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The Prince and The Discourses

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  915 ratings  ·  25 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
Paperback, 592 pages
Published August 1st 1950 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published 1531)
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Erik Graff
Apr 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
David Greenberg
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: political-theory
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
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Western counterpart to Sun Tzu's masterwork and every bit its equal.

Warning: may induce megalomaniacal tendencies
Italo Italophiles
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 07, 2008 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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 ...more
Doug McColgin
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
My review may not be fair for others to use... this is purely based off of my taste and inability to read historical non-fiction.

There's a lot of insight and historical wisdom in this book, but it's also DRY. It took a ton of energy to maintain attention... I found it very difficult to keep with. If it weren't for the historical importance of the book, I would've stopped earlier.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Machiavelli is in many cases misunderstood. It is odd to say such a thing, because no one completely understands The Prince. Was it a manual, or was it satire? Either way, Machaivelli's work is brilliant and fluid.
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Myrna Minkoff
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Casey Mcfaden
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Amazing insight into power.
Paul Bard
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Completely revolutionary book.
Mar 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Not light reading, but interesting.
Chris Watson
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
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...
Craig Bolton
The Prince and The Discourses by Niccolo Machiavelli (1950)
Kay Iscah
Not the most exciting read, but some great quotes.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
One word, "stellar!"...
Sep 11, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Manifest Stefany
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yet another business re-read. Depending on the time you read this, it can be jarringly harsh or make 100% sense. Right now, it's just what I need. I find this book is great for thought experiments.
Emily Green
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Always a delight to read.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not really a review but it turns out to be one of my favorite read.
Mei-mei Ellerman
rated it it was amazing
Apr 01, 2013
Jenna Boatman
rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2015
Reese Austin
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Jun 19, 2017
Alex Hunter
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Oct 16, 2019
Christopher Herndon
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Dec 01, 2017
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Oct 31, 2013
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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher, musician, poet, and 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.