The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli [Book Summary]

Ever thought about the way some despotic chiefs achieved to remain in power in spite of misuses of human rights and annulments of global law? Machiavelli could reply that the response depends on their great ability at the tricks of political force.

These chapters offer you crucial knowledge from a guide of politics’ power which is five hundred years old. You will discover the things Machiavelli tells it requires to turn out chief and the way to keep that status.  Also, you’ll know that while you are a chief, the conclusion usually proves the paths right, and even, warfare treachery, cruelty is okay if they assist you to be in power.

Politicians such as Napoleon and Franklin are famous for being swayed by the political viewpoint of Machiavelli, and after you have read this book, you may start to see modern-day politicians behaving in Machiavellian habits, as well.

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Chapter 1 – To maintain his recent princedom, the prince needs to ensure that the people subjected to him sense appreciated while protecting against opponents.

Let’s say you are the prince from the renaissance who occupied a new region. The people of this fresh princedom most likely don’t want you to be a ruler and consider you like you are an attacker and outsider. Therefore, what is the way for you to have them under your power?

The 1st and foremost principle to a prince has been attempting to change your place to princedom yourself all the time. When locals are close to their prince, they would sense they are valued, while at the same time discouraging enemies from attempting to repossess the region.

When you could not do the first rule, the 2nd-greatest choice is to direct a group from your subjects to set up a life there. By doing this, your fresh subjects would become used to how people live and progressively become accustomed to the new surroundings with respect to it.

A 2nd principle has been that you need to regularly take action to guard yourself against likely opponents to your force. To take this action, implement a strategy of protecting leaders that are weak under your fresh princedom. When you defend them against very powerful rivals, they will happily become part of your fresh condition as well and unity of that kind of state can be enough to defy the stronger chiefs and officials around the region who might in other ways put your force in danger too.

The 3rd principle has been that you need to be vigilant all the time for prospective dangers: be awake and take preventative action. Similar to sicknesses, they are simpler to cure at the start, that is how easier it is to stop the progress of an excessively ardent enemy in the initial times of a strike, like following the 1st stage.

The earliest Romans made use of this method when they invaded Greece. Romans would not let any regional chief become stronger than other chiefs, regardless of the extent of their loyalty to the chief of the Romans.

These rules’ significance could be noticed in the dilemma of France’s Louis XII who attacked Northern Italy. Following an effective defeat of the territory, he afterward quickly lost charge of that place since he broke the entire rules stated above. Do not redo his error.

Chapter 2 – Princedoms may either be simple to defeat; however, difficult to manage, or difficult to defeat but simple to rule.

In 323 BC, at the time Great Alexander passed away after defeating the realm of Persia, everybody believed that if Alexander’s power was not in place, the Macedonians could immediately be deprived of strength in front of the Persians. In addition, still, they succeeded to keep their strength for several years after. How?

Before we can answer this question, it’s significant to know that there have been various types of principalities:

Firstly, we have princedoms with baron-ruler structures of administration. This structure could be seen, for instance, in France: The king of France regulates the country; however, he does that through numerous nobles known as barons that own their plans. This structure has been basically unstable and brings about a scattered princedom. Sometimes barons could even defy the King’s authority.

The result has been that France was fairly simple to defeat: you only require to have some barons with you; the King’s administration will fall rapidly. But, you’ll get the same problem of having him as your enemy.

However, we have princedoms that have been ruled with servant-ruler intercourse. To attain this structure, the prince would begin his sovereignty by making sure that everyone with political determinations or force is destroyed so that every noble can support just the prince’s ideas and him. This dynamic forms a really unified nation that will create rigid opposition if attacked.

When Alexander defeated Persia, that had been that kind of principality. As at them, King Darius eliminated every institution and made the entire chiefs around to obey him faithfully. This signified that Alexander needed to battle severely to defeat the area; however, it also signified that after the death of Alexander, there have been no independent rulers or areas left to begin an uprising. Hence, the Macedonians kept on ruling for years to come after Alexander died.

It is left for you to decide the kind of structure you want to impart in your princedom. Both principalities have their benefits; therefore, the decision needs to be made regarding particular situations and your abilities.

Chapter 3 – Getting new principalities rests on both virtue and fortune.

There are various means the prince may have dominance of a princedom: one popular way is military force and international agreements are other ways.

Still, whichever way you would like to gain your princedom, you will have to merge big grace and nice destiny to be accomplished.

Nevertheless, although one has the most virtue, he/she still needs a little fortune for them to make good use of virtue. Capturing a territory or realm with your soldiers displays that you possess great grace shaped as courage,  leadership, moral strength, and character. And still, grace may be nothing except you possess a nice destiny too.

