Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women” as Want to Read:
The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  320 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
A legacy of leadership for women only.

For centuries men have used the lessons of Machiavelli's The Prince to gain and hold power. Today's women, struggling to succeed in a man's world, must learn a crucial lesson of their own: men and women are not equal--and that is a woman's greatest strength. From the wars of intimacy to battles of public life, whether confronting bosse
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 9th 1998 by Dell (first published March 17th 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Princessa, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Princessa

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 656)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Scribble Orca

Good grief. This woman must have been paid by masculinists to write this tripe. No self-respecting reader of either gender could fail to see what a load of apologistic, drowning-in-cliches and pandering-to-the-ego codswallop this comprises. Avoid.
queen esther
Sep 21, 2014 queen esther rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lady Entropy
Aug 09, 2012 Lady Entropy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book lost me the moment it told me the tale of "Sun Tzu and the concubines", (according to the author, his only defeat) -- the variant that the author thought she should censor to fit her pretty picture of a book:

A king of China wanted Sun Tzu to prove that he could make a soldier out of anyone, so he handed him his concubines, had them lined in multiple rows in the courtyard, and told him to get to it. With Sun Tzu barking orders, the concubines giggled, and refused to do what he told them
Jill Barrett Melnicki
This is the second time I've read this book. First time was in my twenties. I didn't have a clue - the book was entirely over my head and I thought it unnecessary. Now that I'm in my late thirties with some real world experience, I get it. It's brilliant. Rubin shares strategies and tactics that leverage unique feminine qualities so women can get what they want out of life. No apologies. The key to the power of the princessa, according to Rubin, is "you don't control another person; you can only ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: would-read-again
I read this book nearly a decade ago, at which time it helped give me the courage to change my life into what I had envisioned. I took some huge risks and had some great adventures. I find myself in transition again and I have returned for a second dose of inspiration.
Kater Cheek
Apr 14, 2011 Kater Cheek rated it it was ok
This was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, and since it was short and easy to read, I put it to the top of my reading queue. It's a philosophy book, sort of, and a how-to book, sort of, and a self-help book, sort of.

I haven't ever read _Il Princip_ by Machiavelli, though of course I've heard it referred to. This book seeks to provide a feminine counterpoint to that. Machiavelli says basically that you have to be cruel, that nice guys finish last, that it's better to be feared than love
Virginia Li
Mar 29, 2015 Virginia Li rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of my favorite books of all time. My mom gave this book to me, dog eared and underlined, and I could tell from the pen markings and notes that this had been something that had helped her immensely when she was young.
Sure, I agree with some people that this book strays in some ways and not everything she says is necessarily true, but first of all, this book was written a long time ago and might have some biases, and second, even though I did not agree with everything I feel like
Jan 05, 2015 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved parts of this book, didn't like others. The challenge is to figure out which is which. Excellent (though brief) analyses of various women of power and success in history; I thought that was must useful. Not much discussion about collaboration. Seemed like a model from a different time in some ways. Depending on your organization, it may also be operating in a different time! If you are trying to "win", this book has good advice. If you are trying to create, I am not so sure. Just reading ...more
total mash up======> no meat

(one of 24 books found today at 2nd hand shop...24 for $10!)
Mar 04, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those times when you should NOT judge a book by its cover. In my opinion, this book is not just for women. It's about our greatest power on earth, and that is to love. This is much like Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart" except it gives you strategies to take action in the real world and become that spiritual warrior in your day-to-day life. And it's always from the standpoint that our greatest power is to align with, not fight against our "enemies," whoever they may be. Just ...more
Michelle Cristiani
Slated to be a feminine version of Machiavelli's _The Prince,_ this book goes through detail of the mindset and actions required for women to be at the top of their game. It profiles a handful of women who displayed these virtues, which was my favorite part - I learned about some interesting women I hadn't heard of before. Time to look into some new biographies!

A few things bothered me about this book. Overall, it was pretty gimmick-y. She stuck to historical figures while writing off modern pow
Rita Booker-solymosi
Reading it for the second time after more than a decade. Happy to rediscover what I'd taken from it, and how I'm still practicing some of her suggestions. But even greater is the benefit of gaining a fresh perspective on events I experienced since the first reading. The author tripped me up with so many references to literature or theories I didn't know ten years ago. It all makes more sense now. And it makes me feel like I'm on the right path. Phew, what a great external validation!
Shanna Matheo
Jan 28, 2016 Shanna Matheo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE this book. It changed my life. It changed how I view myself, how I view the world, how I interact with the world, how I behave in my relationships and so much more.

