Seven tips for politicians to read Machiavelli

Seven tips for politicians to read Machiavelli

  1. Read it, don’t just quote it. Like all classics, Machiavelli is much more quoted than read. His phrases travel the endless paths of the internet. And the cafes. In politics, it is almost an obligation to allude to it in a grand way. It is a forced release. Part of the political solemnity. Politicians talk about him all the time, but how many politicians have actually read Machiavelli?
  2. really know who it was. Do not stay with the false image of Machiavelli. The one that makes us believe that he was a sinister being. Nothing further from reality. Machiavelli was a great diplomat and historian. A deep connoisseur of history. A philosopher. A great reader of the classics and of life. He understood the peaks and declines that all states inevitably experience. He was an honest and courageous public servant. A statesman. He died in poverty.
  3. Know what he wrote. Machiavelli could not see two of his most important works published during his life, such as “The Prince” and “The Discourses on the First Decade of Tito Livio”. The latter, a large-scale work. Machiavelli cannot be judged only by The Prince. He was one of the great theoreticians of the republic.
  4. Don’t forget the era in which you lived. Do not want to judge Machiavelli as if he lived among us today. He was born in Florence in 1469 and died there in 1527. At that time he only came to power by inheritance or by arms. There was always great political instability. He had to experience the splendor and decadence of Florence. His works respond to that reality.
  5. Machiavelli never said “The end justifies the means”. If you are a politician who frequently quotes this phrase and attributes it to Machiavelli, don’t do it anymore, because you never said it. Better read his books. You will not regret.
  6. Read Machiavelli’s Smile by Maurizio Viroli. (At least). This is one of the great biographers of him. With this book he will get closer to the real Machiavelli, not the one that has been misrepresented by those who have not read him. Viroli, who has studied Machiavelli for more than twenty years, shows us in this work, his greatness and transcendence.
  7. Be Machiavellian, but for real. The exercise of power requires Fortune and Virtue. Of intuition and intelligence. Listen to few, but quality. Then decide. See history. Always ask yourself what others did in conditions similar to yours, in other times. The human condition has always been the same. Be fair, more than good. Never be cruel. It is the best way to be Machiavellian.



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The entrance Seven tips for politicians to read Machiavelli was first published on The Independent.

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