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Summary

A sly send-up of the successful What Would Jesus Do? books, here is a satisfyingly mean, light-hearted approach to business success - the Machiavellian way.

Machiavellians may not get to heaven, but on earth they have a definite edge on the competition. In this pithy and discretely vicious guide, Stanley Bing shows how the Florentine master statesman and political thinker would handle today's myriad corporate challenges, seize the future by the throat, and make it cough up money, power, and superior office space. So, what exactly would Machiavelli do?

He would exploit himself only slightly less than he exploits others.

He would be in love with his destiny.

He would, for the most part, be a paranoid freak.

He would always be at war.

He would cultivate a few well-loved enemies.

He would have a couple of good friends, too.

He would acquire his neighbor.

He would think BIG.

He would move forward like a great shark, eating as he goes.

And much, much more.

More than a road map to success, this hands-on guide will help anyone get what they want, whether or not they deserve it.

Balance the yin of What Would Machiavelli Do? with its yang, Throwing the Elephant.
©2002 Stanley Bing (P)2002 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.

Critic reviews

"The ultimate guide to corporate backstabbing." ( Entertainment Weekly)
"Successful, amoral satire on how to ruthlessly get to the top without guilt." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about What Would Machiavelli Do?

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Great fun and enlightening !

Enjoyed this tongue in cheek (?) work very much. Narrator has a great voice - could listen to him all day :) and will be looking out for other stories by the author and the Narrator.
Enlightening in US politicians and business figures. Equally interesting for would be 'Machiavelli figures' haha! as it is for people watchers and those who do not want to rule the world - but want to make sure they see the signs for those who do !!!

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Profile Image for Mz Patchouli
  • Mz Patchouli
  • 02-07-14

FRIENDS ACQUAINTANCES COWORKERS WE ALL LOVED IT!!!

What did you love best about What Would Machiavelli Do??

I loved the wit, the humor, the raw reality of it, the comedic delivery of what some take as gospel.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ted Turner. No. Donald Trump. No wait...Barry Diller...I can't decide. I need to listen to it again. You'd think I would be able to answer this question after listening to snippets of this audio book almost everyday...Bluetooth...in the car...i pod...tablet...at home...where-ever... I got this audio book for entertainment and to poke fun at my driven co-workers...this book is a hoot!!! Looking for a business text book? Well...the Prince would love nothing more than to mold you. : )

Which character – as performed by Philip Bosco – was your favorite?

Stanley Bing. of course.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Shug Knight showing Vanilla Ice the finer points of his position.

Any additional comments?

Phillip Bosco's narration absolutely made this book the entertaining experience that it is.

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  • Thomas Wuillame
  • 04-09-16

How to be a Successful Douche: The Audiobook

What made the experience of listening to What Would Machiavelli Do? the most enjoyable?

Though some references are a little outdated, Bing provides a sadistic, cynical, and sarcasm filled guide to Machiavellian philosophy. The tone is arrogant and presumptuous, and Philip Bosco's smooth British voice help provide the image of a successful businessman sitting at home in a big, comfy armchair by the fire, with a glass of scotch. Bing goes through how to climb the ranks of a corporate empire through being a right bastard to everyone: efficiency is key here. Whether you would like to take him on his advice or would just like some laughs is entirely up to you. Know that if you follow these words to a T, you are a bad person. Bing will assure you, however, that it is all worth it because of the wealth and satisfaction you will receive by the end of it all.
Overall, the advice here seems slightly lacking. After having finished it, the mindset is still hard to adapt, perhaps because the way it is presented is so outrageous and overbearing that it is difficult to soak in. It is rather short, at only 3 hours, so keep that in mind.

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  • Derick
  • 18-04-16

To Be a Shark, You Have to Think Like a Shark

What did you love best about What Would Machiavelli Do??

It's funny and Philip Bosco does a wonderful job. It's a satirical look at how Machiavellian strategies can be implemented in business. Not only is it very helpful to know when to use these types of means but it's essential to recognize them. Don't be dominated, DOMINATE.

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  • Chris
  • 30-11-11

Entertaining spin on management or business books

have you had to read any of the books about business, or business theory? Bing's satire makes the "normal" books on business topics bearable. You are likely to see your boss, or yourself, in at least one of his examples. Try not to laugh out lound in you meeting when you think about your boss conquering the beach like Coligula though.

