So much depends on reputation so guard it with your life and secret key


Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips,
however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on alt
sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be
alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they
happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by
opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand
aside and let public opinion hang them.
'1 111, ,1 ,111 1 1 ,
'I HI<:�I'_ , 11 111 1 II IL
I'i ILI IA frighllili �pidemic
To earlh hy lIeaven
intenf io vent
Ils lilrY on a sinflll
world, 10 eall
lt hy its righttili name,
the pestilence,
ThaI A cheron-fil!ing
vial of virulence
Had fallen on every
Not al! were dead, hlll
al! lay near to dying,
Ami none was any
[onger Irying
To find new fllcl 10 feed
life 's f/ickering fires.
No l')()ds exciled Iheir
No more did wo[w's
and foxes rove
In seareh oI harmless,
helples,- prey;
Ami d(lve wOlild nol
consort with doV(',
Fi" love ami joy hud
f/own away.
Thc Lion a"slImed Ihe
chair to say: "Dear
I do"ht nol it 's fi"

:, high ends
That on lIS sinners woe
Lei him of lIS WllO 's
sinned the mosl
filii viclim 10 the
avcnging heavenly
Anti may he win salvalion for lIS all;
For history leaches lIS
that in thesc erises
We mllst lIlilke
Undeceived and sterncyed, 11'1\' inspect
GlIr conscience. As I
To pllt In Y greedy
appetite to sleep,
f 've hanljllctcd on
38 LAW 5
During China's War of the Three Kingdoms (A,D, 207-265), the great general Chuko Liang, leading the forces of the Shu Kingdom, dispatched his
vast army to a distant camp while he rested in a small town with a handful
of soldiers, Suddenly sentineIs hurried in with the alarming news that an
enemy force of over 150,000 troops under Sima Yi was approaching, With
only a hundred men to defend hirn, Chuko Liang's situation was hopeless,
The enemy would finally capture this renowned leader,
Without lamenting his fate, or wasting time trying to figure out how he
had been caught, Liang ordered his troops to take down their flags, throw
open the eity gates, and hide, He hirnself then took a seat on the most visible part of the city's wall, wearing a Taoist robe. He lit some incense,
strummed his lute, and began to chant. Minutes later he could see the vast
enemy army approaching, an endless phalanx of soldiers. Pretending not
to notice them, he continued to sing and play the lute.
Soon the army stood at the town gates, At its head was Sima Yi, who
instantly recognized the man on the wall.
Even so, as his soldiers itched to enter the unguarded town through its
open gates, Sima Yi hesitated, held them back, and studied Liang on the
wall. Then, he ordered an immediate and speedy retreat.
Chuko Liang was commonly known as the "Sleeping Dragon." His exploits in the War of the Three Kingdoms were legendary. Once a man
daiming to be a disaffected enemy lieutenant came to his camp, offering
help and information. Liang instantly recognized the situation as a setup;
this man was a false deserter, and should be beheaded.

 At the last minute,
though, as the ax was about to fall, Liang stopped the execution and offered to spare the man's life if he agreed to become a double agent. Grateful and terrified, the man agreed, and began supplying false information to
the enemy. Liang won battle after battle.
On another occasion Liang stole a military seal and created false documents dispatching his enemy's troops to distant locations. Once the troops
had dispersed, he was able to capture three eities, so that he controlled an
entire corridor of the enemy's kingdom. He also once tricked the enemy
into believing one of its best generals was a traitor, forcing the man to escape and join forces with Liang. The Sleeping Dragon carefully cultivated
his reputation of being the deverest man in China, one who always had a
trick up his sleeve.

 As powerful- as any weapon, this reputation struck fear
into his enemy.
Sima Yi had fought against Chuko Liang dozens of times and knew
hirn weIl. When he came on the empty city, with Liang praying on the
wall, he was stunned. The Taoist robes, the chanting, the incense--this had
to be a game of intimidation. The man was obviously taunting hirn, daring
hirn to walk into a trap. The game was so obvious that for one moment it
crossed Yi's mind that Liang actually was alone, and desperate. But so
great was his fear of Liang that he dared not risk finding out. Such is the
power of reputation. It can put a vast army on the defensive, even force
them into retreat, without a single arrow being fired.
FoT, as Cicero says, even those who argue against fame still want the books they
write against it to bear their name in the title and hope to become famous for
despising it. Ever ything else is subject to barter: we will let our Jriends have
our goods and our lives if need be; but a case of sharing our fame and
making someone else the gift of our reputation is hardly to be found.
Montaigne, 1533-1592
In 1841 the young P. T. Barnum, trying to establish his reputation as America's premier showman, decided to purchase the American Museum in
Manhattan and turn it into a collection of curiosities that would secure his

