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The Prince and Other Writings, by Niccolo Machiavelli, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned The Prince and Other Writings, by Niccolo Machiavelli, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.   One of history’s greatest political philosophers, Niccolò Machiavelli is notorious for his treatise The Prince, which has become a cornerstone of modern political theory. Written in 1513 and published in 1532, after Machivelli’s death, The Prince immediately provoked controversy that has continued unabated to this day. Defining human nature as inherently selfish, Machiavelli proposes that social conflict and violence are natural phenomena that help determine the ablest, most versatile form of government. Asserting that idealism has no place in the political arena, The Prince primarily addresses a monarch’s difficulties in retaining authority. Considered the first expression of political realism, it has often been accused of advocating a political philosophy in which “the end justifies the means.” Indeed the emphasis in The Prince on practical success, at the expense even of traditional moral values, earned Machiavelli a reputation for ruthlessness, deception, and cruelty. Many scholars contend, however, that the author’s pragmatic views of ethics and politics reflected the realities of his time, as exemplified by the Medici family of Florence. Debates about Machiavelli’s theories are as lively today as they were 450 years ago, but no one questions the importance of his fundamental contribution to Western political thought. This newly translated edition also includes Machiavelli’s Letter to Francesco Vettori, The Life of Castruccio Castracani, and excerpts from the Discourses on Livy.   Wayne A. Rebhorn, Celanese Centennial Professor of English at the University of Texas, has authored numerous studies of Renaissance European literature. His Foxes and Lions: Machiavelli’s Confidence Men won the Howard R. Marraro Prize of the Modern Language Association of America in 1990.


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The Prince and Other Writings, by Niccolo Machiavelli, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned The Prince and Other Writings, by Niccolo Machiavelli, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.   One of history’s greatest political philosophers, Niccolò Machiavelli is notorious for his treatise The Prince, which has become a cornerstone of modern political theory. Written in 1513 and published in 1532, after Machivelli’s death, The Prince immediately provoked controversy that has continued unabated to this day. Defining human nature as inherently selfish, Machiavelli proposes that social conflict and violence are natural phenomena that help determine the ablest, most versatile form of government. Asserting that idealism has no place in the political arena, The Prince primarily addresses a monarch’s difficulties in retaining authority. Considered the first expression of political realism, it has often been accused of advocating a political philosophy in which “the end justifies the means.” Indeed the emphasis in The Prince on practical success, at the expense even of traditional moral values, earned Machiavelli a reputation for ruthlessness, deception, and cruelty. Many scholars contend, however, that the author’s pragmatic views of ethics and politics reflected the realities of his time, as exemplified by the Medici family of Florence. Debates about Machiavelli’s theories are as lively today as they were 450 years ago, but no one questions the importance of his fundamental contribution to Western political thought. This newly translated edition also includes Machiavelli’s Letter to Francesco Vettori, The Life of Castruccio Castracani, and excerpts from the Discourses on Livy.   Wayne A. Rebhorn, Celanese Centennial Professor of English at the University of Texas, has authored numerous studies of Renaissance European literature. His Foxes and Lions: Machiavelli’s Confidence Men won the Howard R. Marraro Prize of the Modern Language Association of America in 1990.

30 review for The Prince and Other Writings (Barnes Noble Classics Series)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    "The Prince" is not only timeless, but a great book to read for anyone interested in the combination between human psychology and state development. I think the translator did a beautiful job on this particular edition, and I'm happy I bought myself a collectible one, bound in leather and giving off the feel of an old book. Reading it, I kept being surprised, as I always am, at how much humans have not changed for centuries and centuries on end. How can we bring about such development and yet re "The Prince" is not only timeless, but a great book to read for anyone interested in the combination between human psychology and state development. I think the translator did a beautiful job on this particular edition, and I'm happy I bought myself a collectible one, bound in leather and giving off the feel of an old book. Reading it, I kept being surprised, as I always am, at how much humans have not changed for centuries and centuries on end. How can we bring about such development and yet remain just as we were in the olden days? I think "The Prince" should be mandatory reading for everyone in the world; it speaks of power, it speaks of organization, it speaks of states and taxes and war and criminality... it somehow whispers from the 15th century about what the 21st is. And I'm sure it will speak about the 22nd, the 23rd and so on...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Logan Cunningham

