Speaking with Medieval Leaders

14 Oct
Pedro Luis de Borja Lanzol de Romaní.

Image via Wikipedia

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about people who I never met nor could ever meet that I thought were powerful people in a time when things were a lot different. We weren’t looking to talk about Steve Jobs or even Ben Franklin. We wanted to get medieval so to speak…. The first person I thought of was Niccolò “The Prince” Machiavelli. He was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, writer and most famously a politician.  He lived during the early 1500’s and his reputation has managed to survive century’s.  Machiavelli wasn’t always popular but he did make some interesting comments that have lived on.  Below are just a few of his quotes that I think are still very relevant. If anyone has a favorite, I would love to try to relate it to modern-day business/HR next week.  Please feel free to comment…..

 “The end justifies the means”

 “The first way to lose your state’, he tells the Prince, ‘is to neglect the art of war; the first way to win a state is to be skilled in the art of war.’

 “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

 “A good man will come to ruin among so many who are not good.”

 “Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better”

 “Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.”

 “The wish to acquire more is admittedly a very natural and common thing; and when men succeed in this they are always praised rather than condemned. But when they lack the ability to do so and yet want to acquire more at all costs, they deserve condemnation for their mistakes.”

 “Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.”

 “Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.”

3 Responses to “Speaking with Medieval Leaders”

  1. Old Jules October 14, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    A practical, astute man. Stripping away the baggage his name carries as a result of hindsight judgements and the banner the name’s come to represent, he was merely a no BS observer.

  2. Norasusan November 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    The English Professor in me must correct you. Machiavelli lived and wrote during the Renaissance period in European history. He was not a product of the Middle Ages, nor was he a politician. Rather he was a political philosopher.

    I know that “The Prince” is studied by some business majors today, and I suppose there is some knowledge to be gained by reading it because business is governed by politics. As for your selected quotes, the one that stands out for me is, “The end justifies the means,” because it calls ethics into play. So with regard to HR recruiting only, do you believe that “end justifies the means?”


  1. Is It Safer to be Feared, Than To Be Loved? Machiavelli’s Playbook, series 1 « pornalysis - November 10, 2011

    […] Speaking with Medieval Leaders (gnozzoknows.wordpress.com) […]

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