find the man thumbscrew


F I N D I N G T H E THUMBSCREW: A Strategie Plan of Action
We all have resistances, We live with a perpetual arrnor around oUfselves
to defend against change and the intrusive actions of friends and rivals. We
would like no thing more than to be left to do things our own way. Constantly butting up against these resistances will cost you a lot of energy.
One of the most important things to realize about people, though, is that
they all have a weakness, some part of their psychological arrnor that will
not resist, that will bend to your will if you find it and push on it.

 Some peopIe wear their weaknesses openly, others disguise them. Those who disguise them are often the ones most effectively undone through that one
chink in their arrnor.
In planning YOUf assault, keep these principles in mind:
Pay Attention to Gestures and Unconscious Signals. As Sigmund
Freud remarked, "No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of hirn at every pore." This is a
critical concept in the search for a person's weakness-it is revealed by
seemingly unimportant ge stures and passing words.
The key is not only what you look for but where and how you look.
Everyday conversation supplies the richest mine of weaknesses, so train
yourself to listen. Start by always seeming interested-the appearance of a
sympathetic ear will SpUf anyone to talk. A clever trick, often used by the
nineteenth-century French statesman Talleyrand, is to appear to open up to
the other person, to share a secret with them. It can be completely made
up, or it can be real but of no great importance to you-the important
thing is that it should seern to come from the heart. This will usually elicit a
response that is not only as frank as Y0ufS but more genuine--a response
that reveals a weakness. 

If you suspect that someone has a particular soft spot, probe for it indirectly. If, for instance, you sense that a man has a need to be loved, openly
flatter him. If he laps up Y0uf compliments, no matter how obvious, you
are on the right track. Train Y0uf eye for details-how someone tips a
waiter, what delights a person, the hidden messages in clothes. Find people's idols, the things they worship and will do anything to get-perhaps
you can be the supplier of their fantasies. Remember: Since we all try to
hide Ouf weaknesses, there is little to be learned from Ouf conscious behavior. What oozes out in the little things outside Ouf conscious control is what
you want to know.
Find the Helpless Child. Most weaknesses begin in childhood, before
the self builds up compensatory defenses. 

Perhaps the child was pampered
or indulged in a particular area, or perhaps a certain emotional need went
unfulfilled; as he or she grows older, the indulgence or the deficiency may
be buried but never disappears. Knowing about a childhood need gives
you a powerful key to a person's weakness.
One sign of this weakness is that when you touch on it the person will
often act like a child, Be on the lookout, then, for any behavior that should
have been outgrown. If your victims or rivals went without something important, such as parental support, when they were children, supply it, or its
facsimile. If they reveal a secret taste, a hidden indulgence, indulge it. In either case they will be unable to resist you.
Look for Contrasts. An overt trait often conceals its opposite. 

who thump their chests are often big cowards; a prudish exterior may hide
a lascivious soul; the uptight are often screaming for adventure; the shy are
dying for attention. By probing beyond appearances, you will often find
people's weaknesses in the opposite of the qualities they reveal to you.
Find the Weak Link. Sometimes in your search for weaknesses it is not
what but who that matters. In today's versions of the court, there is often
someone behind the scenes who has a great deal of power, a tremendous
influence over the person superficially on top. These behind-the-scenes
powerbrokers are the group's weak link: Win their favor and you indirectly
influence the king. Altematively, even in a group of people acting with the
appearance of one will-as when a group und er attack closes ranks to resist
an outsider-there is always a weak link in the chain. Find the one person
who will bend under pressure.
Fill the Void. The two main emotional voids to fill are insecurity and unhappiness. The insecure are suckers for any kind of social validation; as for
the chronically unhappy, look for the roots of their unhappiness. The inse-­
eure and the unhappy are the people least able to disguise their weaknesses. The ability to fill their emotional voids is a great source of power,
and an indefinitely prolongable one.

