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Description of the Methods Adopted by the Duke Valentino when Murdering Vitellozzo Vitelli by Niccolo Machiavelli. Published by MobileReference (mobi).
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Complete interlinked edition complemented by author biography. "The Duke Valentino had returned from Lombardy, where he had been to clear himself with the King of France from the calumnies which had been raised against him by the Florentines concerning the rebellion of Arezzo and other towns in the Val di Chiana, and had arrived at Imola, whence he intended with his army to enter upon the campaign against Giovanni Bentivogli, the tyrant of Bologna: for he intended to bring that city under his domination, and to make it the head of his Romagnian duchy."

When Lorenzo de' Medici seized control of the Florentine Republic in 1512, he summarily fired the Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Signoria and set in motion a fundamental change in the way we think about politics. The person who held the aforementioned office with the tongue-twisting title was none other than Niccol¨° Machiavelli, who, suddenly finding himself out of a job after 14 years of patriotic service, followed the career trajectory of many modern politicians into punditry. Unable to become an on-air political analyst for a television network, he only wrote a book. But what a book The Prince is. Its essential contribution to modern political thought lies in Machiavelli's assertion of the then revolutionary idea that theological and moral imperatives have no place in the political arena. "It must be understood," Machiavelli avers, "that a prince ... cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state." With just a little imagination, readers can discern parallels between a 16th-century principality and a 20th-century presidency. --Tim Hogan

Customer Reviews:

  • A guide to gaining and maintaining power
    This book was written by the famous Italian statesman Niccolo Machiavelli in 1531. This book is a classic and I was pleasantly surprised that the content was not dated and the principles translate easily into the modern worlds of business and politics.
    The author wrote this book as an instruction guide for governing princes in the 1500's when Italy was divided into city states and were being defeated by many foreign powers. I belive that the work is directed to Lorenzo de Medici by a letter included in the work and because at the end of the writing Machiavelli calls for a prince to unite and lead Italy against its oppressors.
    The book is not unethical as I had imagined from my understanding of the ruthlessness of Machiavellian ethics. The author is only explaining tactics to use to maintain power in a kingdom or city state that are pragmatic for his time period.
    Here are some examples from the book:
    1. When conquering a territory keep the current laws and institutions in place, but eliminate all the family of the defeated prince.
    2. When trouble is sensed ahead of time it can be easily remedied, if you wait for it to show itself, it is to late.
    3. Whoever is responsible for another becoming powerful, ruins himself.
    4. There is no surer way of keeping possesion than by devastation.
    5. Men do you are harm either because they hate you or they fear you.
    6. Violence must be inflicted once and for all, it must be over quickly.
    7. Build your power through the people.
    8. Power is maintained through religious institutions.
    9. Neglect the art of war and you lose your state.
    10. If you act virtuously, you will be undone by those who are not, make use of this or not according to need.
    The above is just a small sampling of the lessons in this book. My review can not do this book justice, it is full of wisdom and life lessons. It is a guide book for business leaders and politicians. I strongly suggest adding this book to your home library and referring to it often.
    ...more info
  • Ruthless survival
    This book's lessons can be used by any corporate executive to ruthlessly navigate thru the waters of Corporate America and knock out the competition. Its not pleasant advice but straightforward rules to beat those around you. The book was written a long time ago and can easily be applied today....more info
  • A classic for a reason
    George Bull does an excellent job in translating this material, making it accessible and easy to read. Additionally, the glossary of proper names allows one who is reading this material for the first time, with little knowledge of the regions history, to understand much of what is presented.

    This, along with The Art of War by Sun Tzu, should be read by anyone who is or intends to be involved in politics or business. There is very little that you cannot relate to this book and how to deal with periods of conflict....more info
  • Political Power and Political Reality vs. False Appearances
    Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)wrote THE PRINCE as a "how to" book. While this book was written in Renaissance Italy, THE PRINCE is a timely classic of political thought that has been badly distorted by shallow media men and historians too cowardly to carefully examine political reality.

