despise the free lunch for some reasons you should know

In the re alm of power, everything must be judged by its cost, and everything has a price. What is offered for free or at bargain rates often comes
with a psychological price tag-complicated feelings of obligation, compromises with quality, the insecurity those compromises bring, on and on.
The powerful learn early to protect their most valuable resources: independence and room to maneuver. By paying the full price, they keep themselves free of dangerous entanglements and worries.
Being open and flexible with money also teaches the value of strategie
generosity, a variation on the old trick of "giving when you are about to

" By giving the appropriate gift, you put the recipient under obligation. Generosity softens people up--to be deceived. By gaining a reputation for liberality, you win people's admiration while distracting them from
your power plays. By strategically spreading your wealth, you charm the
other courtiers, creating pleasure and making valuable allies.
Look at the masters of power-the Caesars, the Queen Elizabeths, the
Michelangelos, the Medicis: Not a miser among them. Even the great con
artists spend freely to swindle. Tight purse strings are unattractive--when
engaged in seduction, Casanova would give completely not only of himself
but of his wallet. The powerful understand that money is psychologically
charged, and that it is also a vessei of politeness and sociability. 

They make
the human side of money a weapon in their armory.
For everyone able to play with money, thousands more are locked in a
self-destructive refusal to use money creatively and strategically. These
types represent the opposite pole to the powerful, and you must leam to
recognize them-either to avoid their poisonous natures or to turn their inflexibility to your advantage:
The Greedy Fish. The greedy fish take the human side out of money.
Cold and ruthless, they see only the lifeless balance sheet; viewing others
solely as either pawns or obstructions in their pursuit of wealth, they trample on people's sentiments and alienate valuable allies. No one wants to
work with the greedy fish, and over the years they end up isolated, which
often proves their undoing.
Greedy fish are the con artist's bread and butter: Lured by the bait of
easy money, they swallow the ruse hook, line, and sinker. They are easy to
deceive, for they spend so much time dealing with numbers (not with peopIe) that they become blind to psychology, including their own. Either
avoid them before they exploit you or play on their greed to your gain.
The Bargain Demon. Powerful people judge everything by what it costs,
not just in money but in time, dignity, and peace of mind. And this is exactly what Bargain Demons cannot do. Wasting valuable time digging for
bargains, they worry endlessly about what they could have gotten elsewhere for a little less. On top of that, the bargain item they do buy is often
shabby; perhaps it needs costly repairs, or will have to be replaced twice as
fast as a high-quality item. The costs of these pursuits-not always in
money (though the price of a bargain is often deceptive) but in time and
peace of mind-discourage normal people from undertaking them, but for
the Bargain Demon the bargain is an end in itself.
These types might seem to harm only themselves, but their attitudes
are contagious: Unless you resist them they will infect you with the inseeure feeling that you should have looked harder to find a cheaper price.
Don't argue with them or try to change them. Just mentally add up the
eost, in time and inner peace if not in hidden financial expense, of the irrational pursuit of a bargain.
The Sadist. Financial sadists play vicious power games with money as a
way of asserting their power. They might, for example, make you wait for
money that is owed you, promising you that the check is in the mail. Or if
they hire you to work for them, they meddle in every aspect of the job,
haggling and giving you ulcers. Sadists seem to think that paying for something gives them the right to torture and abuse the seIler. They have no
sense of the courtier element in money. If you are unlucky enough to get
involved with this type, accepting a financial loss may be better in the long
run than getting entangled in their destructive power games.
The Indiscriminate Giver. Generosity has a definite function in power:
It attracts people, softens them up, makes allies out of them. But it has to be
used strategically, with a definite end in mind. Indiscriminate Givers, on
the other hand, are generous because they want to be loved and admired
by all. And their generosity is so indiscriminate and needy that it may not
have the desired effect: If they give to one and all, why should the recipient
feel special? Attractive as it may seem to make an Indiscriminate Giver
your mark, in any involvement with this type you will often feel burdened
by their insatiable emotional needs.
Transgression I
Mter Francisco Pizarro conquered Peru, in 1532, gold from the Incan Empire began to pour into Spain, and Spaniards of all classes started dreaming
of the instant riches to be had in the New World. The story so on spread of
an Indian chief to the east of Peru who once each year would ritually cover
himself in gold dust and dive into a lake. Soon word of mouth transformed
EI Dorado, the "Golden Man," into an empire called EI Dorado, wealthier
than the Incan, where the streets were paved and the buildings inlaid with
gold. This elaboration of the story did not seem implausible, for surely a
chief who could afford to waste gold dust in a lake must rule a golden empire.

