From his perspective in Renaissance Italy, Machiavelli's aim in this classic work was to resolve conflict with the ruling prince, Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli based his insights on the way people really are rather than an ideal of how they should be. This is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince, a king, or a president. When Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values. Even today, this sixteenth-century classic has become essential listening for every student of government, and is the ultimate audiobook on power politics.
Public Domain (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC
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"Better than Wagland narrated version"
Very important for the history an influence, this translation has a good introduction and a place where the history is explained.
If you are very interested in the topic the Teaching Company course "Machiavelli in Context", also available here, is the best at truly putting Machiavelli in Context and shedding light on his times and thought (I highly recommend it); The Kreeft Modern Scholar Ethic's course, also available here, is probably the most out-of-context I have listened to... This is a fine addition to either course.
"You have to know what you get with The Prince"
Casual readers beware, you have to know what you are getting when you purchase The Prince. It is difficult to fault the narrator for some of the more boring parts of the book because Machiavelli is just boring sometimes. However, he also has some of the boldest insights into political thought that were hundreds of years before his time and many of which are still applicable today. Brush up on your Italian, Greek, and Roman history and dig in.
"Not enough history in my background."
It wasn't wasted, but it would have been more productive if I had possessed the proper historical context for the details discussed.
I would say it is only for someone who has a good grounding in ancient and Italian history.
He gives a very clear, reading of the material - I always enjoy his work.
If it does, it needs some ancient and Italian history, followed by a re-listen.
The fault is mine, not the book's. Just trying to broaden my horizons, but I need some lower level broadening before I tackle this one again (which I just might do).
"Not as shocking as I thought"
Having learned so much about Machiavelli's views as an undergraduate and graduate student, but never actually reading Machiavelli's own words, I was really surprised by how often and how clearly he preached moderation. It makes me wonder how many professors who teach Machiavellian intelligence in evolutionary psychology or political theory have actually read Machiavelli for themselves. Machiavellian intelligence is often moderated by the best theory according to game theory. So, I am not saying that his views are taught as all evil. However, after reading his book, I think they are unbalanced at best.
I did a little digging into who Machiavelli was. A very simplistic view (leaving a lot out) is that he worked with kings, popes, and other powerful people but was largely ignored by them. Given that, it was not at all surprising that as a semi-outsider with enough access to watch the powerful up close, he held the views he did. In my opinion, Machiavelli's books were the precursors to later self-help books like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, and other books that help ordinary people gain a glimpse into the lives of the powerful or the manipulative. It might be the case that I found his book so tame only because I was primed to see him as the most manipulative human ever to have written a book. Machiavelli is built up in classrooms to be one of the most cunning persons in history. To me, he seemed like someone trying to understand how the powerful gain and keep control. Given the struggles of the Medici, Borgia, and other families, it was not in the least shocking that Machiavelli would come to the conclusions he did and offer the advice that naturally followed.
"amazing insight into politics that applies today."
Uses historical examples and a biography to demonstrate practical concepts regarding how one seeking political power must relate to those from whom he seeks power. Excellent for the price. Easy to understand.
"Neither Good Nor Evil"
Machiavelli's name has become synonymous with evil and corruption, and it was many years with this understanding that I first encountered this book. Now over 20 years later, I return to it with a far better understanding of the situations he writes about and who the players are, most especially Cesare Borgia, whose successes and ultimate failure were of considerable example to this work.
With this new understanding, I'm able to see the pragmatism behind this book, how as a tool to strengthen the objectives of whoever wields it. That it's become a how-to handbook for the tin pot dictators of history is an unfortunate side effect of its wisdom and simplicity that perhaps Machiavelli foresaw when he opted not to publish it himself. But much like Sun Tzu's The Art of War or the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, this book cannot be judged by those who have taken its instruction in the ages since it was written. This book is truly one for the ages, capable of raising our awareness of both its historical context and of the modern world around us.
The word used to title this review should be sufficient enough to warrant my review over before it began. However for manners sake, I will give a couple reasons. By the pure text you can grasp thoughts and ideas, that if you had 100 try's at this life, you might not even have had one. The second and final reason to why this book, if read and understood by the right mind, will influence you greatly, because not only are the ideas practical and obtainable, and so well reasoned, but it is a phenomenal read, Machiavelli truly was a genius, who had his mind pumping and with as much vigor and strength as mine does today. Beautiful book. Wonder why it took me till 22 to stumble upon this. This book should have been forcefully read, like all the other fictional crap school attempt to shove at you, except this one is a masterpiece, and the other are just dirty trinkets.
"I look at historical events that apply today"
Here we have a man who was brought into a position of leadership to help people just to have it taken away. While he was moving toward leadership, while in it and afterwards Machiavelli studied those around him. Looking at what all the leaders around him were doing and wanting to help certain ones to remain in power because of stability this book was written.
I found this book enlightening as it applies to modern life. Whether it’s office politics, politics of any kind this book will be helpful. I had read this book a decade back and didn’t see its significance, but now I do! I recommend reading this book whether you’re in politics or not.
"Does this history really apply to today?"
I had a hard time determining the point of the book. Seemed to me that the whole theme was that killing the person in power and waging war was the common way to usurp power, but then you were in danger of being killed so the next prince could usurp your position. Even the Popes practiced this. Machiavelli puts forth that there are better ways but were not successfully practiced in his time. It was difficult to see how this treatise applied to today as the circumstances are so different than they were in Italy back then.
I have enjoyed other books narrated by Grover Gardner, but his voice in this one was "growly" and ended up irritating me.
"Worth Reading but Not Sure What the Big Deal Is"
I don't really understand why this work and author remain so seemingly relevant in the 21st century. This wasn't quite the guide book for Realpolitik that I expected. All the Italian names and unfamiliar places were confusing. Grover Gardner, however, is excellent as usual.
"Just what I needed to hear "
Just what I needed to hear, this book is awesome, helps you to take an honest look at situations and teaches you what you need to detach yourself from emotional feelings which might hold you back from doing what you need to do. Don't get me wrong, you can still live by these principles and keep your morals in check, just sometimes issues can be clouded and these principles might help you see the way
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