“All states, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities. Principalities are either hereditary, in which the family has been long established; or they are new. The new are either entirely new, as was Milan to Francesco Sforza, or they are, as it were, members annexed to the hereditary state of the prince who has acquired them, as was the kingdom of Naples to that of the King of Spain. Such dominions thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a prince, or to live in freedom; and are acquired either by the arms of the prince himself, or of others, or else by fortune or by ability.” Nicolo Machiavelli
If you could only study two books as a leader of any type, the two books I would most highly recommend would be The Art of War and The Prince. Others often recommend various treatise on war or strategy, however, between these two works there is almost never a need to even open another book on strategy or leadership.
It is my singular opinion that with the knowledge held within the pages of these two works properly applied, an individual can live a tactically sound life. For many the use of the word tactic or tactically brings forth the idea that war must be involved. I would suggest that all of life is war, and not of the violent type, rather, a situation in which people compete with each other. Hence the use of sound tactics or specific plans to gain a goal or objective is not a negative thing, rather it is the most logical approach possible.
What Machiavelli did was to define what a city-state was in regards to government and what actually exists. It was in my study of his work that I realized the vast differences between tribal governments and city-states. It was at this time that I also realized that all governments regardless name or type or description were identical in that power and those who had it and those who didnt was all that mattered.
Between the two works there is one constant, and that is a very simple reality. Once the people believe that what exists as leadership is necessary, they will rarely rebel or give cause for change. It is with a strong centralized system of government that rule is sustained through generations regardless of election, selection or inheritance. This is why the “Civil War” or “War of Northern Aggression” was fought in the United States. It was not over slavery or even taxation but rather the idea that a few states could separate from their centralized leadership. Now, obviously, I do not expect others to believe or even care about this. However, the fact remains, power is maintained through firm control of a centralized governing authority regardless if it is business, political or war related.
The Prince clearly defines and shows you how this works and why. It is one of the clearest writings on the pure nature of power in existence today. “A principality is created either by the people or by the nobles, accordingly as one or other of them has the opportunity; for the nobles, seeing they cannot withstand the people, begin to cry up the reputation of one of themselves, and they make him a prince, so that under his shadow they can give vent to their ambitions.” This is how democracy and a republic work, the loudest proponents of equality, fairness and justice are also the ones who once elected will gather unto themselves power that ensures their continued gain and your continued loss.
I firmly recommend only these two works for you as a reader, as all others simply draw from or are a conglomeration of what you will find in these. They are freely available via the links provided below.
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Free the mind and the body will follow