Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally

The 48 Laws Of Power Summary Series

Alexander Emmanual Sandalis
5 min readOct 30, 2016



“All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely. (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.) if one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out. More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation: The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge. Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.”

Keys To Power

“The remnants of an enemy can become active like those of a disease or fire. Hence, these should be exterminated completely. One should never ignore an enemy, knowing him to be weak. He becomes dangerous in due course, like the spark of fire in a haystack.” — Kautilya, Indian Philosopher, Third Centuryb. BC.

Chinese history contains many examples of enemies that have been left alive only to end up returning for revengeful chaos. As a result, a moral within Chinese culture became ‘crush the enemy’.

Some may think this is a very aggressive and extreme approach.

So how might we apply this to our life?

You may think …

Crush my enemy?

I don’t want to kill anybody. I’m not a Chinese leader.

I’m not about to take over a country.

If we look beyond the surface level there are many practical applications to this law. Example: What’s a competitive environment…



Alexander Emmanual Sandalis

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