    A great political philosophy book, but it's a shame most people tend to miss the fact that the book is about how a leader should be pragmatic to ensure the best for the state, not how to be inconsiderate puppy-kicker. In fact, the oft-quoted line "It is better to be feared than loved" is false: the line, in full, is "From this there arises a dispute: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the contrary. The reply is that one should like to be both the one and the other, but as it is dif A great political philosophy book, but it's a shame most people tend to miss the fact that the book is about how a leader should be pragmatic to ensure the best for the state, not how to be inconsiderate puppy-kicker. In fact, the oft-quoted line "It is better to be feared than loved" is false: the line, in full, is "From this there arises a dispute: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the contrary. The reply is that one should like to be both the one and the other, but as it is difficult to bring them together, it is much safercto be feared than to be loved if one of the two has to be lacking." As if to prove Machiavelli right, the Medici, whom Machiavelli wrote the book for, sought to be loved by everyone, but ultimately ended up in debt. Machiavelli then goes on to say that a prince should be feared in a way that does not inspire hatred. Add in the fact that Machiavelli actually supported a republic and we have a great example of irony: Machiavelli wasn't very machiavellian.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    Want to know the difference between the Renaissance and present-day society? If Machiavelli had written The Prince today, it would be called Ruling Principalities for Dummies. In the fifteenth century, manuals for prospective rulers took the form of profound philosophical treatises. In the twenty-first century, they're bullet-point lists bound in bright yellow covers with a cartoon on the front. Part history and part philosophy, The Prince is a glimpse into the mind of a Renaissance thinker. As Want to know the difference between the Renaissance and present-day society? If Machiavelli had written The Prince today, it would be called Ruling Principalities for Dummies. In the fifteenth century, manuals for prospective rulers took the form of profound philosophical treatises. In the twenty-first century, they're bullet-point lists bound in bright yellow covers with a cartoon on the front. Part history and part philosophy, The Prince is a glimpse into the mind of a Renaissance thinker. As much as it is an exploration of politics, it is also an exploration of personality, a fact that becomes much clearer when it's held up next to Machiavelli's other works, such as The Life of Castruccio Castracani and Discourses on Livy. If one wants to be reductionist, one can boil down The Prince to a manual on how to keep power. Machiavelli focuses in particular on princes who are new to their principality, as hereditary princes simply need to continue the practices of their predecessors that made the people content enough not to revolt. New princes must establish control over their state, whether it's one they have recently conquered or one they've seized in a coup. I think it's a mistake to reduce The Prince though. What sets Machiavelli apart is his style, the way he articulates his arguments and advances his philosophy for ruling a principality. He draws on specific cases, both from ancient (usually Roman) history and recent events in 15th-century Italy. Consequently, I've learned more about Italian history from The Prince than any other source. Fifteenth-century Italy was one fucked up place, and it's no wonder that Machiavelli felt the need to write The Prince. In both The Prince and Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli makes heavy use of examples from ancient Rome. In comparing contemporary Italy to the times that preceded it, Machiavelli usually finds his own time lacking. Although he's a staunch republican, if you read only The Prince, you probably wouldn't know it. Maybe Machiavelli wrote it only as an attempt to get into the good graces of the Medicis. From the way he speaks wistfully of Rome—both republic and empire—I couldn't help but get a sense that Machiavelli's outlining what he sees as the qualities Italy needs in a leader who will restore the country's former glory. As a student of history, Machiavelli knows that Italy was once strong—and unified. Even in Discourses, Machiavelli says that only a single man can found a republic (Chapter 9: "How It Is Necessary for a Man to Act Alone in Order to Organize a Republic Anew. . ."). The Prince, then, is a programme for good leadership of a state. More than just keeping power, The Prince is about being great (a condition that Machiavelli never conflates with morality). For those of us who live in democracies, we don't always have a clear understanding of exactly what duties occupy the mind of a prince. Machiavelli's writing has certainly been eye-opening and educational for me, simply because he comments on matters that I would never think about. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that some aspects of Machiavelli's pragmatic advice still apply. For example, chapters 17, 18, and 19 elucidate the difference between applying necessary cruelty and engendering contempt or hatred. Machiavelli is, if anything, meticulous in his reasoning. He has no scruples about "misremembering" history or, as is the case in his biography of Castruccio Castracani, outright fabricating it. But when it comes to his arguments, each one is carefully constructed and advanced in order to convince. I have nothing but praise for this particular edition as well. It's a serendipitous Christmas gift from a friend. I had to read a few chapters of The Prince for a philosophy class, so I took the opportunity to read the entire book (and the "other writings" included here). This edition has notes at the end of every chapter that explain historical references, possible translation problems, and most importantly, mistakes made by Machiavelli. The introduction, timeline, and brief biography of Machiavelli were also helpful in providing context—as previously mentioned, I found this book an informative source of Italian history as well as political philosophy. The inclusion of both The Prince and excerpts from Discourses on Livy provides a contrast of Machiavelli's work that's quite useful. I found The Prince more comprehensive (although this could be bias, as the book only has excerpts from Discourses), but Discourses is a fascinating look at Machiavelli's republican sensibilities, as well as his thoughts on the use of religion in republics. The Prince is essential for anyone interested in political philosophy. Machiavelli's work has retained its fame for a reason: it is both a philosophical and a rhetorical masterpiece. It's a mistake to write it off either as satire or as some sort of dark endorsement of immoral deeds. That scholars more intelligent and more knowledgeable than I still debate some of the meaning behind Machiavelli's words attests to the their complexity. As for me, while I don't think I'll be acquiring a new principality any time soon, now I feel more prepared should that happen.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    The book that provided rehab for my politics addiction. I now watch each election with a cynical eye as people extol the virtues of different candidates with conviction and idealism. I know that these people have never read "The Prince" and if they did, failed to grasp its primary message. After reading this book I am even more proud of the fact that I have never voted for a presidential candidate from either of the two major parties.......and I have voted in every presidential election since 19 The book that provided rehab for my politics addiction. I now watch each election with a cynical eye as people extol the virtues of different candidates with conviction and idealism. I know that these people have never read "The Prince" and if they did, failed to grasp its primary message. After reading this book I am even more proud of the fact that I have never voted for a presidential candidate from either of the two major parties.......and I have voted in every presidential election since 1984. Politics and government will not change for the better or make the world a better place. Only one thing can bring about true change and improvement and that is the improvement of the human species itself. When human beings cease to suck this world will be a pretty fine place. Stop devolving now!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Viviana