 Soon Spaniards were searching for EI Dorado all over northem South
from their inability to
make a living and their
laziness in this respect.
They should not
occupy themselves with
absurdities and untrue
1332-1 406
A miser, to make sure
of his property, sold all
that he had and
converted it into a great
lump of gold, which he
hid in a hole in the
ground, and went
continually to visit and
inspect it. This roused
the curiosity of one of
his workmen, who,
suspecting that there
was a treasure. when
his master's back was
turned, went to the
spot, and stole it away.
When the miser
returned and found the
place empty, he wept
and tore his hair. But a
neighbor who saw him
in this extravagant
griej, and learned the
cause of it, said: "Fret
thyselfno longer, but
take a stone and put it
in the same place, and
thin k that it is your
lump of gold; for, as
you never meant to use
it, the one will do you
as much good as the

The worth of money is
not in its possession,
but in its use.
LAW 40 335
There is a popular
saying in Japan that
goes "Tada yori takai
mono wa nai," meaning: "Nothing is more
costly than something
given free of charge. "
1 988
Yusuf Ibn Jafar elAmudi used to take
sums of money, sometimes very large ones,
from those who came
to study wirh him.
A distinguished legalist
visiting him on ce said:
"1 am enchanted and
impressed by your
teachings, and I am
sure that you are
directing your disciples
in a proper manner.
But it is not in accordance with tradition to
take money for knowledge. Besides, the
action is open to misinterpretation. "
El-Amudi said: "1 have
ne ver sold any knowledge. There is no
money on earth sufficient to pay for it. As
for misinterpretation,
the abstaining from
ta king money will not
prevent it, for it will
find some other object.
Rather should you
know that a man who
takes money may be
greedy for money, or
he may not. But a man
who takes nothing at
all is under the gravest
336 LAW 40
In February of 1541, the largest expedition yet in this venture, led by
Pizarro's brother Gonzalo, left Quito, in Ecuador. Resplendent in their armors and colorful silks, 340 Spaniards headed east, along with 4,000 Indians to carry supplies and serve as scouts, 4,000 swine, dozens of llamas,
and elose to 1,000 dogs. Eut the expedition was so on hit by torrential rain,
which rotted its gear and spoiled its food. Meanwhile, as Gonzalo Pizarro
questioned the Indians they met along the way, those who seemed to be
withholding information, or who had not even heard of the fabulous kingdom, he would torture and feed to the dogs. Word of the Spaniards' murderousness spread quickly among the Indians, who realized that the only
way to avoid Gonzalo's wrath was to make up stories about EI Dorado
and send hirn as far away as possible. As Gonzalo and his men followed
the leads the Indians gave them, then, they were only led farther into deep
The explorers' spirits sagged. Their uniforms had long since shredded;
their armor rusted and they threw it away; their shoes were tom to pieces,
forcing them to walk barefoot; the Indian slaves they had set out with had
either died or deserted them; they had eaten not only the swine but the
hunting dogs and llamas. They lived on roots and fruit. Realizing that they
could not continue this way, Pizarro decided to risk river travel, and a
barge was built out of rotting wood. Eut the journey down the treacherous
Napo River proved no easier. Setting up camp on the river's edge, Gonzalo
sent scouts ahead on the barge to find Indian settlements with food. He
waited and waited for the scouts to return, only to find out they had decided to desert the expedition and continue down the river on their own.
The rain continued without end. Gonzalo's men forgot about EI Dorado; they wanted only to return to Quito. Finally, in August of 1542, a little over a hundred men, from an expedition originally numbering in the
thousands, managed to find their way back. To the residents of Quito they
seemed to have emerged from hell itself, wrapped in tatters and skins, their
bodies covered in sores, and so emaciated as to be unrecognizable. For
over a year and a half they had marched in an enormous cirele, two thousand miles by foot. The vast sums of money invested in the expedition had
yielded nothing-no sign of EI Dorado and no sign of gold.
Even after Gonzalo Pizarro's disaster, the Spaniards launched expedition
after expedition in search of EI Dorado. And like Pizarro the conquistadors
would bum and loot villages, torture Indians, endure unimaginable hardships, and get no eloser to gold. The money they spent on such expeditions
cannot be calculated; yet despite the futility of the search, the lure of the
fantasy endured.
Not only did the search for EI Dorado cost millions of lives-both Indian and Spanish-it helped bring the ruin of the Spanish empire. Gold became Spain's obsession. The gold that did find its way back to Spain-and
a lot did-was reinvested in more expeditions, or in the purehase of luxuries, rather than in agriculture or any other productive endeavor. Whole
Spanish towns were depopulated as their menfolk left to hunt gold. Farms
fell into ruin, and the army had no recruits for its European wars. By the
end of the seventeenth century, the entire country had shrunk by more
than half of its population; the city of Madrid had gone from a population
of 400,000 to 150,000. With diminishing returns from its efforts over so
