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 alternate Paperback edition.
" [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
"From the Hardcover edition."
"[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
"From the Hardcover edition." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.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.
Machiavelli was a citizen of Florence, a city that became very wealthy in the 15th century. In this age it became a centre of humanism and the new, classical style in education and scholarship. However, Italy was a scene of intense political conflict and in the 15th century Florence also experienced a changeful time of wars and different rulers, most important of them the Medici.
When the Medici family regained power in 1512 after a short interrupt, Machiavelli was tortured and removed from public life. For the next 10 years he concentrated on writing history, political philosophy, and even plays. He ultimately was called back to public duty for the last two years of his life.
Machiavelli offers advice in order to retain power. "The Prince" describes the means by which political power is seized and retained, and the circumstances in which it is lost. It is different from other books about creating and controlling principalities because it doesn't tell you what an ideal prince or principality is but explains through examples, which princes are the most successful in obtaining and maintaining power. Machiavelli draws his examples from personal observations he made.
Now in which way is this book also interesting for modern life?
Today "Machiavellian" means using power and violence imprudently. But although many people may say that this book is an instruction that rulers must be prepared to lie, cheat and steal to hang on to their thrones, in my opinion "The Prince" is an astonishingly honest book.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Parks has translated Machiavelli for the 21st century. It's got a lot more zing and energy than the old, 19th-century editions. It's much clearer and easier to read than they were. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ian Chadwick
Essential reading for those who would wield power, either in business or in politics, this used to be a book that you would either borrow from a library or seek secondhand in your... Read morePublished 16 months ago by chabrenas
I first read The Prince in business school, and coming back to it now simply reinforces this book's value as the seminal work of strategic thinking, applicable to business,... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Hypnotist 101
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 17 months ago by toni
This is a nicely presented digital version of The Prince, considered by many to be a founding work of modern political philosophy. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Avid Reader
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 17 months ago by Susan-128