    I bought this pretty edition of "The Prince and Other Writings" because Robert Greene had quoted Machiavelli so often in his book "The 48 Laws of Power." I thought that Machiavelli wrote this book for himself and general knowledge, but it turns out that he had written this for a specific person already in power. Therefore, we are bombarded with waves of the names of countries, dukes, kings, sovereigns, territories, and regions, of that era without explanations. The language is really rigid and f I bought this pretty edition of "The Prince and Other Writings" because Robert Greene had quoted Machiavelli so often in his book "The 48 Laws of Power." I thought that Machiavelli wrote this book for himself and general knowledge, but it turns out that he had written this for a specific person already in power. Therefore, we are bombarded with waves of the names of countries, dukes, kings, sovereigns, territories, and regions, of that era without explanations. The language is really rigid and formal... its like trying to enjoy the terms & conditions of an insurance policy. Just like "The 48 Laws of Power", the overwhelming historical references are exhausting and repetitive. I was really looking forward to enjoying this book but I'm too turned off by it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ✧ k a t i e ✧

    This has to be one of the most interesting books that I've read for school. It's one that I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but one I didn't hate. Also I started watching The Borgias because of this book and I'm addicted to it. The show also helped me understand the book a little more. This has to be one of the most interesting books that I've read for school. It's one that I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but one I didn't hate. Also I started watching The Borgias because of this book and I'm addicted to it. The show also helped me understand the book a little more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Quite assuredly, any and all readers of Renaissance history, politics, and philosophy texts have either heard about or have already read Niccolo Machiavelli’s, “The Prince”. Combining equal parts treatise, complaint, guide/handbook, philosophical breakdown, and propaganda; Machiavelli was both bold and presumptuous but with a sound, political mind making him quite an enigma. Wayne Rebhorn translates and presents Machiavelli’s works in, “The Prince and Other Writings”. Rebhorn’s edition of “The P Quite assuredly, any and all readers of Renaissance history, politics, and philosophy texts have either heard about or have already read Niccolo Machiavelli’s, “The Prince”. Combining equal parts treatise, complaint, guide/handbook, philosophical breakdown, and propaganda; Machiavelli was both bold and presumptuous but with a sound, political mind making him quite an enigma. Wayne Rebhorn translates and presents Machiavelli’s works in, “The Prince and Other Writings”. Rebhorn’s edition of “The Prince and Other Writings” initially offers an ‘Introduction’ with a mini-biography of Machiavelli (albeit, much too brief) before diving head-first into a philosophical and analytical thesis deciphering “The Prince” and Machiavelli’s very thoughts and motives. This highlights a few troublesome weak points on Rebhorn’s behalf: 1) the length, which is entirely too long, drawn out, and needs a breather. Was the editor sick during this part of the manuscript? 2) A blatant absence of clear direction and clarity; losing reader attention. Rebhorn’s analysis reads like a college term paper. 3) Too many assumptions and excessive speculation – the text is pure hypothesis, conjecture, bias and opinion. The phrase, “You’re over-thinking this” – applies to Rebhorn’s introduction. Flowing into Machiavelli’s “The Prince”; even readers familiar with the piece/subject will find it to be approachable and cohesive in tone. “The Prince” is best described as an oral history and political blurb stylized in an enthralling manner with equal measures of depth and simplicity. To a modern reader, “The Prince” hardly seems as controversial as it was during its period but yet, despite the content; the writing itself has a narrative feel that is classic in nature. Machiavelli divided “The Prince” into rather short ‘chapters’ making the text accessible and memorable with Rebhorn supplementing each with endnotes. Even with this ease of flow; it is clear Machiavelli intended each section to be read and then rested/pondered before moving onto the next topic rather than reading at once from cover-to-cover. “The Prince” was quite ahead of its time as the text applies to politics even in the modern world with a rational tone resulting in, “Ah ha! That makes sense!” - moments. As Machiavelli proceeds with the treatise, his writing becomes even more powerful and encapsulating but never in an over-the-top or forced way. Machiavelli concludes “The Prince” rather abruptly but this is merely given the sensation to want to read more of his philosophy. Rebhorn’s edition of “The Prince and other Writings” follows with, “The Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca”: a biography of Castracani written by Machiavelli to his comrades highlighting Castracani’s birth, childhood, and military/political career. In standard Machiavelli fashion, the biography is a riveting narrative with a steady pace. Machiavelli is certainly skilled at ‘storytelling’. Rebhorn includes end notes proving fact from fiction and declaring Machiavelli’s tendency to fabricate reports in the biography. Despite this sensational habit, Machiavelli’s piece on Castracani maintains its readability and pleasurable tones. “The Prince and Other Writings concludes with, “A Letter from Niccolo Machiavelli to Francisco Vettori” and Excerpts from Machiavelli’s “Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy”. Both sections provide insightful depth into Machiavelli as a person and his pragmatic mind with a hint of manipulative personality traits seeping through showing his whole person: positive and negative. This was a successful addition by Rebhorn, as it adds context to “The Prince and Other Writings” while making Machiavelli feel more ‘real’. Rebhorn closes with a section of comments and statements made by various figures concerning Machiavelli, group discussion questions and a list of further reading materials solidifying “The Prince and Other Writings”. “The Prince and Other Writings” is a strong presentation by Rebhorn bringing both Machiavelli as a man and his works to the forefront and encouraging reader perspective and analysis. “The Prince and Other Writings” is recommended for those interested in Renaissance history, philosophy, and modern-day politics.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    Here I will give my opinion of this particular translation of Machiavelli's famous treatise, that being The Prince and Other Writings, translated by Wayne A. Rebhorn. If you're interested in a detailed explanation as to why the book itself will remain a timeless classic, see other reviews. Reading this book was like having a good friend explain the text using simple language. Mr. Rebhorn starts off with a few sections to paint Machiavelli within the context of his time, and follows every chapte Here I will give my opinion of this particular translation of Machiavelli's famous treatise, that being The Prince and Other Writings, translated by Wayne A. Rebhorn. If you're interested in a detailed explanation as to why the book itself will remain a timeless classic, see other reviews. Reading this book was like having a good friend explain the text using simple language. Mr. Rebhorn starts off with a few sections to paint Machiavelli within the context of his time, and follows every chapter with detailed footnotes that do everything from clarify Old Nick's meaning to correct his occasional inaccuracies. Some misrepresentations of historical events actually seem intentional on Machiavelli's part, which sheds light on his character even beyond the text. This is especially true in the additional readings. Those additional works salt this translation to balance the bitterness of The Prince. They bring a much more humane view of the man, and give valuable insight into his lifestyle and mindset as he wrote The Prince and 'Discourses' alongside each other. Like twins born into a bad marriage, you do them a great disservice separating the two. They are incomplete without each other. As far as the writing style is concerned, Rebhorn mercifully edit's Machiavelli's, er... 'longwinded' style down a bit (sentences no longer take up an entire page). Any words that may have many meanings or connotations lost in translation are explained beforehand, and the original word is placed alongside the translation in brackets. If his choice of translation requires explanation, Rebhorn includes them in the footnotes, which helps us avoid many of the misconceptions other translators only propagate. For example, the word 'Virtu' is used endlessly as the core of Machiavelli's philosophy, and while it can be translated into 'Virtue,' it also has a number other other decidedly less tasteful connotations. When other translators have tacked the letter 'e' at the end of Virtu and called it a day, it has sounded like Machiavelli endorses a particular behaviour when he's just remarking on its practicality. Rebhorn's dedication to a truthful portrayal of Machiavelli's spirit helps carry The Prince's intended tone, that of practical analysis in place of moral debate. Alongside the above, the inclusion of the homework questions for a second read, as well as the recommended readings, this book really served to set a precedence for translations that I hope others will follow. I had attempted other translations of The Prince and was rewarded with only frustration - this one kept me riveted throughout. TL;DR - If you plan to read The Prince, this is the edition you want.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andra Nicoara