Think of Romulus, the creator of the empire of Romans. Destiny enforced him to depart from the place of Alba while he was still just a baby, thus pushing him to establish Rome one day. Assuming he had not been made to go out of Alba, he would have probably ended as a farmer at a place without ever getting the opportunity to reveal his virtue.

Definitely, the opposite is true as well: when you have a destiny, you would have to display virtue to make the most of your fortune. For instance, at times you might turn out to be a prince as a result of good destiny instead of your grace. It might occur when you have the kindliness of a strong superior.

Around your fresh princedom, your rivals will be very stronger than the people who support you, since your rivals would be fixed to cause your downfall, while your backers will not understand the things they can wait for from you.

This circumstance entails that you’ll need to act fast and mindfully to set the basis for lengthy sovereignty. Manage the nobles you have around the princedom and create your soldiers. When you do not have these safety measures, your fortune won’t last long and you would be suffocated.

It looks that virtue and fortune, at the same time, are required to be the prince. No destiny may last long without virtue; also, without destiny, virtues would be pointless.

Chapter 4 – Wickedness and general support together are means to be the prince.

Around 317 BC, one person called Agathocles, who was raised as an ordinary potter’s boy gathered paid soldiers and acquired control of Sicily, a city in Syracuse. Regardless of his vow that he obeyed the city’s political structure, he murdered ten thousand of his enemies and turned into a tyranny.

This tale shows that wickedness has been a means to attain force. Cruelty and trickery can assist you to have authority in a princedom, although betrayal and severity toward your own subjects may not be seen as virtuous.

However, cruelty just functions if it is used in an appropriate manner. When you think that it is essential to acquire control, then your tyranny needs to be swift: give a single cruel strike. Although initially, individuals would be annoyed, you can progressively reduce the extent of severity and so soothe the citizens. This is exactly the thing Agathocles achieved and he succeeded to keep his strength.

A further less sensible method has been being really trustworthy at the start of one’s reign and then raising tyranny slowly.

In spite of the achievement of Agathocles, malice isn’t the only means to acquire power. Also, you can gain power by guarding your populations because that will motivate them to back up your reign. In this situation, when you are the prince, you need to make sure that your people are very well-off when they would like to back you up. Precisely the phrase “well-off sufficiently” signifies relies on the things they are accustomed to. For instance, when they have been enslaved so far, these people might be glad if you only release them.

The key aim is having your people think they are owed to you. When they are indebted to you, this would make it possible that these people would have you as the leader although they should tolerate adversity. However, when you lead them through fear, they would not sense owed to you.

Tyranny might be a simpler means to acquire power than urging the citizen to support you; however, the latter has been a steadier type of power.

Chapter 5 – All princes need to learn war’s craft.

Even though politics has been a significant tool when the situation gets worse; a man that is not unarmed will usually need to comply with the gunned forces. Therefore, it comes that learning war’s craft has been significant to being and remaining prince.

Definitely, it is important to achieving your power in the initial moment: the majority of the princes earned their princedoms by defeating those through battle. However, even during times of peace, that is significant for the prince to maintain his abilities in war’s craft since warfare is probably a means he might lose his princedom to enemies.

Also, your armies play a significant place in the civilization you are forming: great laws and corporations may not occur without powerful armies to support them.

Since warfare plays a huge role in sustaining power, you need to always prepare yourself as well as your army ready for war. Make your army be in a good fighting state; however, also make sure you have your mental and physical abilities prepared for a battle.

For instance, anytime you are out on shooting journeys, observe the view of your territory and ponder on the means the territory might be utilized to ascend a greater shield in battle.

A further method to get ready for battle has been learning from warfare masters who were before you. Every great commander has learned about their predecessors in the past: Great Alexander worked with Achilles while Caesar, copied Alexander.

Although it is significant to become a nice civil pioneer during periods of tranquility, you need to remember that destiny transforms. A battle might quickly be throughout your princedom, and the sole means to stay in authority has been when the army and you are ready.

Chapter 6 – To defend your princedom, you require an army of your own citizen and not auxiliary troops or mercenaries.

What is the common thing among Spartans, Swiss, and Romans?

Historically, all three of them were well-armed citizens that made them stay free autonomous governments for hundreds of years.

In this lies a significant lesson for a prince: just proper local armies can protect principalities well.

Mercenaries who are detached troops that would battle for you because of your money are pointless. They do not have any benefit when your state survives; therefore, they do not devote themselves, and when in a fight, they may as well flee when they see the rival since they sense your money would not be as valuable as their lives.

