating, do not bring up the need for gratitude for what you have done for others in the past. These appeals will be ignored. Pragmatic people look towards the future, so it is best to emphasize how they will benefit from an alliance with you.
- Understand the other person’s motivation.
- See things their way and offer suggestions that will advance their cause.
- For others who want to feel superior and do not want to appear selfish, appeal to their need to display their charity in the public eye.
With business, an early retirement at the height of your career will keep people holding you in high regard, and waiting to see you make a comeback.
- Create value through scarcity. Make yourself less accessible; otherwise the aura you have created around yourself will wear away.
- Measure up your opponent, but never rely on instinct. Do some research on concrete facts about that person’s character and history.
- Never trust appearances.
Queen Elizabeth I managed to avoid the trap of marriage and war, by dangling the possibility of marriage to all who courted her. She forged alliances with the countries these suitors came from, all for the benefit of England. By keeping her independence above all, Elizabeth protected her power and made herself an object of worship.
- By refusing to commit, but allowing yourself to be courted, you become powerful because you are ungraspable.
- As your reputation for independence grows, more people will desire you and want to conquer you.
- Politely decline. You cannot allow yourself to feel obligated to anyone.
- Seek promises from both sides, so no matter what the outcome of an election or battle, your position is secure.
- Observe quarreling parties and stay neutral but supportive to both sides. Gain power as a mediator.
- You may commit to one to prove you are capable of attachment, but be emotionally uninvolved. Preserve the unspoken option of being able to leave anytime and reclaim your freedom. The friends you made while being courted will help you jump ship.
- Avoid ostentation. Talk less about yourself. Modesty is generally preferable.
- Practice nonchalance. All your hard work must come off as effortless.
- Be frugal with flattery.
- Arrange to be noticed.
- Alter your style and language according to the person you are dealing with.
- Never be the bearer of bad news.
- Never affect friendliness and intimacy with your master.
- Never criticize those above you directly.
- Be frugal in asking those above you for favors.
- Never joke about appearances or taste.
- Do not be the court cynic.
- Be self-observant.
- Master your emotions.
- Fit the spirit of the times.
- Be a source of pleasure.
Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions so your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.
PLAN ALL THE WAY TO THE END
- Take into account all possible obstacles and circumstances that may prevent you from achieving your goal, and plan how you will overcome them.
- When you see several steps ahead, you will no longer need to improvise along the way, and risk deviating from your plan.
- Prepare alternatives and be open to adapt new routes to your goal.
- The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets.
- Make people your puppets and give them options to let them feel they have control. Force them to choose between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose.
- Present options but color the one you prefer as the best solution.
- Force the resister into “choosing” to do what you want by appearing to advocate the opposite.
- Alter the playing field so the only options available are the ones you offer.
- Shrinking options force people to buy in now or else the goods won’t be available tomorrow.
- Involving your victim in your scheme with the threat of their exposure later will keep them tied to you. They cannot expose you because they will be found out as well.
- Use the horns of a dilemma: whichever way they choose, there is no escape.
- People need a fantasy to escape from the humdrum of everyday life. The more vague and exotic, the more captivating.
- Promise a pot of gold and instant gratification, rather than a gradual improvement through hard work.
- Keep your distance so the fantasy remains intact.
- Every person has a weakness or insecurity you can use to your advantage.
- Train yourself to probe for weaknesses in everyday conversation.
- Find the childhood need that went unfulfilled, supply it, and your victim will be unable to resist you.
- People’s weaknesses are the opposite of the qualities they reveal to you. The shy person is actually dying for attention; a prude may be hiding a lascivious soul, etc.
- Find the weak link or the one person in a group who will bend under pressure.
- Feed on uncontrollable emotions or motive – paranoia, lust, greed, vanity, or hatred.
- When searching for suckers, always look for the unhappy, insecure and dissatisfied.
The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.
- How you carry yourself reflects what you think of yourself. Exude confidence and the feeling you were destined for greatness.
- Do not confuse regal bearing with arrogance.
- Dignity is the mask you assume under difficult circumstances. Act like nothing can affect you and you have all the time in the world to respond.
If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.
- Wise and clever people learn early on that they can display conventional behavior and mouth conventional ideas without having to believe in them.
- Put on the mask appropriate to the group you are joining.
- Anger and emotion are strategically unproductive. Make your enemies angry but stay calm yourself.
- Angry people usually end up looking ridiculous.
- Nothing in the game of power is personal.
- An occasional outburst may be powerful, but use anger too often and it loses its power.
- Choose a different path and personal style if you are the daughter or son of a great person. You will forever be in your predecessor’s shadow unless you find a way to shine on your own.