    An interesting view into the politics of Machiavelli's time, most of which could be adapted to work in context of present leaderships. An interesting view into the politics of Machiavelli's time, most of which could be adapted to work in context of present leaderships.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maxo Marc

    This book gave me a mind organism.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Ang

    (Disclaimer: In this book, there are three writings combined together: The Prince, A Description of the Methods Adopted by the Duke Valentino [aka Cesare Borgia] When Murdering Four Dudes and Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius - Book III) When people mention about Niccolo Machiavelli, you will most likely imagine a scheming, wily fox trying to exhort devious means to seize and control power. However, the real Machiavelli was working peacefully for 15 years as a diplomat in the city (Disclaimer: In this book, there are three writings combined together: The Prince, A Description of the Methods Adopted by the Duke Valentino [aka Cesare Borgia] When Murdering Four Dudes and Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius - Book III) When people mention about Niccolo Machiavelli, you will most likely imagine a scheming, wily fox trying to exhort devious means to seize and control power. However, the real Machiavelli was working peacefully for 15 years as a diplomat in the city state of Florence. When the Medici took over the city, he was kicked out from his job and was even accused of conspiring against the new ruler. After he had cleared his name, he decided to write a political treatise, The Prince, dedicated to the current ruler, Lorenzo de Medici, as an instruction guide for new princes and royals. Unfortunately, The Prince did not seem to get him a new cushy civil service job or help the ruler hold on to power for too long. The Medicis were toppled 11 years after The Prince was written, ironically just before Machiavelli died. The Prince is a book that not only tells you to do bad stuff. Some of the things that it recommends to you are quite common sense. For example, it is never good to be too cruel or too kind to your people, as people may rebel against you. Furthermore, the ruler should try to justify his/her actions, so that the people can see the virtues that he/she is trying to exhort. However, knowing that common sense is not so common nowadays, it is a book that looks simple to follow, but hard to execute. The Description of Duke Valentino trying to kill four dudes sounds like Shakespearean Macbeth without the tension and the involvement of the wife. The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius - Book III seems to complement The Prince, by describing the way the ancient Romans try to control their army and their country. What I particularly like about the discourses is a long chapter describing how conspiracies should be done. For example, it is stupid to give long monologues before trying to kill your target, as your target may flee. That is why it is mind boggling how often is this method used by villains in various movies.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Mario Mendiola

