What can Machiavelli tell you about business?

What can Machiavelli tell you about business?

The Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli's 1513 treatise on history and political theory, was a landmark volume that provokes controversy, debate and fierce argument to this day. Characterised by the famous quote, ‘The end justifies the means', it called upon political leaders to not only be intelligent and diplomatic but also to be calculating and cunning, so long as the final results were to the betterment of society in general.

Though chiefly written about politics, The Prince is a must read for anybody looking to get ahead in modern business. Within its pages, you'll find a wealth of deep thought and wise advice on long term economic, financial and business strategy that will help you stay ahead of the competition.

As the princess cannot help being hated by someone, they ought to endeavour with the utmost diligence to avoid the hatred of powerful people.

Nobody succeeds in business without making a couple of enemies along the way. Yet, similarly, nobody succeeds in business without making even more friends. In particular, powerful friends are essential to securing your own power – it doesn't matter if you are the manager in a franchise of a fast food restaurant or the CEO of a multinational corporation. If you want to get and stay in an advanced position, ensure you make strong connections with the top echelon in your industry.

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

While we all like to feel that we are the smartest person in the room, if you deliberately fill your business with people you know to be inferior to yourself, it will show in your results. Do not be afraid of people with more experience, more intelligence or more capabilities than you. Welcome the input of those whose input is worth having and reject those who are not up to scratch.

"Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times."

There's not a business person alive who can afford to stand still. Pay attention to changes, not just in your industry, but also in society at large. No matter how disconnected they might seem, everything is an influence on your company.