Law 5: So Much Depends On Reputation — Guard It With Your Life

In the image: Azim Hashim Premji is an Indian business tycoon, investor, engineer, and philanthropist, who was the chairman of Wipro Limited. Premji remains a non-executive member of the board and founder chairman. He is informally known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry.

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 all 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.

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Keys To Power

  • 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.
  • Whether the same exact deeds appear brilliant or dreadful can depend entirely on the reputation of the doer.
  • 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 about you. You then make your reputation known to as many people as possible.
  • A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strengths without you having to spend much energy. It can also create an aura around you that will instill respect or fear.
  • Make your reputation simple and base it on one sterling quality.
  • If you have already stained your reputation and are prevented from establishing a new one — then it is better to associate with someone whose image counteracts your own, using their good name to whitewash and elevate yours.
  • Reputation is a treasure to be carefully collected and hoarded. When you’re 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, and never appear desperate in your self-defense.
  • An attack on another man’s reputation is a potent weapon, especially when you have lesser power than him. He has much more to lose in such a battle.
  • However, practice this tactic with skill; you must not seem to engage in petty vengeance. If you do not break your enemy’s reputation cleverly, you will inadvertently ruin your own.

Reversal

  • There is no possible reversal. Reputation is critical; there is no exception to this Law.

Example

In the image: Erwin Rommel

During the second World War Erwin Rommel was known for his superior skill in cunning and deceptive strategy. All of the opposition were demoralized and doubting their chances of success facing him. Your reputation precedes you. Build and protect it carefully.

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