Today you'll discover that we have much more in common with our fellow Gorilla/Chimpanzee cousins than you might think

Hey You,

It’s #2.

Today I bring you 12 solid pages of stellar notes from Eben Pagan’s world class program… “Connected”.

Enjoy and as always feel free to baste me with questions, criticism or praise in the comments section below…

Session 2: The Social Politics of Business Success

Aristotle is known for saying “Man is by nature a political animal.”

Definition of politics: A process by which groups of people make decisions.

Most people’s desire to master politics is to avoid being “Out Politicked” ever again. Someone stabbed them in the back, undermined their authority or in some other way made them look like a fool in front of a group.

Kinda the same reason people take martial arts. They wish to avoid ever getting beat up again.

Politics is a technology, a set of processes, systems and theories you can use to achieve whatever aims you wish.

Primate Politics And How They Benefit Us In The Modern World

95-99% of what humans do, day in, day out, thinking, communicating or socializing – our closest cousins, the chimps, are doing too.

The difference between us is that we can rationalize, discriminate and tell ourselves a story about how what we’re doing is a result of choice, our individuality, not pure animal instinct. In reality we behave just like primates. This is what allows both of us to utilize that whole group dynamic that tells us who’s dominant, who’s gonna run the show, who’s threatening, who’s resourceful, all unconsciously, in the blink of an eye.

We as humans are at the top of the food chain because we are the most adaptable, according to Darwin.

Primatologist turned commercial real estate broker in the big city finds that all the behavior she observed in the jungle is playing out before her very eyes in the office…

Her background allowed her to move up the chain quickly.

The quantum leap difference is our ability to use language via self-reflection, choice, in a way that surpasses raw instinct.

"My tribe may not be all rich, privileged and positive thinking and shit but at least we know how to fuckin' party man!!!"

Your Only As Smart As Your Tribe And Most Tribes Are DUMB

You are your social group. But what is your social group? It’s not your friends, it’s not your family, it’s not your community. It’s a group of people of which you share some affiliation.

In any organization there’s gonna be tribes there. Groups of friends can be tribes. Most people are members of lots of tribes. While we tribe, most of us don’t have very close friends.

It’s hard wired into our DNA not to form groups or organizations but to form tribes. We all do it but not all tribes are equal. Only about 25% of tribes could be classified as smart: can adapt and quickly take advantage of opportunities, which leaves 75% that are dumb.

Traits of Dumb Tribes:

Griping and complaining.

Bragging about how great they are; their degrees, their pay checks, their accomplishments, their hobbies, who they’re dating, their toys and on and on.

Most people live in a reality where this behavior is NORMAL & ACCEPTED.

These are the tribes that actually run most organizations that impact our daily lives i.e.; I.R.S., Congress, Boards of Directors in Big Bidniz, Teachers unions, Police/TSA, Banking.

Traits of Smart Tribes:

Innovation, vision and mission, seeking of solutions to problems, passion. These are the tribes that make a positive difference in the world. A group of highly committed, thoughtful people.

In the experience where a smart tribe member is dropped into a dumb tribe, the group will send you messages saying/implying, “You’re not good enough to change things, who are you to come in and buck the system or make suggestions? “This is the way things are done around here!”

If you bring up the idea of changing they’ll tell you it won’t work, it never has, it never will and when you fail we’ll be here to tell you, “Told you so.”


Dumb tribes have an immune system that kills anything that goes against their reality.

If you’re in one of these groups, one thing you could do is try and change the tribe. Another thing you could do would be to is form a completely new tribe from the ground up where you screen out dumb people to make sure everyone’s smart and responsive.

Tribes tell you who you are and what’s possible.

“People don’t like it when you change because the ways they use to manipulate you stop working.” Wyatt Woodsmall

This makes it hard to defeat the tribe when it’s all of them against just you, which is why you go about recruiting a gang to support your efforts.

Why “Social Grooming” Is An Important Key To Your Success

We as humans groom each other just as chimps do.

The Purpose And Power of Gossip

Now we’re not pulling bugs out of each other’s fur but the human version of grooming is Gossip. This is the process that makes someone worthy of the tribe they’re in. Instead of going directly to the person who’s doing something that’s irritating, we go to someone else in our tribe and talk about it behind their back.

People gossip as a method of translating the rules of the tribe in a way that isn’t directly confrontational.

There’s two types of gossip. One is used to undermine the spirit of another. But if gossip is nothing more than a way of translating the rules of the tribe, there’s an opportunity here to positively reframe how we use it.

