Friday, 19 May 2017

"The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli

From my book club that loves the classics:

Machiavelli was born in Italy in 1469.
He was an historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer.
He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry.
He was secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence for four years.

This book was written in 1513 and is about politics, describing great men and their exploits in power.
Machiavelli rejected traditional morals in political action.
  He wrote about human nature as he saw it- corrupt!
Some quotes from the book will give you the message:
1.) "Since all men are a sad lot and won't be keeping their promises to you, you hardly need to keep yours to them."
2.) "Holding political power was possible only if a leader was ready to act outside the moral code."
3.) "It wasn't necessary to have a religious faith but absolutely essential to appear to have one".
4.) "I love my country more than my soul".
5.) "The desire to conquer more territory really is a very natural, ordinary thing".
6.) "It's better to get a reputation for meanness than generosity".
7.) "Outwitting opponents is better than behaving honestly"
8.) "It's better to be impulsive than cautious; fortune is female and if you want to stay on top of her you have to slap and thrust".

Generally this book is about using any immoral means to achieve glory and survival.  It includes examples of every political leader preceding 1513. You can just imagine how much I enjoyed reading about that.  However, everyone has heard of Machiavelli and this book provoked a huge discussion in our book club.  I was an observer.  No interest there for me.

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