    Machiavelli wrote THE PRINCE in an attempt regain political position, and he offered good practical advice to his "patron" or anyone else who had interest in political power. Machiavelli knew that political power was not for the timid. He advised a potential prince on how to retain power. Probably without intending to do so, he also advised those who did not have political power but wanted it.

    Some of Machiavelli's suggestions include showing intense force while feigning mercy. Machiavelli argued that a prince should instill fear rather than love because love is more fleeting and temporary. Machiavelli taught a potential prince that he should blame and severely punish advisors if these advisors followed the prince's orders. In other words, Machiavelli advised princes that if a policy went awry or cause resentment, a prince should scapegoat his subordinates with punishment rather than admitting blame or admitting error.

    Some have argued that Machiavelli's THE PRINCE was also a call for Italian unity or what was later known as Nationalism. Machiavelli advised that military forces should be composed of native troops loyal to the ruler as opposed to mercenaries. Mercenaries were not to be trusted as they were loyal to paymasters rather than a prince of polity.

    Readers should note that Renaissance Italy was not united. There were several political units such as principalities, city-states, Austrian-German controlled areas, the Papal States, etc. Machiavelli knew that often these rulers called on "outsiders" to do their dirty work vs. their enemies. Machiavelli was not the only Italian who realized that such outside "help" often made Italy a battleground for other Euroepean rulers to the detriment of the Italians. This is why Machiavelli wanted a united Italy.

    Naive readers and dull pundits have associated Machiavelli with evil political disigns. This is not true. Machiavelli found the situation in Italy into which he was born. The political divisions and intrigues were the facts of political life, and Machiavelli made a reasoned response to it.

    Machiavelli's THE PRINCE is also important because of the warning he gave to readers. Whether he intended to or not, Machiavelli alerted readers how political power actually works as opposed to lofty speeches, constitutions, etc. In other words, the alert reader should beware. Another important lesson that Machiavelli teaches that political power is often composed of powerful groups whose survival and prosperity can last if there are compromises. In other words, freedom is an important byproduct of these compromises.

    One may note that Machiavelli's THE PRINCE was written was written when crowned princes and rulers were trying to concentrate their power. The old Medieval system of controls (checks and balances) were undermined. There were fewer restrictions of parliaments, vassals, Cathlic Church controls, etc. to limit a monarch's power. In other words, Renaissance rulers were able to use political and economic dislocations to rid themselves of prior controls.

    THE PRINCE is an invaluable guide to understanding actual political power. Machiavelli was sure of himself because he was witness to rapid changes in political power, and he clearly understood the events that were unfolding even if others were not. Those who assign evil intentions to Machiavelli betray their own naivete rather than any actual understanding If readers have a difficult time with THE PRINCE, they owe it to themselves to give the book a more careful read....more info
  • The prince
    I love this item. It is an excellent item; new and clean. The transaction was also very good. Thanks very much....more info
  • Machiavelli - Winner of the 1rst "Ass-Kiss Rodeo?"
    Definitely a book to read to help you get up in the corporate world.

    I will be making this a staple in my bookshelf of references in surviving corporate culture, I encourage you to add it to yours. ...more info
  • Not all translations are the same
    For a class we were required to read the translation by Angelo Codevilla which is one of the more expensive translations for what i've seen. There are free translations, which can be found online, but loose some of Machiavelli's language. I have not read anything other then Codevilla's and pieces of a free online source but Codevilla's translation has some benefits. There is a very well written indroduction and chapter on words and power before Machiavelli's The Prince. Also, the footnotes are extremely helpful.