One way to do this is to start positively gossiping about someone we admire in a tribe. We can choose to be impeccable with our word about how remarkable this person is. This sends out a new message that repels the dirt balls and attracts people who are actually open to the idea of joining a tribe that builds people up rather than beats them down.

Here’s what’s crazy…

The last person to hear about bad behavior is the person being talked about. The whole tribe knows waaaaay before he does. He notices his influence and affinity in the group is going down but has no direct feedback that tells him why and in general, he’s not all that satisfied at what’s going on.

His health may even begin to suffer because our tribe’s health determines our health most of the time.

Who owns your reputation?

Is it you? NO. The group does. This means you need to go out and find out what your reputation is and this isn’t the reputation that exists inside your own head. It exists in the community.

2/3’s of all human conversation is gossip. Most of it isn’t good. 99.9% of this kind of gossip is just unconscious and is idle talk about social or sexual stuff to try to position themselves, get sympathy, make people think they’re cool and play out their envy and jealousy etc.

This means that if someone talks for 6 hours of the day, 4 of those hours are gossip.  When you zoom out and look at this you can admit that it must serve some very important function. Gossip operates on the level of what could be called the group mind.

The group/body mind allows an ant to thrive with it’s colony and to shrivel up and die when alone. This goes the same for individuals. Most of us aren’t conscious of the adaptation power and survivability power of the group.

One theory is that humans developed out of groups of 150, plus or minus 25-50. And primitive tribes, untouched by modern culture work the same way to this day. If it’s gets above 150, internal forces start dividing the tribe.

Gossip allows us to use our human gift that separates us from the animals and start using gossip in a positive way that doesn’t offend the group because even though you can’t be literally crucified or burned as witch these days, the group doesn’t take too kindly to you going against them.

You just slowly but surely start getting ignored, talked over/undermined or fired.

Most gossip comes in the form of a neutral or negative/extremely negative tone about another person. The majority of this is about their social or sexual relationships. All of this stuff is naturally interesting so if you want to embed your gossip in this same vein, you can use negative gossip about yourself.

Tell the story, not about someone else but about you doing something socially unacceptable.  By you pointing out how you screwed something up, it doesn’t make anyone wrong, doesn’t make the group wrong but it helps the group see things in a new light…

“Hey, this guy doesn’t think he’s god, why should I?”

Geoffrey Miller the author of “The Mating Mind” and “Spent” says we spend about a 1/3 of life as humans socializing. This means about a 1/3 of our time is spent sleeping and 1/3 of our time doing the business of life, hunting, gathering, maintenance for our bodies.

Socializing in a positive way fulfills a deep need within us as humans and fulfills an even deeper need for the group mind or tribe.

Neanderthals are dead. Homo-sapiens are still here. How is that possible?

Gossip allows for people to be ostracized who are out to do harm to the group as a whole. The way to use this today that creates influence is what Dave calls “The Power of the Unstoppable Two.”

It starts with two people forming a relationship based on integrity, respect, people who think a lot of each other. It helps if these people are in different professions or different aspects of the same profession. So, with doctors, one would be a neurologist and one would be a pediatrician.

They form an agreement that they’re gonna be very open and honest with each other and that anything that they hear about each other, good, bad or indifferent, they pass it on so the person being gossiped about stays informed. Then they go beyond that.

Make gossip work FOR you instead of AGAINST you and you'll reap results you're delighted about

Here’s the power of the Unstoppable Two…

Whenever one of them is in discussion with anyone else and the other person’s name comes up, they will say something positive about that person.

This begins to inoculate that tribe against negative gossip that’s gonna get launched about that person. It also directs the focus towards whatever that person is doing that is positive and it pre-disposes that tribe to allow me to connect that person with this tribe someday.

This strategy has proven remarkably powerful throughout history.

Is there someone I can form this Power of The Unstoppable Two with? It has to be done with integrity, with respect and set up the relationship now to pre-dispose your tribe to make these future introductions and to start spreading positive gossip about someone you think a lot of and that person spread positive gossip about you.

Are You Over-Political or Under-Political?

The book “Survival of The Savvy ” identified how people, especially in corporate environments, operate on one or the other of a continuum… either they’re Over-political or Under-political.

Under-Political Type: Underestimated. People who aren’t playing the political game in a savvy way believe that ultimately their ideas will win out. They believe in meritocracy, and that they’ll succeed on their own merits and that we live in a fair environment. The extreme power of ‘ideas types’ lose out to more political types when competing for power, credit, promotions or resources.

They have a low or passive profile. They take modesty and self-deprecation to levels where they’re seen as weak, inconsequential and un-deserving of respect. Their lack of self promotion comes from letting ideas and results speak for themselves which leads to diminished recognition.

