If you’re looking for the best Niccolo Machiavelli quotes then look no further.
Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, writer, playwright and poet of the Renaissance period. His best work is regarded The Prince, one of the first leadership advice books in the western world.
While Niccolo Machiavelli has often been called the father of modern political philosophy and political science, unfortunately, for him, his name has gone down in history as shorthand for some deplorable human behavior, as in:
Machiavellian – cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics or in advancing one’s career.
Machiavellianism in psychology refers to a personality trait that sees a person so focused on their own interests they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals.
Because of the negative connotations associated with his name many people believe that anything he must say is also cunning, devious and deceitful but Niccolo Machiavelli has some incredible quotes on democracy, life, leadership, morality, power, success and even war.
Below you’ll find the best Niccolo Machiavelli quotes to reflect on and be inspired by.
Top Niccolo Machiavelli Quotes
1. “It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
2. “Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
3. “Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not to suffer.” – Niccolo Machiavelli (This is one of my favorite Niccolo Machiavelli quotes, what’s yours?)
4. “Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
5. “Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes but few have the gift of penetration.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
6. “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
7. “Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
8. “A sign of intelligence is an awareness of one’s own ignorance.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
9. “Never was anything great achieved without danger.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
10. “A wise ruler should rely on what is under his own control, not on what is under the control of others.” – Niccolo Machiavelli (One of the best Niccolo Machiavelli quotes on leadership.)
11. “No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
12. “All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
13. “The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
14. “Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
15. “The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
16. “I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
17. “Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
18. “When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
19. “The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
20. “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
21. “It is better to act and repent, than not to act and repent.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
22. “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
23. “He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
24. “Tardiness often robs us opportunity, and the dispatch of our forces.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
25. “One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
26. “God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
27. “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.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
28. “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
29. “There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling the truth will not offend you.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
30. “Men intrinsically do not trust new things that they have not experienced themselves.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
31. “Power is the pivot on which everything hinges. He who has the power is always right; the weaker is always wrong.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
32. “Women are the most charitable creatures, and the most troublesome. He who shuns women passes up the trouble, but also the benefits. He who puts up with them gains the benefits, but also the trouble. As the saying goes, there’s no honey without bees.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
33. “Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
34. “Men are so stupid and concerned with their present needs, they will always let themselves be deceived.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
35. “There is nothing as likely to succeed as what the enemy believes you cannot attempt.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
36. “A battle that you win cancels all your mistakes.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
37. “Make no small plans for they have no power to stir the soul.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
38. “Gold will not always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can get you gold.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
39. “Impetuosity and audacity often achieve what ordinary means fail to achieve.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
40. “Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
41. “When fortune wishes to bring mighty events to a successful conclusion, she selects some man of spirit and ability who knows how to seize the opportunity she offers.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
42. “Men are always averse to enterprises in which they foresee difficulties.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
43. “Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
44. “He who would foresee what is to happen should look to what has happened: for all that is has its counterpart in time past.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
45. “The innovator has for enemies all who have done well under the old, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
46. “Forgiveness proceeds from a generous soul.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
47. “Appear as you may wish to be.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
Did you like these inspirational quotes?
As you can see from these Niccolo Machiavelli quotes, Machiavelli did have some wise words, even if his philosophy may seem controversial.
While being Machiavellian will always have negative connotations, don’t allow that to stop you from taking some of this wisdom on board.
What are your favorite Machiavelli quotes? Did I miss any out? If you liked this post then please share it to help inspire others.