Devilish Deaning: WWMD?

My son the political philosopher, who works under a devilish dean at a here-unnamed state university, assures me that Stanley Bing’s new book, What Would Machiavelli Do?, misses the essence of the great political thinker’s advice to rulers. But the idea—and the image of deans buying wristbands inscribed with “WWMD?”—got me thinking about my administrative colleagues out there in academia. That new book attempts to draw lessons from The Prince (1513) for modern corporate leaders. (That Bing’s subtitle is The Ends Justify the Meanness should warn you it is tongue-in-cheek satire.) Because colleges and universities increasingly resemble corporations, we might look to such current applications of Machiavelli’s rules for advice about successful political action. If there are no politics to worry about on your campus, feel free to stop reading now.

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