    Great practical advice for a prince. The background notes on his life helped me appreciate the book more. The excerpts from "Discourses" actually seemed better; it was more general, putting more of his keen observations together. The Prince offers exactly what its namesake needs. If you find that the tumultuous 16th-century political waves have washed you up onto the throne of a city or small province, then step one: you are probably already dead; step two: work the ol' noggin and keep everyone Great practical advice for a prince. The background notes on his life helped me appreciate the book more. The excerpts from "Discourses" actually seemed better; it was more general, putting more of his keen observations together. The Prince offers exactly what its namesake needs. If you find that the tumultuous 16th-century political waves have washed you up onto the throne of a city or small province, then step one: you are probably already dead; step two: work the ol' noggin and keep everyone else's motivations in mind if not at heart.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tonymess

    It depends on how you're approaching this title on how you'd rate it. Literary style, dark & instructive, subject matter bleak but still relevant, historical lucid but amazing. I read this as part of Brodsky's 83 books to read to have a decent conversation & I can assure you that it had improved my political knowledge, my historical understanding & my literary depth. I was surprised by the number of people who commented whilst I was reading it, as though I'd sold my soul to the devil. Obviously i It depends on how you're approaching this title on how you'd rate it. Literary style, dark & instructive, subject matter bleak but still relevant, historical lucid but amazing. I read this as part of Brodsky's 83 books to read to have a decent conversation & I can assure you that it had improved my political knowledge, my historical understanding & my literary depth. I was surprised by the number of people who commented whilst I was reading it, as though I'd sold my soul to the devil. Obviously its reputation precedes it as it doesn't seem out of place in our current political climate.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Buchholz

    I really enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it to any politics/history junkie. The translation is very clear, plain, and easy to follow, and Rebhorn (the translator) took great pains to explain why he made certain stylistic choices in the introduction and footnotes. Reading this as a total novice to Italian history, the footnotes in this edition are indespensible, and if you follow them closely, 'The Prince' reads like an especially engaging history of the Italian Wars, which also attem I really enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it to any politics/history junkie. The translation is very clear, plain, and easy to follow, and Rebhorn (the translator) took great pains to explain why he made certain stylistic choices in the introduction and footnotes. Reading this as a total novice to Italian history, the footnotes in this edition are indespensible, and if you follow them closely, 'The Prince' reads like an especially engaging history of the Italian Wars, which also attempts to discuss the motivations and strategies behind the actions of various princes. That said, if you put the questions of pragmatism and morality aside, I couldn't escape the sense that Machiavelli was just a bit of a nerdy guy who enjoyed writing about history. He didn't seem compelled to inject morality into his writing because he was just being frank about recent events (even though 'The Prince' was written to curry favor with the Medicis). In his letter to Francesco Vettori, Machiavelli discusses his daily routine which started with trapping in the morning, then bugging the wood-cutters on his property for two hours while they were trying to work, and then heading to an Inn around the corner to play backgammon and cards all day. You get a really vivid picture of an unemployed guy in his mid-40s who had a lot of free time on his hands, and decided to kill some by writing about work. His biography of Castruccio misconstrues facts, conflates characters, invents people from whole cloth, and eventually veers into just being a list of jokes. It seemed important for Machiavelli to demonstrate what he saw as ideal characteristics of a strong central leader, and in order to do so, he essentially wrote a half-fiction about a real person. Interestingly, he makes a lot of observations, and shares opinions that have a strikingly familiar ring to them even 500 years after the fact. These works manage to retain a great deal of their relevance even today. This probably goes without saying for a 500 year-old book, but its only major drawback is its accuracy - its awful. Thankfully, Rebhorn points out any of Machiavelli's mistakes, exaggerations, conflations, and fabrications in the footnotes - and he rather exhaustively lists Machiavelli's sources (mostly just Livy's history of Rome) In terms of readability, relevance, and quality of content, I think this book is a must-read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maia

    Classic philosophy book. Goes over the hypothetical ways to get in power and stay in power. Good recommendation for those interested in psychology or taking courses.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Parr