- Do not become complacent once you reach success and security. Prosperity makes us lazy. Writers like Tennessee Williams and Fyodor Dostoyevsky preferred the struggle to security; the way poverty or emotional difficulties pushed them to create good work.
Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you. You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction. And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses. Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear. Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.
PREACH THE NEED FOR CHANGE, BUT NEVER REFORM TOO MUCH AT ONCE
Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.
- Make change and reform seem like a gentle improvement on the past. People are creatures of habit and the sudden change will cause some to rebel.
- Disguise change by dressing it in tradition.
Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.
- Never underestimate the power of envy. Occasionally reveal a weakness, defect, or anxiety, or find new friends.
- Envy is often a problem for people who have great natural talent. You may think you are charming people with your natural talent when in fact they are coming to hate you for it.
- To deflect envy, employ a display of weakness, or a harmless vice.
- Envy is disguised sometimes as excessive praise, or slander and criticism. Win your revenge by ignoring the envious.
- Reversal: Display the utmost disdain for those who envy you. Instead of hiding your perfection, make it obvious. Make every triumph an opportunity to make the envious squirm.
The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.
By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes.
The Art of Seduction
Ideal Lovers thrive on people's broken dreams, which become lifelong fantasies. You long for romance? Adventure? Lofty spiritual communion? The Ideal Lover reflects your fantasy. He or she is an artist in creating the illusion you require, idealizing your portrait. In a world of disenchantment and baseness, there is limitless seductive power in following the path of the Ideal Lover.
Casanova was perhaps the most successful seducer in history; few women could resist him. His method was simple: on meeting a woman, he would study her, go along with her moods, find out what was missing in her life, and provide it. He made himself the Ideal Lover. The bored burgomaster's wife needed adventure and romance; she wanted someone who would sacrifice time and comfort to have her. For Miss Pauline what was missing was friendship, lofty ideals, serious conversation; she wanted a man of breeding and generosity who would treat her like a lady. For Ignazia, what was missing was suffering and torment. Her life was too easy; to feel truly alive, and to have something real to confess, she needed to sin. In each case Casanova adapted himself to the woman's ideals, brought her fantasy to life. Once she had fallen under his spell, a little ruse or calculation would seal the romance.
Our ideal is something we feel is missing inside us. Our ideal may be buried in disappointment, but it lurks underneath, waiting to be sparked. If another person seems to have that ideal quality, or to have the ability to bring it out in us, we fall in love. That is the response to Ideal Lovers. Attuned to what is missing inside you, to the fantasy that will stir you, they reflect your ideal—and you do the rest, projecting on to them your deepest desires and yearnings.
The dynamics of the Ideal Lover have limitless possibilities, not all of them erotic. In politics, Talleyrand essentially played the role of the Ideal Lover with Napoleon, whose ideal in both a cabinet minister and a friend was a man who was aristocratic, smooth with the ladies—all the things that Napoleon himself was not. In 1798, when Talleyrand was the French foreign minister, he hosted a party in Napoleon's honor after the great general's dazzling military victories in Italy. To the day Napoleon died, he remembered this party as the best he had ever attended. It was a lavish affair, and Talleyrand wove a subtle message into it by placing Roman busts around the house, and by talking to Napoleon of reviving the imperial glories of ancient Rome. This sparked a glint in the leader's eye, and indeed, a few years later, Napoleon gave himself the title of emperor—a move that only made Talleyrand more powerful. The key to Talleyrand's power was his ability to fathom Napoleon's secret ideal: his desire to be an emperor, a dictator. Talleyrand simply held up a mirror to Napoleon and let him glimpse that possibility. People are always vulnerable to insinuations like this, which stroke their vanity, almost everyone's weak spot. Hint at something for them to aspire to, reveal your faith in some untapped potential you see in them, and you will soon have them eating out of your hand. If Ideal Lovers are masters at seducing people by appealing to their higher selves, to something lost from their childhood, politicians can benefit by applying this skill on a mass scale, to an entire electorate.
The main dangers in the role of the Ideal Lover are the consequences that arise if you let reality creep in. You are creating a fantasy that involves an idealization of your own character. And this is a precarious task, for you are human, and imperfect. If your faults are ugly enough, or intrusive enough, they will burst the bubble you have blown, and your target will revile you. Casanova too faced this danger, but was usually able to surmount it by finding a clever way to break off the relationship before the woman realized that he was not what she had imagined: he would find some excuse to leave town, or, better still, he would choose a victim who was herself leaving town soon, and whose awareness that the affair would be short-lived would make her idealizing of him all the more intense. Reality and long intimate exposure have a way of dulling a person's perfection. The nineteenth-century poet Alfred de Musset was seduced by the writer George Sand, whose larger-than-life character appealed to his romantic nature. But when the couple visited Venice together, and Sand came down with dysentery, she was suddenly no longer an idealized figure but a woman with an unappealing physical problem. De Musset himself showed a whiny, babyish side on this trip, and the lovers separated. Once apart, however, they were able to idealize each other again, and reunited a few months later. When reality intrudes, distance is often a solution. In politics the dangers are similar.
