Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
I recently started a book titled The Next Decade: Empire and Republic in a Changing World by George Friedman and it relies on the philosophies offered up in Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince. Before starting this new book, I decided to refresh my memory and reread The Prince so that I would go into this new book a little better equipped than I would be without a reread. The book was much as I remembered, but I forgot how much of a proponent Machiavelli was of having a happy population. So, instead of a review of this classic, I’m going to share a few quotes that we all remember (and get the most press), as well as a few that we may forget.
We remember these
“Anyone who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it may be expected to be destroyed by it; for such a city may always justify rebellion in the name of liberty and its ancient institutions.”
“It must be realized that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more uncertain of success, or more dangerous to manage than the establishment of a new order of government; for he who introduces it makes enemies of all those who derived advantages from the old order and finds but lukewarm defenders among those who stand to gain from the new ones.”
“Those who believe that where great personages are concerned new favors cause old injuries to be forgotten deceive themselves.”
“For fortune is a woman and in order to be mastered she must be jogged and beaten.”
“Men are less concerned about offending someone they have cause to love than someone they have cause to fear.”
“Injuries must be committed all at once so that, being savored less, they will arouse less resentment.”
But we forget about these……..
“Still it cannot be called virtue to slay one’s fellow citizens, to betray one’s friends, to act without faith, without pity, without religions. By such methods one may win dominion but not glory.”
(On cruelty) “It can be said to be properly used (if one may speak favorably of what is bad) when one resorts to it at one stroke out of need for safety and does not thereafter insist upon it, but seeks instead to replace it with measures that are of the greatest possible use to his subjects. It is improperly used when, though rarely applied at the start, it is resorted to with increasing rather than decreasing frequency as times goes by.”
“Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is for what should be pursues his own downfall rather than his preservation.”
“Popular governments are superior to those of princes.”
“A prince who is free to do as he pleases is unreasonable, and a people that is free to do as it pleases is not wise. If we consider princes restricted by laws and a people bound by laws, we will find greater qualities in the people than in the princes.”
And let’s not forget his discussion on the cycle of governments.