Modern Machiavelli

Modern Machiavelli

13 Laws of Power, Persuasion and Integrity

Win at work and in life with smart, social tactics.


Modern Machiavelli will teach you smart, social tactics to advance your career and improve your relationships. This book explains how to successfully manage conflict, influence others, and understand the overt and covert dynamics of interpersonal power. It challenges false but commonly held beliefs that undermine personal and career success. Master the unwritten rules of the social game that few understand.


I will start off by admitting that when I was asked to read and review this book I very nearly said no, because it had “Machiavelli” in the title. At a second glance I noticed that it also has the word “integrity” in the title. That got my attention: how on earth do these things sit together? My curiosity made me say: sure, send me the book…. It arrived. From the first page I was gripped! Now I actually wish I had read this book a few decades ago. There are so many scenarios in this book I recognise completely: have been there… have done that… have expected others to respond a certain way …. they have responded in a baffling or hurtful way…. a way that makes no innate sense to me. Over the years I have spent hours (and drunk many a cup of tea) unraveling such “case studies” (scenarios) with close friends. Over time I have learned many things the hard way. I realized (slowly, painfully) that we project onto others the way we are ourselves. Example: if someone does me a favour I would always remember that and actively look for an opportunity to do something in return for that person. For that reason I expect others to follow this principle of reciprocity too. Over the years slowly discovered that some people do not think like that at all – they think a person like me is a pushover, or “once the goods have been received, don’t give it another thought!” This book joins up the dots. It explains why people behave the way they do and essentially claims that for all of us to be truly effective in life, we need to actually master a degree of strategy. There is no other way! We need to learn about managing conflict and understanding both the overt and covert behaviour of other people. We also need to get some kind of handle on the dynamics of (what the authors call) “interpersonal power”. Earlier I said that I wish I had read this book a few decades ago. The only problem is that my twenty-something year old self (less experienced, more idealistic even than I am today) would not have believed what the authors wrote. “She” would have considered this a slightly depressing and cynical book and put it aside. And then she would have ended up learning ,many of those lessons exactly the hard way I actually did. On reflection… I would definitely have been ready for this book 10 years ago, perhaps even 15… Reading this book there were so many occasions when a penny dropped and I thought: AHA!, So that was the dynamic at work when X,Y or Z occurred. The authors describe the situation perfectly – even if events unfolded in baffling or upsetting way for me. My verdict is: if you repeatedly encounter dynamics that undermine personal or professional relationships – and you are ready to try a different approach – get a copy of this book! Even if just one key relationship improves, or one professional disaster is avoided because you will be more aware of meta-communication (unspoken messages conveyed) and baffling rules of the social game – it will be well worth the purchase! This is a book I am going to keep at hand and return to. I would say: read the whole thing (so you know what is covered) and then start again trying the author’s suggeestions for some scenario that persistently causes you difficulty or stress. Often a change in behaviour will change the whole “tango” because people can no longer suck you into the same old way of doing things. That is where greater awareness and more effective communication and agreements can occur. Oh and just to be crystal clear: this book advices you to act within the parameters of your own integrity at all times! This book actually deals with ethics. But ultimately it tells you that to live a life where intregrity is a core value (and not be disillusioned into giving up on fellow humans or becoming a recluse in the desert) you actually need to master the issues of healthy personal and professional boundaries, strategy, perceiving the true motivation of others and having an arsenal of effective methods for handling common situations occurring in the work place (and even our social circle or families). Highly recommended!! ~ Imelda Almqvist, Pagan Pages

I found it engrossing. I could see the different personality types I work with and provided good examples of how to deal with different situations both at work and in everyday life. I have already put the advice to use and feel better for it. Definitely recommended. ~ Peter Diggins , NetGalley

Every person experiencing interpersonal conflict or cut-throat competition should read this book. I have personally benefited from Dr. Bruner's consultation and highly recommend his book. It is the opposite of psycho-babble: concrete, specific, and dynamic. ~ Robert W. Forster, President and CEO, Forster Financial

This is a book about how to swim with the sharks while living like a dolphin. It provides a unique mix of cunning and integrity - as if Machiavelli and Stephen Covey got together and wrote a book on the rules for living. Without being either pessimistic or cynical, the book deals with some hard truths about human nature that we ignore at our peril. The authors’ advice is both practical and tactical on topics such as dealing with conflict, office politics, difficult personalities, and not letting others take advantage of you. Master these techniques and you’ll be adept at handling the worst in others, while strengthening what's best in yourself. ~ Tim Ward, author of Indestructible You and The Master Communicator’s Handbook

Dr. Bruner and Philip Eager have provided a much needed treatise on the basic behavioral “laws” that all of us need to fully understand if we are to truly work together to solve the many issues facing society. This book is not designed to show you how to manipulate co-workers, friends and family members, but rather provides the reader with a strategic awareness of the many facets that may be in play when individuals interact, regardless of the situation. This book is a must for the reader who is interested in a layman’s dive into moral development and offers approaches through professional insight and examples how to uphold the “fairness” expectations that many of us have grown up with without compromising our core values that make us who we are. ~ David White, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Research, University of Tennessee

Modern Machiavelli: 13 Laws of Power, Persuasion and Integrity is a book that crosses the areas of business, psychology, self-help and ethics. It is a realist’s manual for effective persuasion and conflict management. ~ Christine Joo, Ed.D., Christine Joo Psychotherapy

Modern Machiavelli provides key insights and inspiration to propel your life dramatically forward! ~ William Eager, speaker, corporate strategist and best-selling author

Troy  Bruner
Troy Bruner Dr. Bruner is a clinical psychologist who has helped many individuals and organizations over the last twenty years. He specializes in the ar...
Philip Eager
Philip Eager Philip Eager has a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in education from...

Pro Bono?

Mikkel Thorup