    I first read the Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli after I was coming off of the Art of War by Sun Tzu, which was a book that was and still is critically acclaimed for its discussion of strategy and management. I was however let down, as the Art of War, in my eyes, did not live up to the expectations that had come before it and as a result, I felt a little disheartened in what was labeled as a classic. But upon learning of the Prince I thought that I would give the classics another chance and, in sh I first read the Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli after I was coming off of the Art of War by Sun Tzu, which was a book that was and still is critically acclaimed for its discussion of strategy and management. I was however let down, as the Art of War, in my eyes, did not live up to the expectations that had come before it and as a result, I felt a little disheartened in what was labeled as a classic. But upon learning of the Prince I thought that I would give the classics another chance and, in short, it not only a book that thoroughly intrigued me, but was a book that renewed my faith in the classics. The Prince, for those who do not know, is a book written by Niccolò Machiavelli, a renaissance statesman and politician, for the then lord of Florence, who was new to his position. Since the book was written originally for the eyes of heads of state, Machiavelli does not attempt to sugar coat or dumb down the message that he wants to convey, making for a very concise straightforward read. This, in my opinion, was half of the greatness that this book had, and at times I was oftentimes taken aback by Machiavelli’s honesty. The other half of the books greatness was the reasoning that was put into his points, and from reading, one can begin to fathom the events that the author has seen, and the experience that he has derived from them. All this being said, I highly recommend the Prince to anyone who is a fan of either history, philosophy, or you want to learn management and I give this book five shining stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    I am very glad this edition included some of the Discourses, because reading them I understood much more clearly why Machiavelli in his own writings proves how democracies are inherently better than princedoms, and that is because being a Machiavellian Prince is inherently impossible. One would have to embody too many opposing traits to successfully lead large groups of people that require different methods in attitude and enforcement, which leads to the necessity of others in the government, no I am very glad this edition included some of the Discourses, because reading them I understood much more clearly why Machiavelli in his own writings proves how democracies are inherently better than princedoms, and that is because being a Machiavellian Prince is inherently impossible. One would have to embody too many opposing traits to successfully lead large groups of people that require different methods in attitude and enforcement, which leads to the necessity of others in the government, not just for implementing the Prince's will, but also for decision-making, which would inevitable lead to a power-struggle, though periods of relative peace while that struggle is in its early stages makes it seems like a Prince could rule successfully with this method. Even if a Prince could embody these different necessary roles, changes in behavior would lead to a lack of trust in the inconsistency, and where there is no trust there is conflict. Republics avoid this problem by removing the ability of the more affluent members from escalating their power struggles by attaching their power to both the people and similarly authorized persons whose support they need but will rarely ever be able to control. Of course, that's my own rather simple analysis and quickly written essay-review, but it's fun to think about.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bivisyani Questibrilia

    Maybe I'm an ignorant to have not known who Machiavelli was before reading this book. It was pure coincidence that I stumbled upon this book at the book store and found the edition quite interesting so I purchased it. The fact that it was actually non-fiction, to me, is another reason why I subconsciously carried it to the till. Though many people have criticised how Machiavelli wrote this book for the sake of an important figure, namely a prince in power during his time, I don't see how it coul Maybe I'm an ignorant to have not known who Machiavelli was before reading this book. It was pure coincidence that I stumbled upon this book at the book store and found the edition quite interesting so I purchased it. The fact that it was actually non-fiction, to me, is another reason why I subconsciously carried it to the till. Though many people have criticised how Machiavelli wrote this book for the sake of an important figure, namely a prince in power during his time, I don't see how it could have affected how he wrote the book at all. At first, I was entertained by the method this book was written, which resembles a manual on "How to Raise a Principality and Stick With It." But then it just seems to me that he is on the opinion that a prince must be ruthless and cruel to triumph, which I believe, is not true at all. He also speaks of killing as one would about doing the laundry: it's just something one must do at one point of one's life. But it also gives me a great understanding into the way people of those days view power and the world. The blame lay not only with Machiavelli, but also with society in the 1500s. All in all, a rather entertaining read in the social scientific sense. Read with critical mind, so as not to get sucked into every word he heeds.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Almost like reading the play book for modern politicians, Machiavelli's "how to" has been used for generations by "Princes" struggling to grasp or maintain their position. The editor makes the argument that Machiavelli wasn't proposing that the "ends justify the means" but all of his suggestions are means by which to maintain control. He frowns at times when suggesting that being dishonorable, cruel or dishonest is sometimes necessary, and then claims with a shrug that it must be done. Feigning Almost like reading the play book for modern politicians, Machiavelli's "how to" has been used for generations by "Princes" struggling to grasp or maintain their position. The editor makes the argument that Machiavelli wasn't proposing that the "ends justify the means" but all of his suggestions are means by which to maintain control. He frowns at times when suggesting that being dishonorable, cruel or dishonest is sometimes necessary, and then claims with a shrug that it must be done. Feigning religion is another of his suggestions. I wander what Machiavelli would think reading about our current politics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I'm actually going to change my star rating of this book, but my previous review said that I really did not like it. Looking back, it wasn't really that terrible, but reads like a textbook. A really old textbook. Don't go into it expecting a page-turning adventure (even though I don't know why you would). And, going through AP Government, I realize how relevant Machiavelli was during his time, and that relevance lasts to the modern world. I'm actually going to change my star rating of this book, but my previous review said that I really did not like it. Looking back, it wasn't really that terrible, but reads like a textbook. A really old textbook. Don't go into it expecting a page-turning adventure (even though I don't know why you would). And, going through AP Government, I realize how relevant Machiavelli was during his time, and that relevance lasts to the modern world.

