This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The 48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.
Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here .
Overview of Law #34: Be Royal in Your Own Fashion
Act like royalty and people will treat you that way. Project dignity and supreme confidence that you’re destined for great things. If you demand a high price, people will think you’re worth it; you’ll accrue power and respect.
Principles of Law 34
Act like royalty, and people will treat you as if you were royal, conferring on you status, respect, and power.
The crown creates an aura of power and entitlement that emanates from a king. Create such an aura for yourself by acting as if you’re destined for great things. Your supreme confidence and belief in yourself will radiate power the same way a crown does. Act like a king to be treated like one.
According to Law 34 of the 48 Laws of Power, this kind of self-confidence is contagious — others will believe it, and you can ask for and receive what you want. Your belief in yourself will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Children charm adults this way when they confidently and happily ask for what they want — and adults enjoy indulging them.
Be sure to act differently — people have expectations for how a king should act, and you must meet them in order to be treated like a king. One of the most important is to act differently — separate yourself — from those around you.
One way to set yourself apart is to always act with great dignity, or regal bearing. (Don’t confuse this with arrogance, which is a sign of insecurity.) Be royal in your own fashion.
Ethiopian ruler Haile Selassie came from a noble family, but wasn’t expected to ever ascend to the throne. However, as a young man his dignity, calmness, and self-confidence gave him a royal bearing that was soon noticed by the king, and he rose in the ranks. Selassie knew to act like a king to be treated like one.
Along with developing your inner confidence and strength, Law 34 of the 48 Laws of Power gives you several outward strategies to act like a king.
- Make an over-the-top demand: Demand a high price and stand firm, as Columbus did in requesting funding and prestigious titles for his explorations from Spain’s Queen Isabella. You’re signaling your worth, and your superior will respect you even if she turns you down. That respect likely will pay dividends later.
- Elevate yourself by going after the highest-ranking person. When you take on a strong opponent, you’re seen as her equal.
- Give a gift to your superior or patron. This establishes your equality with the person above you. You’ll also get what you want in return without begging, which would make you seem small.
Putting Law 34 to Work
Here’s an example of how to apply Law 34 of the 48 Laws of Power: Christopher Columbus, who was the son of a cheese vendor, adopted an attitude and presence that convinced people he was descended from Italian royalty. When he wanted support for his explorations, he approached Queen Isabella and other monarchs as if he were one of them.
He had no experience whatsoever with the sea, but projected the charm and self-confidence of an entitled aristocrat. He seemed destined for greatness. He also set a high price, which established his status. Besides ships, equipment, and pay for crews, he wanted the title Grand Admiral of the Oceanic Sea, the position of viceroy over territory he discovered, and 10 percent of the proceeds from these lands. (He got everything but a percentage of the proceeds.)
Be like Columbus: confidently ask for the moon, and others will think you’re worth it. Act like a king to be treated like one. Be royal in your own fashion.
Exceptions to Law 34
Are there any exceptions to Law 34 of the 48 Laws of Power? Should you ever not act like a king to be treated like one? While it’s important to set yourself apart from others, never do it by humiliating people, which will create a backlash. Also, floating too high can make you a target. Radiate confidence, but not arrogance. If you’re careful, you can almost always follow Law 34 of the 48 Laws of Power: Be Royal in Your Own Fashion — Act Like a King to Be Treated Like One.
———End of Preview———
Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of "The 48 Laws of Power" at Shortform . Learn the book's critical concepts in 20 minutes or less .
Here's what you'll find in our full The 48 Laws of Power summary :
- Why you should never outshine your boss
- How to appear like a friend but behave like a spy
- The 6 rules you absolutely must not violate, if you want to be successful