PLAY THE PERFECT COURTIER – The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity. He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the most oblique and graceful manner. Learn and apply the laws of courtship and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.
CONCENTRATE YOUR FORCES – Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.
USE THE SURRENDER TACTIC: TRANSFORM WEAKNESS INTO POWER – When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead. Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane. Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you – surrender first. By turning the other check you infuriate and unsettle him. Make surrender a tool of power.
PLAY A SUCKER TO CATCH A SUCKER: SEEM DUMBER THAN YOUR MARK – No one likes feeling stupider than the next person. The trick, then, is to make your victims feel smart – and not just smart, but smarter than you are. Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.
DO NOT COMMIT TO ANYONE – It is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself. By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others – playing people against one another, making them pursue you.
No one wants to tell us why self-discipline is so important.
We learn however, that self-discipline is the strongest form of self-love.
Lastly, we come to overstand it is in ignoring current pleasures that we gain the bigger rewards to come.
KNOW WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH: DO NOT OFFEND THE WRONG PERSON – There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge. They are wolves in lambs’ clothing. Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then – never offend or deceive the wrong person.
DO NOT BUILD FORTRESSES TO PROTECT YOURSELF: ISOLATION IS DANGEROUS – The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves. A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from – it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target. Better to circulate among people, find allies, mingle. You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.
KEEP OTHERS IN SUSPENDED TERROR: CULTIVATE AN AIR OF UNPREDICTABILITY – Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency on purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.
USE ABSENCE TO INCREASE RESPECT AND HONOR – Too much circulation makes the price go down: The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.