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Book Summaries Psychology

Part 1: The Charismatic (The Art of Seduction)

The Charismatic seducer is the type that enters a room and steals the attention. It is not always obvious what makes them charismatic, it could be the smoothness of their use of language, their self-confidence, the fire in their eyes. But it is always natural, a gift from the gods, something outside their control. People crave a religious experience, and the Charismatic seduces them by providing it.

If you act like you know where you’re going, people will follow you. It doesn’t matter what the plan is, or which direction you’re going – what’s important is the strength of your conviction. Show people that you will not waver from your vision, and they will follow.

People will think that your confidence must rest on solid foundations.

Purposefulness is more charismatic when times are bad. Most people hesitate before taking bold action, and in this case, it is your single-minded self-assurance that will drive you forward. The force of your character will compel people to believe in you.

That devil of a man exercises a fascination on me that I cannot explain even to myself, and in such a degree that, though I fear neither God nor devil, when I am in his presence I am ready to tremble like a child, and he could make me go through the eye of a needle to throw myself into the fire.

GENERAL VANDAMME, ON NAPOLEON BONAPARTE

Mystery is another component to charisma, but a particular kind of mystery – one that is expressed by contradiction.

The Charismatic may be both proletarian and aristocratic (Mao Zedong), both cruel and kind (Peter the Great), both excitable and icily detached (Charles de Gaulle), both intimate and distant (Sigmund Freud). Since most people are predictable, the effect of these contradictions is devastatingly charismatic.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

Saintliness, essential to charisma, is another thing that many people lack. Most people must compromise to survive. But not saints, they live out their ideals without caring about the consequences. This quality goes beyond religion, but it must be authentic.

Politicians as disparate as George Washington and Lenin won saintly reputations by living simply, despite their power—by matching their political values to their personal lives. Both men were virtually deified after they died. Albert Einstein too had a saintly aura—childlike, unwilling to compromise, lost in his own world.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

The Charismatic must be eloquent, since he relies on the power of words. The most efficient way to emotionally disturb someone is through words. They can stir anger, or they can elevate, without referring to anything real.

There is also theatricality or the ability to exude a larger than life presence.

Actors have studied this kind of presence for centuries; they know how to stand on a crowded stage and command attention. Surprisingly it is not the actor who screams the loudest or gestures the most wildly who works this magic best, but the actor who stays calm, radiating self-assurance. The effect is ruined by trying too hard. It is essential to be self-aware, to have the ability to see yourself as others see you.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

The Charismatic is attractive because he is not repressed like most people. Instead, he is familiar with his unconscious and knows how to allow others to project onto him their secret fantasies and longings.

You will first have to show that you are less inhibited than your audience—that you radiate a dangerous sexuality, have no fear of death, are delightfully spontaneous. Even a hint of these qualities will make people think you more powerful than you are.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

These skills and others are acquirable through practice.

Napoleon spent hours in front of a mirror, modeling his gaze on that of the great contemporary actor Talma. The key is self-control. The look does not necessarily have to be aggressive; it can also show contentment. Remember: your eyes can emanate charisma, but they can also give you away as a faker. Do not leave such an important attribute to chance. Practice the effect you desire.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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