Sat. Mar 28th, 2020

Law 33: Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

Finding The Thumbscrew

  1. Pay attention to gestures and unconscious signals
  2. The key is not only what you look for but where and how you look.
  3. Everyday conversation supplies the richest mine of weaknesses, so train yourself to listen.
  4. Start by always seeming interested
  5. Appear to open up to the other person, share a secret with them.
  6. If you suspect someone has a particular soft spot, probe on it indirectly.
  7. Find people’s idols, the things they worship and will do anything to get.

2. Find the helpless child

  • Most weaknesses begin in childhood, before the self builds up compensatory defenses.
  • Knowing about a childhood need gives you a powerful key to a person’s weakness.
  • One sign of this weakness is when you touch on it, the person will often act like a child.

3. Look for contrasts

  • An overt trait often conceals its opposite. E.g people who thump their chest are often cowards.

4. Find the weak link

  • Sometimes it is not what but who that matters.
  • The behind-the-scenes powerbrokers are the group’s weak links: win their favour and you influence the king.
  • There is always a weak link in the chain — find the one person who will bend under pressure.

5. Fill the void

  • The two main emotional voids are insecurity and unhappiness.

6. Feed on uncontrollable emotions

  • Can be paranoid fear, lust, greed, vanity or hatred


  • Playing on people’s weakness has one significant danger — you may stir up an action you cannot control.
  • Know your limits to this game and never get carried away by your control over your victims.

The above article is a summary from the book 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. The article is only for educational and informative purposes to explain and understand formal logic and logical fallacies. It is a great book, definitely worth a read!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *