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How many “Fs” did you read in the sentence above you? Do NOT count with your finger. Are you ready to answer?
Did you answer “three?” I did at first. That is incorrect. The correct answer is six. It just doesn’t seem that way unless you’re actually looking for it because the word “O-F” is pronounced “O-V.”
When I read this sentence and spotted this quirk, I understood that Mind Control, by Haha Lung and Cristopher Prowant, knew what it was talking about. It was similar to principles I had encountered in Pre-Suasion and Unlimited Selling Power, among others. The book also has the benefit of being small at 253 pages and light to carry – and there is a lot of information packed into that small space.
Before I get into the beneficial details, let me go into my main criticisms of the book. They are minor, but I did find them annoying. First, there is something of an exoticism within the work toward the orient and its wisdom, which the authors elevate to an almost mythical status. Second, there are some childish inserts. These can disrupt the narrative, but they are not fatal to the flow of the book.
Mind Control is divided into three main sections: “Perception and Power,” “Mastering the Game,” and “Masterminds and Madmen.” I will provide a useful quote from each section to give you an idea of what you can find throughout.
Perception and Power
The sentence I quoted to start this review of Mind Control came from “Perception and Power.” The basic idea behind this section is that our senses and memories are untrustworthy. They can, at best, only give us facsimiles of reality. Both nature and nurture conspire to deprive us of an accurate accounting method. This will come as no surprise to those who have studied the dynamics of power, persuasion, and influence for a while, but it will to first-time readers. Better, most people are not aware of this at all, and even those that are aware of it cannot help but get drawn into the trap anyway because it is so ingrained, meaning that you can take advantage. Our old friend Cicero provides us with a brief guide.
Mind Control goes over Cicero’s “Six Mistakes Men Make:”
Believing that one man can profit by crushing another.
The proclivity people have of worrying about things they can’t change.
The tendency people have of insisting that something is “impossible” just because they can’t do it, because they can’t conceive how such a thing might be accomplished.
People holding fast to trivial pride, preference, and prejudice.
The fact that people stop learning and do not continue to hone their minds particularly by acquiring the habit of reading and studying.
People’s consistent and insistent attempts to compel others to believe and live as they do.
While we might do well to examine ourselves and exorcise Cicero’s six failings from our own personality, as Black Science “majors” we rejoice in the fact that other human beings – our enemies in particular – possess these tendencies, false beliefs, and nasty habits (pg. 12).
The authors of Mind Control clearly read and understood Cicero’s works such as On Duties, On Moral Ends, and Tusculan Disputations (although you can argue they disregard their moral lessons). When I saw this, I decided to buy the book because I knew it would be worth my time.
Mastering the Game
We love anything that reminds us of us. A recent study done by the University of New York at Buffalo concluded that when people feel good about themselves they also feel good about anything (associated) with themselves: a word that sounds like their name, numbers significant only to them, etc.
This proclivity affects many of the choices we make. For example, a man named George or Geoffrey is 40 percent more likely to become a geologist than someone not named George. Likewise, a person named Dennis is more likely to become a dentist. This extends to numbers. Those born on March 3rd (3 + 3) are more likely to live in a town with a name like Six Forks (pg. 106).
This comes in a section of Mind Control called “Word Slavery” and it goes into more detail about things I’ve said on this blog before. Certain words hold particular meaning over us and when an astute communicator figures out what those words are, he can shut down our ability to think clearly.
Your job is to figure out your own words to defend against “word slavery,” and figure out the words of special significance to your conversational partners. You will actually have to listen if you wish to do so. As Mind Control mentions, most people just wait for their turn to talk. You will find agreement with this in the narcissism chapter in The Laws of Human Nature, as well as the Narcissist’s Mirror in his 48 Laws of Power, and Louis XIV’s memoirs. Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion also confirms much of the “word slavery” in this section. I have only scratched the surface of what’s in there. The section alone is worth the money you’ll spend on the book.
There are also useful portions on negotiation, seduction, body language, and so on.
Masterminds and Mayhem
The last part of Mind Control looks at the careers of people who put the principles of the previous two sections into practice. The book focuses on both Western and Eastern practitioners, although the masters from the East get the bulk of the focus. Therein lies the bias I told you about above, but the content is of high quality to compensate. Much of the section focuses on the first Shogun of Japan, Yoritomo Minamoto, and his attributed Art of Influence. Mind Control discusses his thoughts on decision-making:
We admire people who can make decisions. And we like others to see us as someone capable of making decisions. But studies show we also like others to make decisions for us, to take responsibility away from us.
As a result, according to Yoritomo: “The majority of the irresolute love to deceive themselves by delusions which their imagination creates, and thus become only too often the architects of their own misfortune.”
That’s why “Problem Solving 101 is a prerequisite for mind control:
- Clearly define the problem. Most people never get past this first step. When you fail to progress beyond this initial step, it’s called “just bitching.”
- Brainstorm options. Write down every possible solution no matter how seemingly farfetched. Don’t stop until you come out with at least twelve options.
- Prioritize options. Cut your brainstormed options in half, keeping only those options with the most likelihood of success. Now cut them in half again.
Take the options you’re left with (at least three) and put them in order of most likely, most doable.
- Implement your best option. Just do it.
- Adjust to changing circumstance. If necessary, move on to your second option, and then your third, keeping those elements of options one and two that are at least viable in part.
Yoritomo adds that decisions should be made through use of:
- Reflection and concentration.
- Presence of mind (awareness).
- Will (the determination to see a decision through).
- Energy (the strength to see a decision through).
- Impartiality (the ability to observe and decide objectively).
- A desire for justice, a quest for recompense, balance and completion (an idea expressed centuries after Yoritomo by the Gestalt school of psychology).
- Forethought, with an eye toward stopping problems before things get out of hand (pg. 223-4).
As you can see, Mind Control comes with a wide array of historical and psychological knowledge. It’s packed in an easily digestible package, too. If you can get over the sometimes adolescent writing in the work, it’s well worth it. You can get it at this link.
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