 Feed on Uncontrollable Emotions. The uncontrollable emotion can be
a paranoid fear-a fear disproportionate to the situation-or any base motive such as lust, greed, vanity, or hatred. People in the grip of these emotions often cannot control themselves, and you can do the controlling for
Observance I
In 1615 the thirty-year-old bishop ofLU/;:on, later known as Cardinal RicheHeu, gave a speech before representatives of the three estates of Franceclergy, nobility, and commoners. Richelieu had been chosen to serve as
the mouthpiece for the clergy-an immense responsibility for a man still
young and not particularly well known. On all of the important issues of
the day, the speech followed the Church line. But near the end of it RicheHeu did something that had nothing to do with the Church and everything
to do with his career. He tumed to the throne of the fifteen-year-old King
Louis XIII,

 and to the Queen Mother Marie de' Medicis, who sat beside
Then what did his dear
friend do? He
cautiously made his
way down to the
bottom of the ravine,
and there, out in the
open space and the free
air, seeing that the !ion
wanted neither f/attery
nor obedience now, he
set to work to pay the
last sad rites to his
dead friend, and in a
month picked his bones
[Hollywood superagent] /rving Paul
Lazar was once
anxious to seil [studio
mogul} Jack L. Warn er
a play. "/ had a long
meeting with him
today, " Lazar
explained [10 screenwriter Garson Kanin],
"but / didn't mention
it, / didn 't even bring
it up."
" Why not? " / asked.
"Because I'm going to
wait until the weekend
after next, when / go to
Pa/m Springs. "

 "[ don't understand. "
" You don't? [ go to
Pa/m Springs every
weekend, but Warn er
isn't going this weekend. He's got a preview
or something. So he:,
not coming down till
the next weekend, so
that's when Fm going
to bring it up. "
"/rving, Fm more and
LAW 33 273
more eonfused. "
"Look," said I rving
impatiently, "[ know
what l'm doing. [ know
IIOW to seil Warner.
This is a type of material that he :,. uneasy
with, so I have to hit
him with it hant and
suddenly 10
get an okay. "
"But why Palm
Springs? "
"Because in Palm
Springs, every day he
goes 10 Ihe bath" al The
Spa. And Iha!'s where
l 'm going 10 be when
he's Ihere. Now there 's
a Ihing aboul lack: He 's
eighly ami he's very
va in, and he doesn'l
like people 10 see him
naked. So when I walk
up to him naked al The
Spa-I mean he's
naked-well, l'm
naked 100, but I don't
ca re who sees me.

