don't offend the wrong man as law of power




 OPPONENTS, SUCKERS, AND VICTIMS: Preliminary Typology
In your rise to power you will come across many breeds of opponent,
sucker, and victim. The highest form of the art of power is the ability to distinguish the wolves from the lambs, the foxes from the hares, the hawks
from the vultures. If you make this distinction weIl, you will succeed without needing to coerce anyone too much. But if you deal blindly with
whomever crosses your path, you will have a life of constant sorrow, if you
even live that long. Being able to recognize types of people, and to act accordingly, is critical. The following are the five most dangerous and difficult types of mark in the jungle, as identified by artists-con and
otherwise-of the past.
The Arrogant and Proud Man. Although he may initially disguise
it, this man's touchy pride makes hirn very dangerous. 


Any perceived
slight will lead to a vengeance of overwhelming violence. You may say to
yourself, "But I only said such-and-such at a party, where everyone was
drunk. ... " It does not matter. There is no sanity behind his overreaction,
so do not waste time trying to figure hirn out. If at any point in your dealings with a person you sense an oversensitive and overactive pride, flee.
Whatever you are hoping for from hirn isn't worth it.
The Hopelessly Insecure Man. This man is related to the proud and arrogant type, but is less violent and harder to spot. His ego is fragile, his
sense of self insecure,



 and if he feels hirnself deceived or attacked, the hurt
will simmer. He will attack you in bites that will take forever to get big
enough for you to notice. If you find you have deceived or harmed such a
man, disappear for a long time. Do not stay around hirn or he will nibble
you to death.
Mr. Suspicion. Another variant on the breeds above, this is a future Joe
Stalin. He sees what he wants to see-usually the worst-in other people,
and imagines that everyone is after hirn. Mr. Suspicion is in fact the least
dangerous of the three: Genuinely unbalanced, he is easy to deceive, just as
Stalin hirnself was constantly deceived. Play on his suspicious nature to get
hirn to turn against other people. But if you do become the target of his suspicions, watch out.
The Serpent with a Long Memory. If hurt or deceived, this man will
show no anger on the surface; he will calculate and wait. Then, when he is
in a position to turn the tables, he will exact a revenge marked by a coldblooded shrewdness. Recognize this man by his calculation and cunning in
the different areas of his life. He is usually cold and unaffectionate. Be doubly careful of this snake, and if you have somehow injured hirn, either
crush him completely or get hirn out of your sight.
The Plain, Unassuming, and Often Unintelligent Man. Ah, your ears
prick up when you find such a tempting victim. But this man is a lot harder
to deceive than you imagine. Falling for a ruse often takes intelligence
and imagination-a sense of the possible rewards. The blunt man will
not take the bait because he does not recognize it. He is that unaware. The
danger with this man is not that he will harm you or seek revenge, but
rnerely that he will waste your time, energy, resources, and even your sanity in trying to deceive him. Have a test ready for a mark-a joke, a story. If
his re action is utterly literal, this is the type you are dealing with. Continue
at your own risk.
TRANSGRESSIONS OF THE LAW
Transgression I
In the early part of the thirteenth century, Muhammad, the shah of
Khwarezm, managed after many wars to forge a huge empire, extending
west to present-day Turkey and south to Mghanistan. The empire's center
was the great Asian capital of Samarkand. The shah had a powernd, welltrained army, and could mobilize 200,000 warriors within days.
In 1219 Muhammad received an embassy from a new tribal leader to
the east, Genghis Khan. The embassy included all sorts of gifts to the great
Muhammad, representing the finest goods from Khan's small but growing
Mongoi empire. Genghis Khan wanted to reopen the Silk Route to Europe,
and offered to share it with Muhammad, while promising peace between
the two empires.
Muhammad did not know this upstart from the east, who, it seemed to
hirn, was extremely arrogant to try to talk as an equal to one so clearly his
superior. He ignored Khan's offer. Khan tried again:


