act like king to be treated like


In July of 1830, a revolution broke out in Paris that forced the king,
Charles X, to abdicate. A commission of the highest authorities in the land
gathered to choose a successor, and the man they picked was LouisPhilippe, the Duke of Orleans.
From the beginning it was clear that Louis-Philippe would be a different kind of king, and not just because he came from a different branch of
the royal family, or because he had not inherited the crown but had been
given it, by a commission, putting his legitimacy in question. 

Rather it was
that he disliked ceremony and the trappings of royalty; he had more
friends among the bankers than among the nobility; and his style was not
to create a new kind of royal rule, as Napoleon had done, but to downplay
his status, the better to mix with the businessmen and middle-class folk
who had called hirn to lead. Thus the symbols that came to be associated
with Louis-Philippe were neither the scepter nor the crown, but the gray
hat and umbrella with which he would proudly walk the streets of Paris, as
if he were a bourgeois out for a stroll. When Louis-Philippe invited James
Rothschild, the most important banker in France, to his palace, he treated
him as an equal. And unlike any king before hirn, not only did he talk business with Monsieur Rothschild but that was literally all he talked, for he
loved money and had amassed a huge fortune.

 As the reign of the "bourgeois king" plodded on, people came to despise hirn. The aristocracy could not endure the sight of an unkingly king,
and within a few years they tumed on hirn. Meanwhile the growing class of
the poor, including the radicals who had chased out Charles X, found no
satisfaction in a ruler who neither acted as a king nor govemed as a man of
the people. The bankers to whom Louis-Philippe was the most beholden
soon realized that it was they who controlled the country, not he, and they
treated hirn with growing contempt. One day, at the start of a train trip organized for the royal family, James Rothschild actually berated him-and
in public-for being late. Once the king had made news by treating the
banker as an equal; now the banker treated the king as an inferior.
Eventually the workers' insurrections that had brought down LouisPhilippe's predecessor began to reemerge, and the king put them down
with force. But what was he defending so brutally? Not the institution of the
monarchy, which he disdained, nor a democratic republic, which his rule
prevented. What he was really defending, it seemed, was his own fortune,
and the fortunes of the bankers-not a way to inspire loyalty among the
In early 1848, Frenchmen of all classes began to demonstrate for electoral reforms that would make the country truly democratic. By February
the demonstrations had tumed violent. To assuage the populace, LouisPhilippe fired his prime minister and appointed a liberal as a replacement.
But this created the opposite of the desired effect: The people sensed they
could push the king around. The demonstrations tumed into a full-fledged
revolution, with gunfire and barricades in the streets.
Never lose your
self-respect, nor be too
familiar with yourself
. when you are ahme.
Let your integrity itself"
be your own standard
of rectitude, and be
more indebted to the
severity of your own
judgment of yourself
than to all external
precepts. Desist from
unseemly conduct,
rather out of respect
for your own virtue
than for the strictures
of external authority.
Come to hold yourself
in awe, and you will
have no need of
Seneca 's imaginary
1 601-1658
LAW 34 283
284 LAW 34
On the night of February 23, a crowd of Parisians surrounded the
palace. With a suddenness that caught everyone by surprise, LouisPhilippe abdicated that very evening and fled to England. He left no successor, nor even the suggestion of one--his whole government folded up
and dissolved like a traveling circus leaving town.
Louis-Philippe consciously dissolved the aura that naturally pertains to
kings and leaders. Scoffing at the symbolism of grandeur, he believed a
new world was dawning, where rulers should act and be like ordinary citizens. He was right: A new world, without kings and queens, was certainly
on its way.