Childhood is the golden paradise we are always consciously or unconsciously trying to re-create. The Natural embodies the longed for qualities of childhood—spontaneity, sincerity, unpretentiousness. In the presence of Naturals, we feel at ease, caught up in their playful spirit, transported back to that golden age. Naturals also make a virtue out of weakness, eliciting our sympathy for their trials, making us want to protect them and help them. As with a child, much of this is natural, but some of it is exaggerated, a conscious seductive maneuver. Adopt the pose of the Natural to neutralize people's natural defensiveness and infect them with helpless delight.
Children are not as guileless as we like to imagine. They suffer from feelings of helplessness, and sense early on the power of their natural charm to remedy their weakness in the adult world. They learn to play a game: if their natural innocence can persuade a parent to yield to their desires in one instance, then it is something they can use strategically in another instance, laying it on thick at the right moment to get their way. If their vulnerability and weakness is so attractive, then it is something they can use for effect. A child represents a world from which we have been forever exiled. Because adult life is full of boredom and compromise, we harbor an illusion of childhood as a kind of golden age, even though it can often be a period of great confusion and pain. It cannot be denied, however, that childhood had certain privileges, and as children we had a pleasurable attitude to life. Confronted with a particularly charming child, we often feel wistful: we remember our own golden past, the qualities we have lost and wish we had again. And in the presence of the child, we get a little of that goldenness back. Natural seducers are people who somehow avoided getting certain childish traits drummed out of them by adult experience. Such people can be as powerfully seductive as any child, because it seems uncanny and marvelous that they have preserved such qualities. They are not literally like children, of course; that would make them obnoxious or pitiful. Rather it is the spirit that they have retained. Do not imagine that this childishness is something beyond their control.
The undefensive lover. As people get older, they protect themselves against painful experiences by closing themselves off. The price for this is that they grow rigid, physically and mentally. But children are by nature unprotected and open to experience, and this receptiveness is extremely attractive. In the presence of children we become less rigid, infected with their openness. That is why we want to be around them. Undefensive lovers have somehow circumvented the self-protective process, retaining the playful, receptive spirit of the child. They often manifest this spirit physically: they are graceful, and seem to age less rapidly than other people. Of all the Natural's character qualities, this one is the most useful. Defensiveness is deadly in seduction; act defensive and you'll bring out defensiveness in other people. The undefensive lover, on the other hand, lowers the inhibitions of his or her target, a critical part of seduction. It is important to learn to not react defensively: bend instead of resist, be open to influence from others, and they will more easily fall under your spell.
Charm is seduction without sex. Charmers are consummate manipulators, masking their cleverness by creating a mood of pleasure and comfort. Their method is simple: they deflect attention from themselves and focus it on their target. They understand your spirit, feel your pain, adapt to your moods. In the presence of a Charmer you feel better about yourself. Charmers do not argue or fight, complain, or pester—what could be more seductive? By drawing you in with their indulgence they make you dependent on them,
and their power grows. Learn to cast the Charmer's spell by aiming at people's primary weaknesses: vanity and self-esteem.
Birds are taken with pipes that imitate their own voices, and men with those sayings that are most agreeable to their own opinions. —SAMUEL BUTLER
As Benjamin Disraeli said, "Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours." The strategy can never be obvious; subtlety is the Charmer's great skill. If the target is to be kept from seeing through the Charmer's efforts, and from growing suspicious, maybe even tiring of the attention, a light touch is essential. The Charmer is like a beam of light that doesn't play directly on a target but throws a pleasantly diffused glow over it. Charm can be applied to a group as well as to an individual: a leader can charm the public. The dynamic is similar.
Make your target the center of attention. Charmers fade into the background; their targets become the subject of their interest. To be a Charmer you have to learn to listen and observe. Let your targets talk, revealing themselves in the process. As you find out more about them—their strengths, and more important their weaknesses—you can individualize your attention, appealing to their specific desires and needs, tailoring your flatteries to their insecurities.
Be a source of pleasure. No one wants to hear about your problems and troubles. Listen to your targets' complaints, but more important, distract them from their problems by giving them pleasure. (Do this often enough and they will fall under your spell.) Being lighthearted and fun is always more charming than being serious and critical. Lull your victims into ease and comfort. Charm is like the hypnotist's trick with the swinging watch: the more relaxed the target, the easier it is to bend him or her to your will. The key to making your victims feel comfortable is to mirror them, adapt to their moods. People are narcissists— they are drawn to those most similar to themselves. Seem to share their values and tastes, to understand their spirit, and they will fall under your spell.
