The Prince

I doubt when they assigned us the book “The Prince” by Machiavelli to read for the class that the expected someone to laugh their way through it.

But then, I have a twisted sense of humor.

The book itself is about 100 pages, and I’m 20 pages into reading it. And it is making me smile as I read it.

“The Prince” is to put it plainly a book about how to be an asshole leader. Basically it is political analysis and political philosophy around conquering nations, establishing yourself as the power to those you have conquered.

Why do I find it funny?

Because applying this to corporate leadership amuses me.

For example:

My boss coming in as the new leader, according to Machiavelli should have first killed the family he took control from. Then, he should have made a show of force. “Harm them a little, and they will hit back. Harm them a lot, and they won’t.” I dubbed this part of his advice, “No small injuries.”

Another example:

My boss hiring me was like another piece of Machiavelli’s advice – colonize. When you are conquering a place that is not your own culture, it’s easier and cheaper to colonize it. The only people directly impacted by the change are those who have had their lands and houses taken away for those colonizing the lands. And, the rest will be put in line because they don’t want their lands and homes taken away. Fear is good.

Ironically, when I look at this situation at work, I came in looking to those already here as though I was on my boss’s team already. Then he gave me power and their work. They saw it wasn’t as bad but still scary. When he was going to bring someone else in that he knew, they suddenly wanted to negotiate in order to have some control over their possible loss of lands. In the end, they fell in line w/out him having to spend more money.

Yes, I did laugh about this parallel too.

I won’t go into the other thing I found amusing. But mainly because I can see my boss is kind of doing that one.

I was wondering if I would be able to get through this book. Now I’m looking forward to reading more. And I cannot wait for the discussion because this is going to be good – and funny, I think.


What do you think?

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