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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Laws of Power (6)

My son Alton and I are reading Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power and sharing our responses to the readings.

Robert Greene’s 6th law of power is:  Court attention at all cost.  Everything is judged by its appearance, what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion.  Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost.  Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses. 

The person who seeks to court attention at all cost yearns to be a leader—to stand out of the crowd.  But what is the essential quality of a leader?  A leader stands out as being either a good leader or a bad leader.  When discussing leadership always take it personally—what sort of leader would you want to follow if that person were your boss?  Would you really want a boss who courted attention at all cost, who judged everything by appearance, who fastidiously crafted an image of mystery and yearned to be exotically important?  I think in short order you would be thinking “cease with the theatrics already, this job is not about you—there’s work to do.  Stop with the mind games and eternal attempts to appear better than us—the bland and timid masses who do the work and who would like to trade you in for a plain and plain-spoken servant leader who thinks at least half as much of us as he does himself.  The best of the American national character includes the trait that looks beyond a juvenile fixation on appearance and seeks simplicity and reality.  There is an underlying respect for and sense of equality with one’s fellow citizens that runs counter to attempts to appear larger and more mysterious than the next person.

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