Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince
Penguin Classics - ISBN 0-14-044752-0
I've been reading this of late. It's interesting. This Machiavelli guy (1469-1527) is talking about statecraft, and makes many observations as to how things have come about in the Europe that he lived in. Lots of tales of Papal pontiffs, politicians, patriarchs, and the like. If it were an operate, there would be many patricians in tights singing in Italian with plenty of blood and guts.
It's interesting because it's old stuff, yet it is new again. There are interesting section headings such as “How a prince should organize his troops”, “How cities or principalities which lived under their own laws should be administered after being conquered”, and the like.
It's like a training manual with case studies on how various princes should go about ruling their principalities depending on how they came to them in the first place. “New principalities acquired by one's own arms and prowess”.
In modern terms, I think the precepts and concepts can be applied to modern business situations. Tonight I read about the Michael being dismissed as the Master of Mickey. Certainly a coupe in the making. Since spring is in the air, there are certainly a round of mergers and acquisitions, reorgs, and whatnot across the computer industry. It will be interesting to see what patterns these various machinations appear to be following. Having recognized the beginning of one pattern, I'd like to read to the end of the associative chapter in the book to see how it's going to end.
A more modern treatment of a similar subject is “The 48 Laws of Power”, Rober Greene. Also from Penguin ISBN- 0-14-028019-7
This one has such sage advice as “Win through your actions, never through argument”.
41 - Avoid stepping into a great man's shoes
46 - Never appear too perfect
47 - Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop
They each go into great detail with case studies to prove the point, and teach how to avoid the pitfalls. Interesting stuff.
So, I look at my modern landscape with “The Prince” and “48 Laws” as guiding lights. I see what we are doing in the computer industry, and I simply think “interesting”.