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POWER! HOW TO GET IT, HOW TO USE IT by Michael Korda


When reading this book it wasn't exactly what I had in mind before reading it. Although I was still able to take away many things from this book. Below are my highlights from POWER!


  • Most people do not like to admit that they want power, which is why they never get it, and those who do have power go to endless lengths to mask the fact. (7)

  • "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (9)

  • It must in some sense be assumed, taken, asserted. For unless it can be held against opposition, it is not power and will never be experienced as real on the part of the recipient. (15)

  • He as lost the power game in being given power. (16)

  • It is not enough to want power, or even have it. It must be used creatively. And it must be enjoyed. (17)

  • The main thing is to be silent, impassive, alert in appearance and yet at the same time, visible. (21)

  • "I don't want my name on the screen because credit is something that should be given to others. If you are in a position to give credit to yourself, then you do not need it." -Monroe Stahr (32)

  • "Power is best used quietly, without attracting attention." (32)

  • People who enjoy the public appearance of power can rise very fast. They become starts, celebrities in their own small worlds, they build their own legends by wielding power openly; they are born leaders. (33)

  • "To ratify good decisions, not make them, to orchestrate people." (37)

  • "These things aren't personal. What I want to know is not why are you down, its When are you going to be up? Give me the how, not the why." (37)

  • "You have to take the job seriously, but not take yourself seriously. Otherwise work is a drudge." (38)

  • "With power comes responsibility," he says intently. "When you have a string on the company-it has a string on you." (39)

  • Lots of people like to be feared, and don't feel they have power unless they are. Aggression is their strategy; anger is their favourite weapon. (40)

  • Most people are happy to follow a strong lead, even if its in the wrong direction. (40)

  • The trick is to make people do what you want them to do and like it, to persuade them that they want what you want. (41)

  • "Energy is the basic requirement of power." (45)

  • the ability to decide where to put your time becomes critical. If you're really good at picking people, you use your power through them without stifling them. (47)

  • Height means something to people, and it's wise not to forget it. (60)

  • we associate power and health. (61)

  • Constipation is often the price of power, perhaps because powerful people are not only anxious to control everything, but determines not to let go of anything. (61)

  • Blood pressure and serum cholesterol both increase among those who have "responsibility for others" in a working situation. (62)

  • "The natural warrior" (64)

  • "We have sex education-why don't we have power education? You can train yourself to handle power." (65)

  • A man who has to win every battle is asking the impossible of himself and the world, and is likely to collapse the first time he encounters defeat. A powerful man, by definition, is able to survive failure and humiliation, to draw some deeper wisdom from them, to practice what John F. Kennedy called "grace under pressure." (66)

  • Self-pity is not an emotion one connect with a sense of power. (67)

  • Often we look for power where there is only fear, greed and self-interest. (68)

  • Nothing is static; every action makes us more or less than we were before. (68)

Power Lines

  • The closer one is to the centre, the less powerful one is. (75)

  • Corner to corner in an x-shape (75)

  • The conference room, should be in the centre of the office. (76)

  • their power position may protect them. (77)

  • power is dependent on her ability to see who is approaching. (79)

  • If the view is important, so is proximity. In most cases, power diminishes with distance. Put someone's assistant next to his superior's office, and he benefits from being close to the source of power. Promote the assistant to a larger office that is further away, and his power is likely to decrease. Only if he is given a title and a job that allows him to create his own power base can he benefit from moving. (80)

  • It's the proximity to power that counts, not space, a carpet, or a window. (80)

Power Areas

  • Part of the territorial power game consists of making surreptitious inroads on your neighbour's space or seizing neutral ground with a token force. (86)

  • an office would probably be white and dark blue, with perhaps a small hint of red to inspire fear. (91)

The Power Dynamics of Office Parties

  • The powerful people will move to the corners (96)

  • Those who fail push their way back out to the door, in the hope of attracting passers-by, but this is a sign of defeat, and people who are reduced to this position normally leave the party early, pleading work or a headache. (96)