many years, Spain fell into a decline from which it never recovered.
Power requires self-discipline. The prospect of wealth, particularly
easy, sudden wealth, plays havoc with the emotions. The suddenly rich believe that more is always possible. The free lunch, the money that will fall
into your lap, is just around the corner.
In this delusion the greedy neglect everything power really depends
on: self-control, the goodwill of others, and so on. Understand: With one
exception-death-no lasting change in fortune comes quickly. Sudden
wealth rarely lasts, for it is built on nothing solid. Never let lust for money
lure you out of the protective and enduring fortress of real power. Make
power your goal and money will find its way to you. Leave EI Dorado for
suckers and fools.
Transgression 11
In the early eighteenth century, no one stood higher in English society
than the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The duke, having led successful campaigns against the French, was considered Europe's premier
general and strategist. And his wife, the duchess, after much maneuvering,
had established herself as the favorite of Queen Anne, who became ruler
of England in 1702. In 1704 the duke's triumph at the Battle of Blenheim
made hirn the toast of England, and to honor hirn the queen awarded hirn
a large plot of land in the town of Woodstock, and the funds to create a
great palace there. Calling his planned horne the Palace of Blenheim, the
duke chose as his architect the young John Vanbrugh, a kind of Renaissance man who wrote plays as weIl as designed buildings. And so construction began, in the summer of 1705, with much fanfare and great
Vanbrugh had a dramatist's sense of architecture. His palace was to be
a monument to Marlborough's brilliance and power, and was to include
artificial lakes, enormous bridges, elaborate gardens, and other fantastical
touches. From day one, however, the duchess could not be pleased: She
thought Vanbrugh was wasting money on yet another stand of trees; she
wanted the palace finished as so on as possible. The duchess tortured Vanbrugh and his workmen on every detail. She was consumed with petty
maUers; although the government was paying for Blenheim, she counted
every penny. Eventually her grumbling, about Blenheim and other things
too, created an irreparable rift between her and Queen Anne, who, in 171 1,
dismissed her from the court, ordering her to vacate her apartments at the
royal palace. When the duchess left (fuming over the loss of her position,
and also of her royal salary), she emptied the apartment of every fixture
down to the brass doorknobs.
Over the next ten years, work on Blenheim would stop and start, as
the funds became harder to procure from the government. The duchess
suspicion of robbing
the disciple of his soul.
People who say, 'I take
nothing, ' may be found
to take away the vo/ition of their victim. "
1 970
TIIE �IA[\ \nw
THA" L1n:
In ancient times there
was an old woodcutter
who went to the mountain almost every day
to cut wood.
It was said that this old
man was a miser who
hoarded his silver until
it changed to gold, and
that he ca red more for
gold than anything else
in all the world.
One day a wilderness
tiger sprang at him and
though he ran he could
not escape, and the
tiger carried him off in
its mouth.
The woodcutter's son
saw his father's danger,
and ran to save him il
possible. He carried a
long knife, and as he
could run faster than
the tiger, who had a
man to carry, he .\"Oon
overlOok them.
His father was not
much hurt, for the tiger
held him by his cloth es.
When the old woodclItter saw his son abollt to
stab the tiger he called
Ollt in great alarm:
"Do not spoil the
tiger's skin! Do not
5poil the tiger\' skin! II
you can kill him withOllt cllfting holes in his
LAW 40 337
skin we can get man y
pieces ofsilver je)r it.
Kill hirn, but da not cut
his body. "
While the son was
listening to his father's
instructions the tiger
suddenly dashed off
into the forest, carrying
the old man where the
son could not reach
hirn, and he was soon
1 960
'11 1 1': S'IOIlY OF \1 0SI:S
-\.'m I'I IAHA(>l 1
It is wrirten in the
historie.l' ofthe
prophe!s that Moses
was sent to Pharaoh
wirh many miracles,
wonders and honors,
Now the daily ration
for Pharaoh ,- tahle was
4,000 sheep, 400 co ws,
200 camels. anti a
corresponding amoun!
oI chickens, fish. he verages, fried meats,
sweets, anti other
things. All (he people of
Egyp( and all his army
used to eat a! his table
every day. For 40()
years he had claimed
divinity arul never
ceased providing this
When Moses prayed,
saying, "0 Lord,
destroy Pharaoh, " God
answered his prayer
arul said. "I shall
destroy hirn in water.
and I shall bestow al!
his wealth and that of
his soldiers on you ami
your peoples. " Several
338 LAW 40
thought Vanbrugh was out to ruin her. She quibbled over every carload of
stone and bushel of lime, counted every extra yard of iron railing or foot of
wainscot, hurling abuse at the wasteful workmen, contractors, and surveyors. Marlborough, old and weary, wanted nothing more than to settle into
the palace in his last years, but the project became bogged down in a
swamp of litigation, the workmen suing the duchess for wages, the duchess
suing the architect right back. In the midst of this interminable wrangling,
the duke died. He had never spent a night in his beloved Blenheim.
After Marlborough's death, it becarne clear that he had a vast estate,
worth over 

