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Machiavelli for Moms: Maxims on the Effective Governance of Children*

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An enlightening parenting manifesto showing how the strategies used in Machiavelli’s masterpiece, The Prince, can be employed to reign in a rambunctious family. Newly remarried, with four kids under the age of eight, Suzanne Evans is fed up with tantrums, misbehaving, and general household chaos. Desperate to get the upper hand, she turns to Machiavelli’s iconic political t An enlightening parenting manifesto showing how the strategies used in Machiavelli’s masterpiece, The Prince, can be employed to reign in a rambunctious family. Newly remarried, with four kids under the age of eight, Suzanne Evans is fed up with tantrums, misbehaving, and general household chaos. Desperate to get the upper hand, she turns to Machiavelli’s iconic political treatise, The Prince, and inspiration strikes. Maybe, she thinks, I can use his manipulative rules to bring order to my boisterous family. Soon her experiment begins to play out in surprisingly effective ways. She starts off following Machiavelli’s maxim “It is dangerous to be overly generous” and soon realizes that for all its austerity, there is a kernel of truth in it. Her kids do behave when they are given clear limits. From there, she starts tackling other rules—“Tardiness robs us of opportunity” and “Study the actions of illustrious men”—and she is surprised at how quickly her brood falls in line once she starts adapting his advice to child rearing. As she tries more and more of Machiavelli’s ideas on her family, Evans figures out this secret: You can get more out of your kids, with less fighting, if you figure out how to gently manipulate them to get what you want (and let them think it’s their own idea). But when events in her life start to spiral out of control and some of her earlier techniques are no longer working, she has to figure out her own answer to the ultimate Machiavellian question: Is it better to be feared than loved? *** Do the Ends Justify the Meanness?  Machiavelli for Moms is the story of a rash, even crazy experiment: a year of using Machiavelli’s The Prince to “rule” one disobedient family. As mother-of-four Suzanne Evans soon found out, a little bit of coercion, manipulation, and cunning can go a long way when running a kingdom— and a household. Wouldn’t we all like to have kids who: • Consistently obey our commands . . . without our having to nag? • Stop talking back . . . and start getting along with each other? • Eagerly complete their homework . . . without our having to ask? • Sleep soundly through the night . . . while we regain our sanity, sex drive, and peace of mind? In Machiavelli for Moms, Evans offers one woman’s unorthodox solution to the messy, chaotic, and confusing world of modern motherhood. It’s a tale of her own experiment in “power parenting” and a manifesto for other moms willing to act on Machiavelli’s famously manipulative advice.


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An enlightening parenting manifesto showing how the strategies used in Machiavelli’s masterpiece, The Prince, can be employed to reign in a rambunctious family. Newly remarried, with four kids under the age of eight, Suzanne Evans is fed up with tantrums, misbehaving, and general household chaos. Desperate to get the upper hand, she turns to Machiavelli’s iconic political t An enlightening parenting manifesto showing how the strategies used in Machiavelli’s masterpiece, The Prince, can be employed to reign in a rambunctious family. Newly remarried, with four kids under the age of eight, Suzanne Evans is fed up with tantrums, misbehaving, and general household chaos. Desperate to get the upper hand, she turns to Machiavelli’s iconic political treatise, The Prince, and inspiration strikes. Maybe, she thinks, I can use his manipulative rules to bring order to my boisterous family. Soon her experiment begins to play out in surprisingly effective ways. She starts off following Machiavelli’s maxim “It is dangerous to be overly generous” and soon realizes that for all its austerity, there is a kernel of truth in it. Her kids do behave when they are given clear limits. From there, she starts tackling other rules—“Tardiness robs us of opportunity” and “Study the actions of illustrious men”—and she is surprised at how quickly her brood falls in line once she starts adapting his advice to child rearing. As she tries more and more of Machiavelli’s ideas on her family, Evans figures out this secret: You can get more out of your kids, with less fighting, if you figure out how to gently manipulate them to get what you want (and let them think it’s their own idea). But when events in her life start to spiral out of control and some of her earlier techniques are no longer working, she has to figure out her own answer to the ultimate Machiavellian question: Is it better to be feared than loved? *** Do the Ends Justify the Meanness?  Machiavelli for Moms is the story of a rash, even crazy experiment: a year of using Machiavelli’s The Prince to “rule” one disobedient family. As mother-of-four Suzanne Evans soon found out, a little bit of coercion, manipulation, and cunning can go a long way when running a kingdom— and a household. Wouldn’t we all like to have kids who: • Consistently obey our commands . . . without our having to nag? • Stop talking back . . . and start getting along with each other? • Eagerly complete their homework . . . without our having to ask? • Sleep soundly through the night . . . while we regain our sanity, sex drive, and peace of mind? In Machiavelli for Moms, Evans offers one woman’s unorthodox solution to the messy, chaotic, and confusing world of modern motherhood. It’s a tale of her own experiment in “power parenting” and a manifesto for other moms willing to act on Machiavelli’s famously manipulative advice.

