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The Prince
The Prince
Author: Niccolo Machiavelli, N. H. Thomson (Translator)
Classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power is refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality. Starkly relevant to the political upheavals of the 20th century, this calculating prescription for power remains today, nearly 500 years after it was written, a timely and startling lesson in the practice of ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780486272740
ISBN-10: 0486272745
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 80
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 26 ratings
Publisher: Dover Publications
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Prince on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Machiavelli outlines the principles of human nature and personnel management necessary for ordering an entire civilization. While it might not be effective in overtaking contemporary society, and some may find it out-dated, Machiavelli presents challenging dilemmas and arguments for the prospective monarch.
Leigh avatar reviewed The Prince on + 378 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
When people say, "That's very Machiavellian of you," that's not a compliment. This book is harsh and cruel, but remains effective for rule. Basically, whatever it takes to get there, whatever it takes to stay there - no matter what the cost, for the greater good, of course.

I think Machiavelli's heart was in the right place - wanting to create a good life for all, but I question his methods. I don't like people much, either, but I'm not willing to kill them.
ravenmoon avatar reviewed The Prince on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Machiavelli, and his best-known work were and remain deeply misunderstood. It is common to hear Machiavelli's Prince described as being without or above 'ordinary moral of ethical concerns.' This is absolutely an incorrect, and frankly, careless reading of the text.

Yes, Machiavelli says that the Prince cannot afford to place his own personal virtue ethics above the good of the state. However, this is not to say Machiavelli would have the Prince be with immoral, or amoral. Rather, Machiavelli demands that the Prince always put the greater good of the state, and it's people before his own, personal priorities. In every case, he condemns tyranny, needless cruelty, and the pursuit of personal power and wealth in the part of the ruler. He likewise consistently commends the actions of those who place the public good above their own.

Machiavelli's treatise acknowledges the sad fact that, given the failings of human nature, a good ruler may have to do things or act in ways which a good private citizen would not. After all, a private citizen may refrain from killing another individual, but a servant of the state may often have to do just that. Consider soldiers, officers of the law, or employees of corrections facilities where the death penalty is enforced. We do not condemn these individuals because we recognize that they are acting on the behalf of a larger entity, with larger interests. Machiavelli is utterly clear that the Prince is the servant of the state, never the other way around. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Prince never to shrink from an odious task that is in the best interests of the state. As such, his own personal ethics (which Machiavelli encourages, as long as they do not prevent him from acting in the best interests of the state) must be set aside to allow for a much higher ethical burden.

I do not, however, think this is the best translation of The Prince. I recommend Skinner's translation, in the Cambridge series on political thought.
reviewed The Prince on + 151 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Classic and very readable managment/warfare book.
reviewed The Prince on + 158 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The classic guide to gaining and keeping absolute power.
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ellzeena avatar reviewed The Prince on + 149 more book reviews
I wonder what Tony Soprano would have to say about this one?
reviewed The Prince on + 14 more book reviews
A tough read but worthwhile as a piece of literary and social history.
Hathis avatar reviewed The Prince on
Niccolo Machiavelli's views on politics have been grossly misrepresented. The "machiavellian" politics that society attributes to him (The ends justify the means) are, for the most part, false. In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli discusses the different ways a monarchy, or principality, operates. He discusses using historical evidence how the best rulers came to power and kept it, neither praising the virtuous or the decietful, although he does clearly distinguish between the two. Machiavelli's purpose in the Prince was not to promote a selfish and destructive rise to power, but to outline the methods that Princes and rulers can and have used throughout history to hold great power. He carefully shows the difference between rulers who have forced their way into control and those who were allowed that seat by their virtuous methods, clearly showing the advantages and disadvantages of each.
reviewed The Prince on + 11 more book reviews
It was an interesting book.
reviewed The Prince on + 39 more book reviews
Classic of political philosophy. A must-read.