.E2 million-more than enough to pay for finishing the palace.
But the duchess would not relent: She held back Vanbrugh's wages as weIl
as the workmen's, and finally had the architect dismissed. The man who
took his place finished Blenheim in a few years, following Vanbrugh's designs to the letter. Vanbrugh died in 1726, locked out of the palace by the
duchess, unable to set foot in his greatest creation. Foreshadowing the romantic movement, Blenheim had started a whole new trend in architecture, but had given its creator a twenty-year nightmare.
For the Duchess of Marlborough, money was a way to play sadistic power
games. She saw the loss of money as a symbolic loss of power. With Vanbrugh her contortions went deeper still: He was a great artist, and she envied his power to create, to attain a farne outside her reach. She may not
have had his gifts, but she did have the money to torture and abuse hirn
over the pettiest details-to ruin his life.
This kind of sadism, however, be ars an awful price. It made construction that should have lasted ten years take twenty. It poisoned many a relationship, alienated the duchess from the court, 

deeply pained the duke
(who wanted only to live peacefully in Blenheim), created endless lawsuits,
and took years offVanbrugh's life. Finally, too, posterity had the last word:
Vanbrugh is recognized as a genius while the duchess is forever remembered for her consummate cheapness.
The powerful must have grandeur of spirit-they can never reveal any
pettiness. And money is the most visible arena in which to display either
grandeur or pettiness. Best spend freely, then, and create a reputation for
generosity, which in the end will pay great dividends. Never let financial
details blind you to the bigger picture of how people perceive you. Their
resentment will cost you in the long run. And if you want to meddle in the
work of creative people under your hire, at least pay them weIl. Your
money will buy their submission better than your displays of power.
Observance I
Pietro Aretino, son of a lowly shoemaker, had catapulted hirnself into farne
as a writer of biting satires. But like every Renaissance artist, he needed to
find a patron who would give hirn a comfortable lifestyle while not inter-
fering with his work. In 1528 Aretino decided to attempt a new strategy in
the patronage game. Leaving Rome, he established hirnself in Venice,
where few had heard of hirn. He had a fair amount of money he had managed to save, but little else. Soon after he moved into his new horne, however, he threw open its doors to rich and poor, regaling them with
banquets and amusements. He befriended each and every gondolier, tipping them royally. In the streets, he spread his money liberally, giving it
away to beggars, orphans, washerwomen. Among the city's commoners,
word quickly spread that Aretino was more than just a great writer, he was
a man of power-a kind of lord.
Artists and men of influence so on began to frequent Aretino's house.
Within a few years he made hirnself a celebrity; no visiting dignitary would
think of leaving Venice without paying hirn a call. His generosity had cost
hirn most of his savings, but had bought hirn influence and a good namea cornerstone in the foundation of power. Since in Renaissance Italy as
elsewhere the ability to spend freely was the privilege of the rich, the aristocracy thought Aretino had to be a man of influence, since he spent
money like one. And since the influence of a man of influence is worth

 Aretino became the recipient of all sorts of gifts and moneys.