 The problem was that he had no money. The museum's asking price
was $15,000, but Barnum was able to put together a proposal that appealed
to the institution's owners even though it replaced cash up front with
dozens of guarantees and references. The owners came to a verbal agreement with Barnum, but at the last minute, the principal partner changed
his mind, and the museum and its collection were sold to the directors of
Peale's Museum. Barnum was infuriated, but the partner explained that
business was business-the museum had been sold to Peale's because
Peale's had a reputation and Barnum had none.
Barnum immediately decided that if he had no reputation to bank on,
his only recourse was to ruin the reputation of Peale's. Accordingly he
launched a letter-writing campaign in the newspapers, calling the owners a
bunch of "broken-down bank directors" who had no idea how to run a museum or entertain people. He warned the public against buying Peale's
stock, since the business's purchase of another museum would invariably
spread its resources thin. The campaign was effective, the stock plummeted, and with no more confidence in Peale's track record and reputation, the owners of the American Museum reneged on their deal and sold
the whole thing to Barnum.
It took years for Peale's to recover, and they never forgot what Barnum had done. Mr. Peale hirnself decided to attack Barnum by building a
reputation for "high-brow entertainment," promoting his museum's programs as more scientific than those of his vulgar competitor. Mesmerism
(hypnotism) was one of Peale's "scientific" attractions, and for a while it
drew big crowds and was quite successful. To fight back, Barnum decided
to attack Peale's reputation yet again.
Barnum organized a riyal mesmeric performance in which he hirnself
apparently put a little girl into a trance. Once she seemed to have fallen
deeply under, he tried to hypnotize members of the audience--but no matter how hard he tried, none of the spectators fell under his speIl, and many
of them began to laugh.

 A frustrated Barnum finally announced that to
prove the little girl's trance was real, he would cut off one of her fingers
many a sheep
Who'd injured me in
no re.\'pect,
And even in my time
been known to try
Shepherd pie.
lf need be, then, f 'll die.
Yet I suspect
That others also ought
to own their " ins.
It's only fair that all
should do their hest
To single out the
guiltiest. "
"Sire, you 're too good
a king, " the Fox hegins;
"Such scruples are too
delicate. My word,
To eat sheep, that
profane and vulgar
That's sin? Nay, Sire,
enough for such a crew
To be devoured by
such as you;
While of the shepherds
we may say
That they deserved the
worst they got,
Theirs heing the lot
that over us heasts plot
A jiimsy dreambegotten sway. "
Thus spake the Fox,
and toady cheers rose
While none da red cast
too cold an eye
On Tigers, Bears, and
other eminences '
Most unpardonable
Each, ofnever mind
what currish breed,
Was really a saint, they
all agreed.
Then came the Ass, to
say: "1 do recall
How once I crossed an
Where hllnger, grass in
plenty, and wilhal,
I have no doubt, some
imp of greed,
Assailed me, ami I
shaved a tongue 'sbreadth wide
Where frankly f'd no
right to any grass.

LAW 5 39
All forthwith fell full
cry upon the Ass:
A Wolf of some booklearning testified
That that curst beast
must suffer their
That gallskinned
author of their piteous
They judged him fit
for nought but
How vile, another's
grass to sequestrate!
His death alone could
A crime so heinuus, as
juli weil he learns.
The court, as you 're of
great or poor estate,
Will paint you either
white or black by turns.
162 1-1095
40 LAW 5
without her noticing. But as he sharpened the knife, the little girl's eyes
popped open and she ran away, to the audienee's delight. He repeated this
and other parodies for several weeks. Soon no one eould take Peale's show
seriously, and attendanee went way down. Within a few weeks, the show
dosed. Over the next few years Barnum established a reputation for audaeity and eonsummate showmanship that lasted his whole life.

