And a prince ought …. always endeavour …. to gain for himself the reputation of being a great and remarkable man

This quote is from Machiavelli’s “The Prince”.. The quote in full is “And a prince ought, above all things, always endeavour in every action to gain for himself the reputation of being a great and remarkable man.”

Machiavelli knew a bit about PR and also how to motivate, flatter and manipulate people. He was no supporter of being neutral in any difficult situation; you picked your side and stood with it. Sitting on the fence, he thought, was risky because neither side would trust you and gave you two potential enemies. By taking sides, you only had the other side to worry about if yours lost.

Surprisingly, Machiavelli believed in telling the truth. But, I suspect he would have understood the wartime civil servant who also advised politicians that they should not lie but could present the facts in an order that was most convenient to them. Sound familiar?

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