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National Book Award Finalist for Translation Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Niccolo Machiavelli seems confused and hence, confusing to me. Of course, he has written a lot of evil in the book, and then he writes something as quoted below. Mary The prince is a frank exposition on the division between the idealism we profess and the reality that we live. My recollection is that Machiavelli oft …more The prince is a frank exposition on the division between the idealism we profess and the reality that we live.
My recollection is that Machiavelli often summarizes that division in passages like the one you have quoted. He acknowledges the reality then "tempers" it by contrasting the more real - power - with the more ideal - glory. Another quote along this line if I remember correctly is "We should always seek to emulate our savior, Jesus Christ, and forgive our enemies Lists with This Book.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Rather, Machiavelli was demonstrating, through reasoned analysis based on numerous historical examples, that the most effective way to govern a population is through decision-making based on the current situation without muddying up the waters with considerations of morality. Holy snickerdoodles that's amoral!! Should such murdered and subjugated populations thank the princes for their unwaivering morality?
Allowing other considerations to affect such judgements will only provide an advantage to third parties who will exploit it.
Not necessarily warm and fuzzy Sesame Street thinking, but there is some serious power to the reasoning. I wish we lived in a world in which that was not the case. Machiavelli wrote The Prince for Lorenzo de Medici, whose family ruled Florence at the time, as basically a job application.
He wanted to get in good with the de Medici family secure a place at their court. Discounting the rah rah speech at the end, the other 3 sections deal with 1 the kinds of principalities and how they are acquired; 2 the proper organization of the military and the best kind of solider to comprise it; and 3 the internal make up of a princes court i. Section 1 is interesting and fun to read, but basically worthless for anything other than historical perspective.
Machiavelli discusses territories won be conquest, inheritance or luck and talks about the various characteristics of each. Section 2 can be summarized as follows: Mercenaries well and truly SUCK and should not be used under any circumstances because their suckage will end up squandering your resources and giving squat in return. Section 3 is the real meat of the work and contains the bulk of the advice that garnered Niccolo his much deserved reputation for suggesting the propriety of abandoning morality in governance.
He speaks of the need of the Prince to be able to deceive and act against the "five" virtues of the righteous man when necessary for the betterment of his state and his people. Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them.
And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite. The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.
Machiavelli discusses numerous examples of sovereigns who either benefitted from following such advice or, conversely, who suffered calamity for adhering to a sense of virtue. So much of what Machiavelli says is now an ingrained part of political thinking that it comes across as DUH when you read it. However, it was Niccolo who first put forth these concepts that have become the dogma and foundation of modern political thought. Something the famous rulers of history have always known…and practiced.
In addition, I was surprised at how much fun the book was to read. Machiavelli includes dozens and dozens of brief vignettes about world history in supporting his ideas and does a great job keeping the reader engaged with colorful descriptions of past events. The book is also chalk-full of wonderful quotes that just jumped out at me as I was reading. Here are a few that I thought were intriguing: The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict.
He must inflict them once and for all…People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.
Gee, thanks Niccolo. Oh…and lest the above not make it clear, for all his amazing contributions to world-history we should not lose sight of the fact that Machiavelli, for all his astuteness, was a bit of an asshole. I admire his work, but the man comes across as quite a scummy, conniving douche. You know, like a modern politician.
View all 35 comments. This is no Little Prince , that's for sure. You must kill the fox, burn the rose, murder the businessman, if any of them tries to take control over your princedom. There's no time to be nice! There's only time to seem to be nice. At the end of the day, it is better to be feared than loved, if you can't be both. Nevertheless, keep in mind chapter The Prince was written in the 16th century and a couple of its ideas are too contemporary. It is a major treatise that influenced several political le This is no Little Prince , that's for sure.
It is a major treatise that influenced several political leaders throughout history. Machiavelli is widely regarded as the father of modern politics by taking away any trace of theology and morality from his works. That is something no one has ever said before.
I should have read it long ago, but everything has its time, I suppose. So, there are a lot of concepts that should just stay in the book and a few which you may apply to everyday circumstances. It delivers what you are waiting for, if you want to know how to have and keep power to yourself, no matter the head you are crushing, and all that using a fairly straightforward language. It is a short book and easy to understand, even though the notion of achieving glory, power and survival, regardless of how immoral you have to be Cruelty, wickedness, immorality; all those things apparently needed to achieve greatness, all of them printed long ago in the form of a little book, just like that From a twisted point of view, sometimes, it is almost a bit funny.
It was an excellent read. There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you. View all 32 comments. I'm weirdly pleased that The Prince lives up to its reputation: it is indeed Machiavellian. Here's his advice on conquering self-governing states i. I'd like to say that any guy whose last name becomes a synonym for evil is a badass, but Machiavelli wasn't; he was a failed minor diplomat who wrote this in a failed attempt to get reemployed.
Stupid attempt, too; anyone who hired him would be advertisin I'm weirdly pleased that The Prince lives up to its reputation: it is indeed Machiavellian. Stupid attempt, too; anyone who hired him would be advertising that he espoused Machiavellian values. This book was published, after all. And as he himself advises, "A leader doesn't have to possess virtuous qualities, but it's imperative that he seem to possess them. I hope to match that effect with my first novel.
Working title: "Unicorns are Pretty. It's not because it's great advice; it sortof isn't. I think it's because it's just a ton of fun to read.
El Principe Comentado Por Napoleon Bonaparte by Maquiavelo