The Prince

Picked this book up to try to gain some insight into current times.

My opinion is that it seems that the human race is entering into a new way of organizing and governing itself with newfound technologies and the powers who rule those technologies acting very similar to the kings and empires of the 15-16th centuries.

The Prince is a treatise by our favorite (and probably original) political theorist; Niccolo Machiavelli.

The text concerns the ruling of Principalities (by Princes of course) and considers the rise and fall of various types of Principalities and the Princes who ruled them.

Niccolo obviously leverages his experience of the times in which he lived, as well as ancient history of Rome.

It was interesting to consider how this applies today as I found parallels between Principalities of Niccolo’s time and today’s Corporations.

Some additional parallels are drawn in articles discussing a new “Digital Feudalism” like the one below.

While reading this book, I decided to watch “The Borgias” which was a TV Series that aired years ago.

Niccolo Machiavelli plays a role in the TV Series, which made reading the book even more entertaining.

I discovered, while reading it, that the book itself is quite controversial. I found this ironic, because a lot of the blame for this controversy was placed on the author himself, while I was reading it with the understanding that Niccolo was merely a man who observed and studied the politics of his time and that the blame for any controversy should fall squarely on the shoulders of those who committed these controversial acts.

Working in Corporate America today, it was quite ironic that I found so many parallels between the way leadership within the corporation acts & how Niccolo expressed how Princes should act back in the 1500’s.

Certain things stuck out immediately. The idea that a Prince should be viewed to be benevolent, yet feared struck a chord. It’s obvious that an individual cannot hold both ideas in their head regarding a single individual at any point of time, yet Niccolo explains how it’s important that a prince should be viewed differently depending on who is doing the observing. In this situation, the nobles or more influential individuals within a society should fear the Prince, yet the general populous, or those who server the nobles, should view the Prince as benevolent.

Another parallel I found was when Niccolo was explaining how it might be beneficial to keep the most powerful nobles from gaining more influence within his Principality. One tactic being to play one Noble against the other, while keeping them both within their influence. I see this at play everyday in Corporate America.

Overall it was a short, yet wordy and valuable lesson in politics of the 1500’s and ironically, today.