What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness

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9780066620107: What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness

What Would Machiavelli Do?

  • He would feast on other people's discord
  • He wouldn't exactly seek the company of ass-kissers and bimbos, but he wouldn't reject them out of hand either
  • He would realize that loving yourself means never having to say you're sorry
  • He would kill people, but only if he could feel good about himself afterward
  • He would establish and maintain a psychotic level of control
  • He would use other people's opinions to sell his book!

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Review:

Machiavelli would feel at home in industry today. You don't need a birthright to be a modern prince--just an impulsive ruthlessness such as he described four centuries ago while trying to get back into the good graces of a Medici nobleman. A clever guy like him could really go places. Stanley Bing, a columnist for Fortune, is also a clever guy. In real life he has another name and works for a media company (a very, very clever person could probably patch together the clues he offers and figure out the company, if not the actual person), and as such he's been our spy behind corporate lines since he first started writing for Esquire back in 1984. In What Would Machiavelli Do? Bing gleefully offers hard-boiled Machiavellian advice about whom to fire in a downsizing (consultants first, secretaries last), how to make employees love you ("Give them perks.... When they're spending your money, you own them"), and why it's important that you also kick ass (one of the ways: "cutting them off curtly when they speak") and take names (so people know you'll not only hurt them, you'll also go after their friends). The overriding lesson of this book is always to love yourself, never apologize for anything you do, and when all else fails, recognize that the truth is flexible, and so can be bent any way you want. What makes all this amorality funny is that Bing plays it straight, putting his ruthless advice into an easily digestible how-to format. Sometimes the only way you can tell it's satire is when he mixes the musings of Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot in with those of modern business figures such as former Sunbeam CEO "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap. Firing people, killing people--same rules, different game. --Lou Schuler

About the Author:

Stanley Bing is a columnist for Fortune magazine and the bestselling author of Crazy Bosses, What Would Machiavelli Do?, Throwing the Elephant, Sun Tzu Was a Sizzy, 100 Bullshit Jobs . . . And How to Get Them, and The Big Bing, as well as the novels Lloyd: What Happened and You Look Nice Today. By day he is an haute executive in a gigantic multinational corporation whose identity is one of the worst-kept secrets in business.

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