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The Art of War

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  6,742 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Voltaire said, "Machiavelli taught Europe the art of war; it had long been practiced, without being known." For Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), war was war, and victory the supreme aim to which all other considerations must be subordinated. The Art of War is far from an anachronism—its pages outline fundamental questions that theorists of war continue to examine today, makin ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 5th 2001 by Da Capo Press (first published 1521)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in military history and strategy
- "Good orders without military help are disordered"
- "A wise questioner makes one considermany things and recognize many others that one would never have recognized without being asked."
- War makes thieves and peace hangs them.
- Aquire fame as able not as good.
- I am esteemed not so much because I understand war as because I also know how to counsel in peace.
- DOn't keep beside you either too great lovers of peace or too great lovers of war.
- A battle that yo
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
His writings are considered immoral, he teaches you to be appear to be meek as a lamb but deadly as a lion. How to conquer, how to placate, the importance of perception and how it is better to be feared than loved.
May 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The only one of Machiavelli's major works to be published in his lifetime, The Art of War is a survey of Machiavelli's opinions on the composition, employment, and leadership of an army.

I found the introduction to this book by Neal Wood to be illuminating as it connected Machiavelli's views in this book to his other famous political works ( Discourses and The Prince ). It also discussed Machiavelli's sources (most of his examples are from Greek and Roman history, as befitting a Renaissance book) and s(
Joshua Guest
Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Nothing like Sun Tzu's timeless treatise of the same name. Disappointing.
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Haven't read this in a while. It's still a great read. There are so many nuances and strategies that can be applied to all aspects of life, not just war, that can make your actions and decisions mutually beneficial for yourself and everyone involved. :)
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
When most people hear the name Machiavelli, they probably consider him a one trick pony for, "The Prince." In reality, Machiavelli was a prolific writer, but his political treatise overpowers anything else.

"The Art of War" is an interesting discussion of how armies should be armed and organized. The treatise is organized into several "books" and is shown as a discussion between three characters, one of which is Machiavelli. Based on his knowledge of Roman organization, combined with
Jul 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is a grind. I have read Art of War by Sun Tzu and On War (abridged) by Clausewitz. Both of those were philosophical, and got boring when they got into specific tactics. This book is incredibly boring, as it is almost entirely (obviously antiquated) tactics.

It is also rather poorly written (or perhaps it's just a bad translation?). It is a completely flat writing style, put in the form of a dialogue about war tactics. There is none of the charm, aphorism, or wit seen in his infamous The Pri
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-related
An entertaining reading. In some cases you can think that over past years nothing has changed- most people tend to think that it was easoer to live and to fight in previous centuries.
Greg Brozeit
Machiavelli is, in my view, among the most misunderstood of thinkers. In this series of discourses, he provides some insights into the nature of war and the military that were as profound when he wrote them as they are commonplace today: militias vs. standing armies, preparing for veterans, tying military goals to those of the general welfare.

He also warned of weak “princes” who failed to understand the interconnectivity between the civil and political life and “need only know how to
P.H. Wilson
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Real rating: 8/10
It is a book on military strategy, not a philosophical tome. Though most works only become philosophical thanks to the retroactive nature of the scholars that come centuries later. One should not fault the work simply because you assumed that the author wrote only in one genre. Would one lambaste Beatrix Potter's early work because they thought her book on mushrooms would be about anthropomorphic ones rather than the scientific nature that it was. That fault lies with the
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Machiavelli thinks that Italy had fallen far behind the rest of Europe in military science and has become the "shame of the world." Italy must rediscover the methods of their ancestors to retain any dignity or even remain free from Spanish, French, or German domination.

If "The Prince" could be boiled down to the question "What would Cesare Borgia do?", this book can be boiled down to "What would the ancient Romans do?" Machiavelli has a few fairly interesting sections discussing the economics o
Ossian's Dream
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a celebration and explanation of masculine virtues which are still highly applicable today, this book like most of Machiavelli's works is glorious and worthy of reading and re-reading. However, the old time strategy of pike and shot and crappy artillery is obviously tiresome and not very practical, only the description of the officers and the constant focus on the need for efficient teamwork and discipline between units is worth reading.

Also the constant insults against the mediocrity of tho
I struggled with this one - and I suspect it was me, not the book.
It was supposed to be a short book to read in short slots of time over a few days, but work gets busy, those times are not available and it all becomes disjointed.
I couldn't get the flow if this writing, and couldn't extract the useful from the waffle. I know it is there somewhere, I saw it quoted in other reviews... just not this time.

I shall endeavour to re-read, and will improve my review, and no doubt my rat
Aditya Pandey
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book came as a surprise to me, I was suggested this book by a lot of people and every time I had this one though which raged my mind again and again, which said ,'dude you are a management douchebag, you've nothing to do with this....

Time passes and after reading it approx. 13 times now , I still feel that this is the best management book ever written, Sun Tzu was way ahead of his times and the way he embarked on his journey to raise the best army the history has ever witnessed
Cesar Ruiz
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Much like The Art of War by Sun Tzu, this book also presents useful lessons on strategy that one can widely apply in all areas of life. The wisdom behind it is made clear to the reader, and its most valuable lessons are in how to treat different people.
Ben Conley
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very specific down to minor details about arms, encampment, seiges, etc. Fairly bland sometimes- most of the back and forth sections you can just skim because it’s very wordy and is mostly pleasantries. More enjoyable once it gets rolling into a chapter or subject.
Julian Tambunan
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m not at any place and don’t have any right to judge or give a review about this book.

