False Arguments

I had mentioned in an earlier entry a work I greatly admire, Schopenhauer’s The Art of Controversy. I find it very appropriate because in it he analyzes the various spurious ways people can construct an argument, how they can manipulate words and strategize rhetorically to cover up their lack of knowledge, or their ideas that have little base in reality. It is a reference book for me. I will quote now, from the opening, and mention a few of the stratagems he examines. I will do this in two parts. I highly recommend reading the entire essay. (I have it

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From Rappers To Sports

Last week, while in New York for business, I was able to have a private meeting with the rapper 50 cent. This was our second encounter, having met for lunch several months ago. I am not someone by nature who is impressed by celebrities, having encountered quite a few in my days working in Hollywood. They constantly have their guard up, constantly wear a mask, and this mask is generally not too interesting to me. I get a lot more out of conversations with cab drivers, waitresses, even insurance salesmen. Not to mention con artists and criminals, who fascinate me.

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How to crush Karl Rove and the Republicans in Five Easy Steps

As the strategy for the Democrats plays itself out this fall, it seems to be a variation of the old Napoleonic adage: never interfere with a man who is in the process of hanging himself. The idea is that the Republicans are doing such a bad job right now with the war and with the economy, it is better to let them self-destruct. This, it is thought, is safer than attacking them in an aggressive manner, or having to set forth a strong agenda that gives the Republicans something to attack. I believe this is a disastrous concept that will

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A Theory of Control

The word control does not have the most positive connotation in our culture. Expressions like control freak speak to this. But my idea of power is directly related to the concept of control. First and foremost there is the idea of self-control. The only real power that matters in the end is power over yourself and the ability to master your emotions. Top on the list is impatience, your need for immediate gratification. Other emotions would be fear, which must be confronted and faced down. The desire to be liked and admired is an equal impediment, as is uncontrollable anger.

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The Psychotic Boss

Several years ago, I had the idea of dramatizing some of the ideas and characters in The 48 Laws of Power. I sketched out a scenario–based on some of my own experiences working in offices–of some difficult situations, some impossible personalities, and I created a clever protagonist who would navigate this mine field of scheming colleagues. I became particularly interested in the boss character I was creating, a sadistic type who was an amalgam of several bosses I had had over the years, including one particularly awful female boss. I decided to do some ancillary research on the internet, and

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Seduction Scenario #1 Follow-Up

This is in no way intended as a grading of your responses, which were very interesting and revealing. There is obviously no single correct seduction in this matter. It is chemistry–what the individual seducer brings to the mix, with his strengths and weaknesses, and the particular victim at hand. But some of your comments and ideas stand out as effective to me, while a few seem based on some misconceptions. With that in mind, I would like to discuss a few of the main themes you all brought up: The Ethics of this seduction. Obviously I fall into the camp

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War Games–Taking on Karl Rove

We are gearing up for an election only a few months away, and so I think it appropriate to look at someone who looms large in the picture: Karl Rove. Let us say a few things about him for which there is certainly no argument: He is intensely competitive. He cannot stand losing. When he is involved in an election in which his man or woman looks like they are in trouble, Mr. Rove tends to go dirty. Sometimes real dirty. This is not legend but fact. I draw your attention to this excellent article in The Atlantic Monthly. Mr.

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Western Strategy is Bankrupt

In chapter 33 of The 33 Strategies of War I expounded what I think is a somewhat novel idea and theory about terrorism. The great debate, particularly after 9/11, was whether we were entering a new phase of terrorism, or whether 9/11 was just another example of what is known as conventional terrorism. The general consensus was that 9/11 was a more devastating attack than others in the past, but did not represent a qualitative leap to something new and different. Such a leap would have to include some kind of super weapon, nuclear or biological, which would so up