 He was profoundly wrong, however, in predicting a change in
the dynamics of power.
The bourgeois king's hat and umbrella amused the French at first, but
soon grew irritating. People knew that Louis-Philippe was not really like
them at all-that the hat and umbrella were essentially a kind of trick to encourage them in the fantasy that the country had suddenly grown more
equal. Actually, though, the divisions of wealth had never been greater.
The French expected their ruler to be a bit of a showman, to have some
presence. Even a radical like Robespierre, who had briefly come to power
during the French Revolution fifty years earlier, had understood this, and
certainly Napoleon, who had turned the revolutionary republic into an imperial regime, had known it in his bones. Indeed as soon as Louis-Philippe
fled the stage, the French revealed their true desire: 

They elected
Napoleon's grand-nephew president. He was a virtual unknown, but they
hoped he would re-create the great general's powerful aura, erasing the
awkward memory of the "bourgeois king."
Powerful people may be tempted to affect a common-man aura, trying
to create the illusion that they and their subjects or underlings are basically
the same. But the people whom this false ge sture is intended to impress will
quickly see through it. They understand that they are not being given more
power-that it only appears as if they shared in the powerful person's fate.
The only kind of common touch that works is the kind affected by Franklin
Roosevelt, a style that said the president shared values and goals with the
common people even while he remained a patrician at heart. He never
pretended to erase his distance from the crowd.
Leaders who try to dissolve that distance through a false chumminess
gradually lose the ability to inspire loyalty, fear, or love. Instead they elicit
contempt. Like Louis-Philippe, they are too uninspiring even to be worth
the guillotine--the best they can do is simply vanish in the night, as if they
were never there.
When Christopher Columbus was trying to find funding for his legendary
voyages, many around hirn believed he came from the ltalian aristocracy.
This view was passed into history through a biography written after the explorer's death by his son, which describes hirn as a descendant of a Count
Colombo of the Castle of Cuccaro in Montferrat. Colombo in turn was said
to be descended from the legendary Roman general Colonius, and two of
his first cousins were supposedly direct descendants of an emperor of Constantinople. An ilIustrious background indeed. But it was nothing more
than ilIustrious fantasy, for Columbus was actually the son of Domenico
Colombo, a humble weaver who had opened a wine shop when Christopher was a young man, and who then made his living by seIling cheese.
Columbus hirnself had created the myth of his noble background, because from early on he feit that destiny had singled hirn out for great
things, and that he had a kind of royalty in his blood. Accordingly he acted
as if he were indeed descended from noble stock.

