Angela's Reviews > The Prince

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
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Apr 03, 2011

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bookshelves: bookcrossed-or-otherwise-set-free, 2004, translated-into-english
Read in October, 2004

Classic book about politics and power...per the cover copy: "The famous analysis of Statesmanship and Power. This world-renowned study reveals the techniques and strategy of gaining and keeping political control."

I picked up this book some years ago at a yard sale or a used book store...I don't remember which. And (picture my head hung in shame) it sat on the bookshelf, giving me a guilt complex every time I passed it over for something else. And It's such a short little thing....This is the 1952 Mentor Books/NAL edition, mass market paperback, printed in the early to mid-60's -- I think this copy was used as required reading for a college or high school because it contains many underlined passages.

When I finally read it, I found it interesting, if rather arid in places.

Machiavelli approached life and politics with the utmost pragmatism: "If thus-n-such is what you want, thus-n-so is what you must do to get it." No moralizing, no soul-searching, no consideration of others taken into account; Machiavelli's philosophy is one in which looking out for one's self is always top priority. Even if one's actions seem to benefit the common good or serve a higher purpose, Machiavelli preaches one's underlying motivation must always be self-serving.

"What's in it for me?" isn't necessarily a bad construct in business or politics, or life for that matter. Humans are selfish by nature and must be taught altruism, although I believe no one truly achieves it. I do wonder, however, what happens to the souls of the people who follow Machiavelli's philosophy to the exclusion of all else.
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Lynn Sometimes, you come across Machiavellian types who most certainly haven't read this book, but they are innately Machiavellian. Thus, there is only one way to combat their Machiavellian ways - to know and understand them, and hopefully, one can tackle them.

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