    The Prince has some great lessons on power. Difficult language to read at times but has important concepts that everyone should understand....more info
  • A great little book...
    I love this little book. I only wish Mr. Machiavelli had written more - much more. One word says it all: honest. This book tells it like it is. Not for the politically correct, but for those who appreciate an honest take on politics and government. If you love books that say it like it is, no matter the politics, then you'll likely enjoy this small book. Amazingly refreshing for 1530 AD. Like I said above, I only wish Mr. Machiavelli had written more....more info
  • A guide to gaining and maintaining power
    This book was written by the famous Italian statesman Niccolo Machiavelli in 1531. This book is a classic and I was pleasantly surprised that the content was not dated and the principles translate easily into the modern worlds of business and politics.
    The author wrote this book as an instruction guide for governing princes in the 1500's when Italy was divided into city states and were being defeated by many foreign powers. I belive that the work is directed to Lorenzo de Medici by a letter included in the work and because at the end of the writing Machiavelli calls for a prince to unite and lead Italy against its oppressors.
    The book is not unethical as I had imagined from my understanding of the ruthlessness of Machiavellian ethics. The author is only explaining tactics to use to maintain power in a kingdom or city state that are pragmatic for his time period.
    Here are some examples of principles from the book:
    1. When conquering a territory keep the current laws and institutions in place, but eliminate all the family of the defeated prince.
    2. When trouble is sensed ahead of time it can be easily remedied, if you wait for it to show itself, it is to late.
    3. Whoever is responsible for another becoming powerful, ruins himself.
    4. There is no surer way of keeping possesion than by devastation.
    5. Men do you harm either because they hate you or they fear you.
    6. Violence must be inflicted once and for all, it must be over quickly.
    7. Build your power through the people.
    8. Power is maintained through religious institutions.
    9. Neglect the art of war and you lose your state.
    10. If you act virtuously, you will be undone by those who are not, make use of this or not according to need.
    The above is just a small sampling of the lessons in this book. My review can not do this book justice, it is full of wisdom and life lessons. It is a guide book for business leaders and politicians. I strongly suggest adding this book to your home library and referring to it often.
    ...more info
  • Everyone should read it.
    In the pantheon of classic literature, there are books teachers make you read, books you read on your own, and books you think you've read because everyone talks about them as though you ought to have read them.

    The Prince is the third type. Read it, and discover that the term "Machiavellian" has come to mean something that I doubt Machiavelli really intended. Read it, and discover that Machiavelli may have been more of an optimist than people realize.

    In a reading group recently, members had three different translations of the book. When we argued about what Machiavelli was saying in the section on ecclesiastical states, we realized that we were coming from different directions, so we each read the versions of several passages. The consensus was that this translation is perhaps the most cynical translation into English and may be the most "faithful" to the modern, popular idea of Machiavelli....more info
  • No, not Prince the artist...
    If you want to compare 'The Prince' with the artist 'Prince', it will result in one big contradiction. Where the artist needed 60 or so albums to get his point across, Machiavelli only needed this one book to withstand the test of time.

    This book takes you back to the time when Italy was still divided and mainly ruled and crueled by the De Medici family. Although the rulers have been replaced and most methods have been replaced by other, more covert dealings, its writings are still acurate. The Prince is more about mankind than about politcs, as they are a result of society. It actually makes you wonder what we've progressed in 500 years.