 Peale's reputation, on the other hand, never reeovered.
Barnum used two different taeties to ruin Peale's reputation. The first was
simple: He sowed doubts about the museum's stability and solveney.
Doubt is a powerful weapon: Onee you let it out of the bag with insidious
rumors, YOUf opponents are in a horrible dilemma. On the one hand they
ean deny the rumors, even prove that you have slandered them. But a
layer of suspieion will remain: Why are they defending themselves so desperately? Maybe the rumor has some truth to it? If, on the other hand, they
take the high road and ignore you, the doubts, unrefuted, will be even
stronger. If done eorreetly, the sowing of rumors ean so infuriate and unsettle YOUf rivals that in defending themselves they will make numerous mistakes. This is the perfeet weapon for those who have no reputation of their
own to work from.
Onee Barnum did have a reputation of his own, he used the seeond,
gentler taetie, the fake hypnotism demonstration: He ridieuled his rivals'
reputation. This too was extremely sueeessful. Onee you have a solid base
of respeet, ridieuling YOUf opponent both puts hirn on the defensive and
draws more attention to you, enhancing your own reputation. Outright
slander and insult are too strong at this point; they are ugly, and may hurt
you more than help you. But gentle barbs and moekery suggest that you
have a strong enough sense of your own worth to enjoy a good laugh at
your rival's expense. A humorous front ean make you out as a harmless entertainer while poking holes in the reputation of YOUf rival.
It is easier to cope with a bad conscience than with a bad reputation.
Friedrich Nietzsehe, 1 844-1900
The people around us, even OUf dosest friends, will always to some extent
remain mysterious and unfathomable. Their eharaeters have seeret reeesses
that they never reveal. The unknowableness of other people eould prove
disturbing if we thought about it long enough, sinee it would make it impossible for us really to judge other people. So we prefer to ignore this fact,
and to judge people on their appearanees, on what is most visible to OUf
eyes-clothes, gestures, words, aetions. In the social realm, appearanees are
the barometer of almost all of OUf judgments, and you must never be misled into believing otherwise. One false slip, one awkward or sudden change
in YOUf appearanee, ean prove disastrous.
This is the reason for the supreme importance of making and maintaining a reputation that is of your own creation.
That reputation will protect you in the dangerous game of appearances, distracting the probing eyes of others from knowing what you are
really like, and giving you a degree of control over how the world judges
you-a powerful position to be in. Reputation has a power like magic:
With one stroke of its wand, it can double your strength. It can also send
people scurrying away from you. Whether the exact same deeds appear
brilliant or dreadful can depend entirely on the reputation of the doer.
In the aneient Chinese court of the Wei kingdom there was a man
named Mi Tzu-hsia who had a reputation for supreme eivility and graeiousness. He became the mler's favorite. It was a law in Wei that "whoever
rides secretly in the mler's coach shall have his feet cut off," but when Mi
Tzu-hsia's mother fell ill, he used the royal coach to visit her, pretending
that the mler had given hirn permission. When the mler found out, he said,
"How dutiful is Mi Tzu-hsia! For his mother's sake he even forgot that he
was committing a crime making hirn liable to lose his feet!"
Another time the two of them took a stroll in an orchard. Mi Tzu-hsia
began eating a peach that he could not finish, and he gave the mler the
other half to eat. The mler remarked, "You love me so much that you would
even forget your own saliva taste and let me eat the rest of the peach!"
Later, however, envious fellow courtiers, spreading word that Mi Tzuhsia was actually devious and arrogant, succeeded in damaging his reputation; the mler came to see his actions in a new light. "This fellow once rode
in my coach under pretense of my order," he told the courtiers angrily,
"and another time he gave me a half-eaten peach." For the same actions
that had charmed the mler when he was the favorite, Mi Tzu-hsia now had
to suffer the penalties. The fate of his feet depended solely on the strength
of his reputation.
In the beginning, you must work to establish a reputation for one outstanding quality, whether generosity or honesty or cunning. This quality
sets you apart and gets other people to talk ab out you. You then make your
reputation known to as many people as possible (subtly, though; take care
to build slowly, and with a firm foundation), and watch as it spreads like
A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your
strengths without your having to spend much energy. It can also create an
aura around you that will instill respect, even fear. In the fighting in the
North African desert during World War II, the German general Erwin
Rommel had a reputation for cunning and for deceptive maneuvering that
struck terror into everyone who faced hirn. Even when his forces were depleted, and when British tanks outnumbered his by five to one, entire eities
would be evacuated at the news of his approach.
As they say, your reputation inevitably precedes you, and if it inspires
respect, a lot of your work is done for you before you arrive on the scene,
or utter a single word.
Your success seems destined by your past triumphs. Much of the sucLAW 5 41
42 LAW 5
cess of Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy rested on bis reputation for
ironing out differences; no one wanted to be seen as so unreasonable that
Kissinger could not sway hirn.

