Law 19 – Know Who You’re Dealing With: Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

Randy Quill

Updated on:

Welcome back to our blog series on “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. In this chapter breakdown, we explore Law 19 – Know Who You’re Dealing With: Do Not Offend the Wrong Person. This law emphasizes the importance of understanding the power dynamics and personalities of those around you to avoid unnecessary conflicts and maintain your position of power. Join us as we delve into the principles and historical examples that will empower you to navigate social dynamics effectively and avoid offending influential individuals.

Law 19 – Know Who You’re Dealing With:
To wield power successfully, it is crucial to know the personalities and power dynamics of the people you interact with. Here are the key principles to keep in mind when applying this law:

  1. Observe and Gather Information:
    Take the time to observe and study the individuals you encounter. Pay attention to their behavior, values, strengths, weaknesses, and connections. Gather information discreetly to gain a comprehensive understanding of their character and power dynamics.
  2. Assess Strength and Influence:
    Evaluate the strength and influence of the people you engage with. Recognize their positions, alliances, and connections within the social and professional spheres. Understanding their power base allows you to navigate interactions with caution and foresight.
  3. Respect Hierarchy and Authority:
    Acknowledge and respect the established hierarchy and authority structures within a given context. Be mindful of the pecking order and the consequences of disrespecting those in positions of power.
  4. Choose Your Battles:
    Not every conflict is worth engaging in, especially if it involves influential individuals. Learn to distinguish between battles that are essential for your power and those that are better to avoid or defuse. Prioritize strategic actions and conserve your resources for meaningful confrontations.
  5. Adapt Your Approach:
    Tailor your communication style and behavior to suit the personalities and sensitivities of those you interact with. Adjusting your approach can help you avoid offending or provoking individuals who hold significant power or influence.

Examples from History:
Law 19 has been exemplified by historical figures who understood the importance of knowing who they were dealing with. Here are a few examples:

  1. Queen Elizabeth I:
    Queen Elizabeth I of England was known for her political astuteness and ability to gauge the power dynamics of her court. She carefully navigated her relationships with influential courtiers to maintain stability and consolidate her power.
  2. Warren Buffett:
    Warren Buffett, the renowned investor and business magnate, is known for his ability to assess people’s character and potential. He understands the importance of knowing who he’s dealing with before making investment decisions or engaging in business partnerships.
  3. Catherine de’ Medici:
    Catherine de’ Medici, the influential queen consort of France, was a master of political intrigue. She used her understanding of power dynamics and the personalities of those around her to manipulate and maintain control over the French court.

Law 19 – Know Who You’re Dealing With: Do Not Offend the Wrong Person underscores the significance of understanding the personalities and power dynamics of the individuals you interact with. By observing, gathering information, respecting authority, choosing your battles wisely, and adapting your approach, you can navigate social and professional circles with tact and avoid unnecessary conflicts. Stay tuned for our next blog post as we explore Law 20 – Do Not Commit to Anyone: Keep Others in Suspended Terror.


Leave a Comment