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The New Prince: Machiavelli Updated for the Twenty-First Century Paperback – June 17, 2000

3.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It is beyond irony for Dick Morris, the man who has done as much as anyone in the 1990s to increase cynicism in the political process and encourage politicians to play to our worst fears and instincts, to turn around and say that politicians should be more idealistic because that's what people want. Yet that's the premise of The New Prince. Morris--who rose to national prominence by telling Bill Clinton what to say to appease Democratic liberals as he shifted party policy to the right--argues that the new pragmatism in politics is "to stay positive; to focus on the issues; to rise above party; and to lead through ideas.... Our candidates and office holders need to change their tactics, their focus, and their strategies--not in the interest of better government, but in order to succeed in their chosen line of work." Fewer people are voting, he says, but the ones who do are better informed, so message is more important than money now. Although he argued for early negative ads in the 1996 presidential campaign, Morris has seen the light, saying that "voters have moved beyond" negative ads. He also thinks Americans are sick of scandal, which is why the Republicans couldn't impeach Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Arguing that politicians have to constantly take the public temperature to govern effectively--"Each day is election day in modern America"--Morris justifies the constant polling that he has used as a political tactic throughout his career. So what is leadership? Morris defines it as maintaining "sufficient forward momentum to control events and steer public policy without losing public support."

Essentially, The New Prince is a handbook for politicians who want to get themselves elected, whether it be to the school board or the presidency, and on that level it works. But as a sage commentary on the state of politics at the end of the 20th century... heaven help us. --Linda Killian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Morris, the strategist who fell from public grace after masterminding President Clinton's reelection campaign, would be expected to come across on tape like an explosive political firecracker. But on this follow up to his Behind the Oval Office (also available in an author reading from ART), he sounds oddly subdued. He halfheartedly seizes upon Machiavelli's historical The Prince as a model to explain his present-day political theories. He offers up platitudinous catchphrases to guide would-be candidates: "stay positive," "focus on the issues, and "rise above the party." Morris is at his best, though, in his specific observations of Clinton's travails, telling how the president faced down "savage partisanship" and became a "hostage" of the Democratic party. Morris argues that, in order to survive, "it is from the center that leaders must lead." That's not exactly a firebrand statementAin any medium. Simultaneous release with the Renaissance hardcover. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Renaissance Books; 1st edition (June 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580631479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580631471
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,003,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you can get past any preceived ideas you might have of Mr. Morris, this is an insightful discussion of modern U.S. politics. Morris did not invent modern political polling, he just raised it to an art form. The real villian is neither Morris or Machiavelli. The real and dangerous villian is the Prince who seeks to achieve, first and foremost, political power for himself and distantly second, if at all, to enhance the welfare of the state. Machevelli's and Morris's genius is not in what they created, but rather in what they were able to discern already in operaton in the real world. These observations, which escaped all others until pointed out, are condemned along with the writers as evil incarnate. Morris illustrates how modern politics operates and what motivates our modern politician. Machiavelli's and Morris's most important observation is "Get Real". This is how the game evolved and is now played. To be in the game, either as a player or as an educated observer, Morris book provides timely and valuable insights.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dick Morris' is without doubt a brilliant political consultant and tactitian. His new text is in essence an "Anarchist's Cookbook" for the politician who wants to win an election - regardless of party, ideology or character. In fact, he argues that character is no longer so important - certainly not as important as the candidate's message.
My great disappointment, however, was that Dick's book is only a partial revisit to Macchiavelli's works (The Prince, Discourses). While Macchiavelli stresses the importance of character, and centers his thesis for a successful republic on righteous leadership that is focused upon the welfare of the people, Dick remains committed to the "message" and "issues", only. "Jeffersonian Democracy" in his eyes is based on public opinion NOW - with all of its fickleness, partisanship and emotional "heat of the moment" decisionmaking.
Like his most famous protege', it is my personal opinion that Mr. Morris possesses no moral compass and no real concept of LEADERSHIP under fire. Tough decisions often must be made from controversial options, and as in Chess, the long term "end game" is what's really important - especially in foreign affairs and National security. This is where character, strong will and moral authority really play a role - if you possess them.
Dick Morris is the recognized master at waging and winning political war - but what does one do after the victory? Many of thus are still asking that question.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the easiest-to-read, most comprehensible political books I have ever read. Dick Morris made his basic ideas about a subject some call "dull" become important to the reader. "The New Prince" provided me with a deeper understanding of politics, giving me new insights into the subject. I have not yet read "The Prince" by Machiavelli, but nonetheless this book appears to have ideas that will prove meaningful in the years to come. Dick Morris gives more credit to voters than most people in the political arena do. He realizes that voters no longer make decisions based on single issues. He recognizes that people today are much more informed than citizens of past administrations. In America, people no longer want to elect a senator, let him do his job, and six years later evaluate his work in another election. They want involvement all the time. The author shows us how these changes in the desires of citizens change how a politician should make decisions. This books expresses great new political ideas in user-friendly vocabulary through an almost conversational tone with understandable, sound examples.
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Format: Hardcover
The guy successfully combines the theories of a trained political scientist, which he isn't, with the experiences of a wise political advisor, which he is. It's a delightful read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author takes you into a practical view of politics, displaying a great command of the field. Morris presents us with a theory of political behavior which is not anchored in a sophisticated research of anthropology (indeed, references are rather scarce throughout the book), yet his analysis is a very convincing case about the actual dynamics of politics. After reading this book you will acquire empirical knowledge of what to do if you want to win elections, govern a constituency, or venture yourself into the public service. The reading is particularly enjoyable, as the author brings forward historical experiences of successful political campaigns to support his views.
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Format: Hardcover
An interesting and engaging writer and speaker, Mr. Morris illustrates how pandering to populism's most basic instincts will win one an election. However, in doing so, he equally illustrates that a government led in this manner speaks ill of democracy, ill of the electorate, and even more ill of their leaders. His exemplary argument that the current electorate is better informed than previous generations is misleading: they may have more information as he states, but if their opinions can be altered by such rhetoric, they are certainly less likely to apply critical reasoning, know the limits of their insight, or the long term effects of policy decisions. By demonstration and example he creates an indirect but persuasive argument for the dangers of populism by poll and paints 'the worst kind of democracy' more vividly than any historian ever could. Like the people he counsels, Mr. Morris focuses all too much on what can be done in leading a democracy by maintaining individual political popularity, rather than what should be done for the good of the people and the future of the state. If not for his energy and progressive voice, and for the sometimes sad ring of truth in each point, the vision of a people led by such sycophants is dark, Orwellian, and devoid of hope. He does nothing whatsoever to provide a guide for politicians becoming strong and popular statesmen, yet he does, by accident, contribute to the current debate about the relationship between culture, rule of law, liberalism and democracy-- not as a commentator, but as a sidebar. Niccolo would not have approved.
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