does. And I walk up to
him naked, and [ starl
to talk 10 him aboul
Ihis thing, he 'lI be very
embarrassed. And
he 'lI wanl 10 gel away
from me, and Ihe easiesl way is to say . Yes, ,
bccause he knows if he
says 'No, ' then I'm
going to stick wilh him,
ami slay righl on il, and
not give up. So 10 gel
rid of me, he 'lI probably say, ' Yes. ' "
Two weeks laler, I read
of Ihe aequisilion of
Ihis partieular properly
by Warner Brolhers. I
phoned Lazar and
asked how it had been
aecomplished. "How
do you Ihink?" he
asked. "In Ihe buf!'
Iha!'s how ... jusl Ihe
way [ told you il was
going 10 work. "
274 LAW 33
Louis, as the regent ruling France until her son reached his majority, Everyone expected Richelieu to say the usual kind words to the young king. Instead, however, he looked directly at and only at the queen mother. Indeed
his speech ended in long and fulsome praise of her, praise so glowing that it
actually offended some in the Church. But the smile on the queen's face as
she lapped up Richelieu's compliments was unforgettable.
A year later the queen mother appointed Richelieu secretary of state
for foreign affairs, an incredible coup for the young bishop. He had now
entered the inner cirele of power, and he studied the workings of the court
as if it were the machinery of a watch. An Italian, Concino Concini, was
the queen mother's favorite, or rather her lover, a role that made hirn perhaps the most powerful man in France. Concini was vain and foppish, and
Richelieu played him perfectly-attending to him as if he were the king.
Within months Richelieu had become one of Concini's favorites. But
something happened in 1617 that turned everything upside down: the
young king, who up until then had shown every sign of being an idiot, had
Concini murdered and his most important associates imprisoned, In so
doing Louis took command of the country with one blow, sweeping the
queen mother aside.
Had Richelieu played it wrong? He had been elose to both Concini
and Marie de Medicis, whose advisers and ministers were now all out of
favor, some even arrested. The queen mother herself was shut up in the
Louvre, a virtual prisoner. Richelieu wasted no time. If everyone was deserting Marie de Medicis, he would stand by her. He knew Louis could not
get rid of her, for the king was still very young, and had in any case always
been inordinately attached to her. As Marie's only remaining powerful
friend, Richelieu filled the valuable function of liaison between the king
and his mother. In return he received her protection, and was able to survive the palace coup, even to thrive. Over the next few years the queen
mother grew still more dependent on hirn, and in 1622 she repaid hirn for
his loyalty: Through the intercession of her allies in Rome, Richelieu was
elevated to the powerful rank of cardinal.
By 1623 King Louis was in trouble. He had no one he could trust to
advise hirn, and although he was now a young man instead of a boy, he remained childish in spirit, and affairs of state came hard to hirn. Now that he
had taken the throne, Marie was no longer the regent and theoretically had
no power, but she still had her son's ear, and she kept telling him that
Richelieu was his only possible savior. At first Louis would have none of
it-he hated the cardinal with a passion, only tolerating him out of love for
Marie. In the end, however, isolated in the court and crippled by his own
indecisiveness, he yielded to his mother and made Richelieu first his chief
councilor and later prime minister.
Now Richelieu no longer needed Marie de Medicis. He stopped visiting and courting her, stopped listening to her opinions, even argued with
her and opposed her wishes. Instead he concentrated on the king, making
himself indispensable to his new master. All the previous premiers, understanding the king's childishness, had tried to keep him out of trouble; the
shrewd Richelieu played hirn differently, deliberately pushing hirn into
one ambitious project after another, such as a crusade against the
Huguenots and finally an extended war with Spain. The immensity of
these projects only made the king more dependent on his powerful premier, the only man able to keep order in the realm. And so, for the next
eighteen years, Richelieu, exploiting the king's weaknesses, govemed and
molded France according to his own vision, unifying the country and making it a strong European power for centuries to come.

Richelieu saw everything as a military campaign, and no strategie move
was more important to hirn than discovering his enemy's weaknesses and
applying pressure to them. As early as his speech in 1615, he was looking
for the weak link in the chain of power, and he saw that it was the queen
mother. Not that Marie was obviously weak-she govemed both France
and her son; but Richelieu saw that she was really an insecure woman who
needed constant masculine attention. He showered her with affection and
respect, even toadying up to her favorite, Concini.

 He knew the day would
come when the king would take over, but he also recognized that Louis
loved his mother dearly and would always remain a child in relation to her.
The way to control Louis, then, was not by gaining his favor, which could
change ovemight, but by gaining sway over his mother, for whom his affection would never change.
Once Richelieu had the position he desired-prime minister-he discarded the queen mother, moving on to the next weak link in the chain:
the king's own character. There was a part of hirn that would always be a
helpless child in need of higher authority. 1t was on the foundation of the
king's weakness that Richelieu established his own power and farne.
Remember: When entering the court, find the weak link. The person
in control is often not the king or queen; it is someone behind the scenesthe favorite, the husband or wife, even the court fool. This person may
have more weaknesses than the king hirnself, because his power depends
on all kinds of capricious factors outside his control.
Finally, when dealing with helpless children who cannot make decisions, play on their weakness and push them into bold ventures. They will
have to depend on you even more, for you will become the adult figure
whom they rely on to get them out of scrapes and to safety.

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