‘Don’t you know who I am?!’ screamed the insecure person… But maybe you really should know who they are before you offend them: insecure or otherwise, offending the wrong person can have disastrous long-term consequences. Law 19 is all about not making enemies needlessly; although there’s plenty of toxic personalities under discussion here, things are a bit different this week: after all, this law is all about being nice to people and avoiding conflict.

In Law 19 of the 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene unpacks the major character types of insecure and vengeful people – the people you can’t afford to offend – and we consider how to spot them in real life and how to avoid inciting their ire. From the crazy ones who’ll never forgive and forget and spend the rest of their lives looking for revenge, to the bitterly bitchy who’ll gnaw away at you as long as they can over some imagined slight, we guide you to places of greater safety. Although they often talk about justice and fair play, these people are plain dangerous and must be avoided or managed at all costs.

This week we dig into why so many people go through the world only seeing what’s familiar to them already; why curiosity is in short demand for many; the vital importance of being able to laugh at yourself; and why ‘Justice’ is actually ‘Revenge Lite’. Jon and Dre both reveal the times they’ve set about destroying their own enemies (and just how badly that went); Dre needlessly offends Liverpool, and also updates us yet again on his attempts to correctly pronounce ‘Genghis Khan’. Let’s get offensive!


  • See if you can get someone you’re sizing up to laugh at themselves; say something a little bit at their expense in a playful way and see what happens. Then let us know how it goes – what did you learn?

This Episode includes:

  • Don’t talk to someone in another ‘language’ – speak to their values and interests
  • The need for curiosity to be good humans
  • Why it’s better to assume that everyone is joking with you
  • Never offend someone unnecessarily – apart from anything else, you never know who they might become
  • How can you cleverly manipulate people who are too unimaginative to take the hint?
  • Is righting a wrong always a good thing?
  • Why ‘Justice’ is a delusional fetish – and a destructive one
  • When honest and kind people lash out and why it’s often far worse than when ‘bad’ people do
  • What’s the difference between the original and the copy in art and in life?
  • The power of historical locations
  • Work out who someone is before you try to win them over
  • Treat people how they want to be treated, now how you might want to be treated
  • The difference between instinct and knowledge
  • The huge dangers of contempt
  • Why Russians don’t smile in photos

Mentioned in the Episode:

  • The excellent Digital Communion podcast
  • Jon was recalling a quote from Alan Watts: ‘if you don’t argue with me, I don’t know what I think’.
  • The quote Dre was recalling was: ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart‘ – Nelson Mandela
  • The amazing documentaries [easyazon_link identifier=”B0025XUTKQ” locale=”US” tag=”vointhda-20″]The Union[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”B00ON6WB1S” locale=”US” tag=”vointhda-20″]The Culture High[/easyazon_link] on the failed war on drugs and cultures of prohibition
  • How the great city of Liverpool voted on the Brexit referendum
  • QI explains why cracker jokes are always terrible
  • Plenty of Game of Thrones references this week!
  • Eminem’s movie 8 Mile, and the final rap battle
  • The peculiar hilarity of nuns doing normal things
  • Malcolm Gladwell’s book, [easyazon_link identifier=”0316010669″ locale=”US” tag=”vointhda-20″]Blink[/easyazon_link]

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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48 Laws of Power T-Shirts

Each of these original T-Shirts includes an elegantly presented quotation illustrating the Law.

Law 19:Wrongs are often forgiven, but contempt never is‘ – Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773)

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