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 sage does not try to… abide by a fixed standard, but examines the affairs of the age and takes what precautions are necessary.”

— Han Fei Tzu, Sec. 49: The Five Vermin

“Know Your Enemy: The Intelligence Strategy. Know your opponent’s moves and do not let your motives be known. Understand their way of thinking.”

— Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War, No. 13

“Defeat Them in Detail: The Divide and Conquer Strategy. Look at the parts and determine how to control the individual parts, create dissension and leverage it.”

— Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War, No. 17

“I must be cruel only to be kind.
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.”

— William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3, scene 4

“By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Book I, 10

“When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War: Book II, 2

“Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War: Book III, 6

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Book I, 18-19

“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Book I, 19-20

“To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Book IV,

“The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Book IV, 16

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Book III, 18

“Power politics existed before Machiavelli was ever heard of; it will exist long after his name is only a faint memory. What he did, like Harvey, was to recognize its existence and subject it to scientific study. “

— Max Lerner, introduction to The Prince and the Discourses,1950.

“At the commencement of a campaign, to advance or not to advance is a matter for grave consideration; but when once the offensive has been assumed, it must be sustained to the last extremity. However skillful the maneuvers in a retreat, it will always weaken the morale of an army, because in losing the chances of success these last are transferred to the enemy. Besides, retreats always cost more men and materiel than the most bloody engagements; with this difference, that in a battle the enemy’s loss is nearly equal to your own–whereas in a retreat the loss is on your side only.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte, Military Maxims, VI

“Make your enemy tire himself out while conserving energy. It is an advantage to choose the time and place for battle. In this way you know when and where the battle will take place, while your enemy does not. Encourage your enemy to expend his energy in futile quests while you conserve your strength. When he is exhausted and confused, you attack with energy and purpose.”

— Stefan H. Verstappen, The Thirty-six Strategies Of Ancient China, 1999

“In war the general alone can judge of certain arrangements. It depends on him alone to conquer difficulties by his own superior talents and resolution.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte, Military Maxims, LXVI

“Peruse again and again the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Turenne, Engene, and Frederick. Model yourself upon them. This is the only means of becoming a great captain, and of acquiring the secret of the art of war. Your own genius will be enlightened and improved by this study, and you will learn to reject all maxiums foreign to the principles of these great commanders.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte, Military Maxims, LXXVIII

“It is easier to cope with a bad conscience than with a bad reputation.”

— Frederick Nietzsche, The Joyful Wisdom, I, Sec. 52

“Be wary of friends – they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power, 2

“Every time I bestow a vacant office, I make a hundred discontented persons and one ingrate.”

— King Louis XIV (1638-1715)

“Government reaches to the four quarters, but its source is in the centre…Things have their proper place, talents their proper use… If the ruler tries to excel, then nothing will go right…. He establishes the standard, abides by it, and lets all things settle themselves.”

— Han Fei Tzu, The Two Handles

“Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips, however, you are vulnerable and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable.”

— Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power, 5

“In ferreting out evil within the palace and controlling it outside you, you yourself must hold fast to your standards and measurements.”

— Han Fei Tzu, Wielding Power

“This is where rulers go wrong: having assigned certain ministers to office, they then try to use unassigned men to check the power of the assigned. They justify this policy by claiming that the interests of the assigned and the unassigned will be mutually inimical, but in fact the rulers find themselves falling under the power of the unassigned.”

— Han Fei Tzu, Facing South

“In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

— Dr. Lawrence Peter, The Peter Principle

“Bear in mind that the mandate of heaven is changeable.”

— Anonymous, The Book of History, Advice to the Prince of Kang, 2357-627 BCE

“But if it is difficult for a large state to be well governed, it is still more difficult for it to be well governed by a single man; and everyone knows what happens when a king rules through deputies.”

— Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, III, 6

‘A good swordsman first makes a feint (against his opponent), then seems to give him an advantage, and finally gives his thrust, reaching him before he can return the blow.”

— Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi), Yüeh Kien, or Delight in the Sword-fight

“It is a strange desire, to seek power over others, and to lose your power over a man’s self. The rising into place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base; and by indignities men come to dignities.”

— Francis Bacon, Essays – Of Great Place

“…these men, when they have promised great matters, and failed most shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of boldness), they will but slight it over, and make a turn, and no more ado.”

— Francis Bacon, Essays – Of Boldness
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