A commentation on NNYOU’s post (Machiavell’s thoughts about advice)

As shown in NNYOU’s blog post “Are you sure you know how to get helpful advice”, Machiavelli’s account of receiving advice from others can be used frequently and effectively in daily life by normal citizens in today’s society. Machiavelli suggests that a prince should never absorb every advice that he gets from people. Instead, he says that one should always go through certain steps in order to effectively adopt the ones that are actually helpful. He states that a good prince should only get advices from smart, clever, and wise people that he can trust or depend on. Also, he mentions that a prince should never always just do what his men suggest him to do, but should make his decisions by himself by forming his own conclusion. In other words, a prince should never entirely depend on others, but only take serious consideration of the advices he regularly receives from his people.

These days, I’m realizing that this maxim holds true for everyone in our society today, as I continue to witness various people that either failed to achieve their goal or were unable to gain success in attaining their objectives because they trusted other people’s random advices too much. As shown in Machiavelli’s account in “The Prince”, it is fairly true that when people attempt to conduct something that turns out to be too extreme in any type of way, they will definitely fail in successfully achieving their wishes.


NNYOU uses an interesting example of what a typical case of violating Machiavelli’s principles would be. He(or she) says that his friend Lee did not follow Machiavelli’s account of receiving advice as he asked about his future plans of graduate studies in aerospace engineering to his friends who were actually LSA students. She explains that Lee violated the first step of Machiavelli’s principle as she asked about aerospace engineering to people who do not really know about aerospace or engineering at all. In my opinion, this was a very proper exemplification of such infringement that could be easily witnessed by people within their typical daily lives.

Also, she states that Lee contravened Machiavelli’s second part of his recommendation about listening to advice by furthering the topic of the conversation outside the realm of aerospace engineering graduate studies. In contrast, I do not entirely agree with this part, as it seems that Lee did not intend to do this to obtain advice about something that he did not ask, but rather it seems that he simply just respected Wendy’s remark on the topic. However, I liked how NNYOU stated the similarities and differences of the perspectives of a prince and a normal person in today’s society, like Lee, in the second last paragraph.

I think that although it is true that the situation a prince is in and the circumstances most people in today’s society are facing are quite different, Machiavelli’s aphorisms about receiving and using advice still remains highly effective to most citizens in the world today. Furthermore, I think many other accounts of Machiavelli in “The Prince” still matters in today’s politics and even accurately analyzes human behaviors that are commonly shown in the society today. Here is an interesting article from the N.Y Times.


One thought on “A commentation on NNYOU’s post (Machiavell’s thoughts about advice)

  1. Hi,
    I’m flattered that you found my blog post inspiring and decided to write up an entire commentation on it. After reading your essay and your comment on my original post, I would like to agree with you on my inaccurate connection made between Lee’s taking Wendy’s advice and Machiavelli’s suggestion of not letting counselors divert the topic. This was not an entirely appropriate example of the violation of letting counselors only advice on what the prince want to know. Wendy was probably just trying to change the topic to something that was more engaging for all of us since we did not know much about aerospace engineering, and as you suggested, Lee simply respected her opinion and kept the conversation going in this case. Also, Lee was in a totally different position as a prince would be in, so that letting other divert the topic would not be such a big deal anyway.

    Again, thank you so much for finding my post stimulating taking time to discuss the same topic.



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