Machiavelli for Moms by Suzanne Evans

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 was fed up with tantrums, misbehaving, and general household chaos. Desperate to get the upper hand, she turns to Machiavelli’s iconic political treatise and inspiration strikes—maybe she can use the philosopher’s famously manipulative rules to bring order to her boisterous family?

Soon, Evan’s experiment is playing out in surprisingly effective ways. She starts off with the widely maligned maxim, “It is better to be feared than loved,” and realizes that for all its harshness, it contains a kernel of truth—her kids behave when they fear punishment. She starts channeling her inner disciplinarian, and is surprised at how quickly her brood falls in line. A few months later, when her kids’ beloved kitten dies an untimely death, she decides to follow Machiavelli’s edict that “the populace need not know all the details of government life”—she tells them their cat “went to live at the farm.” Though she eventually came clean, she learned that sometimes honesty isn’t the best policy with kids—and that’s OK.

As she tries more and more of Machiavelli’s ideas on her family, Evans figures out his secret: You can get more out of your kids with less fight if you figure out how to gently manipulate them to get what they want (and think it’s their own idea). In Machiavelli for Moms, she shows modern-day mothers and fathers how to use his advice to take back their own kingdoms.

Suzanne Evans is a former divorce lawyer and business/sports reporter who holds a Ph.D. in history from UC Berkeley. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Business Journal, and other national publications. She is also a freelance writer for The History Channel website and the creator of The History Chef, a popular food history blog for parents and kids. She lives in Newport Beach, California, with her husband and four young children.