Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes

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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli historian, diplomat, writer and philosopher who is famously known for his classical book on politics which is rightly named The Prince. As a philosopher, Machiavelli was greatly influenced by other great men who came before him. Some of the people who had a huge impact on the philosophies of Niccolò Machiavelli are Aristotle, Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Xenophon and many others.

As a writer, Machiavelli released thought-provoking books like The Prince, The Art of War, Discourses on Livy, Florentine Histories, Life of Castruccio Castracani as well as many others.

Here are some of the best and famous Niccolò Machiavelli quotes on power, leadership, politics, war, morality, virtue, human nature and The Prince:

Famous Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes

Famous Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes

1. Never was anything great achieved without danger. -Niccolò Machiavelli

2. Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception. -Niccolò Machiavelli

3. For one change always leaves a dovetail into which another will fit. -Niccolò Machiavelli

4. One should never fall in the belief that you can find someone to pick you up. -Niccolò Machiavelli

5. I desire to go to Hell and not to Heaven. In the former I shall enjoy the company of popes, kings and princes, while in the latter are only beggars, monks and apostles. -Niccolò Machiavelli

6. Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.

Niccolò Machiavelli

7. It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver. -Niccolò Machiavelli

8. He who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived. -Niccolò Machiavelli

9. Half of these aren’t even Machiavelli. Some are Plato, Thucydides etc….doesnt anyone check these? -Niccolò Machiavelli

10. Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions. -Niccolò Machiavelli

11. Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened: everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity. -Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Power

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Power

12. He who builds on the people, builds on the mud. -Niccolò Machiavelli

13. Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. -Niccolò Machiavelli

14. Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil. -Niccolò Machiavelli

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

16. 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.

Niccolò Machiavelli

17. It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. -Niccolò Machiavelli

18. Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed. -Niccolò Machiavelli

19. Therefore the best fortress is to be found in the love of the people, for although you may have fortresses they will not save you if you are hated by the people. -Niccolò Machiavelli

20. He who causes another to become powerful ruins himself, for he brings such a power into being either by design or by force, and both of these elements are suspects to the one whom he has made powerful. -Niccolò Machiavelli

21. Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite. -Niccolò Machiavelli

22. I conclude therefore that, fortune being changeful and mankind steadfast in their ways, so long as the two are in agreement men are successful, but unsuccessful when they fall out. For my part I consider that it is better to be adventurous than cautious, because fortune is a woman, and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her; and it is seen that she allows herself to be mastered by the adventurous rather than by those who go to work more coldly. She is, therefore, always, woman-like, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity command her. -Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Leadership

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Leadership

23. Appear as you may wish to be. -Niccolò Machiavelli

24. It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles. -Niccolò Machiavelli

25. Nature creates few men brave, industry and training makes many. -Niccolò Machiavelli

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

27. 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.

Niccolò Machiavelli

28. It is better to act and repent than not to act and regret. -Niccolò Machiavelli

29. He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command. -Niccolò Machiavelli

30. The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people. -Niccolò Machiavelli

31. A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it. -Niccolò Machiavelli

32. There is no other way of guarding against adulation, than to make people understand that they will not offend you by speaking the truth. On the other hand, when everyone feels at liberty to tell you the truth, they will be apt to be lacking in respect to you. -Niccolò Machiavelli

33. When everyone feels free to tell you the truth, respect for you dwindles… A wise prince should take another course: choose wise men for your advisors, and allow only them the liberty of speaking the truth to the prince, and only on matters about which you ask, and nothing else. But you should question them about everything, listen patiently to their opinions, then form your own conclusions later. -Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Politics

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Politics

34. Politics have no relation to morals. -Niccolò Machiavelli

35. I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it. -Niccolò Machiavelli

36. In conclusion, the arms of others either fall from your back, or they weigh you down, or they bind you fast. -Niccolò Machiavelli

37. He who becomes a Prince through the favor of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do, since all they ask is not to be oppressed. -Niccolò Machiavelli

38. Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.

Niccolò Machiavelli

39. He who is highly esteemed is not easily conspired against. -Niccolò Machiavelli

40. A prince is also esteemed when he is a true friend and a true enemy. -Niccolò Machiavelli

41. 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. -Niccolò Machiavelli

42. Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge. -Niccolò Machiavelli

43. 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. -Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On War

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On War

44. War brings out thieves and peace hangs them. -Niccolò Machiavelli

45. War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms. -Niccolò Machiavelli

46. There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

Niccolò Machiavelli

47. A prince must not have any other object nor any other thought… but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands. -Niccolò Machiavelli

48. War should be the only study of a prince. He should consider peace only as a breathing-time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes as ability to execute, military plans. -Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Morality And Virtue

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Morality And Virtue

49. There is nothing more important than appearing to be religious. -Niccolò Machiavelli

50. We cannot attribute to fortune or virtue that which is achieved without either. -Niccolò Machiavelli

51. How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.

Niccolò Machiavelli

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

53. A prudent man will always try to follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been truly outstanding, so that, if he is not quite as skillful as they, at least some of their ability may rub off on him. -Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Human Nature

Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes On Human Nature

54. Men sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. -Niccolò Machiavelli

55. Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived. -Niccolò Machiavelli

56. A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways. -Niccolò Machiavelli

57. Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant. -Niccolò Machiavelli

58. Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.

Niccolò Machiavelli

59. Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain. -Niccolò Machiavelli

60. Men intrinsically do not trust new things that they have not experienced themselves. -Niccolò Machiavelli

61. Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are. -Niccolò Machiavelli

62. Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion. -Niccolò Machiavelli

63. One can say this in general of men: they are ungrateful, disloyal, insincere and deceitful, timid of danger and avid of profit…Love is a bond of obligation that these miserable creatures break whenever it suits them to do so; but fear holds them fast by a dread of punishment that never passes. -Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli The Prince Quotes

Niccolò Machiavelli The Prince Quotes

64. Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great. -Niccolò Machiavelli

65. For, in truth, there is no sure way of holding other than by destroying. -Niccolò Machiavelli

66. The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar. -Niccolò Machiavelli

67. If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. -Niccolò Machiavelli

68. There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you. -Niccolò Machiavelli

69. My view is that it is desirable to be both loved and feared; but it is difficult to achieve both and, if one of them has to be lacking, it is much safer to be feared than loved. -Niccolò Machiavelli

70. 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. -Niccolò Machiavelli

71. And truly it is a very natural and ordinary thing to desire to acquire, and always, when men do it who can, they will be praised or not blamed; but when they cannot, and wish to do it anyway, here lies the error and the blame. -Niccolò Machiavelli

72. 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. -Niccolò Machiavelli

73. Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.

Niccolò Machiavelli

74. For whoever believes that great advancement and new benefits make men forget old injuries is mistaken. -Niccolò Machiavelli

75. The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves. -Niccolò Machiavelli

76. It is much safer to be feared than loved because love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails. -Niccolò Machiavelli

77. Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless. -Niccolò Machiavelli

78. And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. -Niccolò Machiavelli

79. It’s better to be impulsive than cautious; fortune is female and if you want to stay on top of her you have to slap and thrust. You’ll see she’s more likely to yield that way than to men who go about her coldly. And being a woman she likes her men young, because they’re not so cagey, they’re wilder and more daring when they master her. -Niccolò Machiavelli

80. It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. -Niccolò Machiavelli

81. 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 re-clothed, 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. -Niccolò Machiavelli