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The classic handbook of statecraft written four centuries ago by an Italian nobleman recommends guile and craftiness to attain and maintain political power.
The Handbook for Leaders The Prince is often regarded as the first true leadership book. It shocked contemporary readers with its ruthless call for fearless and effective action. With simple prose and straightforward logic, Machiavelli's guide still has the power to surprise and inform anyone hoping to make their way in the world. This keepsake edition includes an introduction by Tom Butler-Bowdon, drawing out lessons for managers and business leaders, and showing how The Prince remains vital reading for anyone in the realm of business or politics.
The Prince (Italian: Il Principe [il ˈprintʃipe]) is a 16th-century political treatise by the Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus (About Principalities). However, the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death. This was done with the permission of the Medici pope Clement VII, but "long before then, in fact since the first appearance of the Prince in manuscript, controversy had swirled about his writings". Although it was written as if it were a traditional work in the mirrors for princes style, it is generally agreed that it was especially innovative. This is only partly because it was written in the vernacular Italian rather than Latin, a practice which had become increasingly popular since the publication of Dante's Divine Comedy and other works of Renaissance literature. The Prince is sometimes claimed to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal. It was also in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and scholastic doctrines of the time concerning how to consider politics and ethics. Although it is relatively short, the treatise is the most remembered of Machiavelli's works and the one most responsible for bringing the word "Machiavellian" into usage as a pejorative. It also helped make "Old Nick" an English term for the devil, and even contributed to the modern negative connotations of the words "politics" and "politician" in western countries. In terms of subject matter it overlaps with the much longer Discourses on Livy, which was written a few years later. In its use of near-contemporary Italians as examples of people who perpetrated criminal deeds for politics, another lesser-known work by Machiavelli which The Prince has been compared to is the Life of Castruccio Castracani. The descriptions within The Prince have the general theme of accepting that the aims of princes—such as glory and survival—can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends:
The Prince is the most controversial book about winning power - and holding on to it - ever written. Machiavelli's tough-minded, pragmatic argument that sometimes it is necessary to abandon ethics to succeed made his name notorious. Yet his book has been read by strategists, politicians and business people ever since as the ultimate guide to realpolitik. How can a leader be strong and decisive, yet still inspire loyalty in his followers? How do you keep your enemies in check? Is it better to be feared than loved? When is it necessary to break the rules? This shrewd handbook on how power really works answers all these questions by examining regimes and their rulers around the world and throughout history, from Roman emperors to renaissance Popes, from the savagely cruel Hannibal to the utterly devious Cesare di Borgia. Tim Parks's gripping contemporary translation delivers Machiavelli's no-nonsense original straight, making it as alarming and enlightening as when it was first written.
In his introduction to this new translation by Russell Price, Professor Skinner presents a lucid analysis of Machiavelli's text as a response both to the world of Florentine politics, and as an attack on the advice-books for princes published by a number of his contemporaries. This new edition includes notes on the principal events in Machiavelli's life, and on the vocabulary of The Prince, as well as biographical notes on characters in the text.
FINALIST--2008 PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE In The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, Peter Constantine has assembled a comprehensive collection that shows the true depth and breadth of a great Renaissance thinker. Refreshingly accessible, these superb new translations are faithful to Machiavelli’s original, beautifully crafted writings. The volume features essays that appear in English for the first time, such as “A Caution to the Medici” and “The Persecution of Africa.” Also included are complete versions of the political treatise, The Prince, the comic satire The Mandrake, The Life of Castruccio Castracani, and the classic story “Belfagor”, along with selections from The Discourses, The Art of War, and Florentine Histories. Augmented with useful features–vital and concise annotations and cross-references–this unique compendium is certain to become the standard one-volume reference to this influential, versatile, and ever timely writer. “Machiavelli's stress on political necessity rather than moral perfection helped inspire the Renaissance by renewing links with Thucydides and other classical thinkers. This new collection provides deeper insight into Machiavelli’s personality as a writer, thus broadening our understanding of him.” –Robert D. Kaplan, author of Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos “Constantine’s selection is not only intelligent; his translations are astonishingly good. Thoughtfully introduced by Albert Russell Ascoli, this edition belongs in everyone’s library.” –John Jeffries Martin, professor and chair, department of history, Trinity University “If one were to assign a single edition of Machiavelli's works, this most certainly would be it.” –John P. McCormick, professor, department of political science, University of Chicago From the Trade Paperback edition.