January 9, 2015

On Machiavelli, Justin Bieber and George Clooney

So you might not think that Machiavelli, Justin Bieber and George Clooney could be mentioned in the same book but they are in Machiavelli for Moms, along with many others, including: Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Jim Hensen, Harry Houdini, Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Vince Lombardy, Steve Martin, John Quincy Adams, Lorenzo de'Medici, Jopseh Camobell and James Madison. And that's not all. Also mentioned are Cicero, Thucydides, Richard Nixon, Steve Martin, Gene Wilder, Erma Bombeck, Dr. Spock, Emile Zola, Sir Issac Newton and Machiavelli's literary hero, Dante!

To learn more about Machiavelli for Moms click here.

January 8, 2015

Take the Quiz: Are You a Machiavellian Mom?

Give yourself one point for each statement you agree with:

Children can be greedy, fickle, selfish and deceitful.

Sometimes it’s okay to tell little white lies to a child.

Children obey rules because of their fear of being punished by their parent.

If you are liberal with expenditures you run the risk of financial ruin.

It is best to be both feared and loved, but if leader can only be one, it is safer to be feared than loved.

A child should study the actions of great men to learn from their example.

Letting problems develop until they’re obvious to everyone is bad leadership.

Discipline should be dispensed swiftly and surely.

If a child’s every whim is indulged s/he will become ungrateful.

Praising good behavior positively reinforces it.

Criticizing a child creates resentment and shame.

If given too many material items, a child will expect more.

Power is difficult to maintain without the authority to enforce it.

For parental success, power must not only be acquired but maintained.

Flexibility is necessary for both princely and parental success.

If you scored between 10-14, you might just be a Machiavellian Mom. If you scored between 5-9, you’ve got some work to do. And if you scored between 0-4, click here!

April 22, 2013

On Parenting, Politics, and Machiavelli's Intent in Writing "The Prince"

SOME SCHOLARS argue that Machiavelli's intent in writing The Prince was driven by his desire to trap Lorenzo de’Medici by offering carefully crafted advice designed to undo the ruler if taken seriously and followed. Others claim that it's a cautionary tale intended to warn men of what tyrants could be and do. Still others posit that Machiavelli was a supremely passionate and pragmatic patriot who loved his city more than his own soul. And others still yet think that the author of The Prince wrote a satire for "he surely could not have literally meant what he wrote.”

Despite these benign scholarly interpretations, Machiavelli’s name today is a byword for treachery, mendacity, and a cunning and ruthless disregard for moral standards. The Oxford Dictionary defines a “Machiavellian” as an outrageously unscrupulous schemer. The term is also used to describe a personality characterized by dishonesty, cynicism and manipulation -- all of which, though understandable, don’t fully or fairly represent who Machiavelli was as a man or what his intent was in writing The Prince.

So, for the sake of debate, let me ask: to what, precisely, does Machiavelli owe his sinister reputation?

To this, you might cite such maxims as: If you must commit a crime do not advertise it beforehand since otherwise your enemies may destroy you before you destroy them. Men should either be caressed or annihilated. A wise ruler cannot and should not keep his word when it would be to his disadvantage. It is better to be feared than loved. And that infamous phrase that has been grossly mistranslated for centuries: The ends justify the means.

And you’re right: these and other similarly shocking statements help explain how Machiavelli earned his sinister reputation. But they also help prove the point that for some five hundred years this guy has gotten a bad rap.


Because they all have one thing in common: “they’ll all designed,” as Isaiah Berlin observed, “to create or resurrect or maintain an order that will satisfy what the author conceives as men’s most permanent interests." And,” Berlin adds, the “end is always the same: a state conceived after the analogy of Periclean Athens, or Sparta, but above all the Roman Republic.” Such an end, then, which men naturally desire, “excuses” any means.

So what does this have to do with parenting? Quite a bit, I would submit, because when it comes to imposing order and stability in our homes and ensuring the happiness and well-being of our subjects (or kids) the achievement of this "end" justifies or excuses any means.

Let me back this up with a quick example. Say your little prince or princess wakes up with the flu. Your ends, then, is caring for your child, right? But here's the thing: you have to go to work and you’re out of vacation days. So what do you do?

Well, some moms might call in and say that they're sick in order to stay home with their child. Is it morally right to deceive their boss? No. But if in judging the means (deceit) you look only at the ends (a well-cared for child), then I would submit, and I think other moms might agree, it’s excusable. Right?

Either way, it's important to note that Machiavelli never actually wrote "the ends justify the means" in The Prince. What he wrote was more along the lines of "in considering the actions of men...one must consider the final result."

To learn more click here

February 6, 2013

Machiavelli for Moms (Simon & Schuster)

Machiavelli for Moms has been hailed by Parade Magazine as "a funny and creative new parenting guide." To learn more or for a free excerpt click here!