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The Prince Paperback – 4 May 2010

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Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a Florentine statesman who was later forced out of public life. He then devoted himself to studying and writing political philosophy, history, fiction, and drama.

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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Classic deserving of its fame 8 April 2004
By JPAN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This classic treatise is the most famous work on the subject of political power, and with good cause. Machiavelli outlines the basic principles of how to properly govern a kingdom, from whether it is better to fight with native troops (he argues that it is better to lose with your own soldiers than with with mercenaries) to whether it is better to be loved or feared (he clearly sides with the latter). Despite its somewhat negative connotations, the author goes to great lengths to outline why he comes to the conclusions he does. Taken in their proper context, Machiavelli's positions are, I believe, much less inflamatory than their stereo-types. One also must considers the time and circumstances in which the book was written.
In conclusion, this book is a must-read for anyone who considers themselves to be a reader of classics. I picked up this edition in the airport for 4 dollars...how could you go wrong? Anyone would be proud to place this on his or her bookshelf.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not much I can add 3 April 2008
By J. S. Breunig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What more to write that others haven't? It's The Prince, Machiavelli's work, chances are you're coming in with a lot of preconceived notions, assumptions, or just intrigue.

First, the writing style. The book is divided into short essays. This makes it great for reading for 5 minute bursts or sitting down and reading at leisure. The language is natural and flowing, for the most part. Some of the references are to "contemporary" actions, which unless you study fifteenth-century Italian politics will be a bit over your head. Still, points are made, and examples usually at least have a sentence of background.

Now, the content. Not being in the business of power, I can't attest to the efficacy of the claims. The author certainly does a good job of making his case: using examples, hypotheticals, abstract theories and a dash of reason. I do now look at things like office politics, organized crime and international relations in a new light, trying to understand if the concepts still apply. Surprisingly, a number of them seem to play out no matter the stakes or timeframe. So for a new perspective, this book does deliver.
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He was for many years an official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He also wrote Discourses.

He wrote this book to "Lorenzo the Magnificent, Son of Piero Di Medici," hoping that he would be invited back to public service. (Machiavelli had been accused of conspiracy against the Medici family, and was exiled after being imprisoned and even tortured for three weeks.) In his introduction, he commends his "knowledge of the deeds of great men which I have acquired through a long experience of modern events and a constant study of the past... it is necessary to be a prince to know thoroughly the nature of the people, and one of the populace to know the nature of princes."

He suggests, "one ought never to allow a disorder to take place in order to avoid war, for war is not thereby avoided, but only deferred to your disadvantage." (Pg. 42) Of a duke who allowed the appointment of Julius II as Pope, he advises, "he ought never to have permitted any of those cardinals to be raised to the papacy whom he had injured, or who when pope would stand in fear of him. For men commit injuries either through fear or through hate... whoever thinks that in high personages new benefits cause old offenses to be forgotten, makes a great mistake." (Pg. 58)

He observes, "it would be well to be considered liberal; nevertheless liberality such as the world understands it will injure you, because if used virtuously and in the proper way, it will not be known... But one who wishes to obtain the reputation of liberality among men, must not omit every kind of sumptuous display, and to such an extent that a prince of this character will consume by such means all his resources... There is nothing which destroys itself so much as liberality, for by using it you lose the power of using it, and become either poor and despicable, or, to escape poverty, rapacious and hated... It is, therefore, wiser to have the name of a miser, which produces its disgrace without hatred, than to incur of necessity the name of being rapacious, which produces both disgrace and hatred." (Pg. 86, 88)

He famously says, "From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than love. The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be wanting." (Pg. 89-90) He goes on, "a prudent ruler ought not to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interest, and when the reasons which made him bind himself no longer exist. If men were all good, this precept would not be a good one; but as they are bad, and would not observe their faith with you, so you are not bound to keep faith with them." (Pg. 92-93)

He notes, "The choice of a prince's minister is a matter of no little importance... The first impression that one gets of a ruler and of his brains is from seeing that men that he has about him. When they are competent and faithful one can always consider him wise, as he has been able to recognize their ability and keep them faithful. But when they are the reverse, one can always form an unfavorable opinion of him, because the first mistake that he makes is in making this choice." (Pg. 114) He also points out, "there is no other way of guarding one's self against flattery than by letting men understand that they will not offend you by speaking the truth; but when every one can tell you the truth, you lose their respect. A prudent prince must therefore take a third course, by choosing for his council wise men, and giving these alone full liberty to speak the truth to him, but only of those things that he asks and of nothing else... Beyond these he should listen to no one, go about the matter deliberately, and be determined in his decisions." (Pg. 116)

This classic book (written when Machiavelli was desperately applying for a JOB, so to speak) does not represent Machiavelli's actual political philosophy; see his Discourses, for his own ideas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
#20 Power Politics (Understanding the Enemy) 29 May 2010
By T. Price - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Power Politics (Understanding the Enemy)
The quintessential evil doers manual...knowing this will give you insights to all the power mongers of the planet!
Important Classic Work On Politics 23 July 2014
By Andrew Olsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Prince is incredibly important for the world of politics. But none the less is entrenched in the politics of it's own time. Whatever lessons that can be learned from it are more general political ideas not necessarily anything profound.

This book is a list of what is deemed good political advice supported by the historical anecdotes used as evidence of successful politicians and leaders of the time. It doesn't necessarily say the someone who has done evil things is a good person just a successful political leader. He would have you be feared, rather than admired, but to avoid hatred of the masses. While I cannot support the need to be feared I can see how avoiding the hatred of the people who keep you in your position as a good thing. Still in the end more of a general rule of thumb, not anything any good political leader couldn't find out.
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