    As Machiavelli is often confused with double-tongue persuasion, this book is not about these dealings at all. This book is about society and man's own interest to protect his world as he sees it....more info
  • hard read
    This is supposed to be a good book, a life changing book, but its a hard read. A hard read. I find it boring myself. ...more info
  • THE PRINCE
    This book will make you see history in a different light, and is insightful into how kings and rulers have viewed thier powers and responsibilities....more info
  • It Takes Courage To Know One's Motives
    For a book as brief as THE PRINCE, its impact on history has been at least as great as almost any other work. Over the centuries, it has gotten a bad reputation as some sort of guidebook for evil. But back when it was first written in the 16th century, Machiavelli indeed intended it as a guidebook, but neither for evil or for good. Rather he wrote it for a specific purpose. It was written expressly for the ruler princes of the Italian city-states who he believed could best benefit. Although its precepts are generalized to fit most country's ruling elite to a certain extent, the advice was tailored to fit the only government with which he was most familiar, his own. His motivation for writing has been construed as a bald grab for power, with Machiavelli as Mephistopheles and the grabber as a power hungry Dr. Faustus. The truth is more prosaic. His sole concern was the security of Italy. Concepts such as good, evil, war, peace, love, and hate were irrelevant only insofar as they productively led to this security. Those who read THE PRINCE today and try to follow his advice will find that such advice simply cannot be applied when the host country can reasonably call itself democratic. Consider an American politician who reads Chapter 17: "Of Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved or Feared." Machiavelli could not have conceived of a leftist judiciary ruled by the edicts of Political Correctness which would not inconvenience even one's enemies to protect one's friends or even oneself. In the 16th century, rulers could and often did take actions that were harmful to a few for the betterment of the many. Similarly such a politician today may read Chapter 18: "In What Ways Princes Must Keep Faith." Here Machiavelli argues that since the world is often run by unscrupulous and faithless dealers, one need not be overly concerned with keeping one's word given to those reprobate leaders. Can you imagine what some politicians would say when they realize that they are dealing with world leaders who may not always be honest but we must act nobly in any case? Despite the resurgence in interest in THE PRINCE, such interest is likely to remain in the academic arena until such time as our governmental system of checks and balances is replaced by one with which Machiavelli is more familiar....more info
  • President Obama as "The Prince"
    The potent power of Machiavelli's ,"The Prince" has become almost a clich¨¦'. To say "The Prince" is one of the most relevant and evolving books written within the last 500 years is an understatement. In modern times, the recent presidential election is an excellent demonstration of how Machiavelli's principles of acquiring power played out perfectly and successfully dismantled the established order reminiscent of the Medici Dynasty. Are we seeing Machiavelli's treatise being demonstrated by President Obama? Like Machiavelli's crafty fox, Obama uses cunning to control the ferociousness of political lions. Machiavelli's amorality for doing what's necessary for the situation reflects the current idea of truncated power, where one uses powerful people to shorten the arduous years generally required to build a political empire.

    "The Prince" will be best appreciated by applying the principles laid out from the "Old Country" to modern reality. Machiavelli couldn't have known his tome would be the blueprint for modern politics. Read "The Prince" with an openness to the realities of human nature and its interplay with power.

    Edward Brown
    Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute
    [...]
    ...more info
  • A Unique and Capturing View on Politics
    "Anyone who picks up Machiavelli's The Prince holds in his hands the most famous book on politics ever written," reads the first sentence from the introduction. What intrigues me most about this book is Machiavelli's rare perspective of moral good and spiritual integrity. Machiavelli states humanistic behaviors and the problems of society during the Renaissance. Discussing morality and what should be done during certain situations, Machiavelli directly points out what qualities a prince needs in order to rule for the betterment of the state. For example, "A Prince must learn to be able to not be good, and use this ability or not according to necessity." Machiavelli has always had a way of thinking that if a prince cannot be both feared and loved, it would be better to be feared by citizens. Before reading this, I always thought love would tie everything together. The Prince has given me a new perspective; it has shown me that we, humankind, have many faults, and we can take advantage of the bond of love. Machiavelli has shown that fear is strengthened by the dread of punishment, which is effective.

    Using his knowledge, Machiavelli provides hope for future princes in that they can establish a stable, secure, and peaceful kingdom. The best prince is able to decide which route is the best to take, not solely based on a strict moral code, but by Machiavelli's teachings. I enjoy the fact that this is not a rulebook. The Prince is a reference guide to political and military strategy, not acquired through special insight, but through Machiavelli's own experiences from Italian politics.

    The Prince is truly a work of art, written for a mature audience, and for all who enjoy literature at its finest. ...more info
  • Product Overview
    This book was in excellent condition. It took over 2 weeks to receive, so make sure you plan accordingly when you purchase....more info
  • The Truth Hurts
    Arguably the most misunderstood book ever written, Niccolo Machiavelli's THE PRINCE is not the Satanic bible it is reputed to be. It is, quite simply, a study of political power; how to get it, how to use it, how to keep it. It is indeed a frightfully amoral book, but I would argue that Machiavelli has been blamed for the color of the kettle, which he is merely describing, as if he himself made it that way. To my mind, a study of power, especially political power in postMedieval Europe, can't help but be amoral.

