The Prince

by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince was written nearly 500 years ago, but many ideas in the book remain relevant. Machiavelli deals with the rise and fall of states, and the measures a leader can take to ensure a state’s continuity. The book focuses on how societies work. It also deals with how to grasp and hold power. For example, Machiavelli argues that a man who becomes a prince by the favour of the people must work to retain their friendship, and this is easy because the people ask only not to be oppressed. However, a man who becomes a prince by the favour of the nobles should, before anything else, try to win the people over. Otherwise, he has no remedy in difficult times. Machiavelli was nicknamed “Old Nick,” another name for Satan. While reading The Prince, I was often shocked because some sections are very dark. However, besides that, it is filled with many parallels and contrasts to today. Within his message, the information can be transported to our time and used. For example, “As for intellectual training, The Prince must read history, studying the actions of eminent men to see how they conducted themselves during war and to discover the reasons for their victories or their defeats, so that he can avoid the latter and imitate the former. Above all, he must read history so that he can do what eminent men have done before him....”Today, this means that we must read history and study successful men and women to discover why they succeed and fail. This will allow us to imitate their success. In summary, the book can be summarised in the following words, “I also believe that the man who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.” I learnt a number of key lessons from the book. First, when trouble is sensed in advance, it can easily be remedied. However, if you wait for it to come, any remedy will be too late. Therefore, prevention is better than cure. Men choose to change their leaders expecting to do better. That's why we have political parties. When states are acquired in areas with different languages, customs and institutions, then difficulties arise. A ruler would be lucky to hold onto them without living there in person. Learn from the best. "A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it." Governments set up overnight lack strong roots and ramifications. Therefore, they are destroyed in the first difficulty that arises. Prosperity is ephemeral. If a man behaves with patience and circumspection, and the time and circumstances are right, he will prosper. However, if circumstances change and he doesn't adapt, he will fail. Remain adaptable, ALWAYS! I recommend that you read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli just to see how far, and sometimes not so far, we have come. Consider asking yourself what parallels you can draw with events occurring in our world today?

Arthur Ddamulira

Rating: 5 Recommended