Corners

In almost all board games–chess, go (wei chi), backgammon, etc. –the corners spell defeat and death. In each game, the corners are configured differently, but as someone who plays them all, I know the feeling that first hits me in the gut as I sense that I am finding myself trapped in a corner. My pulse increases, my emotions get tugged at (anger, frustration, impatience) and often I end up making mistakes that aggravate the situation. The key in the end is to minimize the damage and regain control of the center. But the real key lies in the mind

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Machiavelli for Our Times

For the past twelve years, I have this ritual in which every December I reread some work of Machiavelli. This year it was the Discourses. What struck me this time was how many ideas in the Discourses dominate my own way of thinking. I read it some twenty years ago, and it must have unconsciously seeped its way into my belief system. The book is so full of ideas that sparkle to life the more you think about them that I found myself transported back to my early twenties when reading a book like this could make my head spin

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An Experiment in Counter-Stupidity

Originally I had proposed to do my third book on the history of human stupidity. It would basically be an offshoot of the transgression part of the 48 Laws, each one of those being a form of stupidity. I had the book mapped out in an interesting way, but the publishers felt it was too negative, and so I plowed ahead with the more general idea of a book on War and Strategy. This was probably for the better, but I will return to the idea of stupidity some day and make that book. It is all centered around the

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The Art of Interviewing

The future lies in new forms of communication. The old ways are dead and dying. People have short attention spans, are inundated with information. The future I am speaking of is more indirect, strategic and conscious. Everything is a sign, not just what you say, but how you say it and how you lead people to certain ideas or conclusions. If this concept eludes or leaves you cold, then you should probably not frequent this site. It is the core of everything I write about. It is Machiavelli for the 21st century. One banal but revealing example is the interview.

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The Dark Side

One day, while I was writing the Seduction book, the following image came to my mind: every person has a dark side, like the moon. We never see this side, but we know it is there and we catch glimpses of it in certain moments and imagine the rest. Here’s how it works. People present to society the side of their personality they want to be seen. This could be their positive and selfless traits; it could be their aggressive and powerful qualities. This is learned from childhood on, as a kind of defense mechanism. Beneath this social side lies

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The Three Types

The theory or idea of a Centre begins with the observation of man’s chaotic reality, his confusion, his sorrows. These are attributed to his ignorance, which renders him easy prey to inessential phenomena, to “shadows” which, eventually, turn him against himself, against his fellowman, against the world. In an effort to counteract the effects of man’s deadening and enslaving dependency upon the multiple and confusing variety of existential phenomena, the men of wisdom in Asia had sought to perceive the substance or essential Centre of existence–the Centre where…dazed and pained blindness became calm clarity, the unintelligible became intelligible. (from Secrets

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War Declarations

War is father of all, king of all. Some it makes gods, some it makes men, some it makes slaves, some free. — Heraclitus I have noticed in my writing that I always seemed to write better when there is a bit of anger just below the surface. This was easy when I wrote The 48 Laws, but by the time I got to the WAR book, I needed to stimulate this in some way. I began to play a game with myself: before writing a chapter I would think of particular things or people or ideas that really really

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2008 and Beyond

In studying demographic and cultural trends in the United States for the past few years, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great opportunity for the Democratic party to forge an electoral majority that could last for many years. In my opinion, this should be the primary strategic concern of the party. This would require the ability to connect to large numbers of the electorate, using certain key issues and values that transcend the monthly news cycles. In prior entries I have signaled what this could be. But the content is not as important as the decision

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Profile in the New Yorker

The article isn’t up on their website yet, so Tucker had it scanned in and it’s posted here. Discussion and commentary here

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Random Thoughts and Salvos

O’Reilly versus Letterman: As many of you might know, I did my time on the O’Reilly Factor back in 1998. I was on the show twice. The first time he was all smiles and loved me. He invited me back. The second time he was rude, talked over me non-stop and made the most ridiculous deductions from my book. He is a master manipulator. So it was with immense pleasure that I saw him back in January being taken apart by David Letterman and then having it repeated a few nights ago on another appearance. It wasn’t so much that

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