    Anyway. In THE PRINCE, Machiavelli uses historical examples going back to the Roman times and before to explain why certain politico-military leaders triumphed, why others failed, and why some did a lot of the former before they ultimately did the latter. Where he has generally run afoul of critics, especially the more sensitive (or "principled" sorts) is that he tends to view the tactics of leadership in absolutely cold-blooded, ajudgemental terms. Cruelty and massacre, mercy and liberalism, greed, generosity, loyalty, and betrayal, all are assessed according to their effectiveness and the likelihood of achieving the desired result. Nothing is "good" or "bad" in and of itself, except as in it allows or hinders a prince to gain, hold and expand his power. This is generally summed up as preaching "the ends justify the means", but that is generally a phrase used by people who haven't read the book. Firstly, Machiavelli isn't one one to justify anything; justification is for apologists and people with bad consciences, and he is neither. Second,
    he explicity states in his work that too much cruelty, betrayal, murder, treaty-breaking, rapacity, and villainy are self-defeating; the tend to generate the very forces they are employed to destroy. The end, in other words, doesn't justify the means, it simply dictates them.

    Obviously there is a great deal more to THE PRINCE than this thesis; Machiavelli spends a lot of time passing judgement on things like the use of mercenaries in an army, how best to run a territory which you have acquired by force as opposed to one you inherit by treaty, and all other other topics which were pressing on the leadership caste of the sixteenth century, some of which have no bearing on today's world. Taken as a whole, however, THE PRINCE remains a fascinating, timely and somewhat chilling study of political power, and should be required reading to anyone in a leadership position, from an assistant manager to an assistant secretary of state, president of the Elks to President of the United States. It contains a lot of wise counsel (such as Machiavelli's warning to "kingmakers" on their likely fate after the king takes power), and the fact that a lot of it is unpleasant to hear doesn't make any of it less true, or at least less arguable. Seems to me that of the strangest things about political correctness (thought control, as Orwell rightly called it) is the constant demand that we deny reality rather than say something offensive, impolitic or simply barbarous. That we lie rather than put forth observations or arguments which are accurate but too brutal for the sensitive person to face. Machiavelli's great sin - in my mind - is not what he actually wrote, but rather his refusal to lie about the nature of power politics, which are exactly what he says they are. In an age when call-and-response has replaced discourse, buzzwords pass for profundity, and the hot air coming out of Washington is at 450.5 degrees Fahrenheit and rising, it seems to me that honesty is a better policy, even when it's painful to hear.
    ...more info
  • How to prevent your most oppressed denizens from revolting horribly upon you
    A good instruction manual for your aspiring evil dictator type. It's got some good advice on how to take over the world, sure, but most of the advice is about holding onto it without getting your most oppressed denizens too terribly worked up about being took over. So be warned: if you want really good advice on the taking over of the world part, go find Sun Tzu. This book is about the aftermath. Which is not less interesting, it's just a bit less...belligerent. See definition one in your dictionaries....more info
  • Refreshing cynacism
    Cynical but accurate pronouncements to get a person through life, if you enjoy the art of grovelling. (Many times necessary to advance, if that is your agenda.)...more info
  • Great
    This is more of a guideline handbook than a novel. It is well written and simple to understand. It teaches a lot about power and politics. Although it was written centuries ago, there are still traces of Machiavelli tactics still being used today. ...more info
  • Robert Adams translation excellent
    I haven't done a close analysis of multiple translations, but having cursorily read various parts from some translations and wholly loving Machiavelli's writings for the insights they yield about Renaissance Florence and today, I can only add to previous comments by commending the Robert Adams translation. It is not at all dry, the most humorous one I've encountered, with the wit (read: sarcasm) shining through. An Adams translation of The Discourses does not exist, unfortunately....more info
  • The world's best cover letter
    The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is considered by some to be a dictator's handbook. With this knowledge going in, I thought I would be reading a Mein Kampf of sorts. I was wrong. Machiavelli writes matter-of-factly about simply how a Prince should keep power over his citizens.