Dukes and duchesses, wealthy merchants, and popes and princes competed to gain his favor, and showered hirn with all kinds of presents.
Aretino's spending habits, of course, were strategie, and the strategy
worked like a charm. But for real money and comfort he needed a great
patron's bottomless pockets. Having surveyed the possibilities, he eventually set his sights on the extremely wealthy Marquis of Mantua, and wrote
an epic poem that he dedicated to the marquis. This was a common practice of writers looking for patronage: In exchange for a dedication they
would get a small stipend, enough to write yet another poem, so that they
spent their lives in a kind of constant servility. Aretino, however, wanted
power, not a measly wage. He might dedicate a poem to the marquis, but
he would offer it to hirn as a gift, implying by doing so that he was not a
hired hack looking for a stipend but that he and the marquis were equals. 

Aretino's gift-giving did not stop there: As a elose friend of two of
Venice's greatest artists, the sculptor Jacopo Sansovino and the painter
Titian, he convinced these men to participate in his gift-giving scheme.
Aretino had studied the marquis before going to work on hirn, and knew
his taste inside and out; he was able to advise Sansovino and Titian what
subject matter would please the marquis most. When he then sent a Sansovino sculpture and a Titian painting to the marquis as gifts from all three of
them, the man was beside hirnself with joy.
Over the next few months, Aretino sent other gifts-swords, saddles,
the glass that was a Venetian specialty, things he knew the marquis prized.
Soon he, Titian, and Sansovino began to receive gifts from the marquis in
return. And the strategy went further: When the son-in-Iaw of a friend of
Aretino's found hirnself in jail in Mantua, Aretino was able to get the marquis to arrange his release. Aretino's friend, a wealthy merchant, was a
man of great influence in Venice; by turning the goodwill he had built up
years passed hy after
this promise, and
Pharaoh, doomed to
ruin, continued to live
in all his magnificence.
Moses was impatient
for God to destroy
Pharaoh quickly, and
he could not endure to
wait any langer. So he
fasted for forty days
and went to Mount
Sinai, and in his
communing with god
he said, "0 Lord, Thou
didst promise that
Thou wouldst destroy
Pharaoh, and still he
has forsaken none of
his blasphemies and
pretensions. So when
wilt Thou destroy
A voice came from The
Truth saying, "0
Moses, you want Me to
destroy Pharaoh as
quickly as possihle, but
a thousand times a
thousand of My
servants want Me never
to do so, because they
partake of his bounty
and enjoy tranquillity
under his rule. Sy My
power I swear that as
lang as he provides
abundant food and
comfort for My ereatu res, I shall not
destroy hirn. "
Moses said, " Then
when will Thy promise
be fulfilled?" God said,
"My promise will be
fulfilled when he withholds his provision
from My creatures. If
ever he begins to lessen
his bounty, know that
his hour is drawing
It chanced that one day
Pharaoh said to
Haman, "Moses has
gathered the Sons of
Israel about hirn and is
causing us disquiet. We
know not what will he
LAW 40 339
the issue of his affair
with uso We must keep
our stores full iest at
any time we be without
resources. So we must
halve our daily rations
and keep the saving in
reserve. " He deducted
2,000 sheep, 200 co ws,
and a 100 camels, and
similarly every two or
three days reduced the
ration. Moses then
knew that the promise
ofThe Truth was near
to fulfillment, for excessive economy is a sign
of decline and a bad

