We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I mentioned The 48 Laws of Power a couple of weeks ago, labeling it "A Sociopath's Handbook." I now have my hands on a copy. It is, indeed, instructive in understanding what some of the people around us are doing. Here are some of the "48 Laws" that the book discusses:
- Never outshine the master - Never put too much trust in friends; use your enemies - Conceal your intentions - Always say less than necessary - So much depends on reputation - guard it with your life - Court attention at all cost - Get others to do the work - but always take the credit - Make other people come to you - use bait if necessary - Win through your actions, never through argument - Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky - Keep people dependent on you - Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim - When asking for help, appeal to their self-interest - Pose as a friend; work as a spy - Crush your enemy totally - Use absence to increase respect - Keep others in suspended terror; cultivate unpredictability - Isolation is dangerous: Do not build a fortress to protect yourself - Know who you're dealing with: do not offend the wrong person - Do not commit to anyone - Play a sucker to catch a sucker: Seem dumber than your mark - The surrender tactic: Transform weakness into power - Concentrate your forces - Play the perfect courtier - Re-create yourself - Keep your hands clean - Play on peoples' need to believe to create a cult-like following - Enter action with boldness - Plan all the way to the end - Make your accomplishments seem effortless - Get others to play with the cards you deal - Play to peoples' fantasies
A lot of these rules seems familiar, or you can at least see which aspects of human psychology are being triggered. At the very least it is useful to know which behaviors to watch out for, and which pitfalls to avoid.
I first got the book in 1998 when I heard the author interviewed on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show, and it is a lot more entertaining than the title would indicate. It's definitely not a "A Sociopath's Handbook". It is an enlightening romp through human nature illustrated with short historical profiles, proverbs, fables and anecdotes. Organized around the 48 laws, it gives examples of those who prospered by following the principles as well as those who violated them and suffered the consequences. You can open the book to any page and learn something new, entertaining, and useful about mighty tyrants, legendary generals, entertainers or con men. Although most of us are more likely to have to deal with silly office politics or snotty bureaucrats than marauding armies, you will remember and appreciate a lot of the insights in the book the next time you run up against the rest of those pesky humans that are popping up everywhere these days. It has been out of print in hardcover, but good used copies are usually available on Amazon for a reasonable price. Do not loan the book to anyone, as you will never get it back.
I'm his neighbor --you should hear the neighbors talk! Except the ones who remember he brought the electricity in when he was a young man, and built highway 290 thru the hill country forty lanes wide for the handful of pickup trucks acrost a half dozen counties.