If this is the only book exist in the universe......

...... i can’t imagine what our world will become.
Jakub Kolčář
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Luas n(mendozaluas10)
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I like this book because its content is really original and you can easily understand the grammatical structure used by the author
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
The greatest example of plagiarism.
Francisco Vicente
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very good book. Goes well with Sun Tzu's "art of war" and Clausewitz's "on War".
Petra Hermans
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Strategy is only a word.
Pj Byrne
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I was dissapointed by the book, mostly because I'd been spoiled by the philosophical musings on the art of war by authors like Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War' and Clausewitz 'On War' are more about grand strategy and the philosophy behind them, ideas that are fundamentally unchanging. Machiavelli is clearly talking about the more tactical facets of warfare, and tactics, unlike the grand philosophy of strategy, changes far more often, a ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I bought it by mistake looking for another"Art of war book" was dull hard to get through for a casual reader, but a good refrence for a scholar.
Savannah Watts
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
The book Art of War, by Niccolò Machiavelli was written between 1519 and 1520. It is separated into a 'Preface' then later broken down into seven chapters. It is basically a dialogue that describes how Machiavelli thinks a proper war should be conducted. He goes into detail about proper usage of troops, where they should be put to become most useful. He also gives a very detailed description on the use of weapons such as firearms, and units such as cavalry. He does think that fire arms and caval ...more
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Typically when someone mentions they’re reading the Art of War, the famous book by Sun Tzu comes to mind. Niccolo Machiavelli however, more notoriously known for his work The Prince, wrote another by this same name. Written toward the later part of his life in Florence and published during the August of 1521, when it became apparent that he would not be returning to a life of public service, Machiavelli made the decision to write about warfare. Styled after Plato’s Republic, the book is based on ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
It took me 4.5 years to finish this one and the translation is almost entirely to blame. The dialogue is so stilted to the modern "ear" that it makes it difficult to maintain the flow of the arguments presented here.

The first half of the book is devoted to infantry arrangements, which in my completely non-professional opinion is much less relevant than the latter half of the book. Much like the more widely read Art of War by Sun Tzu, the discussions on encampment, siege warfare, a Captain's cha
Ambrosia Sullivan
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review was posted on my book blog The Purple Booker first.

When people hear the name Niccolò Machiavelli they tend to think of The Prince, it is by far his most well known book, but certainly not his only one. Machiavelli was a hugely prolific writer and although only a few ( I don't know the exact number off the top of my head) of his works were published in his life time but thankfully we have his works now.

Other people hear the name Niccolò Machiavelli and think of immorality and many other unkind thought
Apr 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military
Machiavelli has some interesting ideas about War and differs in parts from Clausewitz. He advocates that a stable society is built upon the foundation of a well-ordered and disciplined military. This foundation is a highly trained state-militia and is held together by good leadership, discipline, love of country etc. He even goes on to say that Religion is very useful and should be utilized to compel men to fight.

He believes that the best armies are primarily infantry and that the so
Isaac Liu
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Machiavelli’s Art of War is no easy read, but it’s worth your time. In the book, Machiavelli’s friends are asking questions to a general, Fabrizio. The interview was casual, taking place in a garden. The book is Machiavelli’s word-for-word account of the interview.
I found the book wordy,and felt Machiavelli did not need to write the account word-for-word. Machiavelli’s introduction was three pages, describing everything from war to weather. Neal Wood, the revisor of the book, could have slimmed
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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.
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“Many, Lorenzo, have held and still hold the opinion, that there is nothing which has less in common with another, and that is so dissimilar, as civilian life is from the military. Whence it is often observed, if anyone designs to avail himself of an enlistment in the army, that he soon changes, not only his clothes, but also his customs, his habits, his voice, and in the presence of any civilian custom, he goes to pieces; for I do not believe that any man can dress in civilian clothes who wants to be quick and ready for any violence; nor can that man have civilian customs and habits, who judges those customs to be effeminate and those habits not conducive to his actions; nor does it seem right to him to maintain his ordinary appearance and voice who, with his beard and cursing, wants to make other men afraid: which makes such an opinion in these times to be very true. But if they should consider the ancient institutions, they would not find matter more united, more in conformity, and which, of necessity, should be like to each other as much as these (civilian and military); for in all the arts that are established in a society for the sake of the common good of men, all those institutions created to (make people) live in fear of the laws and of God would be in vain, if their defense had not been provided for and which, if well arranged, will maintain not only these, but also those that are not well established. And so (on the contrary), good institutions without the help of the military are not much differently disordered than the habitation of a superb and regal palace, which, even though adorned with jewels and gold, if it is not roofed over will not have anything to protect it from the rain. And, if in any other institutions of a City and of a Republic every diligence is employed in keeping men loyal, peaceful, and full of the fear of God, it is doubled in the military; for in what man ought the country look for greater loyalty than in that man who has to promise to die for her? In whom ought there to be a greater love of peace, than in him who can only be injured by war? In whom ought there to be a greater fear of God than in him who, undergoing infinite dangers every day, has more need for His aid? If these necessities in forming the life of the soldier are well considered, they are found to be praised by those who gave the laws to the Commanders and by those who were put in charge of military training, and followed and imitated with all diligence by others.” 2 likes
“O maior remédio utilizado contra os desígnios do inimigo é fazeres voluntariamente aquilo que ele planeja que tu faças à força, porque fazendo-o de forma voluntária, tu o fazes com ordem e para vantagem tua e desvantagem dele; se o fizesses à força, seria então a tua ruína.” 2 likes
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