The Prince

The Prince

3.9 103
by Niccolo Machiavelli
     
 

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It was Niccolò Machiavelli who essentially removed ethics from government. He did it with this book, when he asserted that The Prince (president, dictator, prime minister, etc.) does not have to be concerned with ethics, as long as their motivation is to protect the state. It is this questionable belief that in many ways had lead to the modern world as we know…  See more details below

Overview

It was Niccolò Machiavelli who essentially removed ethics from government. He did it with this book, when he asserted that The Prince (president, dictator, prime minister, etc.) does not have to be concerned with ethics, as long as their motivation is to protect the state. It is this questionable belief that in many ways had lead to the modern world as we know it. His assertion was that the head of state must protect the state no matter the cost and no matter what rules he or she breaks in the process. If you want to understand modern politics you must read this book.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604593419
Publisher:
Wilder Publications
Publication date:
05/02/2008
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.23(d)

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The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Seventeenth Chapter: Concerning Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared

...Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed, they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince, who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or by nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails....

Twenty-First Chapter: How a Prince Should Conduct Himself So as to Gain Renown

...A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy, that is to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favour of one party against the other; which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of your powerful neighbours come to blows, they are of such a character that, if one of them conquers, you have either to fear him or not. In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenously; because, in the first case, if you do not declare yourself, you will invariably fall a prey to the conqueror, to the pleasure and satisfaction of his who has been conquered, and you will have no reasons to offer, nor anything to protect or to shelter you. Because he who conquers does not want doubtful friends who will not aid him in the time of trial; and he who loses will not harbour you because you did not willingly, sword in hand, court his fate....

Translation by: W.K. Marriott

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What People are saying about this

John M. Najemy
I still consider Atkinson's translation of The Prince the best of the many . . . out there, especially with its extensive and extraordinarily valuable commentary. (John M. Najemy, Professor of History, Cornell University, 2007)
Mario Domandi
This edition of the The Prince has three distinct and disparate objectives: to provide a fresh and accurate translation; to analyze and find the roots of Machiavelli's thought; and to collect relevant extracts from other works by Machiavelli and some contemporaries, to be used to illuminate and explicate the text. The objectives are all reached with considerable and admirable skill. The reader senses Professor Atkinson's empathy and feeling for even the tiniest movements in Machiavelli's mind. Professor Atkinson has done a great service to students and teachers of Machiavelli, who should certainly welcome this as the most useful edition of The Prince in English. (Mario Domandi, Italica, 1978)

Meet 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.

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The Prince 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 103 reviews.
stitchworthy More than 1 year ago
Had to read this book for school. Not my favorite book, but should you wish to read the classic, this is definitely the best FREE version out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP World History Review This Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is not as it is believed to be by some people. It's not heartless, and the opposite way to rule a government. He has a clear way of stating how a ruler should rule. It's about keeping unity among citizens, and using power, without abusing it. I would recommend this book because it has a way of making you look at government differently. It is also a great way of learning how people thought on military tactics for that time period, which were important for that time period. I like how Machiavelli was quick to make his point; he wasn’t wasting any time making his points. Since there wasn’t a lot of extra writing to decipher. it helped to understand what he was writing. Since the points came straight out, it made the book shorter, which was a nice size for a book on politics. The book was still a little tough at first, but as I read it got easier, it helped that I read Introducing Machiavelli by Patrick Curry and Oscar Zarate. Even if you aren’t a history buff, this book may take time to read, but it is worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Machiavelli has a bad reputation but this is because people judge him by this work alone. This is because he was not wtiting about the way things should be but the way things were/are. For another view of a differing side of his thinking read his "Discourses on Livy". The Prince is a book that should be read by everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Prince is not the heartless manual on backstabbing it is often portrayed as being. Rather Machiavelli seems most interested in issuing a wake up call to Italian leaders to get better at their jobs so as to protect Italy from becoming the plaything of foreign powers. It is interesting to note that Jefferson could read the Prince and extract not a lesson of ruthlessness, but rather the idea that a republic founded on popular support was safer and more durable than one based on the ambitions of a few selfish nobles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The truth is I thought that this book was surprisingly not as chilling as some have made it out to be, for example, I realize that when invading befriending the weak to take down the ruler but keeping those weak powers weak is by no means a nice thing to do. But in the end I saw this book as.... optimistic maybe. One thing he said stuck with me that a great ruler(one to go down in history) is not a tyrant who increases his nations size for personal gain but for the country itself. That was on my first reading, I'll reread it and maybe with more understanding I will find it as chilling as it is made out to be.
Anonymous 19 days ago
Anonymous 5 months ago
AP World History Review I would highly recommend this book because of it's shocking truths. Many people just shrug off Machiavelli because he is associated with heartless things, giving his name a negative connotation. However, if you really dig deep into his work, you can see that by following the rules he laid out, you can sustain a government. I like how Machiavelli has a practical mindset on scenarios rather than an idealistic view. Nothing is ever going to happen the ideal way, so Machiavelli gives multiple possibilities of the same situation to better suit another person's story. If you do want to read this book, I would also recommend reading Introducing Machiavelli beforehand, so that you aren't as confused as you would be just diving in to the book. Though it is a tough read, it is definitely worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Machiavelli was vain, a liar, gained wealth and influence by any means. He was a key player in the government of Florence in the 15th century. Along with Medici, they were bank owners, they lent money out and got more back and broke bons doing it. He was an accosiate to the most corrupt popes in history. His interests outside himself were to preserve himself. Towards the end of his life he decided to write as to how to make it in a social class like that. A book of strategies of exploitation and coercian. I give it five stars because one cannot help but admire such a crook, and how honest he is about how he became one. True story too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GEO1300 More than 1 year ago
A "must" read for any student of human behavior.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
modernsophist More than 1 year ago
Reading this book i can understand how Niccolo machiavelli is considered the father of political science and how his observations of rulers has affected our political atmosphere. His observations and examples arise in a time were wars for power and land were prevalent and allow for a very old understanding of the different types of political principalities and how to adequately rule over them. Anyone interested in politics or history should have this in their collection
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AP World History Review I thought that this book was a very good book. This book linked the things that we were going over in history class now.  I learned a lot about the middle ages while reading this book.  I learned about the military tactics and how a ruler should rule his kingdom while reading this book.   This book was very insightful with helping me learn about the middle ages.   This book really focused on the credentials that a good ruler in the middle ages is suppose to have. Machiavelli talks about four things in his book. He talks about the types of principalities, the types of armies, the character and behavior of a good ruler, and how all of these affected Italy. This is a good book for people who are into the middle ages. It is also good for people who like to learn about certain types of history, as in the middle ages. I really learned through this book that a ruler in the middle ages has to be like a dictator in the world today. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I think that other history buffs will like this book also.