30 review for Machiavelli for Moms: Maxims on the Effective Governance of Children*

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    Philosophy, history & parenthood makes up this insightful book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shelly Guerrero

    Much of the advice in this book is for moms who have preschool through grade school age children. I however did come away with a few things relevant to having a teenager. The author's candid discussion of the difficulties we all face in raising children and parenting with our spouses is refreshing and reassuring. Much of the advice in this book is for moms who have preschool through grade school age children. I however did come away with a few things relevant to having a teenager. The author's candid discussion of the difficulties we all face in raising children and parenting with our spouses is refreshing and reassuring.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane Dreher

    Clever, upbeat, and informative, Machiavelli for Moms blends engaging memoir with humor, insights, and strategic advice for parents.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    What a load of #####! I was hoping this book would give some direction to help the chaos in my daughter's life with a full time job, a husband and three kids. After reading it, I realize what an incredible job my daughter does despite her chronic tiredness and feeling there is not enough of her to go around. This author put her young children in timeout for prolonged periods of time. What? Kids respond to the process; long term seclusion is rather extreme and retributional. This lady author had l What a load of #####! I was hoping this book would give some direction to help the chaos in my daughter's life with a full time job, a husband and three kids. After reading it, I realize what an incredible job my daughter does despite her chronic tiredness and feeling there is not enough of her to go around. This author put her young children in timeout for prolonged periods of time. What? Kids respond to the process; long term seclusion is rather extreme and retributional. This lady author had lost her job, enjoyed history and needed a job and a way to vent. Her list is long... anger over her job loss, her previous divorce, her partying spouse, her grief over the birth of a Down's syndrome daughter, and disciplining in a mixed family where her second husband didn't always support her methods. The few lessons offered were pretty much common sense. Just as marriage counselors are often divorced, this author offers advice on a topic where she is "flying by the seat of her pants". Having parented, it is the world's most difficult job and I empathized with Evans' struggles; I did enjoy the history lesson of Machiavelli and I thought the author's writing style made this an easy quick read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    I think I saw this in a LA Times review and it piqued my interest. I felt this to be an honest book which described the personal challenges of parenting that the author experienced. I may not have the same difficulties as she has had, but there are parts of the book that have me food for thought about how we are raising our kids. A quote that sticks with me, because it is so honest, is: "very few people are willing to admit that parenting can be and sometimes is a burdens, especially for those o I think I saw this in a LA Times review and it piqued my interest. I felt this to be an honest book which described the personal challenges of parenting that the author experienced. I may not have the same difficulties as she has had, but there are parts of the book that have me food for thought about how we are raising our kids. A quote that sticks with me, because it is so honest, is: "very few people are willing to admit that parenting can be and sometimes is a burdens, especially for those of us not willing or able to acknowledge our own true nature. Yet it is only by confronting our true nature that we can see what is preventing us from becoming the kind of person-and parent-that we aspire to be." I liked her summation of her personal experiment too: "and what I ultimately leaned from my experiment with The Prince is this: life is hard for all moms. It always has been and always will be. So stop wallowing in self-pity like I was. Turn directly toward your most pressing problems and deal with them. You'll feel better...Most important, be grateful for the time that you have with your kids and enjoy it."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nate Morse

    This book is 1/3 Parenting guide, 1/3 family stories and 1/3 history book about Machiavelli. The premise of using The Prince as a guide to run a family is interesting, but I think the tips this book has are kind of generic. Setting Rules and following through are the main points the book and I feel like they could work if this was called "Marine Drill Instructors for Moms". The family story was interesting and not something I have experienced so it was a glimpse into problems that I thankfully do This book is 1/3 Parenting guide, 1/3 family stories and 1/3 history book about Machiavelli. The premise of using The Prince as a guide to run a family is interesting, but I think the tips this book has are kind of generic. Setting Rules and following through are the main points the book and I feel like they could work if this was called "Marine Drill Instructors for Moms". The family story was interesting and not something I have experienced so it was a glimpse into problems that I thankfully don't have. The best part was the history of Machiavelli. I have read The Prince, but the research into his private life I think was the best part.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Denise Morse

    What a quick read! The book and the author really resonated with me even though we have very different lives and struggles. Her story is not just about her experiment with some Machiavelli techniques but her struggles with raising stepchildren, dealing with divorce and a child with special needs. Although I am a child of divorce and could easily sympathize with her and her children s struggles, i do not have a special needs child. That being said, it was so touching to hear her raw and personal What a quick read! The book and the author really resonated with me even though we have very different lives and struggles. Her story is not just about her experiment with some Machiavelli techniques but her struggles with raising stepchildren, dealing with divorce and a child with special needs. Although I am a child of divorce and could easily sympathize with her and her children s struggles, i do not have a special needs child. That being said, it was so touching to hear her raw and personal story and difficulties. As far as the Machiavelli techniques, I might test one or two out especially as it relates to rules and structure.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway on March 18th and I have yet to receive this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christine Wallbom

    Intelligent, fun read

  10. 5 out of 5

    Devina Salim

    I was expecting such less light read. Plenty of philosophies here. However it's a different and unique reference / insight about how to raise your kids that have driven you nuts. Good luck moms. I was expecting such less light read. Plenty of philosophies here. However it's a different and unique reference / insight about how to raise your kids that have driven you nuts. Good luck moms.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Ross

  13. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Evans

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dora Windsorová

  15. 4 out of 5

    Burlison

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adriana Danilovicova

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anica

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nada

    Interestingly written. I did enjoyed it, and benefited from it, too. 5/5 :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dana Kashubeck

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amber Marie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lenka Luksajova

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cass

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fiorina Sammartino

  26. 5 out of 5

    Viviane

  27. 5 out of 5

    Josh Gruninger

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Black Agency

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kira

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris

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