The Prince is an important work for understanding the politics and power plays of monarchies, and indeed, dictatorships, for Machiavelli’s The Prince, has been a handbook for such leaders as Stalin, Hitler, and Lenin, but also Richelieu, Christina of Sweden, and Frederick of Prussia.
With that said, this is a very dry and dull 124 pages. It was not a quick read despite its little size due to its top shelf boringness. It is very easy to comprehend, though, and that is definitely a plus. Machiavelli doesn’t try to disguise his thoughts and observations with flourishes and fancy words, but strives to make it as streamlined and open as possible so that both princes and the people of the kingdom might read and understand the conclusions drawn within its pages:
“For knowing far off the evils that are brewing, they are easily cured. But when, for want of such knowledge, they are allowed to grow so that every one can recognize them, there is no longer any remedy to be found.”
“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”
“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
“A prudent man should always follow the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will have some tinge of it.”
“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”
If you are interested in reading a classic on politics and power, then I say give it a try. As you can see it is chock full of very quotable writing. Otherwise, you might want to skip this one.