Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, 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 ~

Monday, July 22, 2013

The 48 Laws of Power, #7: Get Others to do the Work for You, But Always Take the Credit

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. Among my favorites is about a scrap metal dealer thinking he bought the Eiffel Tower.

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.

#7 is Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit.

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.  You'll have the appearance of having been everywhere, doing everything. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered.  Never do yourself what others can do for you.


walt said...

This post feels like it is right out of The Propensity of Things, which you recommended some time back and which I am finally reading. It's heady stuff, but reminds me of how I feel handling gunpowder, or gasoline.

And speaking of books you've read, and scary stuff right around your corner, this might interest you. There's some of that out West, as well.

Rick Matz said...

Believe it or not, there IS some good stuff happening in Detroit. The city government just isn't one of them.

A very sad case. I think the Detroit bankruptcy is going to be the blue print for city and maybe even some state bankruptcies that are are on the horizon and coming in hot.

Paul said...

most of the time the "you" will be our boss....(itsn't that common knowledge....:))

Rick Matz said...

Paul, was this comment meant for the recent Kendo in Popular Culture post where I mentioned "boss cutter" would be a good name for a sword?

"Self cutter" wouldn't work as that's usually considered a symptom of mental illness. :-)

Paul said...

"Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit".

The advice is for our boss. He (our boss) acts accordingly, i.e. we are on the receiving end...:):)

Rick Matz said...

All the more need for the "Boss Cutter."