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The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
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The Prince (1532)

by Niccolò Machiavelli

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18,168187166 (3.72)351
The world-renowned philosopher's classic treatise reveals the techniques and strategies for gaining and keeping political control. "How we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather bring about his own ruin than his preservation. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how not to be good," wrote Machiavelli.… (more)
  1. 121
    Utopia by Thomas More (2below)
    2below: Each one is fascinating in its own right but I think reading both (or reading them concurrently, as I did) provides an interesting perspective on two seemingly opposed extremes.
  2. 63
    The Republic by Plato (caflores)
  3. 41
    Maxims and Reflections by Francesco Guicciardini (timoroso)
    timoroso: Guicciardini, a friend and colleague of Machiavelli, wrote a book of maxims sometimes profound in themselves, other times interesting to compare to Machiavelli's opinions. The subject matter for both is essentially the same: how to act in a politically and ethically thoroughly unstable world.… (more)
  4. 22
    On the Nature of War by Carl von Clausewitz (sirparsifal)
  5. 11
    A Theologico-Political Treatise / A Political Treatise (v. 1) by Benedict de Spinoza (caflores)
  6. 03
    The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (Othemts)
  7. 216
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Ciruelo, Othemts)
    Ciruelo: Really. Both are classic studies in the workings of power.
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» See also 351 mentions

English (155)  Spanish (9)  French (6)  Dutch (4)  Italian (3)  Finnish (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (186)
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
[Reviewed as part of The Illustrated Book Club]

"Machiavellian" has now entered the language as a synonym for "deceitful", "conniving", or just plain "evil". Ming the Merciless was Machiavellian, as was Doctor Smith in Lost in Space (why those dated examples sprung to mind, I've no idea...), and the guy in Despicable Me, whatever his name is (good, a more topical reference - we're back on track!). The point is, he's become a stereotype of villainy, a cultural trope. But the real Machiavelli seems a thoughtful, cultured individual, well-read, well-versed in history and the classics, and concerned only that if someone is to assume absolute rule, then they should do it right.

What makes - made? - the book controversial is its honesty. As philosopher (not painter) Francis Bacon put it, Machiavelli writes of "what men do, and not what they ought to do". In other words, he is a student of human nature, and being also a cynic, human nature doesn't come out too well. I am reminded of the worldview of Game of Thrones when he says, "men will always do badly to you unless they are forced to be virtuous" (I hate Game of Thrones). And so, he argues, rulers should not try to be virtuous - all who have done so have come to naive and sticky ends - but merely to appear to have those virtues. But hold on: isn't there a Bible quote along those lines? Matthew 10:6: "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Well, Machiavelli prefers two different animals: namely, the lion and the fox, for their bravery and cunning respectively, but maybe there is a certain parallel attitude here: innocence doesn't always cut it, even when your ends are good - and, arguably, Machiavelli's are. He wants glory for the state, for Florence, Italy and its people, but he also wants prosperity and peace. He scorns the example of Agathocles, who, despite achieving and maintaining absolute rule, was, by all accounts, not a nice guy. As M puts it, despite his success as a ruler, "his brutal cruelty and inhumanity, his countless crimes, forbid his being honoured among eminent men."

So, Machiavelli is not your straight forward might-is-right, Nietzschean supervillain (and neither, in fact, was Nietzsche). He is simply someone who believes that the ends justify the means, and his ends are the traditionally good ones. That said, the means are sometimes ghastly: he condones betrayal and trickery, pre-emptive war, wiping out the families of one's enemies, and other heinous actions deemed political necessities. It is 'realpolitik' in its most open and honest form. However, in among this is a subtle, almost 'spiritual' approach to state craft - it is perhaps not the precise word I'm looking for, but at a number of points (which I wish I'd made note of, now), I found myself thinking, "This is just like Sun Tzu!" (of Art of War fame): advice on seizing the moment, being flexible, knowing when to attack or not, when it's the right time to use repression and violence and punishment (and when it's simply too late), and other things that bear no little resemblance to a Taoist treatise on following The Way (a keen knowledge of which, it's no secret, can serve both spiritual and martial applications). For Machiavelli then, as perhaps for Sun Tzu, the 'way' of good government should not be entangled with moral concerns. For modern readers, much as we would like to avoid this hugely depressing and repugnant conclusion, it seems based on a view of human nature that is close to ours. Isn't that what we think of people? That they're basically selfish, greedy, untrustworthy? I think it's that which is most challenging about the book - that is, the challenge to reach a different conclusion, or else to abandon that shared, Game-of-Thrones premise.

Gareth Southwell is a philosopher, writer and illustrator.
  Gareth.Southwell | May 23, 2020 |
I took up this book for a weird reason; I had heard the term 'Machiavellian' multiple times, but honestly, I didn't even know what it meant. So I just went ahead and grabbed this book from Amazon store, whose Kindle edition was free of cost.

