The first word that came into mind when reading The Prince for the first time was: pragmatic. Machiavelli drafted this book as a pragmatic guide to princes, unlike many of his contemporaries who else focused on telling princes to be nice, courteous, and good to the eyes of their people and God. What interested me the most was researching the book online after reading the first few chapters; what came up were multiple articles on how, at the time of its initial publication, the book gained a notoriety as being a guide on cruelty and manipulative intent. The Prince, being such an influential work by Machiavelli it’s considered his defining piece that brought forth the foundations of the label, ...view middle of the document...
Princes can’t just go about their business without being aware of their history. Knowing what has come before them, their respective kingdom or of another, is key in defining their rule. If a ruler possesses no knowledge of what was, he will not survive on what will. The Prince mentions a prince should practice high prudence in all actions, and knowing the mistakes and triumphs of the past will surely aid in governing in the present and serves as great preparation for the future.
In real life use this line can be considered in business, knowing what market trends were and using these to predict eventual trends to maximize profit. Learning form the failures of businesses before you so that you don’t commit the same mistakes. Learning the history of your own business and seeing what it’s improved and seeing what it should improve on next. It gets forward form there. This line can also be applied in art or any other craft; Writers must have a knowledge of what’s come before them know the greats of each era to understand what they are contributing to as an art form, the same goes for artists, painters, thespians, chefs. The key to achieve is standing on the shoulders of giants.
Some useful things, in general, may not be useful to you
I chose this line specifically in relation to the one before it, because it means that not all tools available to you would be useful. Not all history that has come before you is essential to your success. Each princedom is different from the other, certain qualities and policies have to be adjusted if ever a princedom of different nature or culture is acquired. Not all of history should be considered, not all princedoms should be acquired, and not all advices must be heeded. A prince must know which choices yield the greatest success, choices that would benefit them more in the long run.
A practical application of the line is knowing which stocks to invest in, many stocks may profitable but only a few would be profitable in long term. Buying stocks sometimes doesn’t even involve long-term, just knowing when to sell them at the right time is key and not all stocks can do that. Making the right choices at the right time is crucial, so entails the line.
Acquire and maintain with kindness and ruthlessness
To have power is to have influence, to influence requires a balance of trust and fear. Do well enough to be exalted by your people and peers but threaten to an extent that prevents others from questioning your power. Such as the case Machiavelli explained with Cesare Borgia, who ruled rightfully with prudence and a balance of reverence and...