 A peace treaty seemed a fait accompli as
soon as Kissinger's name became involved in the negotiations.
Make your reputation simple and base it on one sterling quality. This
single quality--efficiency, say, or seductiveness-becomes a kind of calling
card that announces your presence and places others under a speIl. A reputation for honesty will allow you to practice all manner of deception.
Casanova used bis reputation as a great seducer to pave the way for his future conquests; women who had heard of his powers became immensely
curious, and wanted to discover for themselves what had made hirn so romantically successful.
Perhaps you have already stained your reputation, so that you are prevented from establishing a new one. In such cases it is wise to associate
with someone whose image counteracts your own, using their good name
to whitewash and elevate yours. It is hard, for example, to erase a reputation for dishonesty by yourself; but a paragon of honesty can help. When
P. T. Barnum wanted to dean up a reputation for promoting vulgar entertainment, he brought the singer Jenny Lind over from Europe. She had a
stellar, high-dass reputation, and the American tour Bamum sponsored for
her greatly enhanced his own image. Similarly the great robber barons of
nineteenth-century America were long unable to rid themselves of a reputation for cruelty and mean-spiritedness. Only when they began collecting
art, so that the names of Morgan and Frick became permanently associated
with those of da Vinci and Rembrandt, were they able to soften their unpleasant image.
Reputation is a treasure to be carefully collected and hoarded. Especially when you are first establishing it, you must protect it strictly, anticipating all attacks on it. Once it is solid, do not let yourself get angry or
defensive at the slanderous comments of your enemies-that reveals insecurity, not confidence in your reputation. 

Take the high road instead, and
never appear desperate in your self-defense. On the other hand, an attack
on another man's reputation is a potent weapon, particularly when you
have less power than he does. He has much more to lose in such a battle,
and your own thus-far-small reputation gives hirn a small target when he
tries to return your fire. Bamum used such campaigns to great effect in his
early career. But this tactic must be practiced with skill; you must not seem
to engage in petty vengeance. If you do not break your enemy's reputation
deverly, you will inadvertently ruin your own.
Thomas Edison, considered the inventor who hamessed electricity,
believed that a workable system would have to be based on direct current (DC). When the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla appeared to have succeeded in creating a system based on alternating current (AC), Edison was
furious. He determined to ruin Tesla's reputation, by making the public believe that the AC system was inherently unsafe, and Tesla irresponsible in
promoting it.
To this end he captured all kinds of household pets and electrocuted
them to death with an AC current. When this wasn't enough, in 1890 he got
New York State prison authorities to organize the world's first execution by
electrocution, using an AC current. Eut Edison's electrocution experiments
had all been with small creatures; the charge was too weak, and the man
was only half killed. In perhaps the country's cruelest state-authorized execution, the procedure had to be repeated. It was an awful spectacle.
Although, in the long run, it is Edison's name that has survived, at the
time his campaign damaged his own reputation more than Tesla's. He
backed off. The lesson is simple-never go too far in attacks like these,

that will draw more attention to your own vengefulness than to the person
you are slandering. When your own reputation is solid, use subtIer tactics,
such as satire and ridicule, to weaken YOUf opponent while making you out
as a charming rogue. The mighty lion toys with the mouse that crosses his
path-any other reaction would mar his fearsome reputation.
A Mine Full of
Diamonds and Rubies.
You dug for it, you found it,
and your wealth is now assured.
Guard it with YOUf life. Robbers and thieves
will appear from all sides. Never take YOUf wealth
for granted, and constantly renew it-time
will diminish the j ewels' luster,
and bury them from sight.
Authority: Therefore I should wish OUf courtier to bolster up his inherent
worth with skill and cunning, and ensure that whenever he has to go where
he is a stranger, he is preceded by a good reputation .... For the fame
which appears to rest on the opinions of many fosters a certain unshakable belief in a man's worth which is then easily strengthened in minds
already thus disposed and prepared. (Baldassare Castiglione, 1478-1529)
There is no possible Reversal. Reputation is critical; there are no exceptions to this law. Perhap

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