Now, this book was originally written in Italian and has been translated to English. According to the translator, he tried to retain the original meaning whilst maintaining the succinct nature of the original.

One reason why it took me so long to read this book was its olden vernacular. Another one was the myriad of references to European historical events and personages, to which I am completely oblivious.

The book itself is kind of like a manual for a person aspiring to rule over a territory and defend it once acquired. I liked this book, because of various little tips which can be applied by commoners like us, if in a leadership position. According to the translator:
"[b:The Prince|28862|The Prince|Niccolò Machiavelli|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390055828s/28862.jpg|1335445] is bestrewn with truths that can be proved at every turn. Men are still the dupes of their simplicity and greed, as they were in the days of Alexander VI. The cloak of religion still conceals the vices which Machiavelli laid bare in the character of Ferdinand of Aragon. Men will not look at things as they really are, but as they wish them to be— and are ruined. In politics there are no perfectly safe courses; prudence consists in choosing the least dangerous ones. Then—to pass to a higher plane—Machiavelli reiterates that, although crimes may win an empire, they do not win glory."

The translator explained why the term 'Machiavellian' has a negative connotation now, but at time the book was written, its sinister implications were simply not recognized. The current definition is:

I have marked this book unfinished because I skipped the last part where he describes a historical event and another one where he portrays the life of a duke. This at a glance seemed like a boring history lesson, with very little of value. Hence, I moved on.

Reading it was a unique experience. I would recommend you give it a shot too. :) ( )
  Govindap11 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Historically significant but miserable to read. Doubtless it's incredibly brilliant. Unfortunately just in a way that reminds me of everything I hate about humanity. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Mar 19, 2020 |
The best and most useful way to understand this book is through an assessment of the historical context of Italy in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The Italian Renaissance had a profound influence on literature and the arts. Such a context gave birth to Humanism and the revival of Ancient Greek and Roman 'Wisdom'. Italy however, remained bitterly divided between warring city states and foreign powers vying for influence on the peninsula.

What I took from the book, considering this context was that Machiavelli was longing for a united, powerful Italy, reminiscent of the Roman Empire. Recognising the paradox of being kind and achieving political goals is a vital development of western political philosophy as well as political thought. Machiavelli's reputation is a simply a testament to his profound influence.

I do not agree with everything he says but can understand his conclusions when considering Italy at around 1500.

I hope to move on to the Discourses in the near future but I do believe that The Prince is an excellent place to start, maybe along with Quentin Skinner's Very Short Introduction to Machiavelli. ( )
  Neal_Anderson | Mar 17, 2020 |
The perfect job application back in the days when resumes were books instead of two typed pages. Perhaps one of the most misquoted books (aside from the Bible) in history. It is one of the first works of political thought that removes God from the equation politics and puts the emphasis on the works of man and this scared the church. Read it with an open mind, consider the times, the political climate, and remember that at heart Machiavelli was the champion of republican government. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
Kad je reč o umešnosti vladanja, ovo nezaobilazno delo bilo je i ostalo neprevaziđeno. Postalo je pojam!

