One can assess a prince's intelligence by looking at the men with whom he surrounds himself.
Severities should be dealt out all at once, so that their suddenness may give less offense; benefits ought to be handed ought drop by drop, so that they may be relished the more.
On the whole, the best fortress you can have, is in not being hated by your subjects. If they hate you no fortress will save you...
The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow.
Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed.
All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it's impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.