Law 43: Work On The Heart & Mind Of Others

The 48 Laws Of Power Summary Series


“Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you. You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction. A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn. And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses. Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear. Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.”

“When Louis XV’s grandson and chose a successor, Louis XVI married the 15-year-old daughter of the Empress of Austria, the French caught a glimpse of the future that seemed hopeful. Marie Antoinette was her name. She was beautiful and full of life. See, the French had grown disgusted with the series of mistresses who had dominated Louis XV and they looked forward to serving a new queen. Marie Antoinette publicly rode through the streets of Paris for the first time greeted with applauding crowd swarming her carriage. “How fortunate,” she wrote to her mother, “to be in a position in which one can gain widespread affection at so little cost.

In 1774, Louis XV died and Louis XVI took the throne. As soon as Maria Antoinette became Queen, she abandoned herself to the pleasures she loved the most, ordering, wearing the most expensive gowns and jewelry in the realm, sporting the most elaborate hair in history. Her sculpted coif is rising as much as three feet above her head, drawing a constant succession of mass balls and fetes, all of these whims, she paid for on credit never concerning herself with the cost of who paid the bills. Marie Antoinette’s greatest pleasure was the creation and designing of a private garden of Eden, a chateau on the grounds of the sailors with its own woods.

Temple de l’Amour

With each new whim, the cost of maintaining these garden soared. Meanwhile, France itself was deteriorating. There was famine and widespread discontent. Even the socially insulated courtiers cede with resentment. The Queen treated them like children. Only her favorites matter and these were becoming fewer and fewer, but Marie Antoinette did not concern herself with this. Not once throughout her reign did she read a minister’s report. Not once did she tour with the provinces and rally the people to her side. Not once did she mingle among the pageants or receive a delegation from her. She did none of these things because as Queen, she felt the people owed her their affection and she was not required to love in return.” This was one of her biggest mistakes.

“In 1784, the Queen became embroidered in a scandal as part of an elaborate swindle. The most expensive diamond necklace in Europe had been purchased under her name and during the swindler’s trial, her lavish lifestyle became public. She’d become the focus of the people’s growing resentment. Five years later in 1789, unprecedented event took place, the beginning of the French Revolution but the Queen did not worry but the people have their little rebellion, she seemed to think. That year, the people marched on Versailles forcing the Royal family to quit the palace and take residence in Paris. This offered the Queen an opportunity to heal the wounds she had opened and establish contact with the people, establish respect but the Queen had not learned her lesson. Not once would she leave the palace during her stay in Paris as subjects could rot in hell for all she cared.

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France that lasted from 1789 until 1799, and was partially carried forward by Napoleon during the later expansion of the French Empire. Wikipedia

Three years later, the Royal Cup was moved from the palace to a prison as a revolution officially declared the end of the monarchy. Louis XVI was then tried, found guilty and guillotined. As Marie Antoinette awaited the same fate, hardly a soul came to her defense. Not one of her former friends in the court, not even one of Europe’s other monarchs who were family to her came to her side. Not even her own brother who had now taken the throne. In October of 1793, she finally knelt at the guillotine unrepentant and defiant to the bitter end.


Ever since Marie Antoinette was 15 years old, she had been born into a lavish lifestyle of wealth and fame, as many people are today. She had been celebrated warmly upon her tour through the town when she was 15. Notice how this occurs in many sons and daughters of today’s celebrities.

Jaden Smith is one example of this.

It’s no question being born into fame and riches dramatically alters how you perceive and experience the world compared to the average person. As a consequence, sometimes, you don’t learn how to charm or please the common people as Marie never did — you need to become attuned to everybody’s individual psychologies and Marie never had to work to get her way. Some could say the same for many celebrities.

“Like everyone who was indulged from an early age, she evolved into a monster of insensitivity.”

There are so many benefits from starting from nothing — starting from the bottom — being the underdog. People perceive growing up in harsh circumstances as a curse. But as someone with a very imperfect upbringing, it’s actually a huge benefit in the long term. You end up building a unique blend of character traits that end up serving you greatly.

“Do not imagine that she (Maria Antoinette) represents a bygone era, that she is even rare. Her type today is even more common than ever. Such types live in their own bubble. They seem to feel they are born kings and queens and that attention is owed to them.”

We all know at least one of these types.

“Such attitudes are disastrous in the realm of power. At all times, you must attend to those around you gauging their particular psychology, tailoring your words to what you know will entice and seduce them, playing to the context of your situation. This requires energy, art, and tact. The higher your station, the greater the need to remain attuned to the hearts and minds of those below you, creating a base of support to maintain you at the pinnacle. Without the base, your power will teeter and at the slightest change of fortune, those below you will gladly assist in your fall from grace.”

Imagine a political leader that wasn’t willing to go into the slums of his city and meet the people. Imagine a leader who wasn’t willing to do the dirty work — the little things, such as speaking at high schools no one’s ever heard of, speaking with the parents no one’s ever met, and cleaning the floors that no one will ever notice. It’s the act of grounding oneself enough to communicate with all types of people, from all walks of life.

“Alexander the Great was in a long and painful pursuit of King Darius. In 11 days, he marched 3,300 furlongs (633km / 358mi). He harassed his soldiers so that most of them were ready to give up, chiefly for the want of the water. While they were in their distress, it happened that some Macedonians who had fetched water in skins upon their mules from the river had found them and had come to where Alexander was, and seeing him almost choked with thirst, presently filled a helmet and offered it to him. He took the helmet in his hands, looking around about. When he saw all those who were near him stretching their heads out looking earnestly after the drink, he returns it again with thanks, without tasting a drop of it for said he,

“If I alone should drink, the rest will be out of heart.”

The soldiers sooner took notice of his temperance and magnanimity upon this occasion but they won and all cried out to him to lead them forward boldly and begin whipping on their horses for whilst they had such a king, they said they defied both weariness and thirst and looked upon themselves to be a little less than immortal. Alexander had led his people through his own humility to drop the water that he so desired.”

Because he would be seen as being superior and more important than all of them if he drank this water. While he may have been technically better and more skilled, he had conquered these lands by his own leadership, though he didn’t want to make it seem so.

Keys To Power

We all know have met this person.

“When they meet someone new rather than taking a step back and probing to see what makes this person unique. They talk about themselves, eager to impose their own willpower and prejudices. They argue, boast, and make show of their power. They may not know it but they are secretly creating an enemy of resister because there is no more infuriating feeling than having your individuality ignored, your own psychology unacknowledged. It makes you feel lifeless and resentful.”

“Symbolic gestures are often enough to win the sympathy and goodwill. A gesture of self-sacrifice, for example, show that you suffer as those around you do, will make people identify with you even if your suffering is symbolic or minor and theirs is real. When you enter a group, make a gesture of goodwill. Soften the group up for the harsher actions that will follow later.”

This is exactly what Alexander did in the previous anecdote.


“There is no possible reversal to this law.”

Originally Posted

Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour.

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