 After an uneventful career as a merchant on a commercial vessel, Columbus, originally from
Genoa, settled in Lisbon. Using the fabricated story of his noble background, he married into an established Lisbon family that had exceIIent
connections with Portuguese royalty.
Through his in-Iaws, Columbus finagled a meeting with the king of
Portugal, Joäo 11, whom he petitioned to finance a westward voyage aimed
at discovering a shorter route to Asia. In return for announcing that any
discoveries he achieved would be made in the king's name, Columbus
Iiowanted a series of rights: the title Grand Admiral of the Oceanic Sea; the
office of viceroy over any lands he found; and 10 percent of the future
commerce with such lands. All of these rights were to be hereditary and for
aIl time. Columbus made these demands even though he had previously
been a mere merchant, he knew almost nothing about navigation, he could
not work a quadrant, and he had never led a group of men. In short he had
absolutely no qualifications for the journey he proposed. Furthermore, his
petition incIuded no details as to how he would accomplish his plans, just
vague promises.
When Columbus finished his pitch, Joäo 11 smiled: He politely decIined the offer, but left the door open for the future. Here Columbus mu�t
have noticed something he would never forget: Even as the king turned
down the sailor's demands, he treated them as legitimate. He neither
laughed at Columbus nor questioned his background and credentials. In
fact the king was impressed by the boldness of Columbus's requests, and
cIearly feit comfortable in the company of a man who acted so confidently.
The meeting must have convinced Columbus that his instincts were correct: By asking for the mo on, he had instantly raised his own status, for the
king assumed that unless a man who set such a high price on hirnself were
mad, which Columbus did not appear to be, he must somehow be worth it.
A few years later Columbus moved to Spain. Using his Portuguese
connections, he moved in elevated circles at the Spanish court, receiving
subsidies from ilIustrious financiers and sharing tables with dukes and
princes. To all these men he repeated his request for financing for a voyage
to the west-and also for the rights he had demanded fromJoäo 11. Some,
such as the powerful duke of Medina, wanted to help, but could not, since
they lacked the power to grant hirn the titles and rights he wanted. But
Columbus would not back down. He soon realized that only one person
HII'f'OCLLI IlE" ,\'I'
In the next generation
the family became
much more famous
than before through the
distinction conferred
upon it by Cleisthenes
the master of 5icyon.
Cleisthenes ' .. had a
daughter, Agarista,
whom he wished to
marry to the hest man
in all Creece. 50 du ring
the Olympic games, in
which he had himself
won the chariot race, he
had a puhlic announcement made, to the effect
that any Creek who
thought himself good
enough to oecome
Cleisthenes ' son-in-law
should present himself
in 5icyon within sixty
days-or sooner if he
wished-because he
intended, within fhe
year following the
sixtiefh day, fo hetmth
his daughter to her
future hushand,
Cleisfhenes had had a
race-frack and a
wrestling-ring specially
made for his purpose,
ami presently the suitors began to arriveevery man of Creek
nationality who had
something to be proud
of either in his country
or in himsel! '
Cleisthenes hegan hy
asking each fof fhe
numerous suiturs} in
turn fo name his country and parentage; then
he kept them in his
hOllse for a year, fo get
to know fhem weil,
entering into conversation with them sometimes singly, sometimes
all together, and f('sfing
each of fhem for his
LAW 34 285
manly qllalities and
lemper, educalion and
manners .... But the
mosl impor!anl lesl af
a// was Iheir behaviour
al the dinner-Iable. A //
Ihis went on throughout Iheir slay in Sicyon,
and a// Ihe lime he
enterlained Ihem handsomely.
For one reason or
anolher il was Ihe Iwo
Athenians who
impressed Cleislhenes
most !avourably, and
o! Ihe Iwo Tisander's
son Hippocleides came
to be preferred ..
AI lasl the day came
whieh hall been fixed
for Ihe belrolhal, ami
Cleislhenes har! 10
dee/are his ehoice. lIe
marked Ihe day by Ihe
sacrifiee of a hundred
oxen, and Ihen !(ave a
greal banquel, 10 which
nol only Ihe suilors bul
everyone of nole in
Sieyon was inviled.
When dinner was over,
Ihe suÜors began 10
compete with each
olher in musie and in
lalkinR in company.
In bolh Ihese accomplishments il was
Hippoe/eides who
proved by far the
douRhliesl champion,
unlil al lasl, as more
and more wine waS
drunk, he asked Ihe
flule-player 10 play him
a lune ami be!(an to
danee 10 il. Now it may
we// be Ihal he danced
la his own salis!aclion;
Cleislhenes, however,
who was walchinR
Ihe performance,
began 10 have seri(JUS
daubls aboul lhe whole
business. Presenlly,
afler a brief pause,
Hippoe/eides senf !or a
table; the table waS
broURhl, and
286 LAW 34
could meet his demands: Queen Isabella. In 1487 he finally managed a
meeting with the queen, and although he could not convince her to finance
the voyage, he completely charmed her, and became a frequent guest in
the palace.
In 1492 the Spanish finally expelled the Moorish invaders who centuries earlier had seized parts of the country. With the wartime burden on
her treasury lifted, Isabella feit she could finally respond to the demands of
her explorer friend, and she decided to pay for three ships, equipment, the
salaries of the crews, and a modest stipend for Columbus. More important,
she had a contract drawn up that granted Columbus the titles and rights on
which he had insisted. The only one she denied-and only in the contract's
fine print-was the 10 percent of all revenues from any lands discovered:
an absurd demand, since he wanted no time limit on it. (Had the clause
been left in, it would eventually have made Columbus and his heirs the
wealthiest family on the planet. Columbus never read the fine print.)
Satisfied that his demands had been met, Columbus set sail that same
year in search of the passage to Asia. (Before he left he was careful to hire
the best navigator he could find to help hirn get there.) The mission failed
to find such a passage, yet when Columbus petitioned the queen to finance
an even more ambitious voyage the following year, she agreed. By then
she had come to see Columbus as destined for great things,
