The Prince by Niccolo Machiaveli

“For those who just paint landscapes place themselves in a low position on the plain in order to consider the nature of the mountains and the heights, and place themselves high on top of the mountains in order to study the plains, themselves high on top of the mountains in order to study the plains, in like manner, to know the nature of the people well one must be a prince, and to know the nature of princes well one must be of the people.”

“Once evils are recognised ahead of time, they may be easily cured; but if you wait for them to come upon you, the medicine will be too late, because the disease will become incurable.”

“From this one can derive a general rule which rarely, if ever, fails: that anyone who is the cause of another becoming powerful comes to ruin himself; because that power has been brought about by him through cunning or by force; and both of these two qualities are suspect to the one who has become powerful.”

“Anyone who becomes the master of a city accustomed to living in liberty and does not destroy it may expect to be destroyed by it, because such a city always has as a refuge in any rebellion the nature of liberty and its ancient institutions, neither of which is ever forgotten either because of passing of time or because of the bestowal of benefits.”

“Since men almost always follow the paths trod by others, and proceed in their affairs by imitation, although they are not fully able to stay on the path of others, nor equal to the virtue of those they imitate, a wise man should always enter those paths trodden by great men, and imitate those who have been most excellent, so that if one’s virtue does not match theirs, at least it will have the smell of it.”

“One should bear in mind that there is nothing more difficult to execute, nor more dubious of success, nor more dangerous to administer than to introduce new political orders.”

“Anyone who believes that new benefits make men of high station forget old injuries deceives himself.”

“Nor can he ever count on his subjects, who, because of their recent and continuous injuries, cannot feel secure with him. Therefore, injuries should be inflicted all at once, for the less they are tasted, the less harm they do. However benefits should be distributed a little at a time, so that they may be fully savoured. ”

“Above all, a Prince should live with his subjects in such a way that no unforseen event, either good or bad, may cause him to alter his course;for when difficulties arise in adverse conditions, you will not have to result to cruelty, and the good that you do will help you very little, since it will be judged as a forced measure, and you will earn from it no gratitude whatsoever.”

“But he who attains the principality through popular favour finds himself alone, and has around him either no one or very few who are not ready to obey him.”

“When the Prince who builds his foundations on the people is a man is able to command and of spirit, is not bewildered by adversities, does not fail to make other preparations, and is the leader who keeps up the spirits of his populace through his courage and his institutions, he will never find himself deceived by the common people, and he will discover that he has laid his foundations well.”

“Therefore a wise prince must think of a method by which his citizens will need the state and himself at all times and in every circumstance.”Then they will always be loyal to him.”

“A prince, therefore, must not have any other object nor any other thought, nor must he adopt anything as his art but war, it’s institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands.”

“He should, therefore never take his mind from this exercise of war, and in peacetime he must train himself in more than in time of war. This can be done in two ways: first, through physical exercise; second:by study.”

“A wise prince must follow such methods as these and never be idle in peaceful times, but he must turn them diligently to his advantage in order to be able to turn a profit from them in times of adversity, so that when Fortune changes she will find him prepared to resist her.”

“For there is such a distance between how one lives, and how one ought to live, that anyone who abandons what is done for what ought to be done achieves his downfall rather than his preservation.”

“There is nothing that uses itself up faster than generosity; for as you employ it, you lose the means of employing it, and you become poor and despised or else, to escape poverty, you become rapacious and hated.”

“Without a doubt, princes become great when they overcome difficulties and obstacles imposed upon them. And therefore, Fortune – especially when she wishes to increase the reputation of a new prince, who has a greater need to acquire reputation than a hereditary prince does – creates enemies for him, and he them undertake enterprises against him so that he will have the chance to overcome them and to climb higher up the ladder his enemies have brought to him.”

“A prince is also respected when he is a true friend and a true enemy: that is, when he declares himself to be on the side of one prince against another, without reserve. Such a policy will always be more useful than remaining neutral.”

“For there is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that by telling you the truth they will not injure you. But when anyone can tell you the truth, you lose respect. Therefore, a prudent prince should follow a third course, electing wise men for his state and giving only them permission to speak truthfully to him, and only on such matters as he asks them about and not on other subjects. But he should always ask them about everything and should listen to their opinions, and afterwards he should deliberate by himself  in his own way. And in such councils, and with each of his ministers, he should conduct himself in such a way that all will realise that the more freely they speak, the more they will please him. He should refuse to listen to anyone else, pursue his goals directly, and be obstinate in the decisions he has taken.”

“Only those defenses that depend on you yourself and on your own virtue are good, certain, and lasting.”


Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry

“Now there were two very mischievous and funny Russian artists called Komar and Melamid in the middle of the 1990s. They took this whole idea of popularity literally and commissioned polls in several different countries to find out what people wanted most in art. Then, when they’d got the results of these surveys )which were conducted by professional pollsters), they painted in accordance with the results. And the results were quite shocking. In nearly every country, all people really wanted was a landscape with a few figures around, animals in the foreground, mainly blue. It’s quite depressing.

After the experience they said, “In looking fore freedom, we found slavery.”

“In a recent set of studies the psychologist James Cutting demonstrated that merely exposing people to certain images means they form a preference for those same images.”

“It’s easy to get swept up in the awe and perfection of some contemporary art.”

“The artists of the past were locked into their time in history. Now we are in a time of post-historical art, anything can be art, but not everything is art. In a world without boundaries, I am more fascinated than ever by their possibility.”

“I introduce this idea of intellectual and emotional memory because there’s some dissonance between an intellectual and an emotional understanding of the boundaries of what art can be. Understanding a new development can happen pretty instantaneous; taking on board a big change at an emotional level might take years or even generations.”

“Perhaps there is a danger that art will just disseminate via the web and all of the amazing delivery systems we have now; that it will be so woven into ordinary life that art becomes some sort of fallout, as though it has exploded and the dust has settled into every single piece of culture.”

“Contemporary art is like an R&D department for capitalism. Karl Marx referred to this need for progress or novelty as ‘the restless nature of capitalism.'”


Raymond Tallus

Art is expressing one’s universal wound – the wound of living a finite life of incomplete meanings. 


Built on product vs people

Someone wise once told me that you either build your future based on the work you do, or by knowing the right people.

In a previous life in a different agency, there was a person there who knew everyone.

They were in a very senior role and literally seemed to know everyone. If there was a problem, they knew the person who would fix it.

They were earning silly money and was always knew the latest thing to hit the market.

The problem was, that the people they knew were the people that also wanted to just know everyone.

And one by one, they started disappearing from the market place, taking away this person’s base.

Eventually they moved away from media, because there was nothing left.

However the people that build based on work are leading people, departments and businesses.

You can’t do work without people, but you can’t build a future on relationships alone.


David & Goliath by Malcom Gladwell


“When the income of parents gets high enough, then parenting starts to become harder again.”

“Wealth contains the seeds of its own destruction”

“In other words, if you are a student – particularly a poor student – what you need is to have people around you asking the same questions, wrestling with the same issues, and worrying about the same things you are, so you feel a little less isolated and a little more normal.”

“But the better answer is that Hotchkiss has simply fallen into the trap that wealthy people and wealthy institutions and wealthy countries – all Goliaths – too often fall into: the school assumes that the kind of things wealth can buy always translate into real world advantages.”

“The inverted U-curve reminds us that there is a point in which money and resource stop making our lives better and start making them worse.”

“The best students from mediocre schools were always a better bet than the good students from the very best schools.”

“Psychologist measure personality through what is called the Five Factor Model, or “Big Five” inventory, which assesses who we are across the following dimensions:

  • Neuroticism – sensetive/nervous versus secure/confident
  • Extraversion – energetic versus solitary/reserved
  • Openness – inventive/curious versus consistent/cautious
  • Conscientiousness – orderly/industrious versus easygoing/careless
  • Agreeableness – cooperative/empathy versus self-interested/antagonistic”



The War of Art by Steven Pressfield


“Most of us have two lives. The Life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

“Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn’t go away.”

“Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from within us. We feed it with power by our fear of it.”

“The best and only thing one artist can do for another is to be an example and inspiration.”

“The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his self-mastery.”

“The amateur believes that first he must overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows fear can never be overcome.”

The Bhagavad-Gita tells us we have a right to labour, not to the fruits of our labour.”

“The professional learns to recognise envy driven criticism and to take it for what it is; the supreme compliment.”



I am slowly coming to the realisation that practically all decisions are fundamentally based on emotion rather than logic.

People don’t want to think have the right solution, answer or plan, they want to feel they have the right solution , answer or plan.

They have an idea of what this is already, and so deviating from this will elicit a reaction and an emotion.

Therefore they always start with:

  1. WHAT – I want to do it this way (i.e. digital first). Then…
  2. HOW – I want it to look like this (i.e. big formats). Then…
  3. WHY – Because I want to drive growth and feel good

This will only cause problems, especially when the correct answer is not their What.

Therefore you need to start with Why and work down:

  1. WHY – I want to drive growth
  2. HOW – Getting people to spend time with the brand
  3. HOW – Via an executional plan

Then the challenge is on you to communicate this in a way that makes them feel this is the right answer and solves their problem.