Therefore, they will effectively loot you when there is tranquility for their salaries; however, at war, they will let your opponent do the exact thing.

And even though you are fortunate enough to get a skilled mercenary general who battles for you during the war, would, ultimately, understand that he may effortlessly defeat you using his soldiers.

Italy had this error of constantly depending on paid armies around the 15th, 16th hundredth years, and due to that was defeated by Charles and Louis afterward, who were the kings of France, along with being attacked by Aragon’s Ferdinand at the time the paid soldiers got wild.

Another dangerous mistake the prince might realize is depending on ancillary units from fellow princedoms to defend his territory. As soon as the other prince’s army has gotten to your territory, you might never send them out.

An illustration of that might be observed at the time the Greeks permitted ten thousand Turkish fighters on their territory to defend Greeks from other neighbors. At the time the war ended, the Turks didn’t want to depart and eventually living in Greece for hundreds of years.

Therefore, as you can observe, you will usually suffer when you depend on ancillary units: when they are defeated in a fight, your princedom will be defeated, on the other hand, when they have a victory, they will remain, and exploit you.

One means to really defend your princedom has been to form a military with loyal citizens of your princedom.

Chapter 7 – The prince needs to balance miserliness with generosity.

As soon as you turn into the prince, this life won’t be the same way anymore. Subjects would anticipate various demands from the governor than from an ordinary citizen.

Due to that, personal personalities such as generosity or politeness have a long way to go with just private inquiries to issues of deep significance for the durability of the governance. Likewise, their attraction changes as well, for personalities that were plainly favorable for an exclusive might not be any more for the prince.

Think of bounty. A bountiful private person is admired; however, when you, as the governor, would like to establish a status for bounty, that is not sufficient to expend the things you can pay for, for individuals will rapidly get accustomed to it. Rather, you need to always overwhelm your people with bounty, regardless of making that will rapidly destroy your money. The sole answer would be taxing your populations severely, which will contradict any aids your bounty may have introduced.

Therefore, for you to become an accomplished prince, you should equilibrate miserliness and generosity.

Utilize bounty to attain power, particularly in a territory where populations can demand who will be the prince. That is the way Caesar ruled Rome: Caesar used up wealth on circuses and bread to improve his fame.

However, this generosity would remain for long as soon as you’ve become a prince. As soon as you become a prince, be clever to be viewed as stingy, therefore you may gradually raise your expenditure eventually to boost your fame, without having financial difficulties.

That is the exact thing that Caesar did: immediately he got to the condition he sought, he toned down his spending in order not to ruin the empire.

Also, eventually, your people would be most contented if you only allow them labor in tranquility with fairly light taxation. Therefore, being stingy with the money of your state to reduce taxes would be greater than bounty.

Chapter 8 – An accomplished prince may make the most of cruelty; however, he needs to refrain from being detested.

A big threat the empire of Romans ever encountered had been the battle initiated by the Carthaginian army of Hannibal and himself. Hannibal’s achievement in that situation is related to his cruel cruelty: for instance, he killed his rovers for telling him the wrong paths. He imparted fright in the army that made it integrated in difficult periods, similar to the times he and the soldiers notably passed the Alps.

The key lecture here has been for the prince that tyranny if used appropriately, may provide you with good benefits.

Definitely, each prince would like to be seen as compassionate and fair; however, to maintain his authority and make his citizenry stay united, he needs to also be eager to utilize fright.

Being frightened has been a much better choice for the prince compared to being liked. Like every adult understands, vows according to love are not fulfilled regularly; therefore, being viewed as really compassionate and lovely may be made use of by the people who might violate the rules for benefits of their own. But, the fright of severe punishment, will constantly function like a warning.

As a matter of fact, are you not a compassionate chief by making your territory secure with the danger of harsh penalties for people who break laws?

Making use of cruelty is particularly effective to sustain the supervision of soldiers: the army likes an amount of malice and tyranny and agrees that you need to utilize it to make them disciplined too. Hannibal’s achievement is evidence of his usage of cruelty.

Although you can maximize cruelty, you need to evade going extreme so you are not totally detested. Attempt to look for the appropriate equilibrium. Do not, for instance, punish innocent people or arbitrarily capture their women and belongings, or they will hate you. Performing like this would let them plan badly for your authority, and you might be causing instability instead of endurance like you had intended.

The best means to retain your citizens from gathering against you has been making them satisfied; however, to a degree fearful.

Chapter 9 – An achieved prince understands when to make use of treachery and the way to hide it.

