Familiar Proverbs

A proverb is a short, quick way to give you a pattern or model for thinking about a concept. Examples of familiar proverbs are:

  • His chance of succeeding is like that of a snowball’s chance in hell. A snowball, of course, has no chance in hot hell. It will melt immediately.
  • We must leave no stone unturned in our search for a solution to this problem. We must search everywhere so that we don’t overlook any possible solution.
  • Her continued effort to promote that product is like beating a dead horse. No matter how hard you try, you will fail.

Machiavellian Proverbs

The Ends Usually Justify the Means: Do what you have to do to make things turn out like you want them to. You are limited, of course, by your ethical and moral values. It is estimated that invading Japan in WWII would have resulted in 100,000 American deaths. Instead, Truman dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war. What would you have done?
Truman and Bomb

Money Solves Most Problems: Money buys education, good books, a good life for your family, lawyers, accountants, social status, vacations, good food, medical care, furniture, appliances, burglar alarms, college tuition, etc. Is your spouse depressed? Money buys psychiatrists and anti-depressants. Is your son flunking college? Money buys tutors. Is your father senile? Money buys nursing homes.


A Big Ego Is a Big Weakness: It makes you very susceptible to flattery and very unnerved by an insult. What is the Machiavellian alternative to a big ego? Certainly not humility. Instead, assess yourself objectively. You are not the best or worst. You have plenty of strengths and plenty of weaknesses. Some of your weaknesses can be corrected, but some cannot. Ugly people cannot become beautiful. Bright people cannot become brilliant. Short people (much discriminated against) cannot become tall.


You Cannot Control Luck: Almost every successful person insists that his or her success is the result of their intelligence, determination, and worthiness. They never think about the fact that many other people with the same intelligence, determination, and worthiness did not succeed. They are like two gamblers sitting at two slot machines side-by-side. One becomes rich and the other goes broke.

bad luckgood_luck











Disappointment: Sometimes you will be disappointed in others.
Sometimes you will be disappointed in yourself.
Sometimes you will have a flat tire.
Your choices are (1) sit on the curb and weep or (2) fix the tire.
Take your pick.

flat tire weeper 2flat tire fixer 2



Midas Jones
Promoting Better Living Through Machiavellianism


cover Mach21st

Recommended Reading

Machiavelli’s Prince
(Free on Project Gutenberg)

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy
by Robert H. Frank