• A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.
• A prince must not have any other object nor any other thought... but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands.
• A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.
• All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.
• And truly it is a very natural and ordinary thing to desire to acquire, and always, when men do it who can, they will be praised or not blamed; but when they cannot, and wish to do it anyway, here lies the error and the blame.
• Appear as you may wish to be.
• Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
• Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened: everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity.
• For one change always leaves a dovetail into which another will fit.
• He who becomes a Prince through the favour of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do, since all they ask is not to be oppressed.
• He who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.
• History is written by the victors.
• How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.
• I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
• If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.
• In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast.
• It is best to be both feared and loved; however, if one cannot be both it is better to be feared than loved.
• It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.
• It is much safer to be feared than loved because ... love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.
• It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.
• It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.
• It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.
• Men are driven by two two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.
• Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.
• Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.
• Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration.
• Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.
• Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant.
• Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.
• My view is that it is desirable to be both loved and feared; but it is difficult to achieve both and, if one of them has to be lacking, it is much safer to be feared than loved.
• Never was anything great achieved without danger.
• One can say this in general of men: they are ungrateful, disloyal, insincere and deceitful, timid of danger and avid of profit... Love is a bond of obligation that these miserable creatures break whenever it suits them to do so; but fear holds them fast by a dread of punishment that never passes.
• People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.
• Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.
• The ends justifies the means.
• The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
• The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.
• The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once and for all.
• The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.
• The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.
• There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.
• There is no avoiding war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy.
• There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.
• There is nothing more important than appearing to be religious.
• Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves.
• Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.
• When evening comes, I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death: I pass indeed into their world.
• Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.
• Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.
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