The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 21

Law Twenty-One: Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker - Seem Dumber Than Your Mark


No single person wishes to seem more stupid than the other. Thus, an individual needs to trick others into believing they are more intelligent (Greene 156). Once such people believe so, they are less likely to determine that the person holds some level of ulterior motives against them. Playing stupid throws other people into some level of disillusion. While they think that they are better than the proponent, they are actually, way lesser than he is in terms of being prepared for “war.” An instance is where a group of rich tycoons including Baron Rothschild discovered that there are large deposits of diamonds in San Francisco. They needed a company to assess the deposits and determine their actual value. However, they did not want to open up about their excitement to of Arnold and Slack, the prospecting company that they had chosen (Greene 157). So, they remained calm and stated to the company that they could not believe that any diamond could be at the place. It was a tactic that they used to push the company out of the deal, to share their wealth, well. 

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