2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
R. A. Williams
- Published on Amazon.com
This is not a facsimile but a new transcription with notes in modern Italian. I take issue with some of the suggestions in the foreword, but the preliminary analysis seems to be obligatory these days.
Niccolo Machiavelli, a disgraced courtier, wrote the original how-to book in an attempt to ingratiate himself with the scion of the de'Medici house in Florence. The attempt failed and Machiavelli was not appreciated in his own time, but the easy, accessible way he wrote (and the eminent reason of his suggestions) has made him popular to this day.
Like "Go Rin No Sho" (The Book of Five Rings), "Il Principe" has been translated, exploited, and taken wildly out of context by people who wanted to apply it in a business setting and make a quick buck in the process. To a reader who understands the political system and culture for which Machiavelli wrote, applying the concepts from "Il Principe" to the corporate world is a bit like trying to perform brain surgery with a chainsaw instead of a laser scalpel. Yet the embrace of "Machiavellian" office politics was fashionable during the 1980's and early 2000's. The opportunistic, arrogant approach encouraged by the misapplication of Machiavelli's principles, and the predictable decay of the institutions in which that attitude took root, has been stinking up the corporate world ever since.
Machiavelli spoke only of politics relevant to a "principality": a nation-state run by one ruler who is neither elected nor subject to replacement. His examples and scenarios are ill suited to people who rise to power in democracies, publicly run businesses, social clubs, or any other situation where autocratic rule doesn't work. They do, however, accurately describe and predict events and political conditions in non-constitutional monarchies, dictatorships, and nations accustomed to single party rule.