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The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince (1513)

by Niccolò Machiavelli, Daniel Donno, Hill Thompson, Hill Thompson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,878130150 (3.72)253
  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. 41
    Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi) 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)
  3. 53
    The Republic by Plato (caflores)
  4. 21
    On the Nature of War by Carl von Clausewitz (sirparsifal)
  5. 03
    The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (Othemts)
  6. 115
    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 253 mentions

English (108)  Spanish (6)  French (5)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
I had to read this for my latest Berkeley TA-ship.
  Marjorie_Jensen | Nov 12, 2015 |
Niccolo Machiavelli may represent the epitome of a politician born in the wrong age. Nowadays anyone as politically astute and accomplished as Machiavelli undoubtedly was would make sure that they had a slick PR team in place, ready to put a positive spin on their every utterance. Even then, things can come adrift. In recent years even as experienced a political operator as Peter, now Lord, Mandleson, New Labour spin doctor extraordinaire, though having a whole team of press consultants and PR men at his behest, found his ceaseless machinations earned him a reputation for duplicity and divisiveness, rendering him a hissing and a byword within his own party, let alone among his Conservative opponents. Yet even Lord Mandelson didn't suffer the vilification and revulsion that have attached themselves to Machiavelli over the last six centuries.

The very word 'machiavellian' carries with it a heavy semantic weighting, with connotations of intricate and decidedly underhand plotting; shameful manoeuvres best left in the shadows, hidden from view. There is even a solid body of belief that ascribes the origin of the Devil's cognomen 'Old Nick' as a reference to Machiavelli's practice of the dark arts of political persuasion, and to this work in particular.

Florence in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries may have been at the centre of the Renaissance, but it was also a hub of political and military activity. Machiavelli had held public office during the brief history of the Republic of Florence before the Medici dynasty reasserted itself. As so often befalls senior in times of violent regime change, Machiavelli found himself imprisoned and even tortured in 1512. It was in the years shortly after this that he wrote this work, an observation on the practical application of political rule. He is careful not to become bogged down in moral considerations. He is, instead, principally concerned with the establishment of a strong administration that can defend and maintain its borders and protect its people. The implication is that if military security can be established, the populace will benefit in the long run. His advice is, therefore, essentially dispassionate. He has studied politics in action during disturbed time, and synthesis his experience into a handbook for the ambitious ruler.

He was clearly a scholar and shows great familiarity with the classics. His chapter on the impact of ruler who achieve their position as a consequence of crime is a distillation of Herodotus's life of Agathocles of Syracuse. Born the son of a potter, Agathocles combined courage and ambition with criminal intent, allying himself with the Carthaginians to establish himself as King of the Syracuse throne. Having stolen the throne, he established himself as a pragmatic and successful leader who protected his realm and people, and this reigned for several years in relative stability.

His taste for pragmatism does occasionally lead him into blunt and even reckless assertions. Comments of the nature of, 'I say it would be splendid if one had a reputation for generosity; nonetheless, if you do earn a reputation for generosity then you will come to grief' can never constitute a popular manifesto!

In the end, the question of whether he was evil and manipulative, or merely pragmatic, is really somewhat irrelevant. His book has survived for centuries, and offers a fascinating observation of the political life in a turbulent city state, caught between the Scylla of impending military intervention by the French and the Charybdys of an omnipresent Church that dominated everyday life.

The translation that I read (which I bought more than thirty years ago while still at school) was that by George Bull, published by the Penguin Classics series in 1961, and it did seem rather dated in parts. The introduction offered lots of fascinating information about Machiavelli's life and the prevailing context against which he wrote, though I have seldom seen a scholarly tract that was so poorly written. Bull obviously poured all his efforts into the translation and just dashed the introduction off against a too tight deadline!
( )
  Eyejaybee | Sep 24, 2015 |
The interesting thing about Machiavelli isn't so much that he's tremendously cynical about the way the world works, it's that he's the first person he's aware of to be so cynical. Before Machiavelli, political theory was, essentially, "virtue will be rewarded." But living in Renaissance Italy, it's pretty obvious that that is not always, or at least not only, true. From that perspective he's terrifyingly radical. From a modern perspective, he's sometimes kind of a dick.
  jen.e.moore | Sep 17, 2015 |
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Sage advice from a manipulative mind. Machiavelli is cynical but pragmatic. The Prince offers a glimpse into thought at the time historically and illustrates that the basis of human social theories and behaviors has long been an established art, understood best by those who look at the bigger picture based on the study of history and experience. I don't agree with all the leadership standards offered up in this writing, but it's definitely intriguing food for thought on leadership and the way populations react and interact with their governing authority in the case of royalty. ( )
  jasmataz | Sep 11, 2015 |
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I'm probably not the best person to say something useful about this book, since I'm neither a historian nor very into politics, but as a reader, I still like to spread my thought about it. If you're looking for an in-depth analysis of the book, this review is not what you're looking for.

I decided to read The Prince quite impulsively after I started reading a somewhat weird manga adaptation of it (review to come), and I didn't understand a single thing of it. So, I decided I needed more background info, namely the original work. And in understanding the other book it certainly helped.

And it was quite a nice book to read. I'd expected it to be tougher to read, but I actually recognized many of the examples that were given in the book (who says playing games like Assassin's Creed doesn't teach you stuff?). That was interesting to read, and many of his political insights seemed legit although his advices - at least sometimes - seemed quite unethical. ( )
  Floratina | Sep 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (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.
added by Sensei-CRS | editknjigainfo.com

» Add other authors (118 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Machiavelli, Niccolòprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Donno, Danielmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Thompson, Hillmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Thompson, Hillmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Freccero, Johnmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aron, RaymondForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bondanella, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bull, George AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Constantine, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Decaro, EnzoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ennis, MichaelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freyer, HansIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gauss, ChristianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gohory, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglese, GiorgioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, Harvey C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, Harvey C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marriott, W. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merian-Genast, ErnstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musa, MarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otten, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, E. V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skinner, QuentinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, Ninian HillTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
TitianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Niccolo Machiavelli to Lorenzo the Magnificent, Son of Piero di Medici
First words
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.
He who blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.
If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.
War cannot be avoided; it can only be postponed to the other's advantage.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for The Prince. It should not be combined with any abridgement, adaptation, study guide, etc.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553212788, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:30 -0400)

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Dinin politika erindeki etkisi, dsmanlarla batmenin yollar ve ittifaklarn genilirli konusunda gretici bilgileri konu alan yapt.

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18 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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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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