I recently finished The Nine Laws by Ivan Throne of DarkTriadMan.com, the new Castalia House release. The book is basically like A Book of Five Rings, or perhaps more so, the Art of War, a little more organized and spread broadly to cover the way of approaching life in its entirety. It is also infused with Ninjutsu lessons in mindset, philosophy, and strategy which the author has acquired in his study of that art. That is all overlaid on an analysis of the Dark Triad Traits, and the specific advantages which aspects of those traits can contribute to success in endeavors, if used properly. In short, I think it is among the best mindset/strategy books out there, and I expect that there will be a lot of copies of Art of War and Five Rings throughout the world finding a bold new title sharing their space on the bookshelves of the world.
Now this is not a book you will pick up and digest in an afternoon. Like the Art of War, it is more a book you will carry with you for years, and reread occasionally, as ideas that slipped past you on the first second and third reading suddenly come into focus in light of experiences you picked up in the intervening years. The author says as much in the beginning. You need to set aside a good amount of time for it, because there may be ten ideas on a page which you need to read carefully, and then think about as you contemplate where you have seen the mechanism at play in your experiences.
It is also not a book for theorists. The lessons within it will only set in the mind with experience. In the parts which most effectively stuck with me, they stuck because I saw some underlying theme to past experiences explained, which I had missed at the time, even as I sensed the greater pattern as it passed by in the moment. Seeing the mechanism which led to success or failure, in retrospect explained from a different angle, was very interesting.
That said, it offers an excellent framework for building an approach to the world that will maximize your ability to succeed, combining the mindset and philosophy of Ninjutsu with the aspects of the dark triads that are of most use in competition in a dark world.
To be clear, the book is not advocating for the dark triads traits broadly. As an example, it encourages the aspects of narcissism which lead to success – the belief in self, the grand visions it produces, the fearlessly plunging into endeavors as if failure is impossible. Those are all traits of the narcissist which explain why you see so many narcissists attain high positions in life. They expect success, and plunge into ridiculous endeavors as if it is to be expected.
But not all narcissists succeed, and those who fail due to their malady fail badly. He examines why this is, and concludes correctly, in my opinion, that the reason is delusion. Narcissists, just as their malady drives them forward relentlessly, and fearlessly, also suffer from a detachment from reality which leads them to misjudge their abilities and expect success to just happen. He encourages you to develop the former traits of plunging forward fearlessly into grand visions, while maintaining a grasp of reality and an ability to see where failure may arise so you may enjoy the benefits of the narcissist’s grandiose vision, without the detriments of being unable to effectively plot courses.
Similarly, sociopaths enjoy freedom from the moral rules which constrain others. But their ignorance of them is reflex, and uncontrolled. That leads them to stumble as often as they ascend. He encourages a recognition of the fact that there are no rules, but tempers it with a recognition that ignorance of the rules may have consequences, and thus you must always be on the lookout for them.
Because the book is so deep, I cannot say how it will change your life. I’d need to post that review in a few years. But I can say there is a ton of wisdom in the book, and it is solid.
As an example, there are exercises, where you ruthlessly look for where your failures have laid in various aspects of pursuing success, what the failure’s origins were, and focus on them. These are, in essence, amygdala exercises, teaching your brain to look for what should be avoided in the future, and training it to reflexively trigger on those themes. Likewise, the practice of looking at the world, and imagining threats is another amygdala-exercise, both developing the structure, and conditioning responses to threats, when the ultimately do arise. I could easily see where that would take the theory of amygdala, and lend it practical use by developing it consciously through training.
I suspect I have missed a fair number of gems like that in this. That is part of the bargain of life – anything shallow and quickly accessible will be of limited use, while that which requires hard work and experience will have infinitely more effect in molding you later on. Obviously I will have to come back to this periodically.
Until then, I can easily recommend this as a great book on Ninjutsu mindset, molding psychology, and pursuing success, and I will be giving it five stars at Amazon.