  21. 5 out of 5

    G

    It ought to receive a more detailed review, but a classic of its caliber already has an abundance of elaborate reviews to do it justice. Thus, simply commenting that this book of strategy is indeed as majestic and timeless as described should suffice.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jarir Saadoun

    Excellent for seeing how world leaders and governments act or might in general.Shows the hard line and darker side of human social/politico structure.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

    Watch out, guys. I'm ready to conquer and rule! Watch out, guys. I'm ready to conquer and rule!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Noah McMillen

    It is clear that Machiavelli’s goal in writing The Prince is to guide the prince in self-preservation, in gaining power and glory through pragmatism; morality is important but not relevant for this cause: “And many have imagined republics and principalities for themselves which have never been seen or known to exist in reality, for the distance is so great between how we live and how we ought to live that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his prese It is clear that Machiavelli’s goal in writing The Prince is to guide the prince in self-preservation, in gaining power and glory through pragmatism; morality is important but not relevant for this cause: “And many have imagined republics and principalities for themselves which have never been seen or known to exist in reality, for the distance is so great between how we live and how we ought to live that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation; because a man who wants to make a profession of goodness in everything is bound to come to ruin among so many who are not good. Therefore, it is necessary for a prince, if he wants to preserve himself, to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it as necessity dictates” (66). However, Machiavelli still does recognize the importance of morality, only it is secondary to greatness: “It cannot be called virtue to kill one’s fellow-citizens, to betray one’s friends, to be without loyalty, without mercy, without religion; by such methods one can acquire power, but not glory” (37). “There arises a dispute: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the contrary. The reply is that one should like to be both the one and the other, but as it is difficult to being them together, it is much safer to be feared than to be loved if one of the two has to be lacking. For this can be said of men in general: that they are ungrateful, fickle, hypocrites and dissemblers, avoiders of danger, greedy for gain; and while you benefit them, they are entirely yours, offering you their blood, their goods, their life, their children, as I said above, when need is far away, but when you actually become needy, they turn away” (71-72). From Machiavelli’s pragmatism comes some laughably diabolical ideas. For example, he proffers it’s always necessary to kill everyone who could be a threat to you or is against you, and we also get wonderful quotes, like this, “I certainly think this: that it is better to be impetuous than cautious, for Fortune is a woman, and it is necessary, if you wish to keep her down, to beat her and knock her about. And one sees that she lets herself get conquered by men of this sort more than by those who proceed coldly” (107). For Machiavelli, the ideal prince holds power based on his own prowess, he holds the love of the people, and he seeks his own preservation, pragmatically for the purpose of the common good in providing order. Morality is secondary, and greatness is above all. However, it is important to note that Machiavelli did prefer a republic to a principality and did see morality as important as well, which we see from his other writings, but in The Prince, he takes the viewpoint of a ruler seeking to rule well. The Prince is a very entertaining read if you’re in for some laughably evil ideas and unique political philosophy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Logan Paul

    Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian politician, statesman, and economist of the Renaissance. He is infamous for his political essay The Prince, where he describes the process necessary for one to become the ruler of a state and maintain control. Unlike his predecessors, who believed that righteous rule and noble goals were necessary faculties of a monarch, Machiavelli believed that humanity is naturally evil, and that if someone wishes to rule over others they must abandon morality and manipulat Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian politician, statesman, and economist of the Renaissance. He is infamous for his political essay The Prince, where he describes the process necessary for one to become the ruler of a state and maintain control. Unlike his predecessors, who believed that righteous rule and noble goals were necessary faculties of a monarch, Machiavelli believed that humanity is naturally evil, and that if someone wishes to rule over others they must abandon morality and manipulate others to achieve the desired state. This has led to the creation of the term “Machiavellian”, which implies that those who exercise this kind of control over others are demagogues. Perhaps the most controversial of Machiavelli’s political theories is that humanity is selfish, and therefore expendable. The aspiring prince must take advantage of the people’s hopes, prejudices, and fears in order to get ahead. A prince must take every opportunity to steal an advantage, and never let his guard down. If one must cause harm to another, it should be so terrible that they could never recover from it to seek revenge. This thought process makes Machiavelli seem like a cruel and vindictive person, forever soiling his reputation. But there are those who believe that he was correct in that humans are inherently greedy. Machiavelli encourages the aspiring prince to succumb to their animalistic natures, in direct opposition to established moral doctrine. Machiavelli was certainly a political genius, far beyond his peers, but historically he himself was not capable of becoming a prince. Despite his unique expertise and his sophisticated writing etiquette, he tends to succumb to his own biases towards certain historical figures, such as Cesare Borgia. Much of The Prince involves important military and political events, wherein Machiavelli explains why one party failed and the other won. He seems entirely convinced that, in hindsight, he could have succeeded in their position if he was there. This makes me feel as though Machiavelli was arrogant politically, and certainly set in his ways by the time he penned this work. Despite his lack of humility, Machiavelli certainly understands the complexities of a wide range of war scenarios, and explains them elegantly. He uses language that is concise, easy to read, yet incredibly detailed. I particularly enjoyed his assessment on Marcus Aurelius, in which he commends his virtuous behavior. Virtue is a very important aspect of Machiavelli’s writing. He uses the word to refer to ability, one of the fundamental requirements a prince must have. His overall emphasis on this political aspect helps tie the entire text together, making it far easier to understand.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Richard Greene

