When Lorenzo de' Medici seized control of the Florentine Republic in 1512, he summarily fired the Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Signoria and set in motion a fundamental change in the way we think about politics. The person who held the aforementioned office with the tongue-twisting title was none other than Niccolò Machiavelli, who, suddenly finding himself out of a job after 14 years of patriotic service, followed the career trajectory of many modern politicians into punditry. Unable to become an on-air political analyst for a television network, he only wrote a book. But what a book The Prince is. Its essential contribution to modern political thought lies in Machiavelli's assertion of the then revolutionary idea that theological and moral imperatives have no place in the political arena. "It must be understood," Machiavelli avers, "that a prince ... cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state." With just a little imagination, readers can discern parallels between a 16th-century principality and a 20th-century presidency. --Tim Hogan
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Customer Rating: Summary: The Recipe of the American Corporate State Comment: Machiavelli's "The Prince" is a guide of morality-void techniques for acquiring and maintaining political power and ultimately, political fortune. Written nearly 500 years ago, this blueprint for tyranny is just as relevant today. As his compass, Machiavelli uses history, both ancient and contemporary. In 500 years, no one has proven him wrong. Here's a flavor for you innocents out there: "For, in truth, there is no sure way of holding other than by destroying, and whoever becomes master of a City accustomed to live in freedom and does not destroy it, may reckon on being destoyed by it". War is Machiavelli's wet dream: "A Prince, therefore, should have no care or thought but for war, and for the regulations and training it requires, and should apply himself exclusively to this as his peculiar province; for war is the sole art looked for in one who rules". Espousing the virtues of the noble lie, Machiavelli follows up with, "men are so simple, and governed so absolutely by their present needs, that he who wishes to deceive will never fail in finding willing dupes". And with this quote, I now challenge anyone to dispute the Machiavellian nature of the American Corporate State as written about in Don't Weep for Me, America: How Democracy in America Became the Prince (While We Slept). All the parallels are brought to light, always through the eyes of George Orwell. Get informed. Your city (country) is being destroyed... Customer Rating: Summary: An easy read that is full of vital lessons. Comment: This particular version of Nicccolo Machievelli's "The Prince" was incredibly easy to read. There was no rubbing my noggin wondering what he was saying. Nope it was as clear as day and the way that he described retaining power is still the same today as it was in his day. Albeit a little less bloody. Customer Rating: Summary: `Do the ends justify the means?' Comment: 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.
Customer Rating: Summary: the prince Comment: Without a doubt, Nicolo Machiavelli has to be the most dissembling, evil man I've ever read. Though he covers it well in his constantly changing subjects and demeanor I would have not wanted to be around him in the 16th century. I would have never trusted him not to ensnare me in one of his plots! Customer Rating: Summary: Classic that's still relevant because of what's happening today Comment: Heard THE PRINCE by Niccolo Machiavelli, one of those books
that I've always meant to read . . . but just never got around to do so.
Now I finally had the opportunity (as a result of being able to listen to it
while driving) and am glad I did--particularly because of its relevance
to what's currently happening in politics . . . also, as a result, I now
have a better understanding of the term Machievellianism . . . or
that any means, however unscrupulous, can justifiably be used
in achieving political power.
Though originally written in the 16th century, THE PRINCE is still
remarkably up to date . . . the examples used by Machiavelli
feel like they come from today's headlines . . . also, they pertain
to many situations wherein power is utilized--both in business
and in the political arena.
There were many quotes that got me thinking; among them:
* Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know
how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity.
* We have not seen great things done in our time except by those
who have been considered mean; the rest have failed.
And this final one:
* If men were entirely good this precept would not hold, but because
they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not bound
to observe it with them. Nor will thee ever be wanting to a prince
legitimate reasons to excuse this nonobservance.
I found it interesting to learn that Machievelli wrote this book
after he was fired as Secretary to the Second Chancery of the
Signoria . . . methinks that had he been around now, Tim Russert
and/or other political commentators could well be out of job.