There are a few specific books that capture human nature in its essence, summarizing important lessons on how people do deals, transact and find ways to evolve as a collective.
The Prince, by Machiavelli, is one of these books that I recommend every founder ought to read. If you are building a business that is bound to change the world, you will face the same levels of conflict and lessons that a prince in Italy would have faced in Machiavelli’s time.
This Yale professor has an interesting view, considering Machiavelli’s writings a diluted version of Aristotle/Plato’s republic concepts, but applied to northern Italy in the 14th century.
What I appreciate about his teachings is the sincerity around how dangerous it is to create a new business that challenges or improves the status quo. High-output leaders are adaptable, so they round themselves with better people and are resolute in their actions.
“It is far better to earn the confidence of the people than to rely on fortresses.”
“There is such a gap between how one lives and how one should live that he who neglects what is being done for what should be done will learn his destruction rather than his preservation.”
“There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.”