Niccolò Machiavelli Quotes



Best 26 Quotes by Niccolò Machiavelli

“A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.”

“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.”

“Anyone who has a guilty conscience can easily be led to believe that people are talking about him.”

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

“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.”

“He who builds on the people, builds on the mud.”

“He who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.”

“It is best to be both feared and loved; however, if one cannot be both, it is better to be feared than loved.”

“It is better to act and repent than not to act and regret.”

“It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.”

“Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.”

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

“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.”

“Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration.”

“Never was anything great achieved without danger.”

“No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.”

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“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”


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“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.”

“Severities should be dealt out all at once, so that their suddenness may give less offence; benefits should be conferred gradually, and in that way they will taste better.”

“The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people.”

“The end justifies the means.”

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

“The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognise traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”

“Thus a wise prince will think of ways to keep his citizens of every sort and under every circumstance dependent on the state and on him; and then they will always be trustworthy.”

“When evening comes, I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death: I pass indeed into their world.”

“Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.”

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”

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“Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.”


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