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

ISBN-13: 978-0140449150 ISBN-10: 0140449159 Edition: Reissue

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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: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

... Weaver reads with conviction, making deceit and immorality sound reasonable in the quest to govern.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was born in Florence. He served the Florentine republic as a secretary and second chancellor, but was expelled from public life when the Medici family returned to power in 1512.His most famous work, The Prince, was written in an attempt to gain favour with the Medicis and return to politics.

Customer Reviews

It is a guide book for business leaders and politicians.
Steve Burns
The dedication declares Machiavelli's intention to discuss in plain language the conduct of great men and the principles of princely government.
Patrick Dunn
This book was written 500 years ago and it still is recommended to read if one is going into laws and politics.
Ferni M

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was written by the famous Italian statesman Niccolo Machiavelli in 1531. This book is a classic and I was pleasantly surprised that the content was not dated and the principles translate easily into the modern worlds of business and politics.
The author wrote this book as an instruction guide for governing princes in the 1500's when Italy was divided into city states and were being defeated by many foreign powers. I belive that the work is directed to Lorenzo de Medici by a letter included in the work and because at the end of the writing Machiavelli calls for a prince to unite and lead Italy against its oppressors.
The book is not unethical as I had imagined from my understanding of the ruthlessness of Machiavellian ethics. The author is only explaining tactics to use to maintain power in a kingdom or city state that are pragmatic for his time period.
Here are some examples from the book:
1. When conquering a territory keep the current laws and institutions in place, but eliminate all the family of the defeated prince.
2. When trouble is sensed ahead of time it can be easily remedied, if you wait for it to show itself, it is to late.
3. Whoever is responsible for another becoming powerful, ruins himself.
4. There is no surer way of keeping possesion than by devastation.
5. Men do you are harm either because they hate you or they fear you.
6. Violence must be inflicted once and for all, it must be over quickly.
7. Build your power through the people.
8. Power is maintained through religious institutions.
9. Neglect the art of war and you lose your state.
10. If you act virtuously, you will be undone by those who are not, make use of this or not according to need.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Actually, this book about political theory is applicable to any organization, not just governmental. Niccolo Machiavelli was a very shrewd man. A book full of pearls such as "Whoever believes that with great men new services wipe out old injuries deceives himslef"; "Without opportunity their prowess would have been extinguished and without such prowess the opportunity would have come in vain"; "And here it has to be noted that men must either be pampered or crushed, because they can get revenge for small injuries but not for grievous ones"; "The first opinion that is formed of a ruler's intelligence is based on the quality of men he has around him"; "But as soon as you disarm your subjects you start to offend them" and many many others. I am glad I am writing this review because it has been such a long time since I went back to my small yellow book for reference.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Peter A. Hauck 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 Miz Ellen VINE VOICE on October 20, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This short slender work marks a landmark in Western Civilization and made the name of the author a synonym for Satan. In 26 short, crisp essays, Niccolo Machiavelli lays out the precepts whereby a nation may be subjugated to the will of a leader, whether prince, dicator or president. Machiavelli was born in 1469 and served the republic city-state of Florence as a high-level diplomat and minister of miliatary affairs for 13 years, undertaking at least 24 crucial foreign missions. When the Medici returned to power, Machiavelli was exiled from the city and he turned his mind to authoring a massive treatise titled THE REPUBLIC. Out of that larger work, these short essays were condensed. Machiavelli had one goal in so creating THE PRINCE; he desired the unification of Italy.

However, he authored the first and one of the best works of political science ever penned.

Unlike previous works of political thought, THE PRINCE is not philosophical in nature. The author is focused on the obtaining and the maintaining of power. "Morality" is not the intent. See chapter 15:

"A man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in everything must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good. Therefore it is necessary for a prince...to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case."

Or chapter 18: "Thus it well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to to change to the opposite qualities."

The language of this is quaint and a little stilted. It stems from the translation done by Luigi Ricci in 1903, now in the public domain.
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