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The Prince Paperback – Sep 16 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 173 customer reviews

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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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 173 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,298,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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.

Review

" [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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The term "Machiavellian" is frequently used to describe ruthlessness and brutality in a leader, and most people who have read about Machiavelli but have not actually read Machiavelli's own works assume that he believed "the ends justify the means." However, this is a common misperception. His actual words are: "[. . .] in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, where there is no court of appeal, one looks at the outcome." He does not, here or anywhere else in his writing, attempt to provide any moral justification for ruthlessness, but merely says that a leader will always be judged by his people based on the end result of his actions. He was very pragmatic in his outlook on princely rule, and sought to explain the actions that would and would not be effective in gaining and maintaining the rule of a nation.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Prince is truly a legendary masterpiece. More than a book on political theories, it covers topics such as human nature, influence, leadership, trickery, psychology, philosophy, etc. However, it is mostly the latter chapters that are interesting and deal with these subjects. The first half or so is not that interesting of a read. So I would advise that you just skip over the first forteen or so chapters at first, and then read them later if you want.
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.
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By Patrick Sullivan TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 6 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was not what I expected at all. I always thought this book was only about stab in the back politics.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Machiavelli's "The Prince" is known all over the world for teaching effective tactics for the absolute ruler.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
How to rule the world when the rest of the world is ruled by wimps! Not really, but this book proves that strong, aggressive leaders are the only ones who can get things done (even look at more recent history - Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain are a perfect example). This book not only talks about how to reign supreme, but how to avoid scandal, etc. Perfect for the young ambitious politicians and business executives out there. This edition in particular is good too because it has several things most others don't - a lengthy introduction explaining Machiavelli's character, and some recorded history by Machiavelli (History of the Duke Valentino's Conquests, Life of Castruccio Castracani) all in all a good read, and a word of advice to those ambitious and forgetful - write commentaries after every chapter, it helps with language skills and you'll have philosophical points on paper an easier to access.
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