01 I-Preface "Most men are much more ready to bellitle than to praise another's actions." Envy is natural and omnipresent.
02 I-1 "Security for man is impossible unless it is conjoined with power." Weakness prompts attack by others.
03 I-4 "Men never do good unless necessity drives them to do it." Necessity is the utmost human driving force.
04 I-6 "So in all human affairs one notices, if one examines them closely, that it is impossible to remove one inconvenience without another emerging." Nature's balancing hand acts upon everything.
05 I-8 "Hate is more quickly aroused than fear." Fear takes more time to develop than hate.
06 I-9 "For it is the man who uses violence to spoil things that is blameworthy, not the man who uses violence to mend them." There is bad violence and good violence.
07 I-25 "Men in general are much affected by what a thing appears to be as by what it is; indeed they are frequently influenced more by appearances than by reality." Judging appearance is easier than judging content.
08 I-29 "The vice of ingratitude arises either from avarice or from suspicion." Those that owe you something will suspect your motives in giving them.
09 I-34 "It is easy for force to acquire a title, but not for a title to acquire force." Force is much harder to acquire than title.
10 I-37 "Men set much greater store on property than on honors." Property is much harder to acquire than honors.
11 I-40 "Men resemble certain little birds of prey in whom so strong is the desire to catch the prey which nature incites them to pursue, that they do not notice another greater bird of prey which hovers over them ready to pounce and kill." Choose your wars carefully.
12 I-47 "Men make quite a number of mistakes about things in general, but not so many about particulars." The human mind is best at handling the simplest of things.
13 I-51 "Prudent men always and in all their actions make a favor of doing things even though they would of necessity be constrained to do them anyhow." If you do something for need, always take credit for it.
14 I-53 "It does not help to have won victories in the past, for the present disaster cancels them all out." One failure erases all previous successes.
15 I-58 "Nothing is more futile and more inconstant than the masses... it is the nature of the masses to either servilely to obey or arrogantly to domineer." Large groups can change mind quickly and can go to opposite extremes readily.
16 II-22 "In corrupt republics, especially in untroubled times, men of first-class ability are ousted by the envy and ambitious scheming of others." In time of peace, the mediocre minds rise to prominence.
17 II-25 "Discord in a republic is usually due to idleness and peace, and unity to fear and war." People have time to argue during peace; no time during war.
18 II-26 "I hold it to a sign of great prudence in men to refrain alike from threats and from the use of insulting language, for neither of these things deprives the enemy of his power, but the first puts him more on his guard, while the other intensifies his hatred of you and makes him more industrious in devising means to harm you." Shoot, don't talk.
19 III-2 "No one ever acted so prudently nor acquired such a reputation for wisdom, as that which Brutus did by pretending to be stupid." Self-deprecation will work wonders.
20 III-3 "Malevolence is not vanquished by time, nor placated by any gifts." Evil cannot be appeased.
21 III-9 "The reason why men are sometimes unfortunate, sometimes fortunate, depends upon whether their behavior is in conformity with the times." Continued luck requires that you find and go with the times.
22 III-16 "It always has been, and always will be, the lot of great and outstanding men to be passed over by a republic in times of peace, for the reputation acquired by their virtue arouses envy, and in peaceful times there are plenty of citizens who seek not merely to become their equals but even their superiors." Peace breeds the rule of the mediocre.
23 III-21 "Men are moved in the main by two things: either fear or love... A man who makes himself feared is usually better followed than a man who makes himself loved." Fear is more effective than love as a motivator for those that will follow.
24 III-30 "He who reads the Bible with discernment will see that, in order that Moses might set about making laws and institutions, he had to kill a very great number of men who, out of envy and nothing else, were opposed to his plans." Envy should be dealt with forcefully.
25 III-30 "That time waits for no man, that goodness alone does not suffice, that fortune is changeable, and that malice is not to be placated by gifts." Success requires more than just virtue.
26 III-37 "In human affairs there is, in addition to others, this difficulty: When one wants to bring things up to perfection, one always finds that, bound up with what is good, there is some evil... and it would seem impossible to have one without the other." Good is never perfect.
27 III-40 "Although to use fraud in any action is detestable, yet in the conduct of war it is praiseworthy and glorious." There is bad fraud and good fraud.
28 III-42 "It is not shameful to fail to keep a promise which you have been forced to make." Promises extracted under duress are hollow.