Framing the Dialogue

Posts Tagged ‘the prince’

What Would Machiavelli Do?

Machiavelli’s The Prince is famous a written “instructions” to his superiors about how to rule effectively and often brutally.  Many believe that Machiavelli was the brute, but he was really just the man behind the throne trying to avoid the fate (often death) of unstable rulers.

“…you’re doomed.  Doomed to the middle.  Doomed to be one of those who are acted upon, not one of those who act.  That’s all right.  We can take care of that.  This book will take you by the shoulders, shake you, and make you begin to live your sorry life differently.  To take stock of a situation and ask yourself, before you act:  What would Machiavelli do?  And the answer, in almost all cases, is:  Whatever is necessary.”

The Prince

The PrinceIf you are like me, you probably had heard of Niccolo Machiavelli and probably assumed as I did that he was some type of cold hearted tyrant who ruled with an iron fist.  I was surprised to find out that he was actually what can be described in today’s terms a middle management civil servant.  Machiavelli never seemed to weild any real power and his fortunes depended upon the rulers that he was associated with.