Customer Review

47 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 16 Oct 2010
This review is from: The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World (Hardcover)
Having read the first couple of chapters, I'm finding this book enjoyable and illuminating. Jonathan Powell applies his experiences, working in the upper echelons of the civil service and then as chief of staff to Tony Blair for ten years, to illustrate the principles set out by Niccolo Machiavelli in the classics 'The Prince' and the Discourses which are still widely read by students of politics today. He makes it clear in the preface that "[This book] is confined to looking at the art of government and at the mechanics of power, not why a leader might want to get hold of power or what they would want to do with it once they get hold of it.. it is important that idealistic and optimistic people who come to office understand the reality of how power can be wielded effectively so they can make the country a better place". But I think it's a worthwhile read for *anyone* who wants to be in a better position to participate in our democracy, since it will allow them to understand better the different factors that influence our political leaders in their decisionmaking. And it has funny bits too - Powell can be quite witty.

The chapters are as follows:

Introduction: In Defence of Machiavelli
1. 'Of New Princedoms Which a Prince Acquires With His Own Arms and by Merit': Coming to Power
2. 'The Prince': Leadership
3. Cabinet, the Civil Service and Making Things Happen
4. The Court
5. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor
6. 'Whether it is better to be loved or feared': Politics and Parliament
7. The Importance of Being Strategic
8. Spin Doctors and Media Moguls
9. Scandals, Inquiries and the Police
10. Europe
11. War and Peace
12. Hubris and Leaving Office
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Location: Scotland

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