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Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Niccolo Machiavelli.

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Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 877606

Therefore, he who considers it necessary to secure himself in his new principality, to win friends, to overcome either by force or fraud, to make himself beloved and feared by the people, to be followed and revered by the soldiers, to exterminate those who have power or reason to hurt him, to change the old order of things for new, to be severe and gracious, magnanimous and liberal, to destroy a disloyal soldiery and to create new, to maintain friendship with kings and princes in such a way that they must help him with zeal and offend with caution, cannot find a more lively example than the actions of this man. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 2094142

Men are so self-complacent in their own affairs, and so willing to deceive themselves, that they are rescued with difficulty from this pest. If they wish to defend themselves they run the risk of becoming contemptible. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 817071

For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it; and in the world there are only the vulgar, for the few find a place there only when the many have no ground to rest on. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1827876

A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1352836

To understand the nature of the people one must be a prince, and to understand the nature of the prince, one must be of the people — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 647472

To keep your actions and your plans secret always has been a very good thing .. Marcus Crassus said to one who asked him when he was going to move the army: 'Do you believe that you will be the only one not to hear the trumpet? — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 671154

Between an armed and an unarmed man no proportion holds, and it is contrary to reason to expect that the armed man should voluntarily submit to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should stand secure among armed retainers. For with contempt on one side, and distrust on the other, it is impossible that men should work well together. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1896269

If they lacked the opportunity, the strength of their sprit would have been sapped; if they had lacked ability, the opportunity would have been wasted. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1636211

For a long time I have not said what I believed, nor do I ever believe what I say, and if indeed sometimes I do happen to tell the truth, I hide it among so many lies that it is hard to find. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1215023

Women are the most charitable creatures, and the most troublesome. He who shuns women passes up the trouble, but also the benefits. He who puts up with them gains the benefits, but also the trouble. As the saying goes, there's no honey without bees. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 463947

Appear as you may wish to be — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 829937

But above all he must refrain from seizing the property of others, because a man is quicker to forget the death of his father than the loss of his patrimony. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 662576

When evening has come, I return to my house and go into my study. At the door I take off my clothes of the day, covered with mud and mire, and I put on my regal and courtly garments; and decently reclothed, I enter the ancient courts of ancient men, where, received by them lovingly, I feed on the food that alone is mine and that I was born for. There I am not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their humanity reply to me. And for the space of four hours I feel no boredom, I forget every pain, I do not fear poverty, death does not frighten me. I deliver myself entirely to them. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1292152

Power is the pivot on which everything hinges. He who has the power is always right; the weaker is always wrong. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 832046

It is truly natural and ordinary thing to desire gain; and when those who can succeed attempt it, they will always be praised and not blamed. But if they cannot succeed, yet try anyway, they are guilty of error and are blameworthy. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 775483

One of the great secrets of the day is to know how to take possession of popular prejudices and passions, in such a way as to introduce a confusion of principles which makes impossible all understanding between those who speak the same language and have the same interests. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1753767

No one should therefore fear that he cannot accomplish what others have accomplished, for, men are born, live, and die in quite the same way they always have. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 858090

One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Those who simply act like lions are stupid. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 384484

Time sweeps everything along and can bring good as well as evil, evil as well as good. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 730537

The greatest remedy that is used against a plan of the enemy is to do voluntarily what he plans that you do by force. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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For friendships that are acquired by a price and not by greatness and nobility of character are purchased but are not owned, and at the proper moment they cannot be spent. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1896193

To be feared is much safer then to be loved. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 445095

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. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 99745

One should never permit a disorder to persist in order to avoid a war, for wars cannot be avoided and can only be deferred to the advantage of others. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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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. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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A wise prince then ... should never be idle in times of peace but should industriously lay up stores of which to avail himself in times of adversity so that when fortune abandons him he may be prepared to resist her blows. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Is it better to be loved or feared? — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Knowing how to fight made men more bold, because no one fears doing what it seems to him he has learned to do. Therefore, the ancients wanted their citizens to be trained in every warlike action. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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But while it was their opportunities that made these men fortunate, it was their own merit that enabled them to recognize these opportunities and turn them to account, to the glory and prosperity of their country. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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He who thinks new favours will cause great personages to forget old injuries deceives himself. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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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. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 119813

So far as he is able, a prince should stick to the path of good but, if the necessity arises, he should know how to follow evil. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Fear is as dangerous an enemy as resentment. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Thus it will always happen that he who is not your friend will demand your neutrality, whilst he who is your friend will entreat you to declare yourself with arms. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 301128

A prince ... must learn from the fox and the lion ... One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Those who act simply as lions are stupid. So it follows that a prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honour his word when it places him at a disadvantage and when the reasons for which he made his promise no longer exist. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 316732

