Title: The Prince.
Writer(s): Niccolò Machiavelli.
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Inc.
Format: Barnes & Noble Pocket Size Leatherbound Classic.
Release Date: June 1st, 2017 (first published in 1532).
Genre(s): Philosophy, Non-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Human nature has a funny way to materialize itself throughout history. You’d think that we’d be inclined towards good or evil and not bathe in all the grey. There are countless examples to illustrate what truly drives humankind and sometimes you wish it wasn’t just self-interest, profit, and vice. Whether we are born to be good or evil doesn’t, however, mean that we can’t strive to do one or the other and some philosophical politicians have looked into proving that sometimes going all bad isn’t always that bad. Known for his devious and immoral vision of politics, Niccolò Machiavelli has made a name for himself that will forever have him go down in history as a pioneer of practicality, unethicality, and insanity. At least when it comes to realpolitik, the man has established the foundation that will allow humankind to further understand their own nature.
What is The Prince about? Written by Niccolò Machiavelli and addressed directly to Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici, the Duke of Urbino during the second half of the 1510s, this thorough commentary is an in-depth examination of princedoms. He thus proceeds in an utterly rational and cohesive manner to demonstrate the various paths to acquiring the status of a prince within a state. He then explores the necessary resources that should compose a princedom and presents the advantages and consequences of various constitutions of the state’s army if the populace is meant to be under his wings. He follows this controversial yet insightful piece by divulging the necessary qualities of a prince if he wishes to dominate his playground. He finally concludes by exploring the composition of a prince’s political circle and what he needs if he is to be trusted and followed.
Besides being one of the most influential and relevant masterpieces in political literature, Niccolò Machiavelli crudely and effectively writes a statement establishing his rigid demeanor and firm belief in the practicality of politics and viciousness of war. While it is easy to believe that kindness will lead you far in the race for control, progress, and societal tenacity, he clearly affirms with a rigid resolution that cruelty trumps morality. He further establishes that deception is also a quintessential tool to assure the prince’s domination and that a misleading appearance of kindness sheltering a killer instinct can bring you further in life than an innocent position of friendly submission with the population. His conviction that a morality-free vision of politics is thus expressed throughout his practical discourse and reminds the reader that sometimes the truth is not what we always want to hear.
Exemplified with real events centered around failed and successful princes, Niccolò Machiavelli meticulously rams his arguments into the reader by further concretizing his statements, making them near irrefutable as he presents the fall of various princes and the lacunes of princedoms when order is absent and naivety reigns. Although he doesn’t go into detail to contextualize his case studies—which was never the intention from the beginning—he nevertheless makes the reading experience effortless and proceeds methodologically to prove his case up until the very moment when he unleashes the beast and protests the unequivocal fact that morality does not have a place in politics and war when envisioned in the long term. The instant you read his perceived modicum of truth regarding women and fortune, you’ll quickly understand that this man is far more Machiavellian than his name proclaims.
The Prince is a riveting treatise exploring the place of morality within princedom and the consolidation of power through deception.