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The new Machiavelli:the art of politics in business

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Books offering instruction on how to succeed in business have drawn inspiration from diverse sources. Recent titles include Jesus CEO, The Kabbalah of Money, Zen and the Art of Making a Living, and of course, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun. Now comes a volume of career tips loosely based on the ideas of Niccolò Machiavelli. A citizen of Florence during the height of the Renaissance, Machiavelli scandalized moralists with his now-classic work of political theory, The Prince. In it, he calmly describes and appears to justify the lies and cruelty of effective leaders. He may have been the world's first exponent of Realpolitik. The New Machiavelli quotes liberally from The Prince and imitates its quaint style throughout. The book offers thoughtful perspectives on many modern business topics--starting a business, mounting an unfriendly takeover, managing people, controlling costs, handling public relations. Yet, Machiavellian it is not. Where the master endorsed dishonesty as though he had read Bill Clinton's popularity ratings, McAlpine warns would-be tycoons that cheaters never prosper. In The New Machiavelli, moralism lives. Its imitation of Machiavelli's rhetorical style keeps it wonderfully free of modern management jargon. Occasionally its insights strike home with eloquence. Surely everyone in business has sometimes lain awake at night running spreadsheet numbers in his or her head. All will recognize the wisdom of McAlpine's advice, "Under no circumstances should the businessperson engage in mental arithmetic after sunset." --Barry Mitzman

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