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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on November 1, 2003
Confession - I'm a fan of Bing's column in Fortune.
Bing brings his style of humour to bear on all those behaviours which we've heard or seen megalomaniacs use, but hope we never get to experience them first hand, and of course we would never dream of applying them ourselves.
So, this isn't a book to use to learn new torture techniques, but to learn to identify those traits in others and be aware (or should that be 'beware'?).
Of the 45 or so Chapters, here is a selection of my favourites, giving excellent personal examples, naming names :
Responding to the question "What would Machiavelli do? He would ......"
- be a paranoid freak
- always be at war
- fire his own mother
- respond poorly to criticism
- have no conscience to speak of
- scream at people a lot
- establish and maintain a psychotic level of control
and lastly
- not be a jerk
Read the book to find the famous names who fit these profiles!
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on September 25, 2002
I have not read this book yet, but am ordering it now. About a month ago my boss mentioned that he just read this book and how it re-affirmed every notion he had about how to manage. Ever since then he has been on an absolute rampage. He seems to be at war with his own department and the rest of the company. I think it has set him off the deep end. I guess my only defense is to become a little Machiavelli too. What happens when everyone reads this book?
I bought the book but after about 50 pages it seemed too inane to finish. However, my boss has just been informed he is being demoted and transferred out of my department. Too bad.
I think this was the result of taking this book at face value and putting its suggestions into practice. Either you are born a Machiavelli or you are not. After all, Machiavelli never had to read a book on how to be Machiavelli.
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on February 2, 2003
This book is a great parody of all the thousands of self help books that promise the world but never deliver. They all tell you exactly what you want to hear (you deserve success, fame, riches, beautiful mates etc) but never what it takes to get all those things. This book takes a different tack and tells you how to get anything you want in life and what's really required ( most of the time ), in gruesome detail.
For those seeking academic insights into Machiavelli, keep looking. This is a book better sold in the humor section rather than business sections of book stores. It is exremely light on history or scholarly detail.
If you want a sarcastic, funny view of office politics try this book. For those readers who claim this is an "evil" book, get real. This book is meant for humor, not as a guide book on how to behave in Corporate America.
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on April 8, 2004
The author does a nice job of pulling together some concepts
of Machiavelli, who wrote about how a Prince could keep alive
and in power, while stepping over the dead bodies of his opponents, with some modern-day business leaders. He liberally
quotes from "leaders" who obviously live by the selfish,
self-aggrandizing concept of "me-me-me," and he puts those
concepts together in a very intearesting, readable way.
Some of the business and entertainment "leaders" quoted are so
self-absorbed, working with no concept of public good, or even
public interest, the reader has to wonder at times whether author Bing is being serious or trying to make his point with
satire. So the reader can wonder while reading some interesting
quotes and concepts for getting ahead in the modern business
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on November 28, 2001
This is not a bad book. But it should not be taken too seriously for REAL macchiavelian people.
As expected, reading Macchiavelli's "The Prince" is surely much more useful than reading this interpretation... and it's free (try searching for the English text on Google)!
This book is similar to self-help books: they can't really help you, because they teach you HOW, not WHY. By doing so, such books have very limited application, as real life is always significantly different from book scenarios.
Reading about Games Theory, Social Psichology and Cognitive Science will surely take you farther on the task of manipulating people and taking advantage on them.
(by the way, Bing himself doesn't seem to believe his advice, as he made it clear on the last chapter. The last chapter spoils all the book).
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on January 16, 2003
Stanley Bing seems to be successful businessman giving hard-nosed, realistic advise about the business world, but one thing he is not is a writer. In fact, the writing is quite poor in this book and would be an insult to anyone with a high school reading level. On top of that, Mr. Bing quotes mass murders like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin to "prove" his point even more.
Mr. Bing feels any kind of morals or ethics need to be thrown away for the sake of making money and being successful. Yes, that has happened in the past, but look what happened to those people. They either ended up in jail or died. But if you ask Mr. Bing, that still doesn't matter because they made lots of money!!
Mr. Bing, since you are such a tough guy, let me ask you a question. Have you fought in any wars?
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on June 4, 2000
I'm a person who never misses Bing's articles in Fortune. I believe in the way he looks at things and the way He analyzes things. I like Machiavelli as well and I think that it is a pitty that he does not live with us today becasue i think he would have written a book better then his "The Prince" because he would have already see some of his beliefes already implented and Machiavelli would have elaborated more or thought of new ideas for the generations after us. Moreover, I could see Machiavelli's shadow in Bing's articles in fortune. Therefore, I thought this book would be my all time favourite and I could wait to read it but I was wrong. I consider this a humor comic. Not Informative at all and Bing's interpretation are very qoustionable.
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on May 25, 2000
If you didn't get the humor element in the book, that's a shame. If you didn't find useful gems, that's a shame too. You can be ruthless and self-serving, yet act for the good of an entire organization through many of the methods outlined. I run a company with great compassion for those loyal to "the vision", yet one cannot tolorate those who are not (truly at heart) acting within "the vision." The book can be percieved as a guide to being a heartless scoundrel or how to be a visionary leader with the best interest of the organization as the number one priority. I read it as the latter. Loved it! Machiavellian behavior can be a very positive influence when balanced with humanity.
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on June 7, 2000
I agree with the reviewer from Raleigh, NC (3/26/00). The book is a satire -- great humor based on a perceived reality of corporate America today. To see it as ANYTHING else is to completely miss the theme (and value). To see it as a handbook to use today -- well, it proves there are many dangerous people out there. As for those who gave it one star (or less than four) -- maybe it WASN'T for everyone -- the serious business types it pokes fun at. And the bigger point is that if we can't see the humor in such otherwise tragic behavior (and beliefs), and if we can't laugh at this portrayal, then we do have serious problems. Forget the handbook -- enjoy the pointed satire.
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on February 17, 2000
I bought this book based on the reviews on Amazon and am incredibly disappointed. I figured the book wasn't going to be philosophical or even very serious, but I did think it would insightful and interesting. It was neither. The "chapters" are very poorly written and have virtually no point to them. There are no developed examples and no shred of reference to anything in The Prince, other than being mean.
My copy has been relegated to the bathroom, right next to the Far Sides (which are not only more interesting, but more insightful...)
I could not not recommend this book more. The best thing about it is that it only takes 1 hour to read.
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