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History’s First Quadruple-Wizard - Scott Adams' Blog

History’s First Quadruple-Wizard

This post is just for fun, as part of my Master Wizard series. The first half is inspired by a tweet from one of my Twitter followers. 

Master Wizard: A human that is extraordinarily skilled in the methods of persuasion.

I think historians would agree that Abraham Lincoln was one of the great Master Wizards of persuasion. Americans are well aware of Lincoln’s linguistic gifts. But you might not know that Lincoln and Mark Twain – another Master Wizard – were alive at the same time. History does not tell us if the two met. But if you have been reading my Master Wizard series, you know that skilled persuaders can recognize each other from their tells. At the very least, we can be sure Mark Twain studied Lincoln’s communication style, as writers do. Perhaps Twain even learned a few things.

Mark Twain later became friends with Andrew Carnegie, an American industrialist who was the richest man in the world. That level of success is a tell for a Master Wizard. Carnegie had a special interest in persuasive thinkers and authors, says Wikipedia. That too is a tell for a Master Wizard acquiring skills.

Carnegie asked writer Napoleon Hill to interview other successful people to determine whether there was some sort of formula for success. Hill went on to write the mega-hit self-help book Think and Grow Rich. (Keyword Think.)

Napoleon Hill’s writings were a big influence on another author, Norman Vincent Peale. Peale wrote the hugely successful book The Power of Positive Thinking. (Key word: Thinking)

Peale was also a pastor. He preached his message of positive thinking to his congregation. Imagine what it was like to hear Peale speak, as he channeled the wisdom and persuasive powers that came to him through the teachings of Jesus, Lincoln, Twain, Carnegie, and other Master Wizards as described in Napoleon Hill’s work. What effect did those sermons have on a young Donald Trump?

You probably think Trump only recently got serious about running for president. I think he decided when he was a child, listening to Pastor Peale.

When Trump says he plans to make America great again, you are hearing the power of positive thinking that came to him honestly, while sitting in church. Trump says he loved those sermons. Apparently Peale was a persuasive speaker. It is easy to imagine that everyone who heard Peale’s sermons would agree that the Bible is a terrific book.

Keep in mind that Carnegie was a hard-core capitalist until becoming a philanthropist and giving away 90% of his wealth. That is the school of influence that formed Trump. You think he is running for president because he is a narcissistic clown who loves attention. That might be the case. But it doesn’t give much credit to the persuasive powers of Jesus, Carnegie, Hill, and Peale. 

Now hold that thought.

In a prior post I told you that the father of modern hypnosis is Milton Erickson. He influenced the creators of NLP – Bandler and Grinder. Grinder trained Tony Robbins, the personal coach to world leaders. And Tony Robbins has advised Clinton, Obama, and Romney on debating. I don’t know how well Robbins and Trump know each other, but I can tell you Trump is pitch-perfect in technique. And we know Trump and Robbins have worked together on at least one project.

On top of those influences, Trump seems to have mastered everything modern psychology can teach us about negotiating and persuading. He even wrote a book about it.

Pulling all of this together, Trump is the result of four powerful schools of persuasion:

  1. Jesus – ”Turn the other cheek” was a call to psychological warfare
  2. Carnegie, Hill, Peale – Use your mind to succeed
  3. Erickson, Robbins – hypnosis/NLP
  4. Science – persuasion, negotiating

I am serious when I say I don’t know if Trump is the right fit for the presidency, especially after seeing his tax plan that won’t add up. But if you think he doesn’t have the skill to get elected, you will continue to be surprised. 

Update: Business Insider now ranks Trump second only to Clinton for likelihood of becoming president. And do you know why Business Insider ranks Clinton ahead of Trump?

Clinton is great at raising money.

Do you think Clinton’s fundraising skills will keep Trump from the presidency?

Maybe.

But I think Trump will roll up Clinton’s corporate supporters into a tight little bat and club her to death in front of the world for about a year.

Or Nate Silver could be right. His track record is better than mine. 

In Top Tech Blog, science might make it so easy to be a cartoonist that all I need to do is stare at the screen and think about what I want. Check this out.

It was nice to see God’s Debris at the top of its category 15 years after it was released. The book was originally published on September 15, 2001. As you might imagine, that was bad timing for an author trying to get some attention.

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