These people see all the games people play as retarded and avoid them to avoid lowering themselves to that level, when in reality, there’s a way to play these games in a way that works for them.

If you don’t promote yourself and show others what you’re doing, celebrate your successes and talk about what you’ve learned from your failures, other people will never know about it.

Over-Political Type:

These people focus on Position Power.

They focus on image and perception. They focus on doing what works. They focus on relationship based decisions, private agendas and self-promotion.

This is invaluable for careers and companies until they over do it and usher in a tsunami of political risk. All risks boil down to a fatal flaw… the over-political compromises their principles to get ahead and lose their ethical balance either along the way or from the outset.

When winning becomes most important, people sacrifice themselves and start thinking everyone has sacrificed their ethics and start rationalizing that everyone’s doing it. This winds up costing them self-respect AND their reputation.

How “Positive Politics Can Help You Succeed…

What’s the middle ground?

The answer is Positive Politics. This is where you leave negative politics behind, but you become aware of them by reading your Machiavelli, your 48 Laws of Power, your Survival of the Savvy so that you know what’s going on when people are playing games on you.

Remember not to be afraid of the game because of the negatives. There are just as many positives going on as there are negatives in the world. The gains you get from using Positive Politics are far greater than the losses you’ll experience if you stay out of the game.

It’s not zero sum. It’s synergistic, 1 + 1 = 11. This means success for you on the inside and outside and the same for your group.

When they did their study on this and used their formula to find out who was extraordinary and who wasn’t, they found out that these people were like “What? Why do you want to talk to me? You should talk to xyz.” When they contacted people who were Over-Political they found those people were saying stuff like “I’ve been waiting for you to call me. Here’s why I’m so great…”

One of the shining examples of a balanced politician teaches a class at USC and he makes the students read Machiavelli. This befuddles them because this is they guy who proclaims “It’s better to be feared than loved.” The professor claims this is the most important book on leadership that’s ever been written.

For most people who read Machiavelli, they’re interested in their own success, period. It’s all about me. They read it trying to be better than everyone else.

Then, there’s a subset of people who use precisely the same set of techniques but in service of something greater.

He cites Douglas MacArthur here using the ruthless mindset of Machiavelli in the instance of an American soldier who raped a local Japanese woman during World War II and was sentenced to death by firing squad and instead of just doing it in the presence of Americans, he invited local Japanese dignitaries to witness the slaying.

This was unheard of in the history of warfare. Why would you ever show that your troops are weak, that your troops have done something wrong, and then almost celebrate the fact that you’re carrying out this punishment? The USC professor who told this story to Dave Logan said that at some point, every leader has to commit an atrocity.

Atrocity is a word that Machiavelli uses. The question is, “In Service Of What?” For MacArthur it was in service of the rule of law and the principle that no one is above the law. He transmitted a message to the Japanese that this tribe is serious about their word, there is no double standard.

Atrocities only need be made when an institutions depends on your needing to do that.

Crushing your enemy completely in body and soul could be seen as mafia politics.

Annihilate Your Enemies By Turning Them Into Friends

On the other hand this exact mindset could be re-framed as Abraham Lincoln did. There’s a story of a woman telling him he should be ruthless toward his enemy and annihilate them. His response to her was, “Have I not destroyed an enemy by turning them into a friend?”

The key question to ask is… “What are my politics in service of?

When Eben hires someone to work in his company, the number one thing he has on his mind is giving them the highest leverage which would lead to the highest chance of them being successful in their integration with the company being successful.

So, the one specific thing he recommends doing is to build powerful personal relationships with a hand-selected group of key people on the team.

He talks to the person and gives them a list of typically between 5-10 people, right around 7-8 is the sweet spot, and he tells them ‘These are the people that you need to make friends and build a relationship with in the next 90 days.’

He recommends they spend at least one hour a week in an appointment with each person. He tells them to call the person up and say ‘I’m getting started, here’s the project I’m getting started on, I’d really like to learn what you do and learn how the business works from you and learn about your challenges and what you’re doing to overcome them. Can we set up a weekly call so I can talk to you once a week and really get to know you and see how I can help you?’

What he’s found is that by giving them this single guiding directive and telling them this is the most important thing you can do for your first few months on the job, build personal relationships with the key people you’ll be working with, the rest of everything takes care of itself.

If they’re the right person, you’ll start hearing back from these key people, who of course you’ve known for awhile and have a relationship built on trust because you’ve worked together. You’ll start hearing back from them, ‘Wow. I’m really glad we brought this person on board. This person is really a superstar!” or “They really get it, we made a great choice here.’ And he’ll start hearing that as positive politics gossip.

