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Reputation is the Key to Sucess

October 5, 2010

Upon reading Machiavelli’s “The Prince” I came across a statement about how citizens become rulers.  What they do is, “build up the reputation of one of their number and make him sole ruler in order that his authority may be employed in their defense”.  What struck me about this passage was the way in which a simple citizen becomes an authority figure.  Machiavelli says that his reputation is what will carry the citizen to become a person of power.  This made me think of how I vote in elections and how people campaign.  I certainly did not know the Obama or John McCain personally, so I was simply voting based on what I had heard about them.  It also made me consider how I did decide which candidate to vote for.  I assessed the reputations of people, news broadcasting sources, and others running with the two presidential candidates to help me make my decision.  I considered the economic, social biases and previous decisions made by each source to help me decide whether I should trust what he or she was saying.  After all this, I realized that I went through many layers of sources, each with personal biases, in order to “get to know” Obama and McCain, and it made me wonder how I could trust my decision.

I concluded two things from this. One being that people campaigning need to reach as many people directly as possible.  The other being the importance of my own reputation.  It made me assess how I wanted to be known, and what qualities I found important. Also, it made me consider how to express these qualities so that people receive them how I want.

  1. Lorig Stepanian permalink
    October 5, 2010 4:44 PM

    I completely agree with this article. I believe that in the political realm, everything is about reputation. Each politician has a reputation that gives them a personality distinguishing them from their competition. In order for politicians to appeal to anyone and get support, they must appeal to one or more particular groups. For example, Sarah Palin had the reputation of being like the average American woman, and therefore drew in a huge amount of female voters. Also, many politicians must give off an image of being scandal free. The majority of voters do not want the people running their country to be partaking in inappropriate activities such as, gambling; therefore, politicians must attempt to have as clean of an image as possible to appeal to the American population.

  2. Neil Rabinowicz permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:10 PM

    I think Obama and McCain are good examples of people who built their reputation to get into power. However, I don’t think they can be considered common people. Politicians, specially the ones running for President have enough power already and good enough reputations to make it that far.

    A better example I think, would be a common citizen who decides to run for mayor of his town or governor of the state. There are always campaign commercials on television showing normal people who are running for political positions and need to gain the public’s support in order to get into power. Obama and McCain would classify as elite citizens trying to gain the support of both the elite and the common public.

  3. Jorge Rodriguez-Larrain permalink
    October 5, 2010 9:50 PM

    This article was very interesting, it showed some crucial points that every politician should be aware of. As already mentioned, it is important to note how certain politicians attract a specific group, which is closely associated with the politician’s reputation and public image. Although reputation is important, there are other factors to consider that will certainly give power, such as money. If we take a look at politicians today, most of them are wealthy individuals, the money is needed in many cases for publicity and in order to create a public image, this concept was mentioned in the last paragraph of the article.

  4. aaronyan1123 permalink
    October 6, 2010 2:35 AM

    I agree with what you said. Reputation is really the key to success. In politics, there are many campaigns from different politicians, not matter from TV commercials, flyers and events. Building up a good reputation leads to the first step of success because good reputation gives people a good impression and trust. Beside politics, we actually examine this in our daily living. People who has better reputation seem to have larger social circle, however; people who has worse reputation seem to have smaller one.

  5. jptrue permalink
    October 6, 2010 10:58 AM

    Great thoughts in this peace, reputation is scarily powerful in today’s society…

    …Another interesting thought I get from your post has to do with the quote you use. You wrote that the author explained, ““build up the reputation of one of their number and make him sole ruler in order that his authority may be employed in their defense”’

    The part that interests me is that he specifically mentions at the end “his authority may be employed in their defense.” I think this expectation of repayment in response to building the rulers reputation can really speak to Obama’s current situation also. Obama was able to build a huge positive reputation during the election by gaining support from a wide base of interests and demographics. However, he is far from as popular two years into office as he was when elected. I think is is largely because of this expectation of repayment for support. People support Obama so that he could gain authority and then help them defend the issues that were important to him. Obviously Obama can’t help everyone, and has his own agenda. Thus, he has isolated people who built his reputation, angering them, and leading to a weaker reputation.

    Consequently, I wonder how long a citizen can continue to be a ruler before his reputation is destroyed and he is removed from authority…

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