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Law 11: Learn To Keep People Dependent On You

In the image: Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death on September 18, 2020. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton, replacing retiring justice Byron White, and at the time was generally viewed as a moderate consensus-builder.

To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.

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Keys To Power

  • The ultimate power is the power to get people to do as you wish. When you can do this without having to force people or hurt them, when they willingly grant you what you desire, then your power is untouchable.
  • The best way to do this is to create a relationship of dependence. The master requires your services; he is weak or unable to function without you; you have enmeshed yourself in his work so deeply that doing away with you would bring him great difficulty. Once such a relationship is established, you have the upper hand.
  • The ultimate form of power is not independence. The completely independent man would love in a cabin in the woods, but he would have no power. The best you can hope for is that others will grow so dependent on you that you enjoy a kind of reverse independence: their need for you frees you.
  • One way to obtain this position: possess a talent or creative skill that simply cannot be replaced.
  • Having the appearance of specialized knowledge and skill gives you leeway in your ability to deceive those above you into thinking that cannot do without you.


  • By making others depend on you also means you are in some measure dependent on them.
  • No independence comes without a price. You are forced to isolate yourself. Monopolies often turn inwards and destroy themselves from the internal pressure.
  • Interdependence remains the law, independence a rare and often fatal exception.


In the image: Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck led the King’s hand in uniting a mighty Prussia. None other than Bismarck was able to do so. He proved himself to be an indispensable asset and had his strong position secured. Be the only one who can do what you do or see yourself replaced in fear sooner or later.

About The Book

The 48 Laws of Power (1998) is a non-fiction book by American author Robert Greene. The book is a bestseller, selling over 1.2 million copies in the United States.

Buy The 48 Laws of Power or Listen to it for FREE on Audible