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Time to crack out the torture devices! Well, actually Law 33 turns out to be much less about tightening those thumbscrews than releasing the pressure of them, making it a rather neat counterpart to Law 32’s invocation to Play To People’s Fantasies. Discovering someone’s soft-spot may be the way to their hearts, but that doesn’t mean you have to stab them in it. In fact, this Law proves to be a particularly acute lesson in the need to choose the right Law for the right situation and, beyond that, understand the specific way to apply it.

When you begin to understand what makes other people tick – and how it betrays itself in everyday interactions – it can feel like information overload… even like seeing the Matrix. So don’t think this sort of thing comes easy or is going to feel enjoyable.

This week we share stories of Robert Greene’s own use of seduction techniques and thumbscrews; take a deep-dive into the mentality of homophobes and other people who’re secretly hiding from their own desires; and reveal why Dre’s telepathic mother could well be your guru. We also reflect on how addicts see the world; why sometimes you can end up having to ‘translate’ between friends who fail to understand each other; and (quelle surprise) consider what this Law plays into relationships and pick-up artistry.

Dre reveals what he sees in the Ugliness Mirror; how to terminate conversations when you damn well please; and contemplates whether he’ll finally manage to master 4-D chess. Jon, meanwhile, warns you that making him feel obligated is a terrible idea for everyone involved, and wonders whether he’s super-manipulatable, given how much he wears his heart (i.e. insecurities) on his sleeve.

In the end, we conclude that it’s probably only being utterly contrary that’s going to save us.

This episode includes:

  • What does it mean to be a man today?
  • Reading unconscious body language
  • Why some people are so draining to spend time with
  • Tipping waiters and what it says about you
  • In conflicts and dramas, it’s not about what happened, it’s about how you made someone else feel
  • How addicts see the world… and you
  • The power of social proof – even just a little bit of it
  • The way tactics only become offensive when we feel insecure in ourselves
  • The serious dangers of letting people’s fears spiral out of control
  • …But the serious positives of pitching in the nude
  • Look out for the small stuff that really tells you who a person is
  • The difference between power and just the thrill of control

Mentioned in the episode:

Challenge: Try to identify your own thumbscrews. What triggers or sweetens you? And reflect on someone else in your life in the same way… give it a little test and see what happens!

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).




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