Reynold Ruslan Feldman, Ph.D. - Author, Editor, Nonprofit Consultant, Wisdom Coach
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Using Power Wisely and Well

Today’s blog is a tale of two years: 1513 and 1516. In the first, Nicolò Machiavelli published THE PRINCE. In the second, Desiderius Erasmus published a much less known book: ON THE EDUCATION OF A CHRISTIAN PRINCE. Machiavelli’s classic was meant to help princes gain, maintain, and enhance their power. As such, its principles (!) are still used by today’s CEO’s to increase market share, acquire new territories and companies, and grow the bottomline. Erasmus’s work, by contrast, was meant to train princes to use their future power for the well-being of their subjects. Consider his first two sentences: “In navigation the wheel is not given to him [sic!] who surpasses his fellows in birth, wealth, or appearance, but rather to him who excels in skill as a navigator, in his alertness, and in his dependability. Just so with the rule of a state: most naturally the power should be entrusted to him [sic!] who excels all in the requisite kingly qualities of wisdom, justice, moderation, foresight, and zeal for the public welfare.” My wife, Cedar Barstow, has recently published a book called RIGHT USE OF POWER: THE HEART OF ETHICS (2008). (See www.rightuseofpower.com.) As a working psychotherapist, she wrote for fellow helping professionals. Meanwhile she has concluded that using power well is something everyone must learn to do. As she writes, “The world runs on power, but, as we all know, the long-term misuse of power in relationships large and small has put the future of our children and grandchildren, not to mention the planet itself, at risk. [RIGHT USE OF POWER] has proved . . . an effective way to train people to use their personal and professional power wisely and well. Unfortunately, the program is nowhere near reaching a critical mass of humankind.” Maybe some of you will join me in helping her do just that.

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