As an explorer Columbus was mediocre at best. He knew less about the
sea than did the average sailor on his ships, could never determine the latitude and longitude of his discoveries, mistook islands for vast continents,
and treated his crew badly. But in one area he was a genius: He knew how
to seIl hirnself. How else to explain how the son of a cheese vendor, a lowlevel sea merchant, managed to ingratiate hirnself with the highest royal
and aristocratic farnilies?
Columbus had an amazing power to charm the nobility, and it all
came from the way he carried hirnself. He projected a sense of confidence
that was completely out of proportion to his means. Nor was his confidence
the aggressive, ugly self-promotion of an upstart-it was a quiet and calm
self-assurance, In fact it was the same confidence usually shown by the nobility themselves. The powerful in the old-style aristocracies feit no need to
prove or assert themselves; being noble, they knew they always deserved
more, and asked for it. With Columbus, then, they felt an instant affinity,
for he carried hirnself just the way they did-elevated above the crowd,
destined for greatness.
Understand: It is within your power to set your own price. How you
carry yourself reflects what you think of yourself. If you ask for little, shuffle your feet and lower your head, people will assurne this reflects your
character. But this behavior is not you-it is only how you have chosen to
present yourself to other people. You can just as easily present the Columbus front: buoyancy, confidence, and the feeling that you were born to
wear a crown.
With alt great deceivers there is a noteworthy occurrence to which they owe their
power. In the actual act 0/ deception they are overcome by belief in themselves: it is
this which then speaks so miraculously and compeltingly to those around them.
Friedrich Nietzsehe, 1 844-1 900
As children, we start OUf lives with great exuberance, expecting and demanding everything from the world. This generally carries over into OUf
first forays into society, as we begin OUf careers. But as we grow older the
rebuffs and failUfes we experience set up boundaries that only get firmer
with time. Coming to expect less from the world, we accept limitations that
are really self-imposed. We start to bow and scrape and apologize for even
the simplest of requests. The solution to such a shrinking of horizons is to
deliberately force ourselves in the opposite direction-to downplay the
failures and ignore the limitations, to make oUfselves demand and expect
as much as the child. To accomplish this, we must use a particular strategy
upon oUfselves. Call it the Strategy of the Crown.
The Strategy of the Crown is based on a simple chain of cause and effect: If we believe we are destined for great things, OUf belief will radiate
outward, just as a crown creates an aura around a king. This outward radiance will infect the people around us, who will think we must have reasons
to feel so confident. People who wear crowns seem to feel no inner sense of
the limits to what they can ask for or what they can accomplish. This too
radiates outward. Limits and boundaries disappear. Use the Strategy of the
Crown and you will be surprised how often it bears fruit. Take as an exampIe those happy children who ask for whatever they want, and get it. Their
high expectations are their charm. Adults enjoy granting their wishes-just
as Isabella enjoyed granting the wishes of Columbus.
Throughout history, people of undistinguished birth-the Theodoras of
� Byzantium, the Columbuses, the Beethovens, the Disraelis-have managed
to work the Strategy of the Crown, believing so firmly in their own greatness
that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The trick is simple: Be overcome
by yoUf self-belief. Even while you know you are practicing a kind of deception on YOUfself, act like a king. You are likely to be treated as one.
The crown may separate you from other people, but it is up to you to
make that separation real: You have to act differently, demollStrating your
distance from those around you. One way to emphasize YOUf difference is
to always act with dignity, no matter the circumstance. Louis-Philippe gave
no sense of being different from other people-he was the banker king.
And the moment his subjects threatened him, he caved in. Everyone
sensed this and pounced. Lacking regal dignity and firmness of purpose,
Louis-Philippe seemed an impostor, and the crown was easily toppled
from his head.
Regal bearing should not be confused with arrogance. Arrogance may
seem the king's entitlement, but in fact it betrays insecurity. It is the very
opposite of a royal demeanor.
Hippoc!eides, c/imbing
on to it, danced first
.\'Onle Laconian dances,
next some Attic ones,
and ended by standing
on his head and beating time with his legs in
the air. The Laconian
and Altic dan ces were
bad enough; but
Cleisthenes, thol/gh
he already loathed the
thought o[ having a
son-in-law like that,
nevertheless restrained
himself and managed
to avoid an outburst;
but when he saw
Hippocleides beating
time with his legs, he
could bear it no Ion ger.
"Son of Tisander, " he
cried, "you have
danced away your
marriage. "
LAW 34 287
288 LAW 34
Haile Selassie, mler of Ethiopia for forty or SO years beginning in 1930,
was once a young man named Lij Tafari. He came from a noble family, but
there was no real chance of hirn coming to power, for he was far down the
line of succession from the king then on the throne, Menelik 11. Nevertheless, from an early age he exhibited a self-confidence and a royal bearing
that surprised everyone around hirn.
At the age of fourteen, Tafari went to live at the court, where he immediately impressed Menelik and became his favorite. Tafari's grace under
fire, his patience, and his calm self-assurance fascinated the king. The other
young nobles, arrogant, blustery, and envious, would push this slight,
bookish teenager around. But he never got angry-that would have been a
sign of insecurity, to which he would not stoop. There were already people
around hirn who feIt he would someday rise to the top, for he acted as ifhe
were already there.
Years later, in 1936, when the ltalian Fascists had taken over Ethiopia
and Tafari, now called Haile Selassie, was in exile, he addressed the League
of Nations to plead his country's case. The Italians in the audience heckled
hirn with vulgar abuse,

