the 48 laws of power – my opinions

Recently I was shown a book called the 48 laws of power, and just skimming the Table of contents it appeared more like the 48 ways of avoiding responsibility. Since this is JUST another way to make up an excuse I thought I might give you a glimpse here!


Never Outshine the Master

          Really? That’s one of the ‘laws’ of power? OK, I can see it in a slightly slanted viewpoint, or maybe it would be better said, “Never let your WORDS outshine the master, but as a teacher/trainer part of what I look for in some of my students who want to come work with me, “can I see them out performing me one day? “ If I can, than that is definitely someone I want to help train and to get ‘in front of’ so that perhaps when they do, than I can bask in their reflected glory.

Now I understand the idea of humility, and the idea of keeping certain words and phrases to ourselves, and we definitely don’t want to bring in a huge plaque bestowed upon us by the CEO where as our ‘master’ perhaps hasn’t been recognized for achievements in quite some time, but, doesn’t that then place a spotlight on that master to ask why? Motivation comes in different form, and there is a whole line of managerial thinking that says that we shouldn’t ‘hold’ back words of praise in public, you should only show words of correction in private, but if your master, manager, boss what have you is going to get ‘bent out of shape’ because you got accolades and he didn’t then I really believe that this shines a light on that person as maybe being someone that you shouldn’t be following anyway.

There is a very old story about how Galileo used humility and the lack thereof to his advantage, and earned himself a lifelong commission at the same time. While it is true that Galileo was persecuted by both the Church and the ruling bodies of science at the time, he knew that there was more out there. So instead of making these huge astronomically important discoveries and then naming them after himself or his own ideas, he instead looked for the most powerful families of the age and though, “how can I use this to my advantage?” You see one of the most ‘generous’ families of the day, the Medici’s and it just so happened that part of the ‘royal symbol’ of the Medici Family was the Planet Jupiter. Therefore Galileo commissioned a work of art stemming from his own research and directly and forever tied together his work and the Medici family by drawing the conclusion that his work, while insignificant in comparison to their ‘dynasty’ must be a direct reflection of their honor since….”

Not only did Galileo survive the trials and attempts on his life, but in the Medici Family, he was also able to elevate the Medici’s in their own eyes and secure a lifetime patronage from that family. Back then science and much of the art world was not really considered as ‘fair work’ therefore by earning money from such a powerful family, Galileo not only paid his own way, but used their ‘reflected’ honor to validate his own work! SO should we try and avoid ‘outshining’ the master or just look for ways that our own work could be a reflection of their patronage, tutelage, what have you, so that credit is now offered to all involved.

So when you write, and you should continue to write, how can you make this a part of your writing, a part of your life? Well you could use it as a slightly disjointed example of how to bring things together to use for a purpose perhaps not their own? Or better yet, should you use it in your own daily life while you build your library to the point where your writing supports you completely? In other words when the light is shined on you, make sure it reflects back upon those above and below you, if at all possible, lighting corners that normally would not receive the credit or notice by anyone else but you.

I had the opportunity recently to present a very complex subject to a group of folks, who really couldn’t find it in themselves to care less, yet there they were, laughing, paying attention and applauding when appropriate. Yet when all was said and done and the accolades were being sent in my direction I stepped BACK and pointed out the two folks who were with me who seemed to be doing the least. However they and I knew the reality that although the job could have been done without their input, it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun, for me, them or the audience…


remember, if you have to have an excuse, pick a good one, you will probably be using it for the rest of your life!


make progress, not excuses