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The Prince Paperback – Sep 16 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace (Sept. 16 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440417849
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440417849
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,380,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, poetry, and some of the most well-known personal correspondence in the Italian language. His position in the regime of Florence as Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence lasted from 1498 to 1512, the period in which the de' Medici were not in power. Machiavelli's most well-known writing was, however, after this period, during the time when the de' Medici recovered power, and Machiavelli was removed from all positions of responsibility. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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ALL THE STATES and Governments by which men are or ever have been ruled, have been and are either Republics or Princedoms. Read the first page
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A guide to gaining and maintaining power March 27 2008
By Steve Burns - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was written by the famous Italian statesman Niccolo Machiavelli in 1531. This book is a classic and I was pleasantly surprised that the content was not dated and the principles translate easily into the modern worlds of business and politics.
The author wrote this book as an instruction guide for governing princes in the 1500's when Italy was divided into city states and were being defeated by many foreign powers. I belive that the work is directed to Lorenzo de Medici by a letter included in the work and because at the end of the writing Machiavelli calls for a prince to unite and lead Italy against its oppressors.
The book is not unethical as I had imagined from my understanding of the ruthlessness of Machiavellian ethics. The author is only explaining tactics to use to maintain power in a kingdom or city state that are pragmatic for his time period.
Here are some examples from the book:
1. When conquering a territory keep the current laws and institutions in place, but eliminate all the family of the defeated prince.
2. When trouble is sensed ahead of time it can be easily remedied, if you wait for it to show itself, it is to late.
3. Whoever is responsible for another becoming powerful, ruins himself.
4. There is no surer way of keeping possesion than by devastation.
5. Men do you are harm either because they hate you or they fear you.
6. Violence must be inflicted once and for all, it must be over quickly.
7. Build your power through the people.
8. Power is maintained through religious institutions.
9. Neglect the art of war and you lose your state.
10. If you act virtuously, you will be undone by those who are not, make use of this or not according to need.
The above is just a small sampling of the lessons in this book. My review can not do this book justice, it is full of wisdom and life lessons. It is a guide book for business leaders and politicians. I strongly suggest adding this book to your home library and referring to it often.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The First Business Book I have ever read Dec 5 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Actually, this book about political theory is applicable to any organization, not just governmental. Niccolo Machiavelli was a very shrewd man. A book full of pearls such as "Whoever believes that with great men new services wipe out old injuries deceives himslef"; "Without opportunity their prowess would have been extinguished and without such prowess the opportunity would have come in vain"; "And here it has to be noted that men must either be pampered or crushed, because they can get revenge for small injuries but not for grievous ones"; "The first opinion that is formed of a ruler's intelligence is based on the quality of men he has around him"; "But as soon as you disarm your subjects you start to offend them" and many many others. I am glad I am writing this review because it has been such a long time since I went back to my small yellow book for reference.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Old Nick, Or the Satanic Proverbs of Power Oct. 20 2008
By Miz Ellen - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This short slender work marks a landmark in Western Civilization and made the name of the author a synonym for Satan. In 26 short, crisp essays, Niccolo Machiavelli lays out the precepts whereby a nation may be subjugated to the will of a leader, whether prince, dicator or president. Machiavelli was born in 1469 and served the republic city-state of Florence as a high-level diplomat and minister of miliatary affairs for 13 years, undertaking at least 24 crucial foreign missions. When the Medici returned to power, Machiavelli was exiled from the city and he turned his mind to authoring a massive treatise titled THE REPUBLIC. Out of that larger work, these short essays were condensed. Machiavelli had one goal in so creating THE PRINCE; he desired the unification of Italy.

However, he authored the first and one of the best works of political science ever penned.

Unlike previous works of political thought, THE PRINCE is not philosophical in nature. The author is focused on the obtaining and the maintaining of power. "Morality" is not the intent. See chapter 15:

"A man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in everything must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good. Therefore it is necessary for a learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case."

Or chapter 18: "Thus it well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to to change to the opposite qualities."

The language of this is quaint and a little stilted. It stems from the translation done by Luigi Ricci in 1903, now in the public domain. Various revisions have been done on this basic translation and there are newer and fresher translations, each with their own merits and each costing a little more. Machiavelli backs up his proverbs with allusions to classical history and to events contemporary to his own time, but while the examples he cites are dated and obscure the thoughtful reader will easily be able to see these principles working in our modern era.

For example, Machiavelli argues in Chapter 17, that while fear and love are both powerful motivations for men to support a leader, love comes from the people and the leader can not control it. It is easier to inspire fear. An American reading this argument some 470 years later can reflect on how the political opponents of George W. Bush were vilified by political smear campaigns, how the wife of a policy critic can be exposed as a CIA agent to the risk of other's lives and how a decorated war hero can be "Swiftboated".

I recommend this edition because it is cheap. The formality of the language seems appropriate and simple statements are expressed with simple grace: "The first impression that one gets of a ruler and of his brains is from seeing the men that he has about him." (Chapter 22) However, shop around and if a fresher translation takes your fancy, do not hesitate. THE PRINCE will do more to explain the conduct of those in power and enable you to judge them, better than any number of television ads. It should be required reading in any political season.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Not sure what the big deal is Nov. 26 2012
By William D. Hastings - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is actually on the list of books that are banned by the administration of the prison where I am incarcerated. Naturally, when I got a hold of an illicit copy, I just had to devour it - reading much of it under the cover of night when most C/Os are napping. I didn't see what the big deal was. The introduction helped to set the book in the proper historical context in which it was written, and I could see how the text could be construed as salacious. However, I found it to be less revolutionary than it was an objective and detached assessment of what the author perceived to be the best way to consolidate and keep hold of power once that ruling position has been attained. I can understand how his principles can be applied to various aspects of people's lives, and why some politicians reference it like their Bible, but I suppose I was expecting something more scandalous.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Exceptionally readable April 17 2008
By raboof - Published on
Format: Paperback
Whatever your preconceived notion of this book is, it will be difficult to come away from it without a respect for the author's thoroughness and insight. The common disparagements against Machiavelli are not well supported by the text unless you are willing to nitpick his arguments.

The book is a treatise on how a ruler should gain, manage, and preserve power. He describes the various types of temporal powers a ruler may hold, and he describes the strategies that he thinks are necessary to maintain it for a long time. The book is full of examples from the past and careful analysis of the successes and failures of those rulers. From these examples, he derives his laws of conduct which forms the bulk of the book.

He receives the most criticism for his "ends justify the means" morality. To this point, he gives his critics only limited ammunition, though. The goal of a ruler, he argues, is to maximize the happiness of his subjects. This means peace, stability, freedom, and high standards of living. A ruler cannot provide these things if he is weak or antagonistic towards his subjects. So Machiavelli is arguing for a strong head of state, not a terrible one. All actions should be aimed at increasing the common good, even if sometimes it requires performing seemingly evil deeds. An action that seems immoral at the time (executing a mild troublemaker) may actually be beneficial in the long run (establishing rule of law and stability). The key to being a ruler is to know how to wield power justly, even if the wielding of it seems immoral at times.

For someone of his time, he does not place his trust heavily in God. Instead he seems to hold fast to the platitude that God helps those who help themselves. This is probably what his critics were quickest to glom onto. He presents a new morality based on power and removes God from the equation totally.

Reading the book now in the middle of the 2008 presidential race is perfect timing. Reading Machiavelli's admonishons and exhortations and then comparing them to the actions of the various candidates, you can get a totally different perspective on the maneuverings of each candidate.

This book is a great short read at anytime, but right now is probably the best chance to see how the practical application of Machiavelli's theories works out. An easy 5 stars.