• David de Souza

The Art of Manipulation Summary

Updated: Jul 14


Based on the title, I was skeptical of this book. However, I trust the suggestion of Naval and I'm glad I took the chance on reading this book. The most important thing to remember from the book: I don't need you, you need me.'

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Core Principles:


I have summarised 'The Art of Manipulation', distilling the book into 19 core principles:

  1. The most important tactic in manipulation is:' I don't need you, you need me.'

  2. The person who can afford to walk away (or make his opponent think he can) has the upper hand. Humans are stubborn when we think someone needs something from us: we often react by not wanting to do it.

  3. Never be desperate. Radiate confidence and independence.

  4. The lower your expenses in business and in life the more freedom you have to walk away and the more opportunities you'll attract.

  5. When making a choice, we are more likely to make the selection that will make others envious.

  6. When someone treats us continually well, we receive a consistent reward. The result is that we take them for granted. Give people sporadic reinforcement to keep them wanting you.

  7. Tell a person how their advice has helped you. This is indirectly saying: "You are smarter than me"

  8. Ask for advice on books, videos and work habits. Let them know their recommendation was good (if you liked it) and the result of the advice.

  9. When someone is condescending, smug or not listening to you. Ask a question and then remain silent until they respond.

  10. When someone is harsh be humble: It calms the person, taking the wind out of their sails. It embarrasses them. The best response: "You are probably right" or "I guess you are right"

  11. To help find the real motives. Ask: 'Is there any other reason apart from [their initial one]'

  12. Any attempt to sell to someone who doesn't know or like you will fail 95% of the time.

  13. Choose your argument wisely. Let sleeping dogs lie when they don't affect your primary concerns.

  14. Humans are susceptible and open to people who think like them. When you think like someone, they will see you as a friend. It's easier to change a mind on 1 issue, after being seen as a friend, then on every issue as an enemy.

  15. When someone is aggressive, massage their ego by agreeing with their feelings (not their point of view): "I don't blame you for feeling that way. I've felt that way myself". Empathize with their feelings. Follow up with sharing an experience that caused you to feel something similar.

  16. 'In response to a major objection say: "9 out 10 times you would be right....and I believe you would in this case too, but it has unusual circumstances that make it a little different'. Explain the circumstances and tell him why it is in his best interest to do it your way.'

  17. Saying: "Yes, but...." causes resentment.

  18. Start a chain of concessions. Offer a compromise on an issue (or an unrelated one) or admit you were wrong on a minor point or statistic. This will make people feel like they have beaten you and allow them to conceded on something else without looking bad.

  19. An indecisive person will naturally follow someone who confidently leads them.


Let me know how these summaries can be improved? Contact me via Email (david@thisdomain.co) or on Twitter.



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