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Showing 1-10 of 1,038 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,479 reviews
on July 11, 2017
Machiavellian is a term oft associated with those persons who are ruthless in their pursuit of ascendancy in life. However, to extend Machiavelli's advice on how to be an effective statesman in the 15th century to modern times needs more than a little contrivance. "Machiavellian" can be substituted with a plethora of different words in the English language considering he was not the first, nor the last to realise that being an effective statesman required efficient ruthlessness and a fair amount of guile.

That being said, Machiavelli achieves what he sets out to achieve (i.e. A manual that could guide a fledgling prince expand and consolidate his state) in a most brilliant manner. His examples are profound and although the number of troops he cites may be a tad sketchy at times, he does an excellent job of recounting the names and the stratagems behind major military, diplomatic and other (some of which are less-than-savoury) manoeuvres proving that he was a chronicler beyond par.

This book is exceedingly well-written and the only reason I felt the need to give it only 4 stars is due to it's relevance (or lack thereof). We, in the 21st century do not form the target audience for Machiavelli and there is little in this book to take home, that hasn't already been touched upon by other sources both literary and otherwise.
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on February 20, 2016
"The Prince" is an important, albeit controversial, work that still holds popular appeal today. The book's concern is an individual's rise to power; a formidable discourse, explaining that abandoning one's morals and ethics is sometimes a necessity in order to reach the top. Sensitive readers will recognize, however, that Machiavelli's endorsement of cut-throat behavior is mainly the result of tremendous cynicism. Not only is he cynical about the way the world works, he's aware of his own cynicism. Before Machiavelli, political theory was, essentially, "virtue will be rewarded" (Plato, Aristotle). But in Renaissance Italy, it's pretty obvious that was not always, or at least not only, true. From that perspective Machiavelli is terrifyingly radical; but from a more modern perspective, he resembles the garden-variety politician, especially in that his core ideas center upon keeping princes in power.

Maurizio Viroli's introductory essay is basically an abbreviated version of his book "Machiavelli" (Oxford U.P., 1998). Viroli places Machiavelli in the tradition of classical republicanism going back through the Florentine humanists to Cicero and Livy, and he demonstrates effectively how Machiavelli's works are imbued with the language of that tradition, especially from the late Middle Ages on. Viroli's republican Machiavelli espoused the "vivere civile" ("civil life"), a political ideal that could only be realized in a republic, where people could participate in politics while subjecting themselves willingly to the rule of law because of their love of country and desire to serve the common good. The means enabling their political participation was rhetoric, an art central to the Roman republic and the republican tradition, and, Viroli insists, to Machiavelli's world view and his works. Consequently, if one recognizes Machiavelli's embrace of rhetoric, Viroli concludes that the notion of Machiavelli the scientist, the father of political science, must be rejected.
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on April 13, 2016
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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on January 9, 2017
I often heard of this book but never read it and after reading it I am sorry I didn't pick it up sooner. Some people think that the book is cruel and calculating, but I think it is very insightful of how governments take over countries and keep their citizens in line. Some times it means killing the old administration (literally) and other times it means employing citizens in new territories that you are trying to take over. The writing wasn't convoluted at all. It was very clear and well written. This is definitely a book you can read over and over again.
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on September 25, 2015
This translation is a classic, readers will either love it, hate it, or spend a life time in deep reflection on the lessons Machiavelli discussed.
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on May 23, 2017
This book is certainly worth reading through if you have any interest in politics or history. Machiavelli was very thorough in his writing, for he would teach a lesson and then use examples from history to prove that his lesson was correct while also going further to state that nothing is ever guaranteed, but his teachings would certainly increase the odds should you follow them closely. My only real complaint was that the translation was a little off in terms of being done correctly in a few places; however, I only noticed this once or twice in the book with it occurring a little more often in the letter and essay at the end. Overall, highly recommended.
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on September 9, 2012
It was so much more relevant to me after 35 years in the corporate world. The advice and warnings given to a prince can be easily made useful for any aspiring corporate executive.

I read this book when I was in university, it was meaningless to me then, but now I understand its siginificance.

The book is a difficult read, as the translation appears to have been made in a literal fashion from italian, which was Machivelli's everyday language.
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on February 1, 2012
I like the cloth wrapped cover, the ribbon marker, the quality of the paper and typography, and the merit of the translation. As I usually do, I took off and threw away the dust jacket. I can't stand dust jackets.

Another reviewer preferred the translation by Daniel Donno in the Bantam paperback edition, which I also own, a preference with which I do not agree. For instance, the Marriott version has: "God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us," which compares favorably to the Donno version's "God is unwilling to do everything Himself lest He deprive us of our free will and of that portion of glory that belongs to us." "Take away" is better than "deprive of," and "share" is better than "portion." Also "that...which" sounds better here than "that...that." Marriott seems, at least in this passage, to share my liking for plain Germanic words.

The only problem with this edition is the introduction, which was not written by Machiavelli, but by some silly person named something like Dominic Baker-Smith, whose pseudoscholarly essay totally fails to understand Machiavelli's importance: "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." Pure banana oil, and pompous at that.
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on October 8, 2012
When I was in high school (1962), I was assigned this book to read and report. At the time I still didn't enjoy reading, and made no effort to even find the book. Having just read it (at age 65), I'm glad I delayed it for so many years, for I found it ponderous and plodding. While I enjoy reading much more now than I did in '62, I still found it a chore to read The Prince.

Having said that, I suspect I missed out on some important formative education toward the subject of Government, and have gained from it some measure of understanding as to our system of government and why it has become the way it is.
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on June 27, 2017
This book is often perceived as a book about being immoral and ruthless. It's really not. I run a small business - the parallels between running a business and being the prince advised by Machiavelli are pretty amazing. It's a great book. Helpful. In the unabridged audio version I got, the narrator was great - it was delivered just as written - advice on how to run your affairs when you are in management (or ruling).
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