A.J. Jacobs
February 25, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Nasty, brutish, short — and exceedingly amusing — Stanley Bing’s little tome What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness is the ultimate guide to corporate backstabbing. Bing (a pseudonymous Fortune columnist) half-jokingly looks for leadership inspiration from the likes of Joseph Stalin, Martha Stewart, and of course, the dark prince himself. He advises us to sweat the small stuff, to crush our rivals and ”hear…their windpipes snap.” And he instructs us to take the example of Conde Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse, who once fired an underling by changing her office lock while she was at lunch. Overall, a welcome kick in the pants to the earnest, mushy self-help genre. A-

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