    Strange. Overrated. Picked up The Prince because I wanted to see what the hype was about - the whole dark side of power concept. What I read was more observation by Machiavelli than anything. Tyrants and dynasties ruled fractured parts of Italy in his time. He was simply recording the methods by which the tyrants succeeded. Had Machiavelli grown up in a republic, perhaps his analysis would have been different. The Prince is incredibly difficult to relate to unless you have a firm grasp of Roman Strange. Overrated. Picked up The Prince because I wanted to see what the hype was about - the whole dark side of power concept. What I read was more observation by Machiavelli than anything. Tyrants and dynasties ruled fractured parts of Italy in his time. He was simply recording the methods by which the tyrants succeeded. Had Machiavelli grown up in a republic, perhaps his analysis would have been different. The Prince is incredibly difficult to relate to unless you have a firm grasp of Roman and Italian political history. Machiavelli, for instance, will start a chapter with a premise, "it is better to be feared than loved", and then give some examples of people who executed the principle correctly, or failed. The problem for me was that 7 times out of 10, I had no idea who he was talking about. The footnotes do help a bit. I don't come away with any better idea what makes an effective ruler. I do see a man, Machiavelli, on the outskirts of 16th century Florentine politics, trying to impress people who might let him back in - with a mirror. The Prince is his portrait of the Borgias, I suppose. Not sure I need to read this again. Recommend for anyone to read it once - just to not be impressed when someone else says they have.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kori Brus

    Reading this for the first time in my early 40s, I was struck not by the tone of selfish machinations that it has the reputation for, but rather for the simple common sense that most the chapters deal with. Two of the most pernicious social mandates are that 1) people are good, and 2) one must be selfless. The first is a lie, and the second is a delusion. People are and always will be self interested, and the first duties of a self interested person (read, "someone who is actually taking care an Reading this for the first time in my early 40s, I was struck not by the tone of selfish machinations that it has the reputation for, but rather for the simple common sense that most the chapters deal with. Two of the most pernicious social mandates are that 1) people are good, and 2) one must be selfless. The first is a lie, and the second is a delusion. People are and always will be self interested, and the first duties of a self interested person (read, "someone who is actually taking care and responsibility for their own actions and outcomes"), is to understand the motivations of others and thus choose prudent courses of action in the world. It's a great read, with remarkable accessibility and clarity, but one best tackled in the readers 20s when the dynamics and revelations will strike with greater power and influence.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark McTague

    If cynicism is merely a heightened sense of reality, then call Machiavelli cynical. Written as an advice book for a wise prince, his would-be patron, Lorenzo de Medici (soon to be duke of Urbino), in the early 16th century. The Prince is for me most of all a study in human nature for nearly all of Machiavelli's chapters on holding onto power and governing wisely turn on points of character where failures of intellect, will, or personality doom princes of antiquity as well as those of the 14th an If cynicism is merely a heightened sense of reality, then call Machiavelli cynical. Written as an advice book for a wise prince, his would-be patron, Lorenzo de Medici (soon to be duke of Urbino), in the early 16th century. The Prince is for me most of all a study in human nature for nearly all of Machiavelli's chapters on holding onto power and governing wisely turn on points of character where failures of intellect, will, or personality doom princes of antiquity as well as those of the 14th and 15th centuries. One cannot read it without holding his lessons up to the light of current affairs. The oft-spoken lines "No progress in the affairs of men" and "Know thyself" come to mind as conclusions to be drawn from this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really advice you to have a little background about Italy politics in the 15/16 century, precisely about Lorenzo de Medici and the government of the republic. Niccolò Machiavelli talks about them in a way that is a fact everyone knows so having a little knowledge about those facts will help you. This book talks all about politics and how a prince supposed to be if he wants to be a good ruler he also mentioned what a prince should avoid. The little turn off of this book is the redundancy of the I really advice you to have a little background about Italy politics in the 15/16 century, precisely about Lorenzo de Medici and the government of the republic. Niccolò Machiavelli talks about them in a way that is a fact everyone knows so having a little knowledge about those facts will help you. This book talks all about politics and how a prince supposed to be if he wants to be a good ruler he also mentioned what a prince should avoid. The little turn off of this book is the redundancy of the quality of a successful prince the good thing that this book gave me is the curiosity of reading more about life in Italy at that time.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    This volume has me baffled. I have often heard of the great writing of Machiavelli and this is my experience. Last week I read the first 15 chapters and was confused by the claims of greatness. This week I read it and I see a glimpse of the value. Now as I draw to a close I am baffled again by the reputation this little work has enjoyed. I did see a shimmer of light and that is why I gave it 3 stars. I admit my own short sightedness may be at fault and not the work. If however I am looking at 15 This volume has me baffled. I have often heard of the great writing of Machiavelli and this is my experience. Last week I read the first 15 chapters and was confused by the claims of greatness. This week I read it and I see a glimpse of the value. Now as I draw to a close I am baffled again by the reputation this little work has enjoyed. I did see a shimmer of light and that is why I gave it 3 stars. I admit my own short sightedness may be at fault and not the work. If however I am looking at 15th century historical literature and seeing it as pertinent only for the time and the intended reader then I would give this one star or less.

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