Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, often known as the founder of modern political science, was an Italian Renaissance historian, politician and philosopher. He was a senior official in charge of diplomatic and military affairs, and Secretary to the Second Chancery in the Florentine Republic. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs and poetry. He is best remembered for his “Il Principe” (The Prince), which appeared in 1513.
He wrote about unscrupulous politicians with immoral behaviour who kill innocents; he thought that this was normal and effective in politics. Today, a Machiavellian leader is considered deceitful, devious and cunning. During the period of Enlightenment in Europe, thinkers like Spinoza, Rousseau and Diderot found inspiration in Machiavelli.
Here are 10 pieces of Machiavellian advice for the modern leaders:
1. Exploit yourself only slightly less than others. Push yourself to your limits, and beyond. A mind so stretched will not return to its original state – it’s more stretched and capable of things never tried before. But, if you overextend yourself, do it more with your people. Never accept mediocre or haphazard staff-work lest you should build a culture of mediocrity and entitlement.
2. Be a paranoid freak. Develop the attitude that constantly looks for threats to your success. Look over your shoulders, because people will usually stab you in the back.
3. Have a couple of good friends, but cultivate a few enemies. Don’t be naïve. Keep tab of both friends and enemies. See how you can use your friends to help you. Nurture your rage and plan to destroy your enemy from a distance. Delegate to your friends the dirty jobs of destroying your enemies.
4. Eat anyone that stands in your way as you move forward. The idea is to move forward. If you stand still, you’re stagnant – not stable. But there are obstacles. Eat them if you have to. Realize that you move fast forward without obstacles.
5. Make a virtue out of your obnoxiousness. Avoid bad habits that are harmful to you own self. But if those bad habits are harmful to others, cultivate and celebrate them. A little irreverence sometimes helps.
6. Your cruelty is your strength; be proud of it. Grow your personality as you move up in the food chain. Winners are hard as a rock inside. Many people revered for something great were mean and did evil things in their past. Famous philanthropist Carnegie’s goons shot dead a bunch of workers.
7. Carry a grudge until the extinction of the cockroach. If someone berates or derides you, take it easy. Don’t get mad. Wait. Get better. Make your enemy feel at ease. Then, when you see his guards down, get even. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
8. Think BIG. You can’t own everything. Starbucks already owns coffee, and Jose Mari Chan owns Christmas. It doesn’t mean you can’t try. Think BIG, not big …
9. Follow the money. Many successful people keep their eyes on the nickels and dimes and the teeny little stuff, but splurge when it comes to unneeded expenditures.
10. Have fun always. Nice people have fun probably 25% of their time. Mean people, who enjoy every minute, inflict harm and suffering on others, and they have fun probably 95% of their time.