I went into this one expecting it to be difficult, because of its rich content and its being linguistically challenging (the translation I have is an archaic one) so I decided to use an audiobook to help me navigate through, and that was a big mistake. There was no audio version of my edition anywhere on LibriVox so I settled for a different one thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal. After spending the first half of this book in discord, not knowing whether to read or listen, I thought, fuck it, it can’t be that hard. I’ll grab my dictionary and read like an adult. Ironically though, I was happy the chapters were brief.
In this one, Machiavelli lays out instructions on how to be a successful (not necessarily a good) leader. Politics 101. A politician’s handbook.
Politics and history are two points which I consider to be my weakest -I’d chalk that up to where I come, and also my own laziness- and you can’t have one without the other. However, it wasn’t lost on me how much these rules and policies are still relevant now -although some of them may be as archaic as the book itself. It’s interesting and quite appalling that this has founded so much of our modern, and political philosophy, and even sociology.
The most important point that I have taken out of this is that being a ruler (or “principality” as he calls it) is a dirty game. And in order to win, you have to be dirty yourself. No matter how despicable the means and how devious your plans, it’s all a small price to pay. Pretty much Machiavellianism.
I didn’t think I would, but I actually enjoyed this book. It was kind of like a peek backstage, behind the curtains, seeing all the dirty work. Not going to comment on prose and construction because it’d be both superfluous and presumptuous; it’s a fucking classic.