Ancient Advice For Modern Business

Niccolò Machiavelli lived in the late 1400’s in Florence Italy. He was a true renaissance man who has been called the father of modern political science. He was a historian, politician, humanist, writer, diplomat and philosopher.  He was also the author of Il Principe which was translated into English many years ago and is still widely available electronically and in hard copy as The Prince.

Although Machiavelli was “characterized by a duplicitous interpersonal style, a cynical disregard for morality and a focus on self-interest and personal gain1” (and this description is quite complementary compared to some of the other things written about him), I was curious about his writing as it is often quoted in modern business literature.

So, I recently spent some time reading The Prince and discovered that it was similar to the torture we were subjected to in high school when we were forced to read Shakespeare!

Besides the old English prose, there was a lot in the text which I didn’t agree with. However, there are some interesting points that I think apply to today’s business.