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The Prince (Penguin Classics) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 4. Februar 2003

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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 Niccolò 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 -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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“[Machiavelli] can still engage our attention with remarkable immediacy, and this cannot be explained solely by the appeal of his ironic observations on human behaviour. Perhaps the most important thing is the way he can compel us to reflect on our own priorities and the reasoning behind them; it is this intrusion into our own defenses that makes reading him an intriguing experience. As a scientific exponent of the political art Machiavelli may have had few followers; it is as a provocative rhetorician that he has had his real impact on history.” –from the Introduction by Dominic Baker-Smith

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Format: Taschenbuch
Here are some BASIC, UTMOST IMPORTANT and UNIVERSAL REMARKS for those that start reading Niccolò Machiavelli, be it 'Il Principe' or his 'Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio', better known as 'The Discourses', giving a very original political comment on the the first ten books of Titus Livius.
* Machiavelli's ideas are NOT a close-fitting nor a rounded down system: who thinks elsehow will get into everlasting problems;
* The 'Secretarius Florentinus' is NOT a SYSTEMATIC philosopher in the scholastic sense of the word: he DOESN'T WORRY whether the question or idea he describes is IN CONCORDANCE with notions or opinions written down elsewhere. Therefore lots of statements can but difficultly be brought in accordance to the former AND can even bring CRITICISM INTO TROUBLE. This is of far lesser importance while these incongruities are merely touching the general points of departure of his work, instead of the distinct parts of his arguments. You can notice this through his LOGIC (as strong as iron!!) and an IRREFUTABLE CONSEQUENCE.
* Machiavelli stays A-MORAL in Il Principe, just as nature is: not judging about good and bad, not influenced by a religion or anything else!! I know people have problems with this last 'way of writing, thinking', BUT this is the most important factor that makes his work so IMMENSELY UNIVERSAL...
There are two central themes in this work: POLITICS and THE PROBLEMS THAT ARE CONNECTED WITH THE NOTION, THE CONCEPT 'POWER'.
Il Principe is a flaming and militant political piece of writing in which the author is not only rationally, but also emotionally 'present' with the full power of his personality.
Machiavelli's ideas are closely related to the general philosophical concept of the Renaissance.
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"The Prince" is a political essay, written by Machiavelli, in which he lays down his views on how a prince should gain power and keep it at all costs. His views are quite shocking at times but you have to bear in mind the unstable and violent circumstances in which he was writing it - the Italy he was living in is not the Italy we know today. So to survive in that age, you had to watch your back at all times, recognise your enemies, court your friends and build up your armies.

Machiavelli does not attempt to hide his contempt for mercenaries whom he describes as lazy, unreliable and without morals. He also believes that you should gain the love and respect of the people but at the same time you should also be feared by them. But if you have to choose between love and fear, fear is the better of the two.

He also espouses strong laws and strong military forces, stating that in order to stay in power, you must have the ability to meet your enemy on the battlefield and defeat them. Failing that, you must be able to fortify your city and hold it against a siege.

Another major point that he makes is that it is better to gain power from ordinary people rather than be taken to power from nobles. Ordinary people will then be content if you provide them with peace, stability and prosperity. Nobles on the other hand will have shifting allegiences, powerful interests and other people they will want to see at the top.

"The Prince" is considered to be a handbook for politicians everywhere and a masterpiece for how to gain power and keep it. The name "Machiavelli" is practically a verb for something underhanded and sly which goes to show how famous the author has become.

A must-read!
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Machiavelli is here at his best: terse, poignant, and profound. His insights into politics and his practical advice apply not just to autocratic princes of Italian city states, but to anyone who has authority and wants to maintain it, as well as to all those who want to gain authority. True, the book is an excellent attempt to describe politics, which is pervasive in the world, the way it is, and not the way that sanctimonious characters want it to be, but at the same time it raises one of the most difficult and even painful questions that a thinking being can confront: What does it mean to be moral in a world where cunning, cruelty, and underhanded methods of all kinds are sometimes the most effective, if not the only, way to achieve what you so passionately want? The Prince is a superb confrontation with reality, revealing, perhaps inadvertantly, the courage of human intellect.
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Machiavelli is the captain of Realism. He describes an era where you had to be practical to survive, especially if you are a Prince in Europe. He doesn't deserve the labels, that people gave him in recent centuries. His 'ends justify the means' motto isn't there as a way of living, as a philosofy. He just wanted the Princes of his time to be aware of dangers. I enjoyed this book tremendously because it was not what everyone told me before.
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I used to be a loser prince who nobody trembled in fear of. After reading this book, I conquered seven principalities and have held on to five of them. What a difference! Neighbouring states leave me alone, my nobility invites me to all their parties, even women look at me differently now. Absolute must-read for megalomaniacal despots at all career stages.
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