Delo nastalo na velikom raskršću istorije, kada se odlučno odbacuje srednjovekovno metafizičko učenje i usvajaju empirički metodi razmišljanja, predstavlja ujedno fascinantno svedočanstvo razlaza između mita i realnosti, između vere i sumnje. Ovaj biser renesansne političke misli karakteriše realistično posmatranje političkih događaja i visoke moralne pobude koje su inspirisale autora. Vladalac je samo prividno apoteoza tiranina i kodeks pravila za ubijanje, čitav traktat o vladaocu svodi se na to da se u Italiji pronađe čovek koji će je ujediniti. Život i delo ovog poznatog firentinca obeležavaju kao teoretičara o osnivanju i održavanju država.
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» Add other authors (234 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Machiavelli, Niccolòprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abreu, YordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Adabağ, NecdetTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Adams, Robert M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aguero, Marcos SanzForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allen, W. B.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alvarez, Leo Paul S. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arkes, HadleyContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aron, RaymondForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arrais, RafaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ascoli, Albert RussellIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atkinson, James B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ījabs, IvarsAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Čaklā, IntaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bahner, WernerForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baker-Smith, DominicIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barreca, ReginaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bates, PhilipEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beard, BenjaminContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benitez, PaulaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergin, Thomas G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berlin, IsaiahMedarb.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bickford-Smith, CoralieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bingen, JonOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blaschke, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bock, KlausAutorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonaparte, NapoleónForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bondanella, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowman, John S.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Branca, VittoreForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bull, George AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butler-Bowdon, TomIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caponigri, A. RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Casella, MarioContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caso, AdolphEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chabod, FedericoPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chiappelli, FrediForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Codevilla, Angelo M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Connell, William J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Constantine, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corsaro, AntonioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Decaro, EnzoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delvers, RihardsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Detmold, ChristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dias, Maurício SantanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donno, Daniel JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dooren, Frans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dotti, UgoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edman, IrwinForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ennis, MichaelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eriksen, Trond BergOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fichte, Johann Gottliebsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiore, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Firpo, LuigiEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frasier, ShellyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freyer, HansIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuller, NelleEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gauss, ChristianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Günther, HorstAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gohory, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldwasser, Maria JúliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González-Blanco, EdmundoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodwin, RufusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grafton, AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grunberg, ArnonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hajný, JosefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm FriedrichContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herczeg, GyulaKöZrem.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horvath, PatrickAuthorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hybinette, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglese, GiorgioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ζωγραφίδης… ΓιώργοςEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ζωγραφίδου - Καραχάλιου… ΖώζηTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jáuregui, José AntonioPr.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janni, EttoreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kallio, O. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kekewich, Lucille MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramer, Gert-JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Löffler, RalfHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lévy, YvesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lönnroth, ErikAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonetti Jungl, EliTraductor y notassecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lisio, GiuseppeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lord, CarnesContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lotherington, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luciani, GérardAuteursecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lupton, Colin J. E.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lutter, ÉvaFord.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ménissier, ThierryTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malarczyk, JanTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, Harvey C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, Harvey C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marriott, W. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martínez Arancón, Ana,Pr.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martinez, BenjaminIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massa-Carrara, MarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazzini Ruiz, OctavioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMahon, RobEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melograni, PieroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melotti, FrancoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merian-Genast, ErnstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Stephen J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moners i Sinyol, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mouwen, ChrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musa, MarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nassetti, PietroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puigdomènech, HelenaTraductorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Qviller, BjørnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rebhorn, Wayne A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rehberg, August WilhelmÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Requena, EloyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricci, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richardson, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, E. V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rippel, PhilippHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodriguez, Juan ManuelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roper, WilliamAuthorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Runger, NelsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russo, LuigiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
SemIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skinner, QuentinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sonnino, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, NormanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strēlerte, VeronikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strong, RiderPerformersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
t'Serstevens, AlbertTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teksoy, RekinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, Ninian HillTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tichenor, H. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tietjen, GregoryAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tobin, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tursi, Antonio D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uyl, AnthonyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Dooren, FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vincent, E. R. P.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viroli, MaurizioIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, FritzReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wootton, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

The Prince, with related documents by Niccolò Machiavelli

Classics of Modern Political Theory : Machiavelli to Mill by Steven M. Cahn

The Prince and The Discourses by Niccolò Machiavelli

Opere politiche by Niccolò Machiavelli

Complete works by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince / Utopia / Ninety-Five Theses: Address to the German Nobility Concerning Christian Liberty by Charles William Eliot

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Niccolo Machiavelli to Lorenzo the Magnificent, Son of Piero di Medici
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All the states, all the dominions under whose authority men have lived in the past and live now have been and are either republics or principalities.
It is customary for those who wish to gain the favour of a prince to endeavour to do so by offering him gifts of those things which they hold most precious, or in which they know him to take especial delight.
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This is the main work for The Prince. It should not be combined with any abridgement, adaptation, study guide, etc.
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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli nacque a Firenze il 3 maggio del 1469. Terzo figlio dei guelfi Bernardo e Bartolomea Nelli, iniziò a studiare latino quando aveva sette anni. In seguito si dedicò anche allo studio di altre discipline, tra cui la grammatica, la matematica e l’aritmetica. Fin da giovane nutrì un forte interesse per la politica, passione che lo portò a ricoprire la carica di segretario della Seconda Cancelleria della Repubblica Fiorentina, intrattenendo rapporti diplomatici con la Francia e con altri paesi stranieri e svolgendo un ruolo fondamentale nella vita politica fiorentina di quel periodo. Mantenne l’incarico fino al 1512, quando i Medici rientrarono a Firenze. Esiliato dal mondo politico, Machiavelli si dedicò alla scrittura. In questo periodo iniziò “Discorsi sulla prima Deca di Tito Livio” e scrisse quella che divenne la sua opera più conosciuta, il “De principatibus”, divenuto successivamente noto con il titolo “Il Principe”. Nonostante i numerosi tentativi di rientrare a svolgere un ruolo attivo nella politica fiorentina, tutti i suoi sforzi risultarono vani. Storico, drammaturgo, filosofo, e uno dei maggiori teorici della politica italiani di tutti i tempi, Niccolò Machiavelli morì a Firenze il 21 giugno del 1527.
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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449159, 0141018852, 0451531000, 0141442255, 0143566466

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