 but he maintained his dignified pose, as if corn­
. pletely unaffected. This elevated hirn while making his opponents look
even uglier. Dignity, in fact, is invariably the mask to assurne under difficult
circumstances: It is as if nothing can affect you, and you have all the time
in the world to respond. This is an extremely powerful pose.
A royal demeanor has other uses. Con artists have long known the
value of an aristocratic front; it either dis arms people and makes them less
suspicious, or else it intimidates them and puts them on the defensiv�and
as Count Victor Lustig knew, once you put a sucker on the defensive he is
doomed. The con man Yellow Kid Weil, too, would often assurne the trappings of a man of wealth, along with the nonchalance that goes with thern.
Alluding to some magical method of making money, he would stand aloof,
like a king, exuding confidence as if he really were fabulously rich. The
suckers would beg to be in on the con, to have a chance at the wealth that
he so clearly displayed.
Finally, to reinforce the inner psychological tricks involved in projecting a royal demeanor, there are outward strategies to help you create the
effect. First, the Columbus Strategy: Always make a bold demand. Set your
price high and do not waver. Second

, in a dignified way, go after the highest person in the building. This immediately puts you on the same plane as
the chief executive you are attacking. It is the David and Goliath Strategy:
By choosing a great opponent, you create the appearance of greatness.
Third, give a gift of some sort to those above you. This is the strategy
of those who have a patron: By giving your patron a gift, you are essentially
saying that the two of you are equal. It is the old con game of giving so that
you can take. When the Renaissance writer Pietro Aretino wanted the
Duke of Mantua as his next patron, he knew that if he was slavish and
sycophantic, the duke would think hirn unworthy; so he approached the
duke with gifts, in this case paintings by the writer's good friend Titian.
Accepting the gifts created a kind of equality between duke and writer: The
duke was put at ease by the feeling that he was dealing with a man of his
own aristocratie stamp. He funded Aretino generously. The gift strategy is
subtle and brilliant beeause you do not beg: You ask for help in a dignified
way that implies equality between two people, one of whom just happens
to have more money.
Remember: It is up to you to set your own priee. Ask for less and that
is just what you will get. Ask for more, however, and you send a signal that
you are worth a king's ransom. Even those who turn you down respeet you
for your eonfidenee, and that respeet will eventually pay off in ways you
cannot imagine.

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