    This originally was not even meant to be published. Machiavelli wrote it to get a job with Lorenzo de' Medici of Florence from which Machiavelli was recently expelled, when the French conquered it several years earlier. Machiavelli was once an ambassidor to France and was able to observe how princes obtained power. This was a sample of his knowledge, so that Lorenzo would be impressed. It worked. Another goal of this book was to unite Italy. This goal was not achieved for another 350 years.

    The 70-odd pages makes this a brisk read (to put it mildly).

    The book starts off with the various types of princedoms around the world and the advantages and disatvantages to each.
    This is followed by historcial examples of princedoms that held power well.
    Then Machiavelli talks how a prince should address certain problems such as: how a prince should be looked at, how to get an army together, how to rule foriegn colonies, how to create an image of yourself, how to worship, who you should surround yourself by.
    This is followed by calling for the differant city-states of Italy (it is 1510) to unite.

    The Prince talks a lot about Ceasar Borgia, his "ideal" prince.

    The book may be 500 years old, but it is not dated. This is a great read for any person interested in politics (and you can see were every dictator went wrong)....more info
  • "...men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word ..."


    There are several classical books that withstood the test of time and in one way or another deserve attention. One of them is "The Prince". Why? Its applicability to the democratic state remains a question, however I'm sure politicians read it for how to make one nation the dominating force in the global community. But, if you're not interested in international relations (how to rule over a principality), read this for its uncanny insight into the darkness of the human nature. Believe it or not, it is a great psychology tool. Of course its center stage is reserved for the leader of a monarchy. But then again forget about what's obvious and focus on what's written between the lines. Take for example the following statement:

    "...men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need to keep your word to them."

    Here is the perfect example of how a mid-16th century writer characterizes the eternal and unchangeable human nature. Time and again he addresses the lack of trust one should put in people and how one is to handle his enemies. Many of us have already established our own framework of how to do this, but checking this framework against such a historical artifact would be extremely beneficial.

    In addition, the book possesses a wealth of historical information on the topic of political strategy and to be fair - all of us can take advantage of a political lesson (especially in this day and age).

    A short and quick read, I recommend it not only for its lessons, but for the mere fact that history deemed it worthy of preservation.

    -by Simon Cleveland
    ...more info
  • Great book, terrible translation!
    The Prince is a classic work of political science. Unfortunately, this version of the book is not suitable for serious study or anything academic. This version is from an amateur publishing outfit! If you compare it with legitimate academic translations, sometimes it's not even accurate. I had to buy another (legit) version to be able to write my college papers, just a warning....more info
  • Detached and dispassionate analysis of political power.
    If you have no interest in how to gain and retain political power, or in how to play your potential enemies, rivals, and even allies, against each other, or in how to develop and effectively execute military strategies, or in how to manipulate popular opinion-- then read something else. Machiavelli will bore you. Machiavelli bored me. I struggled through though, and at times appreciated Machiavelli's historical knowledge, his threads of logic, and his cold dispassion for the subjects being treated. I only recall a single instance of the author revealing a personal opinion (there may have been a few others that I didn't notice or recall, however, Machiavelli reveals no interest but the analysis itself).

    As has been pointed out, the term "Machiavellian" (which has been used to denote heavy-handed power-hunger and cold manipulation) cannot be fairly applied to Machiavelli himself. He was merely a rather insightful analyst and political philosopher. ...more info
  • Classic Political Treatise
    Not much to say that hasn't already been said. Everyone who invests themselves in really reading The Prince, though, should also find time to sit down and read the dedication to The Prince and follow it up with the dedication to Machiavelli's Discourses....more info