The Prince Paperback – Sep 16 2008
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When Lorenzo de' Medici seized control of the Florentine Republic in 1512, he summarily fired the Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Signoria and set in motion a fundamental change in the way we think about politics. The person who held the aforementioned office with the tongue-twisting title was none other than Niccolò Machiavelli, who, suddenly finding himself out of a job after 14 years of patriotic service, followed the career trajectory of many modern politicians into punditry. Unable to become an on-air political analyst for a television network, he only wrote a book. But what a book The Prince is. Its essential contribution to modern political thought lies in Machiavelli's assertion of the then revolutionary idea that theological and moral imperatives have no place in the political arena. "It must be understood," Machiavelli avers, "that a prince ... cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state." With just a little imagination, readers can discern parallels between a 16th-century principality and a 20th-century presidency. --Tim Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“[Machiavelli] can still engage our attention with remarkable immediacy, and this cannot be explained solely by the appeal of his ironic observations on human behaviour. Perhaps the most important thing is the way he can compel us to reflect on our own priorities and the reasoning behind them; it is this intrusion into our own defenses that makes reading him an intriguing experience. As a scientific exponent of the political art Machiavelli may have had few followers; it is as a provocative rhetorician that he has had his real impact on history.” –from the Introduction by Dominic Baker-Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Another point of some confusion is the saying that "it is better to be feared than to be loved." Again, this is not quite what Machiavelli meant. His actual words are: "[. . .] there arises a dispute: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the contrary. The reply is that one should like to be both the one and the other, but as it is difficult to bring them together, it is much safer to be feared than to be loved if one of the two has to be lacking." It is also noteworthy to point out that the word "fear" at the time Machiavelli was alive was less synonymous with its modern meaning than it was with the word "respect." He was saying that a prince's throne is more secure if he is feared/respected but not loved than it is if he is loved but not feared/respected. Machiavelli does not say that a prince who is feared is the moral better of one who is loved.Read more ›
Also, there is a fantastic summary and overview of The Prince in the book A Collection of Wisdom by Rodney Ohebsion that I highly recommend. In ten pages or so, it gives you really the essence of The Prince that is applicable to people in their lives.
Machiavelli is tremendous observer of human nature. He understands human nature on a individual level, and on the larger scale of an entire society. He explains how an individual will react to certain situations, and how the group at large will react. His conclusions are timeless.
Machiavelli also draws many conclusions from the lessons of history. He recommends that leaders study history.
He also has valuable lessons in regards to the various types of governments. He points out the positive and negative aspects of democracies, aristocracies, and dictatorships. Once again his conclusions are timeless.
I really like the strategies this book because they're so practical and easy to implement. I found a lot of value inside this political philosophy have book type of book. I love how this particular concepts have been taught for many years now. How to acquire power was my section.
Written by Niccolo Machiavelli (a Florentine nobleman of the early sixteenth century) to a local ruler, "The Prince" is a short text of just over 100 pages which reads very much like a personal letter. The text was sent as a gift by Machiavelli with an explanation that he could not afford to purchase a gift and had written this instead. It is, at the very least, likely that the gift was meant to find the author a place in the royals hearts and obtain Machiavelli some recognition.
"The Prince" is simply a guide. It instructs the reader on becoming a ruler and in the maintenance of power. From launching attacks on fellow kingdoms to conducting oneself in public, this book covers it all. Machiavelli dictates that a ruler must be affable, yet must stand above others at all times. He must know how to please both his guards and his peasants. He must form alliances and know when to break them. He must never let down his guard.
More controversial are the many cruel "necessities" dictated by Machiavelli. Machiavelli unabashedly declares that when taking over (deposing) or otherwise unseating a leader you must kill all of his/her bloodline. There must be no one left to vie for the throne. And that is one of many of the mandates that has fixed him forever with a terrible reputation. One nickname for Satan himself is Ol' Nick, probably taken from the Niccolo in Machiavelli's name.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is a must-read classic for anyone interested in history, business and politics. The Prince is as applicable as the day it was written maybe more so. Read morePublished 15 months ago by toni
This was an interesting read. It gave good insights into the meaning of a “Machiavellian approach”. Along with these thoughts and ideas, this book serves as a rich history... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Susan-128
A really well written book, and great for the history buffs out there. Niccolo Machiavelli was a fascinating man, and the book does a great job of letting you into his mind.Published 15 months ago by DXLPM