Other Quotes

These are the quotes from other authors and sources used in this book, but not those from Niccolo Machiavelli. Quotes from Machiavelli are displayed on another page. In the book, quotations from The Prince are shown entirely in bold.

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“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can
on no account be neglected.”

— Sun Tzu, Art of War Book 1: Laying Plans

“To win or to lose a chess game against Machiavelli would be equally entertaining, as either scenario would unfold as a tale of interesting interpersonal conflict, camaraderie, treachery, and above all, rich strategic thinking.”

— Andrew S. Gordon, Playing Chess with Machiavelli, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, 2001

“Modern systematic politics, whether liberal, conservative, radical, or socialist, simply has to be rejected from a standpoint that owes genuine allegiance to the tradition of the virtues; for modern politics itself expresses in its institutional forms a systematic rejection of that tradition”

— Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (p. 255)

“Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority…”

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, Letter to Bishop Creighton, 1887

“…without doubt such deception was of greater use than the simple truth; for he who deals honestly with the wicked and the crafty will fail… A new prince especially cannot observe all the things by which men are held good, even if he wants to, since it is often necessary, to maintain his state, to act contrary to mercy, religion and faith.”

— Bishop Stephen Gardiner, A Machiavellian Treatise, 1555

“As for being held merciful, generous and observant of faith, I commend them most highly, provided that to observe them does not bring more danger than good. The contrary of these sometimes are of great help to the man who uses them, particularly when he works them artfully.”

— Bishop Stephen Gardiner, A Machiavellian Treatise, 1555

“It is precisely because the status of rulers and subjects is different that pampering the people always causes so much harm.”

— Ogyu Sorai, Master Sorai’s Responsals, 1720

“Punishment is not for the benefit of the sinner, but for the salvation of his comrades.”

— Gen. George Patton, quoted in What Would Machiavelli Do? by Stanley Bing.

“Everywhere men yearn to be misled by magicians.”

— Witter Bynner, Introduction to the Tao Teh Ching

“The worst that can happen is that the man to whom you have made a false promise is angry.”

— Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis

“So true it is that men are more taken by look and words than by actual services.”

— Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis

“Think as you like, but behave like others… It is safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 38

“Keep your hands clean: You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 26

“By very small favours men are induced to think that they have sufficient reason for giving support…”

— Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis

“See also, if possible, that some new scandal is started against your competitors for crime or looseness of life or corruption, such as is in harmony with their characters.”

— Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis

“Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies: Be wary of friends – they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy… a former enemy will be more loyal than a friend because he has more to prove.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 2

“So much depends on reputation – guard it with your life. Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win. Once it slips, however, you are vulnerable.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 5

“When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 13

“Never outshine the master: Always make those above you feel comfortably superior.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 1

“Create compelling spectacles. Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them… Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 37

“Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit. Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power: 7

“Men can acquire reputation with the multitude of the company of wise men who have good habits, for there can be no better measure of a man than the company he keeps; and therefore one who keeps the company of the wise acquires a name for wisdom, and one who keeps the company of the virtuous is thought to be good, since it is impossible that he should not bear some resemblance to his companions.”

— Bishop Stephen Gardiner, A Machiavellian Treatise, 1555

“The ruler must not reveal his desires; for if he reveals his desires, the ministers will put on the mask that pleases him.”

— Han Fei Tzu, Sec. 5: The Way of the Ruler

“Rank is widely distributed and … one’s happiness and welfare are intimately connected with the acquisition of rank. … bestowal of rank implies influence and power.”

— Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah (306), 1377

“He causes the worthy to display their talents, and he employs them accordingly; hence his own worth never comes to an end. Where there are accomplishments, the ruler takes credit for their worth; where there are errors, the ministers are held responsible for the blame; hence the ruler’s name never suffers. Thus, though the ruler is not worthy himself, he is the leader of the worthy; though he is not wise himself, he is the corrector of the wise. The ministers have the labour; the ruler enjoys the success. This is called the maxim of the worthy ruler.”

— Han Fei Tzu, Sec. 5: The Way of the Ruler

“If ministers are made to stick to their proper duties and speak only what is just, they will be unable to band together in cliques to work for each other’s benefit.”

— Han Fei Tzu, Sec.7: The Two Handles

“A person who seeks and desires rank must be obsequious and use flattery as powerful men and rulers require. Otherwise it will be impossible for him to attain any rank.”

— Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah (307), 1377

“There is great need of a flattering manner which, however faulty and discreditable in other transactions of life, is yet necessary during a candidateship”.

— Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis

“Drawing closer to those who fawn can change a person beyond recognition. Likely the single greatest danger and (ruler) faces is the prospect of a personality change as he soaks in the adoration of those who eat his bread and sing his praises.”

— Dick Morris, The New Prince, Chapter 22

“If my worst enemy was given the job of writin’ my epitaph when I’m gone, he couldn’t do more than write: “George W. Plunkitt. He Seen His Opportunities, and He Took ‘Em.”

— George Washington Plunkitt, A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics, 1905
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