 This time he sent a
caravan of a hundred camels filled with the rarest articles he had plundered from China. Before the caravan reached Muhammad, however,
Inalchik, the govemor of a region bordering on Samarkand, seized it
for hirnself, and executed its leaders.
Genghis Khan was sure that this was a mistake--that Inalchik had
acted without Muhammad's approval. He sent yet another mission to
Muhammad, reiterating his offer and asking that the govemor be punished.
This time Muhammad hirnself had one of the ambassadors beheaded, and
sent the other two back with shaved heads-a horrifying insult in the MongoI code of honor. Khan sent a message to the shah: 


"You have chosen war.
What will happen will happen, and what it is to be we know not; only God
knows." Mobilizing his forces, in 1220 he attacked Inalchik's province,
where he seized the capital, captured the govemor, and ordered hirn executed by having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears.
Over the next year, Khan led a series of guerrilla-like campaigns
against the shah's much larger army. His method was totally novel for the
tirne-his soldiers could move very fast on horseback, and had mastered
the art of firing with bow and arrow while mounted. The speed and flexibility of his forces allowed hirn to deceive Muhammad as to his intentions
and the directions of his movements. Eventually he managed first to surprison, and put Aguirre
on the beast .... The
beast was driven on,
and he received the
lashes .... "
When freed, Aguirre
announced his intention of killing the offieiai who had sentenced
him, the aicalde
Esquivel. Esquivel:,
term of office expired
and he fled to Lima,
three hundred twenty
leagues away, but
within fifteen days
Aguirre had tracked
him there. The frightened judge journeyed
to Quito, a trip of four
h undred leagues, and in
twenty days Aguirre
arrived.
" When Esquivel heard
of his presence, "
according to Garcilaso,
"he made another journey offive hundred
leagues to Cuzco; but
in a few days Aguirre
also arrived, having
travelled on foot and
without shoes, saying
that a whipped man
has no business to ride
a horse, or to go where
he would be seen by
others. In this way,
Aguirre followed his
judge for three years,
and four months. "
Wearying of the
pursuit, Esquivei
remained at Cuzco, a
city so stemly govemed
that he feit he would be
safe from Aguirre. He
took a house near the
cathedral and never
ventured outdoors
without a sword and a
dagger. "However, on a
certain Monday, at
noon, Aguirre entered
his house, and having
walked all over it,