The other benefit is that if they AREN’T the right person, very quickly, usually within a few weeks max, you’ll start hearing from your superstars, ‘You know I’m getting a bad feeling about this person’ or ‘I gave that person this simple thing to do and they just didn’t do it.’

The tribe sorts it all out. Kind of like when an organ is transplanted into a body. If everything’s a match, the organ takes, but if it doesn’t, the eject button gets pushed real fast.

A good culture that has shared values, trust, and good communication, they’ll start giving you feedback without you having to say, “Hey can you keep an eye out on __________ and tell me if he starts screwing up by making one of these 7 mistakes because if he does, we have to get rid of him?”

Superstars reject scrubs coming in messing with the flow. They want to maintain homeostasis.

Action Step One:

Whenever you go into a new tribe, or start interacting with a new social group, try to identify the most important players as soon as possible and go to work over the next few months to build powerful, personal relationships, personal bonds with those people.

Not work on a project with them. Not try to get them to think you’re super successful. Not try to impress everyone.

Build personal relationships, one to one, individual with the influencers.

Action Step Two:

Within any group that you’re creating, encourage any new members to connect to a few key people. Pull them aside and say, “You’re joining a new group right now, here are the 3, 5, 7 key people that you need to go build a relationship with. If I were you, over the next 90 days, I would try to talk to, interact with, build personal relationships with these people. Ask them questions like ‘What’s your biggest challenge or frustration?’ and then help them get past it. Ask them what their objectives are and help them achieve them. Do whatever you can to help them be more successful and show them that you want them to be more successful and that you’re committed to it WITHOUT asking for anything in return.

If you do just this one thing, you will 10-100 times the value that you invested in this program and it will happen fast – months or years.

*****If you’re already in a social group, you have a reputation, people have gossiped about you, positively or negatively, and remember you don’t own your reputation, the tribe does.

Here’s the one thing you can do to manage your reputation within that one group…

Find the influencers and all the people who matter. Make a list and then you go and sit with them and for this to work they have to know you’re coming from the right place here, and you ask the question “What is my reputation here? Can you help me understand what my reputation is?”

And here’s the key… they’re gonna tell you a lot of stuff, lots of it will be positive, usually the first thing they say will be positive… you don’t argue with it, you don’t agree with it, you don’t thank them for the compliment… you just say thank you.

At the end of them talking, you say “Is there anything else?” And if they say more at the end of it, you say “Thank you.” Then you ask, “Is there anything else?” and at the end of the meeting you get up and shake their hand and say, “Thank you,” and you walk away.

Here’s what’s gonna happen automatically because you did that.

Now you have something to talk about with that person. If they hear anything negative that is different than what they told you, there’s a very good chance that person is now gonna come to you and give you that information.

Now you’re in a position of managing your reputation instead of being at the effect of it.

The second thing is that if you find your reputation is negative, then you can plan, more on this later in program, exactly how to turn that around using very concrete steps.

Doing this gives you power to see how you’re seen in the tribe, what sorts of things you can do successfully in the tribe and what sort of things are gonna fail because my reputation just isn’t up to snuff.

Most importantly, it gets you in control of your reputation.

So you’re asking “Can you please help me understand what my reputation is? Can you please tell me what you think it is? What have you heard and I don’t wanna know who said it, just what is it?” Take it down, say thank you and ask if there’s anything else and if there isn’t you get up and shake their hand and walk away.

Gravitate Toward Conscious “Positive Politicians”

How do you find people that are a synthesis of both the under and over political who understand about building trust and reputation and relationships and character and integrity?

You’ll find these people don’t talk negatively about other people. They do praise people who’re performing well. And they’re not just trying to work the system.

When you look at a traditional Organization Chart that has the boxes that tier down from president to pee-on you’ll think, as a person from the outside, that this is valid.

What social scientists have proven by asking people in these big organizations, “Who do you communicate with when you need to get something done?” and they started watching without asking and they made a different map and found there was the “Corporate Org Chart” and then there was the “Informal Org Chart.”

So if you wanted to get something done or be introduced to someone or you wanna know how things really work, that it’s actually this person 2 boxes down and 3 to left that knows everyone that operates in this positive and under-political realm that are the people that really get everything done inside the organization. They’re the ones you wanna have as friends. And if you come in from the outside and look at the “Corporate Org Chart,” so that you can have “Power”, you’re gonna hit blocks and wonder why you can’t get anything done.

