Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.


Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The 48 Laws of Power, #31, Control the Options, Make Others Play with the Cards You Deal.

One of my favorite books on strategy is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers.  Where The Art of War, by Sun Tzu is written as an overview of the whole topic of strategy, seeking to provide an overall understanding of the subject; and The 36 Strategies tries to impart the knack of strategic thinking through 36 maxims related to well known Chinese folk stories, Mr. Greene focuses on how we influence and manipulate one another, ie "power".

Mr. Greene draws from both Eastern and Western history and literature as his source material. Sun Tzu and Machiavelli as cited as much as wonderful stories of famous con men. 

Each of the 48 Laws carries many examples, along with counter examples where it is appropriate that they be noted, and even reversals.

It is a very thorough study of the subject and the hardback version is beautifully produced.

One of the things I admire about Greene is that he not only studied strategy, he applied what he learned to his own situation and prospered.

Today we have #31, Control the Options, Make Others Play with the Cards You Deal.

In any encounnter or transaction, if your opponent must choose between only the options you have provided, you win.

Have you ever heard the story from Zhuang Zi: Three in the Morning, Four in the Evening?


A monkey trainer went to his monkeys and told them:

“As regards your chestnuts: you are going to have three measures in the morning and four in the afternoon.”

At this they all become angry. So he said: “All right, in that case I will give you four in the morning and three in the afternoon.” This time they were satisfied.

The two arrangements were the same in that the number of chestnuts did not change. But in one case the animals were displeased, and in the other they were satisfied. The keeper had been willing to change his personal arrangement in order to meet objective conditions.

He lost nothing by it!

Control the options.

 

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