“One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
2.) The Maxims
3.) Relevant Reading / In Closing
Welcome to part 3 in my series of Machiavellian maxims, you know the drill by now, contained within is a pithy collection of Machiavellian wisdom. If you’ve not read anything in this series before, you can find part 1 here, and part 2 here.
2.) The Maxims:
1. – In matters of persuasion one should appeal to emotion, not reason. Where this fails, use sophistry.
2. – Logical fallacies double as effective Machiavellian power plays, for logic is antithetical to cunning.
3. – Anticipate your opponent’s moves, preempting where possible and implementing contingencies where not.
4. – An intellectual more than anybody must become Machiavellian, for it is this and this alone that will save them from predacious egos. [See More Here.]
5. – Delivery is more persuasive than substance, optimise appearance and strike when the time is right, for masterful delivery can make even the mundane into magic.
6. – In matters of defection it is more effective to offer revenge than money.
7. – It is foolish to sentimentally gauge the chance of betrayal, but rather, one should assess the incentive and capacity for doing so. Offer disincentives to maximise loyalty.
8. – Your most intimate enemies will admire you, copy you and take all your advice only to use it for an agenda that undermines yours.
9. – Each personality is a puzzle in which favour can be unlocked by demonstrating the traits desired by the personality, learn a personality and complement it to influence it.
10. – Apologies are oft ineffectual, for they stir up resentment and exacerbate matters by highlighting wrongdoing. A leader should not show regret, he should ignore, deny acknowledgement, or spin a negative into a positive. To regret is to show weakness and invite belittlement.
11. – Appear unappealing to those who don’t appeal to you, for it is better to be undesired than to be desired by the undesirable.
12. – To permit insolence from one is to court it from all; crush the insolent or deprive them a platform, lest you earn a reputation for timidity.
13. – The most terrible action can be bred from the best of intention. Be mindful of bad advice from the well intended, they may mean well but unintentional or not, their misinformation will destroy you.
14. – The power players have learned to harness the zealous delusions of their pawns to dress unvirtuous agendas in the clothing of nobility.
15. – Anybody who can conceive of evil can enact it.
16. – Conceal your intentions whilst ascertaining the competition’s, he who has the most correct data wins; always be mindful of misinformation.
17. – Most believe one should never be ruthless (because it’s evil) or that one should always be ruthless (because otherwise you’re weak). Both are wrong.
18. – Provocation is an invitation to act in a way that reduce’s one’s power; as such, ignoring is a skill any would-be Machiavellian would do well to master.
19. – Mastery of interpersonal psychology is micro Machiavellianism, mastery of military strategy is macro Machiavellianism and business strategy is both.
20. – Transactional analysis: Every time somebody asks you a question, they want you to give them value, or they’re looking to sabotage you. Be mindful of the blur between curiosity and inquisition.
21. – Strive for success but be cautious of it, for one who knows not how to handle it will be robbed of the qualities that made them great; rampant success introduces an overconfidence that diminishes reason and a complacency that destroys drive – do not be a victim of your success.
22. – The histrionic weaponises their storytelling talent on the slightest whim, for blackmail is how they obtain and chaos is how they indulge. Be wary the histrionic, for they take root and disrupt venomously like a toxin.
23. – Should you see the trifecta of: confrontation, dismissiveness and attention seeking – you have yourself a histrionic. Tread on their egg shells and succumb to aggressive sensitivity, or reject them by refusing to deign acknowledgement.
24. – Absence increases respect only when the absence is legitimate. If you ignore somebody but are observed by the ignored engaging others, you are not absent, and so elicit disrespect rather than respect. True absence is in disappearance, not observable silence.
25. – It’s subtler to deprive than to inflict. Inflict to make a statement, deprive to attack with the stealth of plausible deniability.
26. – If you don’t know how to play the game, people do not respect you, if you play the game, people think you’re untrustworthy. If one must choose, it is always better to be distrusted than disrespected.
27. – The unfocused and the stupid are easily made the puppets and pawns of those who manufacture controversy for nothing but their own advantage.
28. – When dealing with a troublesome women, a man must realise the presumption of innocence works in her favour. Reframe her presumed innocence, keep the focus on her and make veiled threats with pleasant language.
29. – Neither cuteness nor beauty translates into virtue, but the charm of such things leads the idiot to believe it does.
30. – Not addressing the concerns of lieutenants is one of the gravest mistakes a general can make. Dismissal will cost morale, loyalty and cohesion.
31. – The paranoid assume predation, and so in their lack of finesse make their distrust obvious eliciting nought but disdain.
32. – If you want power you have to become highly resistant to provocation, the weak will always try to provoke you to siphon your credibility.
33. – Do not reward insolence, it is far more efficient to silently dismiss than loudly dispute. Shows of force are only necessary should one wish to set an example.
34. – Never reward passive aggressiveness, for it is merely a precursor to insolence.
35. – The fewer words you need to explain, the likelier you are believed. This is why honest justification is intuited as dishonest – it doth protest too much.
36. – It is pointless to explain why you’re rejecting somebody because they will disdain the rejection more than they appreciate the reasoning behind your decision.
37. – The rejected will use your reason for denying them as ammunition for a smear campaign; it is wiser to deprive them data than fuel their fire. Concealment trumps transparency in matters of rejection.
38. – You may be tempted to gloat about why you’re rejecting a person, but as a matter of class and concealment, know when to stop.
39. – Cost-benefit hassle to reward ratio, where hassle exceeds reward, association or investment is unprofitable.
40. – Be very suspicious of neutral people, but be as neutral as feasible yourself; polarise only when necessary.
41. – As a scientist tests his hypotheses a Machiavellian should test his strategies.
42. – Utilise ambiguity as bait to ascertain interest.
43. – You should be civil to strangers but it should not be easy to become your friend, only lower the drawbridge for the worthy. A man who welcomes everybody into his kingdom will soon enough have no kingdom to speak of; what is true of countries is likewise of men. Pick your friends carefully.
44. – The most common way people inadvertently reveal their hand is through projection.
45. – People’s assumptions normally stem from the opinions they hold of themselves, the more emotional the individual, the more likely they are projecting.
46. – The more people want to believe, the easier it is to sell; the less people want to believe, the easier it is to hide.
47. – Use finesse when asking questions, lest you grant the impression you’re interrogating and arouse suspicions.
48. – Do not quibble over small sums or tiny favours, for the pettier you are, the smaller you seem.
49. – Misdirection is superior to omission in matters of concealment.
50. – The quickest way to make an ally is to pay up, and the quickest way to make an enemy? Not paying up.
51. – In matters of negotiation, once you identify the insecurities of the other party you have the power. If they are timid, identify their insecurities and spontaneously demonstrate qualities that assuage their fears. If they are ruthless, leverage their insecurities to degrade their ability to negotiate for more favourable terms.
52. – Find out what a person wants and you’re a step closer to knowing what they need. From here discern what they fear losing, and what they want but can’t get. Wherever there is dependence there is fear, and wherever there is fear there is leverage. Find the fear and acquire leverage.
53. – Regardless of who you deal with, be he virtuous or unvirtuous, it always pays to know a man’s fears.
54. – Whoever is willing to go further will invariably win, for he who denies a winning strategy on moral grounds forfeits victory.
55. – Every powerful man needs a fall man, a man to commit dirty deeds on his behalf, for it is in this way he will evade the deposition that follows from hate.
3.) Relevant Reading / In Closing:
If you enjoyed these maxims, check out the following.
Machiavellian Maxims (Part 1)
Machiavellian Maxims (Part 2)
The Art of War
The Art of Worldly Wisdom