August 28, 2014
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (Review)
Author: Niccolò Machiavelli
First published: 1532
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I don't know why I picked The Prince in the first place: I'm not a fan of political writing or non-fiction, but the mood stroke me and I downloaded it. The book is very short and, although it was written in the 16th century, very accessible. It's essentially a self-help for rulers, stating what are the best ways to gain and retain power, how to approach different problems and to manage different social strata of the kingdom.
Machiavelli is unscrupulous and ruthless, but his methods seem to be really effective. Anyway, what do a hundred dozen dead people mean if it leads to a greater prosperity of the kingdom? :) It is difficult to support his views from the modern point of view, but it's very interesting to explore his reasoning anyway.
Machiavelli was writing The Prince at the time when Italy didn't have a common ruler, and powerful families, the Pope and foreign kings all competed for influence in different regions. Along with the classical examples taken from Roman history Machivelli also uses contemporary situation to explain his views, which makes the book a great source of historical information. Luckily, I was a bit acquainted with Italian politics of the time (thanks to The Borgias! -_-), so it was much easier for me to make sense of what was being referred to. But no previous knowledge is necessary to be able to enjoy the book. (Although if you go and binge-watch The Borgias, you will not regret it!)
In my book:
An essential classic, especially if you are interested in history, philosophy and politics.