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  • Lazaro
  • 29-06-05

One of the best books you will ever come accross

It is funny, it is cruel, it acomplishes teaching of the strategy.

Machiavelly would be proud of Stanley Bing. You will too!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kerwin
  • 11-05-04

A very funny tongue in cheek book

I didn't know what to expect from this book, a history lesson, a how to guide. It's both and neither. It's just a funny condemnation of greed in our modern corporate culture.

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  • Juan
  • 16-07-20

Horrible advise / Great book

This book is the perfect guide on how not to perform business. It is hilarious and gives great insight on how the C-suit, VPs and executives think and act.

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  • George Lillywhite
  • 14-03-19

Nuanced and bombastic satirical take on business.

This isn't the first title by Stanley Bing that I have read, and I am beginning to see a pattern. For that reason this can be considered a joint review of the titles "The Curriculum" & "What Would Machiavelli Do?" as these books encompass the same core theme with very similar approaches. I can recommend reading "What Would Machiavelli Do?" before "The Curriculum" as it's unique caricatured style is more obvious in Machiavelli. Bing's work is often bashed by those who open his work expecting one of two things; a) It is a serious book, to be taken literally and in doing so, the reader will be guaranteed success in all their professional endeavors. (finally, a cheat sheet to life!) b) an overly moralistic reader chooses to read it for either genuine guidance or simply to scoff at the abhorrence of a narrator they would never associate with. However, the truth is that Bing's work is a nuanced work of satire. that is as entertaining as it is because, of course, it's grounded in reality. Truthfully, all the points laid bare by the bombastic narrator are factual. this is what makes Bing's work such a satisfying piece of literature. we would love to refute whats being said, but the well researched book provides example after example of these approaches working. from Warren Buffet to Muammar Gaddafi. Thiel to Bin Laden. the latter of both these examples being where the true nature of Bing's work shows it's head. When writing satire two golden rules are 1. "To appear to be serious while delivering satire. It is subtle, but effective, when at first glance it looks like you are actually reporting on a real event." and 2. "take things farther than they have already gone". both of which Bing has followed to a Tee. It is the unwavering seriousness and exaggerated abhorrence that give these books their brilliance. However this approach has been a double edged sword, as many readers find themselves forgetting the true nature of these books and believing what is being said at face value. Bing presents these points from the perspective of a caricatured business mogul who, although successful, is thoroughly and intentionally loathsome. This Character is able to give "unique" perspectives on the world of business, irrefutable by us mere plebeians. Often Bing will close a chapter with a quote from a "successful" business person, that elegantly communicates the ideologies of that chapter. only for it to turn out to be from a notoriously terrible person. Pol Pot for example. these techniques build a thriving and robust world of success among those without morals. The Pacing of The Curriculum isn't as on the ball as Machiavelli, at 10 hours the joke can wear a little thin compared to the more succinct 3 hour read time of Machiavelli. this being said, I enjoyed all of both. Philip Bosco is the perfect Narrator in Machiavelli, his austere voice and private school-boy oration build the aforementioned Business man character perfectly. Bing narrates The Curriculum himself, this is often a mistake for an author as they are rarely as good an orator as they are writer. This being said Bing's performance was neutral and unobtrusive to the message, which I mean as a good thing. if you notice the narrators voice it is usually because it is jarring. The Writing style of both titles is as though it were spoken word. this works excellently for an audio book although I imagine it would grow tiring on print. in Machiavelli this paints a picture of the mogul narrator speaking at an assistant or ghost writer. (think Roger Stirling in the later seasons of Mad Men). While in The Curriculum this same technique gives the reader the impression they have attended a seminar on the subject. This is strengthened by the fact that The Curriculum comes with "Class Notes" in the form of a separate PDF showing graphs and diagrams discussed throughout the book. Both Books are very entertaining as well as somewhat insightful. The reader should take any advice with a generous pinch of salt and not be to offended by the opinions of the fictional narrator. I do highly recommend G D Lillywhite

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  • RB
  • 21-04-18

Fun

Not for literal use but so funny and well read. It will make you laugh and want to be a little more edgy.

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  • Joseph Crowley
  • 24-08-17

dilbert principle is better

I expected a nice satire, but it fell too close to home, especially this year. The Dilbert Principe is better, funnier, came out earlier, and is cheaper. I'd go for that before this.