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Machiavelli and Business Theory
by Susan Brulee

The 'Prince' paraphrased into business theory

---Keep the Faith - 101

How laudable it is for a business man to keep good faith and live with integrity, and not with shrewd astuteness. Still the experience of our times shows that those business men to have done great things who have little regard for good faith, and have been able by astuteness to confuse men‘s brains have ultimately overcome those who have made loyalty their foundation.

You must know that there are two methods of fighting. The one by law, the other by force.

The first method is that of men, the second by beasts. As the first method is insufficient, one must have recourse to the second. It is necessary for a business man to know well how to use both, the beast and the law of man. That one without the other is not durable.

Bottom line: if you are going to live in a wasps’ nest it is good to be a wasp.


---Employees - 102

The choice of a business mans' employees is a matter of no little importance. They are either good or not, according to the prudence of the business man. The first impression of a business man and of his intelligence is from seeing the men he has about him. When they are competent and faithful one can always consider him wise, as he has been able to recognize their ability and keep them faithful to the company. But when they are the reverse, one can always form an unfavorable opinion of the business man, because the first mistake that he makes is in making this choice.

There are three different kinds of business men: the one understands things unassisted, the other understands things when shown by others, the third understands neither alone nor with the explanations of others. The first kind is excellent, the second also excellent, but the third is useless. For every time the business man has the judgment to know the correct assessment or the wrong assessment that anyone does or says, even if he has no originality of intellect, yet he can recognize the bad and good works of his employee and correct the one and encourage the other. Employees can not expect to deceive him and therefore remain good.

For a business man to know his employees, there is this method which never fails. When you see an employee think more of himself than of the company, and in all his actions seek his own profit, such a man will never be a good employee. You will never be able to rely on him. For whoever has in hand the company of another must never think of himself but of the company, and not mind anything but what relates to him.

On the other hand, the business man, in order to retain the employees' fidelity, ought to think of his employees, honoring and enriching them, doing them kindness, and conferring on them honors. The employee should be given responsible tasks, so that the honors and compensation given him cause him not to desire other honors and riches, and the offices he holds make him fearful of changes. When business men and their employees stand in this relation to each other, they can rely the one upon the other. When it is otherwise, the result is always injurious either for one or the other of them.

Bottom line: have good men around you and do good work.


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