Whenever new information is presented, it is analyzed against existing knowledge to form a new synthesis of understanding. This is the process of learning.

Since I finished EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey, I have been processing the themes introduced. The general philosophies seem so simple and straightforward that it borders on brashness. Which is not a bad thing, like Dave Rasmey, I also feel the harsh truth is more valuable than a harsh lie.

The one thing that I can’t shake is how close the philosophies are to Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, yet how different they are. EntreLeadership plays an interesting game of aligning very closely with The Prince, but then veering far off-course in one direction, only to come back and veer off in the other.

One example where the two text run in unison is where they discuss goal planning and communication.

A secret man does not communicate his designs to anyone or take any advice, but as on putting them into effect they begin to be known and discovered. They being to be opposed by those he has about him, and this is easily diverted from his purpose.

A prince ought always to take console, but only when he wishes, not when other wish. He ought to be a great asker, and a great hearer of the truth about those things which he has inquired.

Niccolo Machiavelli

The problem with your company is not the economy, it is not the lack of opportunity, it is not your team. The problem is you. That is the bad news. The good news is, if you're the problem, you're also the solution.

If your team continually drops the ball you are right to micromanage until they don’t drop the ball or you get some new team members

Dave Ramsey

An EntreLeader is honest, unnerving, calculating, and motivated in order to get the most out of their employees. Take away honesty and you have the recipe for a prince. This is where the main difference lies. The princes in Machiavelli’s book used dishonesty as a tool to stay in power and manipulate their citizens. It is important to remember that princes lived in a time when they could be overthrown and their families murdered.

In today’s culture, Ramsey does not have to worry about his employees staging a bloody revolution, but I wonder, if revolution was a possible, would have different views about disclosure. Based on his description of his hiring and firing process, I can’t believe that some ex-employees don’t hold grudges. Both Ramsey and Machiavelli warn leaders against entrusting in their fortresses (business) and not tending the favor of their citizens (employees).

The infamous “ends justifies the means” line is reiterated in EntreLeadership as the reason behind the punishments and rewards introduced. These are things that have to happen for the preservation of the business.

A man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in everything, must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good. Therefore, it is necessary for a prince, who wishes to maintain himself, to learn how not to be good. Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are, and those few will not dare to oppose themselves to the many.

One of the chief maxims from The Prince is that it is not necessary for a prince to have faith, charity, and religion, but it is necessary to seem to have them.

Ultimately, we don’t know how Dave Ramsey is in his personal life. We can’t know anybody’s inner thoughts. And there is no way of knowing what is in the mind of an EntreLeader. We only know what we are presented and what we interpret. The big employee events, the executive retreats, and the book are all symbols as well as activities to further goals.

The fact that books written so long ago still hold relevance today is so interesting to me. I feel like we should continue to explore the current trends, but still appreciate the classics. If you don’t understand the philosophies behind the methods, then you are only seeing part of the whole.