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How did I end up in this mess? All too often that’s the question we ask ourselves when we look back and realise we’ve been led by the nose into a situation we’d never have chosen willingly. And yet it seemed like we were free to choose every step of the way. So what happened? Law 31 is what happened: when someone manages to control your options, you find yourself playing on their chessboard, never quite sure of the rules and yet still wanting to believe that you can influence the way the game plays out. You can’t; this episode explores why.
In this episode, Jon and Dre look at the Law from all sides, from the dangerous ways it can be used to enable and support domestic abuse, to the way it can garner you a few freebies at your local restaurant. We learn how Dre’s Mum always gets what she wants, the role ape social dynamics play in our social interactions, and how to become the most powerful courtesan in history.
Jon shares some tense real life examples from his own dating history, and reflects on how voicing your insecurities can actually create the reality you fear. Dre breaks down how Law 31 works in everyday life when dealing with clients, as well as the fiendish tricks that online marketers use to get your money. To round things off, they contemplate the dangerous ways informal practices can later be reinterpreted and cost you everything, and provide some strategies to avoid incriminating yourself under pressure.
This episode includes:
- Is it better to know a subject deeply, or see the broader dynamics?
- Sausage duels and how to conduct them
- How this Law interacts with Law 16: Use Absence To Increase Respect
- The danger of working within other people’s parameters – and assuming those parameters even exist
- How to craft and hold the strongest frame
- Control the questions to get people to do what you want
- Behavioural cues and their power to shape all our interactions
- The uses and limits of reverse psychology
- The sunken costs fallacy
- Why we need privacy even when we have ‘nothing to hide’
Mentioned in the episode:
- Dre’s favourite shirt: Fuck You, Don’t Tell Me What To Do!
- And our Enlightened Meathead tanktops
- The matchstick trick we mention
- The delicious Scotch Malt Whisky Society
- The ever-excellent Philip McKernan
- Tony Robbins – shit or not?
- Friend of the show, Peter Sage – check out our in-depth interview with him
- The Serial podcast
- And the amazing spin-off which played a role in getting Adnan’s case reopened, Undisclosed
Challenge: Use Dre (and Dre’s Mum’s) tactics to get yourself some extras when you’re next in a customer service interaction. Act calm and confident that things are not as they should be and so clearly something must be done to improve things. Don’t be rude or crude; this is about your frame, not your ego.
Be silly. Be kind. Be weird.
Join us as we continue our 48 Laws of Power review, exploring Robert Greene’s provocative and compelling book, in which he lays bare the history, practice, psychology, and philosophies of power that ultimately shape all human relations. Often seen as a handbook for the ‘modern Machiavelli’, we take a closer look, beyond the hyperbole, and discuss how understanding and implementing these Laws can actually enrich your life personally, professionally and spiritually.
Jon and Dre aim to get to the heart of each of the Laws, grapple with their sometimes disturbingly amoral nature, and discuss what the Laws mean in everyday life (often revealing their own experiences – good and bad – when they’ve either observed or transgressed them).