Home » Law 19: Know Who You Are Dealing With — Do Not Offend The Wrong Person

Law 19: Know Who You Are Dealing With — Do Not Offend The Wrong Person

In the image: Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani is an Indian billionaire business magnate, and the chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Ltd., a Fortune Global 500 company and India’s most valuable company by market value. Wikipedia

There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge. They are wolves in lambs’ clothing. Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then — never offend or deceive the wrong person.

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

Opponents, Suckers, and Victims: Preliminary Typology

Being able to recognize types of people and acting accordingly is critical.

1. The Arrogant and Proud Man

  • Although he may initially disguise it, this man’s touchy price makes him very dangerous.
  • If at any point in your dealings with a person, you sense an oversensitive and overactive pride, flee.

2. 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 himself 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 such a person, disappear for a long time.

3. Mr. Suspicion

  • He sees what he wants to see — usually the worst — in other people, and imagines everyone is after him.
  • Play on his suspicious nature to get him to turn against other people.

4. The Serpent With A Long Memory

  • If hurt or deceived, this man will show no anger on the surface, he will calculate and wait.
  • He is usually cold and unaffectionate.
  • Be doubly careful of this snake, and if you have somehow injured him, either crush him completely or get him out of your sight.

5. The Plain, Unassuming and Often Unintelligent Man

  • This man is a lot harder to deceive than you imagine.
  • The danger with this man is not that he will harm you or seek revenge, but merely that he will waste your time, energy, resources and even your sanity in trying to deceive him.

Keys To Power

  • The ability to measure people and to know who you’re dealing with is the most important skill of all in gathering and conserving power.
  • Before embarking on any move, take the measure of your mark or potential opponent.
  • Study people’s weaknesses, the chinks in their armours, their areas of both pride and insecurity. Know their ins and outs before you even decide whether or not to deal with them.
  • In judging your opponent, never rely on your instincts. Nothing can substitute for concrete knowledge. Study and spy on your opponent for however long it takes; this will pay off in the long run.
  • Never trust appearances.


  • There is no reversal.


In the image: Ghengis Khan

Muhammad, the shah of Khwarezm, and Inalchik had beheaded Ghengis Khan’s messengers who had come in peace with great gifts and offerings. The Khan declared war, seized the enemy’s capital and had Inalchik killed by having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears.

Later Ghengis Khan seized Samarkand, bringing his brutal conquest of Muhammad’s vast empire to an end. What would’ve become of Adolf Hitler had he been given the chance of becoming an artist? Perhaps history would be very different. Avoid insulting others, you do not know who you’re dealing with… even though we live in a time where everyone is offended and the level of political correctness borders on absolute madness.

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