If you inquire with the prince about the animal he is similar to the most, the reply will usually be a “lion”. Certainly, a lion’s sole power has been a significant feature; however, a prince should not underrate how valuable the wisdom of the sly fox might be.

A method you can imitate a fox has been in the vows you realize: the prince doesn’t have to fulfill his promises regularly.

Definitely, integrity is a significant feature for every leader since contracts and laws have been the foundation for state institutions; however, similar to the sneaky fox, you need to understand when to sometimes forget rules according to your self-concern.

For instance, when a rebellious chief is causing you issues, why not summon him to tranquility discussions and then kill him quickly? This would fix the issue really neatly.

Also, when your heart disturbs you, keep in mind that veritably, other people will certainly not fulfill their promises to you when it helps their concerns not to.

But be certain that the external life never perceives this deceitful aspect of you. Although you are deceitful and conniving, you need to usually provide the look of behaving in great belief and in accordance with humanitarian and religious values.

But, there has been an aspect, where you completely have to be real to life: associations in external intercourses. When any tension occurs among 2 other princedoms, you need to choose a side very fast and abide by it.

Postponing or looking to be hesitant has likely been the worst choice since the victor of the fight will turn against you next since you have not openly backed them up.

Having clear partners and enemies also provides openness to your circumstances, and pushes you to behave determinatively. The great prince has usually been a real supporter or a real adversary to another prince, and can not be in between.

Chapter 10 – The prince needs to gather great consultants and understand how to ask for their advice.

Although history has identified a lot of major leaders, each of them has at one point or another required consultants, for no single person may be the master of every trade. Hence, the way the prince gathers his consultants and related to these people tells so many things regarding his management abilities.

The value of your consultants rests on the prince only. You understand best what aspects you don’t have expertise in; therefore, you will need to make use of your own sense to select the most proper ministers and consultants.

As soon as you have decided, you require to keep great intercourses with ministers to make sure they help your concerns. To keep great intercourses, you need to observe them. When you notice that a minister is doing things for the benefit of him instead of yours, you need to expel him. Whereas, those that work for you need to be respected and compensated with some money which is really generous to make them refrain from conspiring after you.

Also, it is significant that the prince understands how to ask for suggestions. Your consultants must understand that you regard their candid views and you would not penalize them for saying the reality. When they reason otherwise, the only thing you would ascertain would be false compliments and a pink form of reality intended for enhancing the situation of the consultant in the case. When it looks like a person is reluctant to voice out, you need to be really concerned, since he is definitely attempting not to say something.

However, accepting suggestions may go really further: when you let everyone basically come to you, freely speak, everyone will quickly begin questioning your choices. Hence, you need to let it be obvious that you have been the person who chooses when to ask for suggestions, and consultants should not provide it not asked for.

Chapter 11 – Act – do not give your destiny to just fortune.

At this point, you’ve read numerous pieces of suggestions on the way to prosper when you are a prince, you might probably be contemplating that these are useless since the fate of every prince rests on God and fortune.

However, this thought has not been completely correct. You may impact the way the future develops.

Know that God desires every one of the people to have freedom. God would not give it except there was a place for our choices to impact our destiny. We need to believe that 50% of the prospect has been dependent on fate; however, the second 50% could be formed with our behaviors.

Also, even though destiny does have a huge play in the achievement of the prince, you may defend yourself contrary to its unstable character. When you are really fruitful, all with a great destiny, you need to get yourself ready for the time the flux rotates.

Visualize that your destiny has been a river, for many times, has run steadily, let your places be productive and fertile. As a clever leader, you need to form sets contrary to prospective floods. That manner when your destiny changes into a terrible stream, you would just suffer, and not perish.

However, it is not possible to get ready for all distortions of fortune; many of them are basically unpredictable.

Therefore, instead of attempting to frequently predict the future for you to plan for that, you need to construct that with bold actions. Time has revealed that the greatest method to do that is by acting impetuously, instead of cautiously. For instance, think of Julius II, the pope, who desired to go to battle against Bologna. Rather than expecting his supporters to approve of his idea, he proceeded to the city instantly. France and Venetia were shocked and couldn’t object anymore, and the operation turned out to be a huge success.

Machiavelli mentions that you need to view destiny like a female that needs to be pushed to obey and likes her master to be a teenage boisterous male, instead of a vigilant over-thinker.

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli Book Review

As the prince, you may be deceitful or honest, merciful or cruel; however, you need to do anything that fortifies your princedom and authority. You accept no taboos when you talk about acquiring and retaining power.

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Savaş Ateş

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