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

ISBN-13: 858-1000012436 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: 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 (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

About the Author

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a Florentine statesman who was later forced out of public life. He then devoted himself to studying and writing political philosophy, history, fiction, and drama.George Bull is an author and journalist who has translated six volumes for the Penguin Classics: Benvenuto Cellini’s Autobiography, The Book of the Courtier by Castiglione, Vasari’s Lives of the Artists (two volumes), The Prince by Machiavelli and Pietro Aretino’s Selected Letters. He is also Consultant Editor to the Penguin Business Series. After reading history at Brasenose College, Oxford, George Bull worked for the Financial Times, McGraw-Hill World News, and for the Director magazine, of which he was Editor-in-Chief until 1984. His other books include Vatican Politics; Bid for Power (with Anthony Vice), a history of take-over bids; Renaissance Italy, a book for children; Venice: The Most Triumphant City; and Inside the Vatican.

Anthony Grafton teaches European intellectual history at Princeton University.

Customer Reviews

I would recommend it because its a quick and interesting read.
JD
Using his knowledge, Machiavelli provides hope for future princes in that they can establish a stable, secure, and peaceful kingdom.
Sheri Chiu
I am now on my third copy of this book which, alas, I can only read in English.
Jennifer Cameron-Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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7 of 9 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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
A young colleague of mine recently said `management is easy'. I smiled enigmatically and considered buying him a copy of `The Prince' but I fear it would be wasted. I am now on my third copy of this book which, alas, I can only read in English. The George Bull translation (as reprinted in 1995) is the version I currently refer to.

I first read this book when studying economic history at high school in the second half of the last century. I was intrigued by Machiavelli's advice even though I had little understanding of the Florentine Republic. I next read the book when looking more generally at political models and at Renaissance history. Since then, I've always had a copy: it is as relevant to understanding the art and practice of management as it is to a broader understanding of the models and processes of governance. It also provides some valuable contextual setting for those interested in the Medici.

So why is `The Prince' still relevant? What can we learn from a treatise that was dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici (1492 - 1519) but not published until 1532, some five years after Machiavelli himself was dead?

Specific settings and circumstances may change: general human psychology and motivation does not. There is politics involved in all management. The chasm between management theory and practice is occupied by politics (in all senses) and complicated by the affairs, aspirations and expedient alliances of people.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on February 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
The infamous pamphlet that established the basic strategies for military and city-state conquest for ages. Machiavelli looks to Caesar Borgia as his model of the ideal, calculating militant leader. Machiavelli calls for an appeal to the people through fear and respect, insisting that they must be treated well enough to maintain control. He writes: "Is it better to be loved or feared, or vice versa? I don't doubt that every prince would like to be both; but since it is hard to accommodate these qualities, if you have to make a choice, to be feared is much safer than to be loved. For it is a good general rule about men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, liars and deceivers, fearful of danger and greedy for gain."

The Prince is the bible of modern realpolitik. It is a cynical tract containing twenty six guidelines for taking (and maintaining power). Machiavelli supports his arguments with an astonishing depth and breadth of understanding of military history, and this work remains one of the great accounts of military strategy, along with Thucydides and Hobbes.
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