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"What Would Machiavelli Do" is both a satire of America's sadistic corporate culture AND an instruction book on how to be a ruthless, self-indulgent ladder-climber.
It's very funny, except when you think too much about it. Bing acknowledges and accepts--even celebrates--the twisted idiosyncrasies of life among the suits; stuff that would make any blue collar worker or crunchy granola idealist puke. But it's all true, and that's the sad part. Bing sees it all for how strange it is, and it's his perception that enables him to both make fun of the system while succeeding in it. It's a strange contradiction. It's as if business were a mudhole and Bing glides along easily without ever getting dirty because he has a profound understanding of mud.
Anyway, I liked it. The book put in writing a lot of what I thought about the business world, and a lot that nobody in upper management would ever admit to.
What ISN'T funny is that it demonstrates a sad state of affairs in business culture today and of yesteryear. Knowing there are managers out there that do practice these principles is somewhat disturbing; you don't have to be a jerk to get ahead.
If anything, this book tells you how to look out for these people--it's up to you to beat them at their own game.
Fantasize about having that corner office on the 49th floor with the working fireplace, adjoining bedroom, and full washroom with a steam shower---and, what the Hell, your own chef?
In short, are you tired of being a chump, and are you ready to be King of the Corporate Jungle? No?
Figures. Go back to making copies of the pitchbook for the Mangelbrucher account, you schlep---and make sure you book yourself on coach for the due diligence trip out to Milwaukee!
Where were we? Oh yeah: Do you think that the people who succeed wildly in society are brigher than you? Of *course* they're not!
They're just meaner.
Meaner than most. Certainly Meaner than you, which is the whole point of Stanley Bing's marvellous little book, "What would Machiavelli Do" which draws on classic philosophy to give you a primer for revamping your career, your outlook, and ultimately attaining your dream goal of wielding power, throwing money around, and making the corporate stiffs around you cower in their Guccis.
Oh yeah, and kicking a** and taking names. Lots of a**. Lots of names.
Witty, engaging, mercifully brief, and broken down into nice bullet-points (because who the Hell has time for drawn-out literature these day? Not the Meanies in the executive suite, that's for sure!), Stanley Bring distills the timeless wisdom of that Florentine master of Real Politik, Niccolo Machiavelli---and serves it up piping hot, with a dollop of bladder-curdling poison (doubtless from one of those Borgia assassin rings), right to your table!
What could be better? A promotion, better corporate digs, a Dodge Viper to ride to work in, more stock options, and a golden parachute, for starters---but hey, you're learning. With Bing's invaluable little tome, you will be able to dust yourself off, start loving the only person on Earth who really matters (hint: you), and start building up a corporate career that would give Napoleon the creeping crawls.
Speaking of which, do you remember Machiavelli, the author of such bloodcurdling tomes of political realism as the "Prince" and the "Discourses"? If you don't, Bing will summarize for you quickly, as will I: Machiavelli was the guy who said "the Ends justify the Means." He also said that, presented with the quandary of whether it is better to be loved than feared, "the Prince should hope to be loved, but be sure to be feared."
But frankly, Fear is a lot more fun anyway. Right? Right!
Bing draws from the guts of Machiavelli's writings to come up with 45 pithy little nuggets of wisdom, each reeking of brimstone and guaranteed to turn you into a better---or at least meaner---person. With stock options and a huge corporate expense account.
So exactly what would Machiavelli do if he were hanging around in American business today?
He would delegate: very important. Look at you, slaving away in your grey cubicle until 7 at night, then carting work home in a bookbag! You think Machiavelli would do that? He'd make you do it. He'd especially be good at alternating guilt trips, stomach-knotting fits of rage and fury, and lavish demonstrations of praise and affection.
He would, much like Sun Tzu, smash the canashtas out of his enemies when they least wanted to fight---you know, when their Capital Budget numbers got slashed by 60%---and he'd split when they were girded for war, loaded with adrenaline and caffeine, ready to fight.
He would realize that, in the grand scheme of things, the Earth is going to be an iceball in a billion years or so and all of this---this paper, these files, the Gorzoi account---are infinitely small cosmic vapors in the grand scheme of things.
Cosmic vapors that could, quite possibly, be manipulated for his wealth, delight, and amusement.
He would think BIG. He would be paranoid! He would relish his own depravity, obnoxiousness, and childish fits! He would mortally wound and cripple anything and everything that stood in his way, especially nuns. He would be constantly at war---with the VP of syndications! with Ops! with Carruthers, the goofy structured finance guy down the hall who said something unflattering in the Monday morning meeting!---and he would win!
He would kick a**, and take names.
Role Models here: Idi Amin, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, Gordon Gekko, Michael Milken, Martha Stewart, Ivan Boesky, Bill Gates. Anti-Role Models: Jesus, Mother Teresa, Leo Buscaglia, Dr. Phil (though I hear Dr. Phil can be a real Meanie when the cameras aren't rolling---good for him!).
He would never say he was sorry: saying you're sorry is a sign of weakness, and if you find yourself doing that a lot---or worrying about being `sensitive'---then one dark night, my noble friend, you'll find yourself hauled out of your cubicle kicking and screaming because some inner-office Machiavelli-in-Training got more out of this book than you did---and decided to make his numbers look better by taking a hatchet to your job.
Get the picture? Good.
Bing has produced a modern classic, one of which the Master himself would approve. "What would Machiavelli Do" proves that you shouldn't just *climb* the corporate ladder---bring a few of your own (along with a few other siege engines), and capture the whole castle. Get this book---learn it, live it, love it, and definitely don't loan it out---and watch the fear in your co-workers' eyes as you conquer every square inch of real estate around you.
Onward, my Prince!
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