The masters of
tradition say that on
the day when Pharaoh
was drowned only two
ewes had been killed in
his küchen.
Nothing is better than
generosity .... 1f a man
is rich and desires,
without a royal charter,
to act like a lord; if he
wants men to humble
themselves before him,
to revere him and call
him lord and prince,
then tell him every day
to spread a table with
victuals. All those who
have acquired renown
in the world, have
gained it mainly
through hospitality,
while the miserly and
avaricious are despised
in both worlds.
340 LAW 40
with the marquis to use, Aretino had now bought this man's indebtedness,
too, and he in turn would help Aretino when he could.

 The circle of influence was growing wider. Time and again, Aretino was able to cash in on
the immense political power of the marquis, who also helped him in his
many court romances.
Eventually, however, the relationship became strained, as Aretino
came to feel that the marquis should have requited his generosity better.
But he would not lower hirnself to begging or whining: Since the exchange
of gifts between the two men had made them equals, it would not seem
right to bring up money. He simply withdrew from the marquis's circle and
hunted for other wealthy prey, settling first on the French king Francis,
then the Medicis, the Duke of Urbino, Emperor Charles V, and more. In
the end, having many patrons meant he did not have to bow to any of
them, and his power seemed comparable to that of a great lord.
Aretino understood two fundamental properties of money: First, that it has
to circulate to bring power. What money should buy is not lifeless objects
but power over people. By keeping money in constant circulation, Aretino
bought an ever-expanding circle of influence that in the end more than
compensated hirn for his expenses.
Second, Aretino understood the key property of the gift. To give a gift
is to imply that you and the recipient are equals at the very least, or that
you are the recipient's superior. A gift also involves an indebtedness or
obligation; when friends, for instance, offer you something for free, you
can be sure they expect something in return, and that to get it they are
making you feel indebted. (The mechanism may or may not be entirely
conscious on their part, but this is how it works.)
Aretino avoided such encumbrances on his freedom. Instead of acting
like a menial who expects the powerful to pay his way in life, he turned the
whole dynamic around; instead of being indebted to the powerful, he
made the powerful indebted to hirn. This was the point of his gift-giving, a
ladder that carried hirn to the highest social levels. By the end of his life he
had become the most famous writer in Europe.

 Understand: Money may determine power relationships, but those relationships need not depend on the amount of money you have; they also
depend on the way you use it. Powerful people give freely, buying influence rather than things. If you accept the inferior position because you
have no fortune yet, you may find yourself in it forever. Play the trick that
Aretino played on Italy's aristocracy: Imagine yourself an equal. Play the
lord, give freely, open your doors, circulate your money, and create the facade of power through an alchemy that transforms money into influence.
Observance II
Soon after Baron James Rothschild made his fortune in Paris in the early
1820s, he faced his most intractable problem: How could a Jew and a German, a total outsider to French society, win the respect of the xenophobie
French upper classes? Rothschild was a man who understood power-he
knew that his fortune would bring hirn status, but that if he remained socially alienated neither his status nor his fortune would last. So he looked at
the society of the time and asked what would win their hearts.
Charity? The French couldn't care less. Political influence? He already
had that, and if anything it only made people more suspicious of hirn. The
one weak spot, he decided, was boredom. In the period of the restoration
of the monarchy, the French upper classes were bored. So Rothschild
began to spend astounding sums of money on entertaining them. He hired
the best architects in France to design his gardens and ballroom; he hired
Marie-Antoine Careme, the most celebrated French chef, to prepare the
most lavish parties Paris had ever witnessed; no Frenchman could resist,
even if the parties were given by a German Jew. Rothschild's weekly
soirees began to attract bigger and bigger numbers. Over the next few
years he won the only thing that would seeure an outsider's power: social

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