 and
having traversed a
corridor, a saloon, a
chamber, and an inner
LAW 19 139
chamber where Ihe
judge kepl his books,
he al last found him
asleep over one of his
books, and stabbed him
10 death. The murderer
then went out, but
when he came to the
door of the house, he
found that he had
forgotten his hat, and
had the temerity to
return and fetch it, and
then walked down
the street. "
THE G├╝LDEN DREAM:
SEEKERS OF EL DORADO,
WALKER CHAPMAN,
1 967
TIIE CHO\\ A'iD
TBE SIH:r·:p
A troublesome Crow
seated herself on the
back of a Sheep. The
Sheep, much against his
will, carried her backward and forward for a
long time, and at last
said, "lfyou had
treated a dog in this
way, you would have
had your deserts from
his sharp teeth. " To this
the Crow replied, "1
despise the weak, and
yield to the strong. 1
know whom 1 may
bully, and whom 1 must
fialter; and thus 1 hope
to prolong my life to a
good old age.
FABLES,
AESOP,
SIXTH CENTlJRY B.e.
140 LAW 19
round Samarkand, then to seize it. Muhammad fled, and a year later died,
his vast empire broken and destroyed, Genghis Khan was sole master of
Samarkand, the Silk Route, and most of northern Asia.
Interpretation
Never assurne that the person you are dealing with is weaker or less important than you are. Some men are slow to take offense, which may make
you misjudge the thickness of their skin, and fail to worry about insulting
them. But should you offend their honor and their pride, they will overwhelm you with a violence that seems sudden and extreme given their
slowness to anger. If you want to turn people down, it is best to do so politely and respectfully, even if you feel their request is impudent or their
offer ridiculous. Never reject them with an insult until you know them better; you may be dealing with a Genghis Khan.
Transgression II
In the late 1910s some of the best swindlers in America formed a con-artist
ring based in Denver, Colorado. In the winter months they would spread
across the southern states, plying their trade. In 1920 Joe Furey, a leader of
the ring, was working his way through Texas, making hundreds of thousands of dollars with classic con games. In Fort Worth, he met a sucker
named J. Frank Norfleet, a cattleman who owned a large ranch. Norfleet
fell for the con. Convinced of the riches to come, he emptied his bank account of $45,000 and handed it over to Furey and his confederates. A few
days later they gave him his "millions," which tumed out to be a few good
dollars wrapped around a packet of newspaper clippings.
Furey and his men had worked such cons a hundred times before, and
the sucker was usually so embarrassed by his gullibility that he quietly
leamed his lesson and accepted the loss. But Norfleet was not like other
suckers. He went to the police, who told hirn there was little they could do.
"Then 1'11 go after those people myself," Norfleet told the detectives. "1'11
get them, too, if it takes the rest of my life." His wife took over the ranch as
Norfleet scoured the country, looking for others who had been fleeced in
the same game. One such sucker came forward, and the two men identified
one of the con artists in San Francisco, and managed to get hirn locked up.
The man committed suicide rather than face a long term in prison.
Norfleet kept going. He tracked down another of the con artists in
Montana, roped him like a calf, and dragged hirn through the muddy streets
to the town jail. He traveled not only across the country but to England,
Canada, and Mexico in search of Joe Furey, and also of Furey's right-hand
man, W B. Spencer. Finding Spencer in Montreal, Norfleet chased him
through the streets. Spencer escaped but the rancher stayed on his trail and
caught up with him in Salt Lake City. Preferring the mercy of the law to
Norfleet's wrath, Spencer turned hirnself in.
Norfleet found Furey in Jacksonville, Florida, and personally hauled
him off to face justice in Texas. But he wouldn't stop there: He continued
on to Denver, determined to break up the entire ring. Spending not only
large sums of money but another year of his life in the pursuit, he managed
to put all of the con ring's leaders behind bars. Even some he didn't catch
had grown so terrified of hirn that they too turned themselves in.
After five years of hunting, Norfleet had single-handedly destroyed the
eountry's largest confederation of con artists.


 The effort bankrupted hirn
and ruined his marriage, but he died a satisfied man.
Interpretation
Most men accept the humiliation of being conned with a sense of resignation. They leam their lesson, recognizing that there is no such thing as a
free lunch, and that they have usually been brought down by their own
greed for easy money. Some, however, refuse to take their medicine. Instead of reflecting on their own gullibility and avarice, they see themselves
as totally innocent victims.
Men like this may seem to be crusaders for justice and honesty, but
they are actually immoderately insecure.


 Being fooled, being conned, has
activated their self-doubt, and they are desperate to repair the damage.
Were the mortgage on Norfleet's ranch, the collapse of his marriage, and
the years of borrowing money and living in cheap hotels worth his revenge
over his embarrassment at being fleeced? To the Norfleets of the world,
overcoming their embarrassment is worth any price.
All people have insecurities, and often the best way to deceive a sucker
is to play upon his insecurities. But in the realm of power, everything is a
question of degree, and the person who is decidedly more insecure than
the average mortal presents great dangers. Be wamed: If you practice deeeption or trickery of any sort, study your mark weIl. Some people's inseeurity and ego fragility cannot tolerate the slightest offense. To see if you
are dealing with such a type, test them first-make, say, a mild joke at their
expense. A confident person will iaugh; an overly insecure one will react as
if personally insulted. If you suspect you are dealing with this type, find another victim.

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