I reread it every few years to remind myself to stay sharp and I find that with each new phase in life I take something new from it. I recommend it to pretty much every woman I know. Some get it, some don't. That's okay.
Mikki Ibarra
Okay so I really wanted to love, love, love this book. I love The Prince, and there are too many people in my life that already call me Machiavellian, so I really wanted to love it. So I read...nothing much new that most life coaches don't preach...then I continued to read...her section on tactics was wonderful. Honestly, had she shortened the uplifting first eight-five pages, I would have loved the book. Sometimes simplicity works best, and I think that this is true for something like this book ...more
It’s difficult to know what to make of this book. While some of what Ms. Rubin states would seem to be sound advice (Use your body as a weapon—well, why not? Women have been doing that since time immemorial), other bits contradict each other. Some parts of her book seem like wishful thinking. Believing that Stalin will be forgotten while a woman by the name of Anna Akhmatova [who?] will be remembered for her poetry or that Marcus Aurelius’s fame will outlast that of Julius Caesar doesn’t sound t ...more
Diana Rajchel
Sep 28, 2015 Diana Rajchel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The reason I do not wish I had this book in my twenties is because, even though it has approaches that would have helped me... I just wouldn't have understood at that age. As someone further along in life, what the Princessa points to is invaluable.
Catherine Datuin
I read the book in the 90s but did not understand concepts until I reached an executive position in my career. Very effective tactics I had used over the past 20 years. Highly recommend what every young and aspiring business woman.
Aug 19, 2015 Oresta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book.

"When your absence has the authority of your presence, that is power....power is learning from what is inside you...your vulnerability is your power. Power is not what you use, it's what you have."
Jul 12, 2014 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this a lot. I don't know how I missed it when it first came out. I appreciate her dealing with the subject and although I don't agree with everything it is great food for thought.
Jun 11, 2015 Fernando rated it it was ok
although its for women I read it, I wouldnt say its a great book. read it yourself
Aug 25, 2007 Inggita rated it it was ok
i forgive her for using "Machiavelli" to describe the author's concept in his "The Prince" - furthering misunderstanding - since she put an effort in explaining and use "princessa" in addressing the readers. this is a good guide to strategize and to use some elegant tactics such as "besting" - but the rest are just one great story after another, without really mapping out the hows (too feminine an approach!). since it's directed towards women, some of the tips will be men's "duh" moment.. to not ...more
Jane Broatch
Sep 25, 2013 Jane Broatch rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I kept reading; optimism perhaps. The exercise was akin clicking on one of those 'pop-up' adds that promises some amazing secret, but then goes on & on without ever getting to the point or even providing any useful information. When I reached the end of the book, I felt as though there must have been pages (or whole chapters) missing. I also didn't appreciate the over-abundance of obscure references which only served to make me feel illiterate (I'm not) and lost (I was). JB
May 29, 2013 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my earliest days I have seen myself as "different from others", don't consider myself brave though others do, treat destiny as my mentor, revel in my emotional life, don't believe I must choose between power and love, and I like disrupting the status quo. This book validated my belief that women can have power and strength, supported that the voice of self-defeat must be muted! Helped me learn new ways of looking at femininity and the goddesses. Enjoyed it very much!
This is a wonderful Book. The Princessa: Machiavelli For Women is full of funny and fun stories. It will light you up inside and make you feel amazing. I want pull quotes from The Princessa: Machiavelli For Women and put them on tank tops!
The Princessa: Machiavelli For Women definitely has on my read again list.
I highly recommend The Princessa: Machiavelli For Women.
Jun 07, 2009 Polina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: available
Very strange an ambiguous writing style, the only reason I kept reading was because it was so bizarre and I could not believe someone managed to produce a whole book written like this. The advise itself, when I could make any sense of what is written was only somewhat useful, I can not quite imagine it leading to a happy and fulfilling life.
Let me start off by stating that I am not a huge fan of Machiavelli's The Prince. So Princessa wasn't something I would have picked up on my own, but when it was selected as a book club pick, I read it with an open mind. The book was filled with ideas on how women should behave in order to succeed in a male-dominated workplace.
Anya Behn
Aug 09, 2009 Anya Behn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book about ten years ago. I am reading it again and I find it really helpful. There are several levels it can be read on--she does delve some into spiritual levels, and the overall advice is healthy rather than destructive and short-sighted. I recommend this book to friends I think would benefit from it.
Aug 03, 2009 Staci rated it did not like it
Found the author's arguments to be flawed and confusing and at times contradicting. Same goes for the examples she uses to support her arguments. Instead of focusing on her be different from the Prince Machiavelli is advising, she basically turns him into a cold coniving corporate bitch.
Mia McInnis
Aug 20, 2012 Mia McInnis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
I very much enjoyed this book - I felt that it gave some excellent advice while providing insight into the great women of history. It is a book that I feel I will return to again and again now that I have read it, and it has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.
Jan 18, 2011 Octavia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is awesome so far! favorite line... "as we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others...." I MUST MEET HARRIET RUBIN... I can imagine her weighing each word and strategically composing each sentence...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 21 22 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology
  • Los diez mandamientos en el siglo XXI
  • Practical Solitary Magic
  • On Man in the Universe
  • Yoga Mind and Body
  • Hardball for Women
  • The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark
  • Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the Present
  • Don't Die with Your Music Still in You: A Daughter's Response to Her Father's Wisdom
  • Alkalize or Die: Superior Health Through Proper Alkaline-Acid Balance
  • Co-creating at Its Best: A Conversation Between Master Teachers
  • Map Of A Nation
  • The Secret Language of Destiny
  • Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters
  • Fire With Fire: New Female Power and How it Will Change the Twenty-First Century
  • Fight Like a Girl: How to Be a Fearless Feminist
  • The Necropolis Railway (Jim Stringer, #1)
  • Kindling the Celtic Spirit: Ancient Traditions to Illumine Your Life Through the Seasons

Share This Book

“Women have always been spies.” 323 likes
More quotes…