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The 48 Laws of Power


A teen or young adult is likely to face a crisis of personal power of some sort. Maybe it's a bully at school or in the workplace . . . a teacher who is unreasonably harsh, a coach who is covering up a misdeed, a boss who lies, or perhaps someone of the opposite sex putting too much pressure on them.


What are you supposed to do? Certainly, never hurt back. But it's more than OK to defend yourself. And it helps to figure out your counter-moves if you understand the tactics of hurtful people, even if you aren't going to follow suit.


It's a good idea to teach young people these concepts about power in order to protect themselves, understand hurtful people better, and respond intelligently and productively.


A parent and teen might enjoy reading a book together about power, and discussing it as they go. Author Robert Greene offers "The 48 Laws of Power" in his book:


Some of these come off as calculating, unkind and amoral, similar to the principles of power laid out in The Prince by Niccolo Macchiavelli (1469-1527). But there are gold nuggets of positive, constructive wisdom within them. Examples:


n       So much depends on reputation; guard it with your life.


n       Use absence to increase respect and honor.


n       Do not build fortresses to protect yourself; isolation is dangerous.


n       Concentrate your forces; focus on your strengths.


n       Enter action with boldness; don't do anything half-baked.


n       Plan all the way to the end.


n       Act like a king to be treated like one.


n       Master the art of timing; don't rush, but don't dawdle.


By Susan Darst Williams Heart Lessons 038 2006


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