I see The 48 Laws of Power and it’s various laws being parroted a lot in filmmaking circles. Although I was skeptical at first, I have almost finished this book now and have found it an incredibly useful tome. Definitely the most amoral self-help book I’ve ever read, but just filled to the brim with the truth.

What I’m curious about is if any of you guys have actually found instances in your life when you have put one of the laws into action and seen results?

I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to seriously get involved in filmmaking. In fact, this should be on all the filmmaking guru’s recommended book lists.

The Supposed Ruthlessness Of The Hollywood Movie Industry

Of course, some people will parrot the old Hollywood cliches of the ruthless sharks trying to get ahead in the business at other people’s expense in describing the book.

There are certainly examples of that in this book, and it’s riddled with cut-throat tactics, but I think it goes deeper than that in being useful for filmmakers.

I see The 48 Laws of Power as a modern self-help guide (despite its strong roots in historic accounts and descriptions) – this is a book made for the modern person who might find themselves in tough, character-shaping situations.

It has all the marking posts of a great guide to some of the power dynamics that you might be unlucky (or lucky?) enough to come across in the film industry.

Whilst not everything in this book will appeal to everyone, there’s certainly something for everyone…if only you can see past some of the divisive moves mentioned and understand that this is a guide as much for prevention as for the cause.

Here are the 48 Laws in full. If you want to learn about each of them in detail, this site is great.)

  • Law 1: Never Outshine The Master
  • Law 2: Never put too Much Trust in Friends
  • Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions
  • Law 4: Always Say Less than Necessary
  • Law 5: So Much Depends on Reputation 
  • Law 6: Court Attention at all Cost
  • Law 7: Get Others to Do the Work for You
  • Law 8: Make Other People Come To You Use Bait 
  • Law 9: Win Through Your Actions – Not Argument
  • Law 10: Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky
  • Law 11: Learn To Keep People Dependent on You
  • Law 12: Use Selective Honesty to Disarm Your Victim
  • Law 13: Asking for Help Appeal to People’s Self Interest
  • Law 14: Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
  • Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally
  • Law 16: Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
  • Law 17: Cultivate an air of Unpredictability
  • Law 18: Isolation is Dangerous
  • Law 19: Do Not Offend the Wrong Person
  • Law 20: Do Not Commit to Anyone
  • Law 21: Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker
  • Law 22: Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power
  • Law 23: Concentrate Your Forces
  • Law 24: Play the Perfect Courtier
  • Law 25: Recreate Yourself
  • Law 26: Keep Your Hands Clean
  • Law 27: Create a Cult: Play on People’s Need to Believe
  • Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness
  • Law 29: Plan all the way to the End
  • Law 30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
  • Law 31: Get others to Play with the Cards you Deal
  • Law 32: Play to People’s FantasiesLaw 33: Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew
  • Law 34: Be Royal in Your Own Fashion – Act Like a King.
  • Law 35: Master the Art of Timing
  • Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have
  • Law 37: Create Compelling Spectacles
  • Law 38: Think as you like, but behave like others
  • Law 39: Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish
  • Law 40: Despise the Free Lunch
  • Law 41: Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes
  • Law 42: Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Scatter
  • Law 43: Work on the Heart and Mind of Others
  • Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
  • Law 45: Preach Change But Never Reform Quickly.
  • Law 46: Never Appear Too Perfect
  • Law 47: In Victory Learn When To Stop
  • Law 48: Assume Formlessness