The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 17

Law Seventeen: Keep Others in Suspense: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability


Human beings have a habit in which they normally seek to be familiar with the actions conducted by other people. The predictability of an individual normally makes others more aware of the steps that he is likely to take next (Greene 123). A person, therefore, needs to be unpredictable, deliberately. The action is likely to throw others off-balance. The case thus accords a person some level of control. Fischer applied this law as he understood Spassky was the cunning person who mastered his opponent’s strategies and uses it against them. Spassky took advantage of one’s predictable nature and use it to defeat him (Greene 124). Fischer made deliberate mistakes that confused Spassky who was unable to understand his opponent. Unpredictability made Fischer be ahead of Spassky.

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