Why I Think Machiavelli Was Right in the 1500′s and Why He is More Relevant in 2014!


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This morning when I opened my email at 5:45 a.m. the first email that popped up contained the following quote from Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, Author of The Prince.

“There is nothing more difficult and dangerous, or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things. For the innovator has for enemies all those who derived advantages from the old order, while those who expect to be benefited by the new order will only offer lukewarm defense.”

Machiavelli’s teachings have been discussed, debated and written about for 500 years.

Do you think Machiavelli was right in saying, “It’s better to be feared (respected) than loved (liked)”?

If he was right then, do you still think he is right, or relevant, today?

His teachings and theories in The Prince were directed more for those in the office of politics, however it is quite easy to translate those same principles to anyone who holds a position of leadership, management or supervision.

Here are my 7 reasons why Mr. Mach is more relevant today than ever!

Before I give you those 7 reasons I want to clarify one area I don’t agree with Mr Machiavelli.

His views about women that he and most shared back in 1500′s in Florence certainly are not my views and are absolutely not relevant or acceptable in today’s society.

Having said that, here is my take on why pretty much everything else Mr. Mach laid out is totally relevant!
1. Plan for the the worst and take action. Risk can never be eliminated, but it can be contained by those who plan ahead and take appropriate action.

2. The only reliable allies (partners) are those who benefit from your successes. Team up only with those who truly benefit from your victories or your opponent’s defeat.

3. Free time and work time really are all part of the limited amount of time you have at your disposal to succeed at your goals. Do not squander them, not even during periods of rest.

4. Forgiving those who do you wrong is a mistake. When you forgive those who do your organization harm (low performers) we undercut the efforts of those who are loyal (high performers). Punish the disobedient (low performers); love the loyal (high performers).

5. Passion is the best motivator. It pays to seek out people who believe passionately in what they do.

6. Trust enemies above friends for frankness. You can trust your enemies to criticize you when you deserve to be criticized. Friends are often less honest with us.

7. The hard road to the top is often the best. Machiavelli believed that leaders who inherit their success are often more likely to fail than self-made people who are forced to learn important life lessons during their own climbs.

So, what do you think, was he right? Is he still relevant ?

I think Machiavelli was sooooooo right and is sooooooo relevant!

P.S. Answer this question honestly; In your work group are your respected, or liked? Or is it neither or both ?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Psichogios
Peter Psichogios is the President of CSI International Performance Group whose mission is to help companies create engaging employee and customer experiences. Prior to joining CSI International Peter served as an executive member of one of the largest Instructional System Association companies in the world. In this capacity, he led all the front-end analysis and worked directly with Dr. Ken Blanchard. Peter has been fortunate to work with the who's who of the Fortune 500, helping them deliver innovative learning, engagement and recognition solutions.


  1. I think he is absolutely right. I’ve watched companies fail that do the opposite of a few of these principles, especially numbers four and five.


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