Smoke Screens & Red Herrings

My take on Robert Greene's Smoke Screens from 48 Laws of Power

The concept of a smoke screen is presented as a strategy for deception in various business situations.


The smoke screen idea is to keep specific individuals in the dark about your true intentions by creating confusion, using distraction tactics, and maintaining a bland or unreadable exterior. The advice includes never revealing the purpose behind your actions, guiding others down the wrong path, and throwing them off the scent by employing red herrings, false sincerity, and misleading signals. The key is appearing open and trustworthy while concealing your goals, using familiarity as a cover for any business changes or choices.


The effectiveness of a smoke screen lies in distracting attention and exploiting psychological weaknesses, such as people's tendency to trust appearances and patterns. The importance of adapting the smoke screen concept on various business levels, establishing patterns, with a possible black swan future event. The text suggests that an unnoticeable facade, blending in with surroundings, and maintaining an unreadable exterior are essential for successful deception.


However, the author warns that a reputation for deception can undermine the effectiveness of these tactics over time. In such cases, honesty or a repentant image might be shown.

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