Author Archives: Gene Noh

“Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends, Learn How To Use Enemies”

I’ve always heard the phrase “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” but never really understood the meaning. Sun Tzu meant that it is imperative for you to know your enemy. Their movements, plans of action, and all weaknesses/vulnerabilities are crucial bits of information in order for you to protect yourself. After reading parts of Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power,” I got a better sense of the old phrase. Greene has convinced me that one has much more to lose and fear through a friend than an enemy. Why? Because friends have privileged information and furthermore your trust. In my experience, it was never really my enemies who were able to hurt me, but it was usually some of my best and closest friends that were capable of doing damage. I do remember a time when I befriended an enemy back in high school. I absolutely did not like the guy at all and he didnt think of me well either. But through some strange events, we became friends and to this day he is the most loyal. We became friends after the day when I dropped my wallet in the hall but I was walking too fast for him to flag me down. He picked up my wallet and saved it for me till the next day. He was the last person I was expecting to do something like that for me and the gratitude/respect was sort of engrained into me. To this day, he is one of my most oldest and loyal friend.  I still don’t quite understand the concept of “learn how to use your enemies” or “keep them closer” but I have a slight grasp on how sometimes your enemies can prove more reliable than your friends.

Annotation: The quote is the title from a chapter in Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power”

Greene, Robert. The 48 Laws of Power. London: Profile Books, 2000. pg. 8


“A coward dies a thousand deaths. A soldier dies but once”

The original text is “Cowards die many times before their deaths” by William Shakespeare but I first heard this version in Tupac’s song “If I Die Tonight” This quote is appealing to me because it means the valiant will die only once, whereas cowards are able to weasel their way out their fate or never stand for something they are willing to die for (country, ideal, belief, love). Making this quote more relevant to me, I feel that cowards live mostly inside their minds and never put to action their thoughts. They tend to re-live moments or imagine fantasies of what they wish they could do but never have the courage to stop thinking and start doing. They think about their fears to the point of obsession and spend all day imagining thousands of different risks or outcomes. The “soldier” or the brave are just as scared as cowards, but the difference is their willingness to confront it and possibly die doing it.

Annotation: This phrase comes from one of Tupac’s famous songs “If I Die Tonight” from his album Me Against the World. 

Old Korean story of the tiger and little boy

“There once was a little village that feared this tiger which kidnapped and ate children. One day, the tiger kidnapped this little boy from the village and took him to the mountains. As the tiger was getting ready to eat the boy, the terrified little boy began to remember what his mother told him: “Be calm and never lose focus no matter what.” The little boy began to use his mind and quickly came up with a plan. He decided to tell the tiger a lie. He told the tiger that he once had an older brother that died and reincarnated into a tiger. The little boy convinced the tiger that he was his little brother and shouldn’t eat him. The tiger (being just an animal) believed the child and set him free.” Continue reading