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

The Prince and The Discourses

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  478 ratings  ·  18 reviews
This volume includes the complete translated texts of both The Prince and the Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius [Livy], along with a historical and critical Introduction by Max Lerner.

"Nothing could be more timely than the publication at this moment of history of the two works which made Machiavelli both famous and infamous as a model for contemporary state
Paperback, 540 pages
Published August 1st 1950 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published May 19th 1905)
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 Prince and The Discourses, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Prince and The Discourses

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 996)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Erik Graff
Jan 01, 2015 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in politics
Recommended to Erik by: no one
During the summer of 1967 our neighbor in Berrien County, Michigan, Harriet Brooks, a kind old lady who would always give us kids malts when we'd drop by her house on the lakefront, had her god-daughter, Nancy Pualani Fowler, in from Honolulu, Hawaii. Pua was a class behind me, but much more socially adept. Enraptured, I'd spend the days on the beach with her and the other kids from up and down the coast, saying nothing, reading.

One of the books I read during this torturous season was The Prince
Discourses, unlike the Prince, was not written to gain any favors. Machiavelli talks more freely in this book. He makes it clear that he thinks a republic is the best form of government, provided that it follows the stellar example of the Roman republic. The book's focus is primarily on the Roman republic and the causes of its longevity.

He discusses the system of checks and balances in Rome and enumerates the causes of their success. Of course, some discussions are very vague and general such a
David Greenberg
In order to gain a complete understand of Machiavelli, one must have a critical eye of his work. One must treat his writing in a similar manner that he treated history. This edition of his work allows a student of history or political philosophy and theory to gain a complete understanding for what Machiavelli is truly arguing. I highly recommend both of these work in completion before a person passes judgment about this philosopher - simply reading The Prince will give you an incomplete view of ...more
Interesting view into the mind of Machiavelli. In this book he discusses government on a scientific basis, discussing it and separating it from ethics... talking about it on its own terms. The Discourses is a treatise on ruling and retaining rule in a Republic political system. Those who would lead know learning can come from all sources.
The Western counterpart to Sun Tzu's masterwork and every bit its equal.

Warning: may induce megalomaniacal tendencies
Italo Italophiles
Niccolò Machiavelli (b.1467-d.1527) has gotten a bad rap. He is not an amoral despot-maker and early spin-doctor. He is a Renaissance-era political scientist and historian. And that famous adjective, Machiavellian, is described in at least one Italian dictionary as: 'The mistaken utilitarian interpretation of Machiavelli's writings'.

His famous, or infamous, book Il Principe - The Prince is not really “Despotry for Dummies”, but an expert description of the efficient functioning of a Principality
The infamous pamphlet that established the basic strategies for military and city-state conquest for ages. Machiavelli looks to Caesar Borgia as his model of the ideal, calculating militant leader. Machiavelli calls for an appeal to the people through fear and respect, insisting that they must be treated well enough to maintain control. He writes: "Is it better to be loved or feared, or vice versa? I don't doubt that every prince would like to be both; but since it is hard to accommodate these q ...more
Paul Bard
Completely revolutionary book.
Mark Singer
Anyone with an interest in history and politics should read Machiavelli, who was one of the first people to write about the world as it really is, not as it should be. So far I've read The Prince twice, but got about halfway into The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy. It has said that The Price was about monarchies and The Discourses was about republics, and from what I have read would have to agree. I have done other reading about him and his time and would like to read the rest o ...more
Certainly a way of looking at things! Read as a kid and honestly was horrified the first time I read it. Later, I could reject what I rejected much more reasonably. I'd say a must read for general information about a way of interpreting the world and how the world works.
Myrna Minkoff
A good read, but I'm biased-- I really resent Machiaveli's way of thinking. As Oscar Wilde succinctly put it: ""We are all in the gutter, but some of us are reaching for the stars." So reach for some damn stars, you self-serving, greedy, nihilist mo-fo.
A delightful and thought provoking book. The reputation of Machiavelli lead me to think that this would be a dark and heavy read. It was the opposite: a insightful, and directly honest look at the issues of being a political animal.
I thought this would be a lot more mean spirited than it was judging by his name. It turns out it just practical information on how to run a medieval government. But I repeat myself
Chris Watson
It was pretty boring, but disturbing thing was how 'ordinary' these ideas seemed. Our times are completely in tune with the outlook of this historically-derided character...
Kay Iscah
Not the most exciting read, but some great quotes.
Craig J.
The Prince and The Discourses by Niccolo Machiavelli (1950)
Not light reading, but interesting.
Casey Mcfaden
Amazing insight into power.
Omar Mohamed
Omar Mohamed marked it as to-read
Oct 02, 2015
Renee Neufeld
Renee Neufeld marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2015
Walata marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2015
Chris Dugan
Chris Dugan marked it as to-read
Sep 21, 2015
VT added it
Sep 12, 2015
Anna marked it as to-read
Sep 07, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 33 34 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration
  • The Discourses & Other Early Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Introduction to Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty
  • The Collected Dialogues
  • Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
  • The Thomas Paine Reader
  • Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues
  • Between Past and Future
  • America, Russia and the Cold War 1945-2006
  • Philosophical Fragments (Writings, Vol 7)
  • Rogues: Two Essays on Reason
  • The Essential Plotinus
  • Principles of Economics
  • Sikolohiyang Pilipino: Teorya, Metodo, at Gamit = Filipino Psychology: Theory, Method, and Application
  • Introduction to Aristotle
  • The Political Writings of St. Augustine
  • On the Genealogy of Morality & Other Writings
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher, musician, poet, and romantic comedic playwright. He is a figure of the Italian Renaissance and a central figure of its political component, most widely known for his treatises on realist political theory (The Prince) on the one hand and republicanism (Discourses on Livy) on the other.
More about Niccolò Machiavelli...
The Prince The Discourses The Art of War Mandragola The Prince and Other Writings

Share This Book