Men always praise antiquity and fault the present, although not always reasonably, and they are partisans of things past such that not only do they celebrate those ages that they know from what historians have preserved of them, but also those that as old men they recall having seen in their youth. And if this opinion of theirs is false, as it is most of the time, I am persuaded that there are various causes that lead them into this deception. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Physicians tell us of hectic fever, that in its beginning it is easy to cure, but hard to recognize; whereas, after a time, not having been detected and treated at the first, it becomes easy to recognize but impossible to cure. And so it is with State affairs. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 386588

The people resemble a wild beast, which, naturally fierce and accustomed to live in the woods, has been brought up, as it were, in a prison and in servitude, and having by accident got its liberty, not being accustomed to search for its food, and not knowing where to conceal itself, easily becomes the prey of the first who seeks to incarcerate it again. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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The gulf between how one should live and how one does live is so wide that a man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done learns the way to self-destruction rather than self-preservation. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Wherefore, as has already been said, a Prince who is ignorant of military affairs, besides other disadvantages, can neither be respected by his soldiers, nor can he trust them. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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It is often found that modesty and humility not only do no good, but are positively hurtful, when they are shown to the arrogant who have taken up a prejudice against you, either from envy or from any other cause. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Takes us the farther distance from the Old World to something new and revolutionary in human thought. That moral center, however, is hard to find with modern eyes. Locating it requires — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 480940

I hold it to be of great prudence for men to abstain from threats and insulting words towards any one, for neither the one nor the other in any way diminishes the strength of the enemy; but the one makes him more cautious, and the other increases his hatred of you, and makes him more persevering in his efforts to injure you — Niccolo Machiavelli

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At Florence which included diplomatic missions to various European courts. Imprisoned — Niccolo Machiavelli

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And above all you ought to guard against leading an army to fight which is afraid or which is not confident of victory. For the greatest sign of an impending loss is when one does not believe one can win. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Government should be elevated into a living moral force, capable of inspiring the people with a just recognition of the fundamental principles of society; — Niccolo Machiavelli

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I say that every prince ought to desire to be considered clement and not cruel. Nevertheless he ought to take care not to misuse this clemency. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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And here one must not that hatred is acquired just as much by means of good actions as by bad ones; and so, as I said above, if a prince wishes to maintain the state, he is often obliged not to be good; because whenever that group which you believe you need to support you is corrupted, whether it be the common people, the soldiers, or the nobles, it is to your advantage to follow their inclinations in order to satisfy them; and then good actions are your enemy. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 823703

Virtue gives birth to tranquility, tranquility to leisure, leisure to disorder, disorder to ruin ... and similarly from ruin, order is born, from order virtue, from virtue, glory and good fortune. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Fear is secured by a dread of punishment. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 885852

But in new Princedoms difficulties abound. And, first, if the Princedom be not wholly new, but joined on to the ancient dominions of the Prince, so as to form with them what may be termed a mixed Princedom, changes will come from a cause common to all new States, namely, that men, thinking to better their condition, are always ready to change masters, and in this expectation will take up arms against any ruler; wherein they deceive themselves, and find afterwards by experience that they are worse off than before — Niccolo Machiavelli

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In our own days we have seen no princes accomplish great results save those who have been accounted miserly. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 896621

Thus it is well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious, and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to change to the opposite qualities. And it must be understood that a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things which are considered good in men, being often obliged, in order to maintain the state, to act against faith, against charity, against humanity, and against religion. And, therefore, he must have a mind disposed to adapt itself according to the wind, and as the variations of fortune dictate, and, as I said before, not deviate from what is good, if possible, but be able to do evil if constrained. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved — Niccolo Machiavelli

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for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse. This — Niccolo Machiavelli

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The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Ability and perseverance are the weapons of weakness. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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The ends justifies the means — Niccolo Machiavelli

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It is necessary that the prince should know how to color his nature well, and how to be a hypocrite and dissembler. For men are so simple, and yield so much to immediate necessity, that the deceiver will never lack dupes. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1131182

Republics have a longer life and enjoy better fortune than principalities, because they can profit by their greater internal diversity. They are the better able to meet emergencies. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1198272

Though fraud in all other actions be odious, yet in matters of war it is laudable and glorious, and he who overcomes his enemies by stratagem is as much to be praised as he who overcomes them by force. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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For, in truth, there is no sure way of holding other than by destroying — Niccolo Machiavelli

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And in examining their life and deeds it will be seen that they owed nothing to fortune but the opportunity which gave them matter to be shaped into the form that they thought fit; and without that opportunity their powers would have been wasted, and without their powers the opportunity would have come in vain. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1238047