It’s important that when you go into any social group or are starting a new one, that you go in with two sets of glasses. One that looks at the traditional org chart with the dominant ape up top with 3 who report to him on down and then you put on the 3D glasses that reveal the informal org chart and you start asking, “Who’s the person, who when I wanna know what’s going on, I talk to them? Or “Who do you call when you need to get this thing done? Or “Who’s the person who knows how to bypass the red tape and call favors and just make things happen?”

These are the people to meet and build relationships with.

You often find that it’s the person with the lowest level of authority that is actually the most credible person to get things done. In the show M.A.S.H, Radar O’Reilly was the man you wanted to know. You can tell these people are coming from the place of “In service of the higher purpose.”

In organizations you find that the most connected, respected people are like the I.T. guy. The person who works on your computers when it shuts down. That could be the most respected person in the whole company, the guy who, if he didn’t show up, it’d matter.

These people don’t have titles like President or CEO.

They have titles like “Assistant to the Vice President in charge of Strategic Planning.” Or some other meaningless/weird titles. This totally recasts the list of people you want to be close too and the people you don’t want to know.

Are you the go to primate in your tribe?

In every group there’s a high priest. This is the person you confess to when you’ve done something wrong. This is the person who’s the keeper of the Sacred Flame of the tribe.

If someone does something bad, they’ll go to this person and confess like they would do a friend and the person absolves you of your sins and welcomes you back into the group.

Now you can go into your social circles and think about who’s the Radar O’Reilly and who’s the High Priest. These are the two most important people you want to know. They’re also usually 2 of the easiest people to get to know because they don’t have the titles that cause people to protect them in the company.

Eben in his apartment building makes sure that whenever one of the maintenance guys steps in the door, he gets hit with a $20 dollar bill. Whether he fixes anything or not. This makes sure he side-steps all the bureaucracy involved in getting one of those guys to his apartment because he calls the person directly and they come right over and fix it.

This coupled with being cool with these guys goes along way to building a relationship with them to where they’re on your side.

The “New Integrity” And how It Changes The Game

People confuse integrity with honesty or ethics.

If you look it up in the dictionary it doesn’t mean any of those things. It has to do with being whole and complete. Think of driving over a bridge. You don’t want to drive on one that’s missing anything of significance. It doesn’t have integrity.

If our relationships have integrity they’re not missing anything. They’re structurally sound.

Most people think that integrity is doing what you said you would.

Integrity is honoring your word which means that if I tell you that I’m going to call you at 7 tomorrow and I call at 8 then the first thing I need to do is somehow clean up the mess that I made by the fact of keeping you waiting for me. This means that sometimes I give my word to a group that I’ll do something, important or not, and at some point I realize I’m not going to be able to do that. Then what I need to do is stand in front of that group and say,

“I promised I was going to do ___________. I can no longer do that. So I need to withdraw that promise. And now I need to deal with any consequences that come up from it.”

Is your character "Galactic"? How big are your "balls" when it comes time to admit you were wrong?

This makes sure the bar isn’t set to “Perfection.” Think about how you are at honoring your word with other people. When you give your word, you do it and if you know you’re not gonna be able do it, you clean up the situation, perhaps you take back your word and give it on another issue. This is someone that can get things done in a group in a way most people can’t.

This allows you to make really grand promises. The answer to making this work is not to just to only make simple promises. The answer is to make big promises but honor your word in a way that leaves your integrity intact.

Eben thinks of integrity as alignment of thought, emotion and behavior.

If you think of this as a needle on your speedometer in your car, and the needle’s all the way to left, you’re out of alignment and your inner conflicts are showing and your behavior oozes resentment, hate, or apathy.

If the speedometer is pinned all the way to the right, you’re dealing with a person who’s comfortable in their own skin WHEREVER THEY ARE, they can actually be in the moment, they can deal with the task at hand and switch tasks easily, they behave consistently without being fake.

These people have rooted out any internal conflicts.

Being aligned allows you to stop making idle commitments that have caused you to go out of integrity in the past. You should prune back your commitments to those that truly matter to you. One thing you can do is stop making commitments completely and go on a commitment fast.

Stop making promises. Stop giving your word. Do this for a while and take notice of how often you want to make a commitment. Just like when you go on a food fast, it will teach you more about how your mind and emotions work than any seminar, any book, any product could.

When you stop making commitments for up to a month, you end up resetting the game and you teach yourself more about integrity than anything else you could do.

Always ask yourself, “Is it really wise for me to make this commitment? Am I highly likely to keep it?”


That’s it for today Ya’ll!

See you soon,

Note Taking Nerd #2

P.S. To find a treasure trove of the hilarious comics/cartoons that I used in this post, cruise over to This guy is a fucking genius and I wish to some day wall paper a room with nothing but his posters. Go check him out…