Been So Long: Law 13 of Robert Greene’s THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

When people choose between talk about the past and talk about the future, a pragmatic person will always opt for the future and forget the past . . .  it is always best to speak pragmatically to a pragmatic person.  And in the end, most people ARE in fact pragmatic — they will rarely act against their own self-interest. (p. 98)

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In your quest for power, you will constantly find yourself in the position of asking for help from those more powerful than you.  There is an art to asking for help, an art that depends on your ability to understand the person you are dealing with, and not to confuse your needs with theirs.

Most people never succeed at this, because they are completely trapped in their own wants and desires.  They start from the assumption that the people they are appealing to have a selfless interest in helping them.  They talk as if their needs mattered to these people —  who probably couldn’t care less.  Sometimes they refer to larger issues:  a great cause, or grand emotions such as love and gratitude.  They go for the big picture when simple, everyday realities would have much more appeal (Obama, are you listening?) (p. 98)

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“Most men are so thoroughly subjective that nothing really interests them but themselves.  They always think of their own case as soon as ever any remark is made, and their whole attention is engrossed and absorbed by the merest chance reference to anything which affects them personally, be it never so remote.” —  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), quoted in a p. 97 sidebar

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