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The Prince (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 4, 2003

126 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 858-1000012436 ISBN-10: 0140449159 Edition: Reissue

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Machiavelli] can still engage our attention with remarkable immediacy, and this cannot be explained solely by the appeal of his ironic observations on human behaviour. Perhaps the most important thing is the way he can compel us to reflect on our own priorities and the reasoning behind them; it is this intrusion into our own defenses that makes reading him an intriguing experience. As a scientific exponent of the political art Machiavelli may have had few followers; it is as a provocative rhetorician that he has had his real impact on history.” –from the Introduction by Dominic Baker-Smith

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: Italian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449150
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 100 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
Politicians usually read this text in the first political science class which they take. Actually, understanding Politics without understanding the principles in this text is an impossibility. A person who does not understand the principles of this text is too naive to understand why their leaders do what they do. Politics occurs in business, family life, and other settings, as well as government; Machiavelli's rules may be applied in all of these. Though living by these rules isn't necessary, a successful politician must act with mindfulness of their implications, or face failure. Considering the far reaching implications of Machiavelli's thought, one might wonder why elementary school children do not study "the Prince."
Many people don't have the guts to face what Machiavelli says. He presents the rules of 'hardball' politics; the only time that he mentions morality is when he describes the occasions in which a leader may need to fake it. Politicians have become so adept in following these rules that those whom they lead will often take offense at the suggestion that their leaders live by them. Read this book and understand the daily news.
"The Prince" is the quintessential text of Political Science. The Dover edition, though small, does not lack any of the origional text. It does lack the clutter of scholarly commentaries. It belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the politics which impacts their life, but it will merely irritate the gullible
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Cheda on September 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Machiavelli wrote this book for the Medici back in a time that is suppossed to be so different from today. Yet, The Prince is as applicable as the day it was wrote- maybe more so. It's a concise, almost surgical, guidebook to world domination. Superficially, this book is written like stereo instructions with precise directions on control of your enemies, followers, and friends. But, deeply, it will force any serious reader to take stock of the lengths neccessary to attain great power. Lives are flited at like pieces on a chess board with absolutely no uneccessary concern (if they can't hurt ya, screw 'em). Why, aside from that whole learning about world domination thing, this book is such a neccessary read for anybody with a stake in daily life is because this is the book your leaders sleep with under their pillow. There hasn't been an intelligent, powerful, and influential political leader that hasn't been influenced by Machiavelli and this book. It's very important to really wrap yourself around reality in reading this book so as to open your own eyes to what people do to lead (not just dictators, facists, and imperialists, but deomcrats and republicans.). This book is Political Reality 101- you must read it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Guerrilla Reader VINE VOICE on December 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Anyone who picks up Machiavelli's "The Prince" holds in his hands the most famous book on politics ever written. Its closest rival might be Plato's "Republic," but that book discusses politics in the context of things above politics, and politics turns out to have a limited and subordinate place. In "The Prince" Machiavelli also discusses politics in relation to things outside of politics, but his conclusion is very different. Politics according to him is not limited by things above it, and things normally taken to be outside politics--the "givens" in any political situation--turn out to be much more under the control of politics than politicians, peoples, and philosophers have hitherto assumed. The renown of "The Prince" is precisley to have been the first and best book to argue that politics has and should have its own rules and should not accept rules of any kind or from any source where the object is not to win or prevail over others. Without hesitation or reservation, five stars.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "blissengine" on December 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Machiavelli's brilliant text (I read the N. H. Thomson translation, in the Dover Thrift edition) is sometimes disturbing, but ultimately brilliant in its analysis as to the achievement of political power. His arguments are rational and succinct, and it amazed me how relevant all this was to today's political landscape! Who could have thought that a document nearly 500 years old would survive and remain important.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a must-read classic for anyone interested in history, business, politics or meglomania. It has inspired many of history's most powerful leaders (several of which, it has been said, slept with this book under their pillow) and with good reason. Despite it's age, Machiavelli's arguments and strategies can easily be adopted for use in today's world. Not to mention all the insight it provides for those who question history.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sheri Chiu on March 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Anyone who picks up Machiavelli's The Prince holds in his hands the most famous book on politics ever written," reads the first sentence from the introduction. What intrigues me most about this book is Machiavelli's rare perspective of moral good and spiritual integrity. Machiavelli states humanistic behaviors and the problems of society during the Renaissance. Discussing morality and what should be done during certain situations, Machiavelli directly points out what qualities a prince needs in order to rule for the betterment of the state. For example, "A Prince must learn to be able to not be good, and use this ability or not according to necessity." Machiavelli has always had a way of thinking that if a prince cannot be both feared and loved, it would be better to be feared by citizens. Before reading this, I always thought love would tie everything together. The Prince has given me a new perspective; it has shown me that we, humankind, have many faults, and we can take advantage of the bond of love. Machiavelli has shown that fear is strengthened by the dread of punishment, which is effective.

Using his knowledge, Machiavelli provides hope for future princes in that they can establish a stable, secure, and peaceful kingdom. The best prince is able to decide which route is the best to take, not solely based on a strict moral code, but by Machiavelli's teachings. I enjoy the fact that this is not a rulebook. The Prince is a reference guide to political and military strategy, not acquired through special insight, but through Machiavelli's own experiences from Italian politics.

The Prince is truly a work of art, written for a mature audience, and for all who enjoy literature at its finest.
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