I assert once again as a truth to which history as a whole bears witness that men may second their fortune, but cannot oppose it; that they may weave its warp, but cannot break it. Yet they should never give up, because there is always hope, though they know not the end and more towards it along roads which cross one another and as yet are unexplored; and since there is hope, they should not despair, no matter what fortune brings or in what travail they find themselves. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1258303

People are by nature fickle, and it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to keep them persuaded. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1345618

Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1364916

The prince who relies upon their words, without having otherwise provided for his security, is ruined; for friendships that are won by awards, and not by greatness and nobility of soul, although deserved, yet are not real, and cannot be depended upon in time of adversity. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1367535

For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible; which is one of those disgraceful things which a prince must guard against. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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You have to be a prince to understand the people, and you have to belong to the people to understand the princes ... — Niccolo Machiavelli

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When trouble is sensed well in advance it can easily be remedied; if you wait for it to show itself any medicine will be too late because the disease will have become incurable. As the doctors say of a wasting disease, to start with it is easy to cure but difficult to diagnose;after a time, unless it has been diagnosed and treated at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. So it is in politics. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1523922

One can generally say this about men: that they are ungrateful, fickle, simulators and deceivers, avoiders of danger, greedy for gain; and while you work for their good they are completely yours, offering you their blood, their property, their lives, and their sons when danger is far away; but when it comes nearer to you, they turn away. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1549040

Being feared and not hated go well together, and the prince can always do this if he does not touch the property or the women of his citizens and subjects. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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For on Cardinal Rohan saying to me that the Italians did not understand war, I replied that the French did not understand politics. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Many have imagined republics and principalities which have never been seen or known to exist in reality, for how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done will rather bring about his ruin than his preservation. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1625548

For when religion is once established you may readily bring in arms; but where you have arms without religion it is not easy afterwards to bring in religion. We — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Men are of three different capacities: one understands intuitively; another understands so far as it is explained; and a third understands neither of himself nor by explanation. The first is excellent, the second, commendable, and the third, altogether useless. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1659625

Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. This it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them, there is no longer a remedy — Niccolo Machiavelli

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No principality is secure without having its own forces; — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1661495

Princes should delegate to others the enactment of unpopular measures and keep in their own hands the means of winning favours. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1681495

Results are often obtained by impetuosity and daring which could never have been obtained by ordinary methods. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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You do not know the unfathomable cowardice of humanity ... servile in the face of force, pitiless in the face of weakness, implacable before blunders, indulgent before crimes ... and patient to the point of martyrdom before all the violences of bold despotism. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1793484

Those who solely by good fortune become princes from being private citizens have little trouble in rising, but much in keeping atop; they have not any difficulties on the way up because they fly, but they have many when they reach the summit. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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T happens in all human affairs that we never seek to escape one mischief without falling into another. Prudence therefore consists in knowing how to distinguish degrees of disadvantage, and in accepting a less evil as a good. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes 1920717

the prince who relies entirely on fortune is lost when it changes. I believe also that he will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful. Because men are seen, in affairs that lead to the end which every man has before him, namely, glory and riches, to get there by various methods; one with caution, another with haste; one by force, another by skill; one by patience, another by its opposite; and each one succeeds in reaching the goal by a different method. One — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Thus a wise prince will think of ways to keep his citizens of every sort and under every circumstance dependent on the state and on him; and then they will always be trustworthy — Niccolo Machiavelli

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For since men for the most part follow in the footsteps and imitate the actions of others, and yet are unable to adhere exactly to those paths which others have taken, or attain to the virtues of those whom they would resemble, the wise man should always follow the roads that have been trodden by the great, and imitate those who have most excelled, so that if he cannot reach their perfection, he may at least acquire something of its savour. Acting in this like the skilful archer, who seeing that the object he would hit is distant, and knowing the range of his bow, takes aim much above the destined mark; not designing that his arrow should strike so high, but that flying high it may alight at the point intended. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Always assume incompetence before looking for conspiracy. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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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. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Nevertheless, he must be cautious in believing and acting, and must not inspire fear of his own accord, and must proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence does not render him incautious, and too much diffidence does not render him intolerant. From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Benefits should be granted little by little, so that they may be better enjoyed. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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I hold strongly to this: that it is better to be impetuous than circumspect; because fortune is a woman and if she is to be submissive it is necessary to beat and coerce her. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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To ensure victory the troops must have confidence in themselves as well as in their commanders. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuous in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous. — Niccolo Machiavelli

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Those who become princes through their skill acquire the pricipality with difficulty, buy they hold onto it with ease. — Niccolo Machiavelli