The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 2

Law Two: Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends, Learn How to Use Enemies


In the law, the author denotes that a person needs to be wary of friends. They are likely to betray a person quickly because of their high vulnerability to jealousy. Friends can also be easily spoiled and become tyrannical (Greene 8). Greene, therefore, advises people to hire a former enemy to do the job required. The former enemy is likely to be more loyal to prove himself. A person is likely to fear his friends more as compared to his enemies. A friend is also aware of the weaknesses of an individual and may take full advantage of them. Where a person has no enemies, he needs to find a way of making them. For instance, Michael III, a new ruler in the Byzantine Empire chose an ally, Basilius, to take up the post of a chamberlain (Greene 9). However, Basilius loved money and could not have enough. Once the money Michael III had given him grew, he refused to return to the ruler what he owed him. Such action was a mark of a high level of betrayal by a friend.

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