Never pester or be overly persistent—these uncharming qualities will disrupt the relaxation you need to cast your spell. Make yourself useful. If done subtly, your ability to enhance the lives of others will be devilishly seductive. Your social skills will prove important here: creating a wide network of allies will give you the power to link people up with each other, which will make them feel that by knowing you they can make their lives easier. This is something no one can resist. Follow-through is key: so many people will charm by promising a person great things—a better job, a new contact, a big favor—but if they do not follow through they make enemies instead of friends. Anyone can make a promise; what sets you apart, and makes you charming, is your ability to come through in the end, following up your promise with a definite action. Conversely, if someone does you a favor, show your gratitude concretely. In a world of bluff and smoke, real action and true helpfulness are perhaps the ultimate charm. Disraeli knew how deceptive appearances can be: people were always judging him by his face and by his clothes, and he had learned never to do the same to them. So he was not deceived by Queen Victoria's dour, sober exterior. Beneath it, he sensed, was a woman who yearned for a man to appeal to her feminine side, a woman who was affectionate, warm, even sexual. The extent to which this side of Victoria had been repressed merely revealed the strength of the feelings he would stir once he melted her reserve. Disraeli's approach was to appeal to two aspects of Victoria's personality that other people had squashed: her confidence and her sexuality. He was a master at flattering a person's ego. As one English princess remarked, "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England."
Our personalities are often molded by how we are treated: if a parent or spouse is defensive or argumentative in dealing with us, we tend to respond the same way. Never mistake people's exterior characteristics for reality, for the character they show on the surface may be merely a reflection of the people with whom they have been most in contact, or a front disguising its own opposite. A gruff exterior may hide a person dying for warmth; a repressed, sober-looking type may actually be struggling to conceal uncontrollable emotions. That is the key to charm—feeding what has been repressed or denied.
People who are physically beautiful, and who play on their beauty to create a sexually charged presence, have little power in the end; the bloom of youth fades, there is always someone younger and more beautiful, and in any case people tire of beauty without social grace. But they never tire of feeling their self-worth validated. Learn the power you can wield by making the other person feel like the star. The key is to diffuse your sexual presence: create a vaguer, more beguiling sense of excitement through a generalized flirtation, a socialized sexuality that is constant, addictive, and never totally satisfied.
We often recognize Charmers as such; we sense their cleverness. Nevertheless, we fall under their spell. The reason is simple: the feeling that Charmers provide is so rare as to be worth the price we pay. The world is full of self-absorbed people. In their presence, we know that everything in our relationship with them is directed toward themselves— their insecurities, their neediness, their hunger for attention. That reinforces our own egocentric tendencies; we protectively close ourselves up. It is a syndrome that only makes us the more helpless with Charmers. First, they don't talk much about themselves, which heightens their mystery and disguises their limitations. Second, they seem to be interested in us, and their interest is so delightfully focused that we relax and open up to them. Finally, Charmers are pleasant to be around. They have none of most people's ugly qualities—nagging, complaining, self-assertion.
There are those who are immune to a Charmer; particularly cynics, and confident types who do not need validation. These people tend to view Charmers as slippery and deceitful, and they can make problems for you.
Charismatics have certain qualities that are powerfully attractive and that make them stand out. This could be their self belief, their boldness, their serenity. They keep the source of these qualities mysterious.
A man who seemed possessed by a divine spirit—speaking in tongues, ecstatic raptures, the expression of intense visions—would stand out as one whom the gods had singled out. And this man, a priest or a prophet, gained great power over others.
A Charismatic is larger than life, has extra presence. Actors have studied this kind of presence for centuries; they know how to stand on a crowded stage and command attention. Surprisingly, it is not the actor who screams the loudest or gestures the most wildly who works this magic best, but the actor who stays calm, radiating self-assurance. The effect is ruined by trying too hard. It is essential to be self-aware, to have the ability to see yourself as others see you.
Most people are repressed, and have little access to their unconscious—a problem that creates opportunities for the Charismatic, who can become a kind of screen on which others project their secret fantasies and longings.
Vulnerable side to charisma softens the self-confident side, which can seem fanatical and frightening.
Charismatics are unconventional. They have an air of adventure and risk that attracts the bored. Be brazen and courageous in your actions—be seen taking risks for the good of others.
Daily life is harsh, and most of us constantly seek escape from it in fantasies and dreams. Stars feed on this weakness; standing out from others through a distinctive and appealing style, they make us want to watch them. At the same time, they are vague and ethereal, keeping their distance, and letting us imagine more than is there. Their dreamlike quality works on our unconscious; we are not even aware how much we imitate them.