Summary of The Prince by Machiavelli
| Chapters 1 to 7
| Chapters 8 to 15 | Chapters 16 to 20 | Chapters 21 to 26
Chapter 21 to Chapter 26
"NOTHING makes a prince so much esteemed as great enterprises and setting a fine example. "
Always endeavor to gain a reputation of being great and remarkable in all your actions.
A prince must be clear towards any party that he is either a true friend or a sure enemy - a prince should never stand neutral.
If two other parties have a war, the conquerer will not want a neutral, doubtful friend, the loser will hate you for not helping them.
If a party you are friends with, wins, you established a bond of frienship. They will not then attack you too.
If a party you are friends with loses, you form a companionship that may rise in power later.
A prince should prefer not to make alliances with parties stronger than himself , in order to attack others, if he can avoid it.
No government can always just take safe courses of action. At times you will have to just choose the lesser evil.
A prince should encourage his people to practice their skills in peace.
You should not discourage others from improving their possessions, especially if this will honour your city or state.
A prince should entertain his people with festivals and shows. At times a prince should associate with clubs and societies as well, but always maintaining the majesty of his rank.
People form an opinion of a prince depending on the quality of the servants the prince picked for himself. Capable servants indicates a prince is able to recognize ability in servants.
There are three classes of intellects
those that can figure things out by themselves
those that can appreciate / understand that others comprehend correctly
those that do not understand
the first class is the best.
Servants that think more of their interests than yours, never makes a good servant.
To keep servants honest, a prince must enrich and honour him, be kind to them and share honours with them.
Servants and princes should trust each other, for the longlasting prosperity of both.
You must let your men know that they must always tell the truth to you - it does not offend you.
A prince should enquire his advisers about everything, listen to their opinions, but form his own conclusions.
Councillors should understand that the more freely they speak, the more you would prefer them.
You should not be lead by anyone. Listen to all, but form your own opinions.
Do not be totally secretive in your plans. Once these come into effect, you will too easily be influenced by others.
You should always take counsel and listen.
Someone that thinks a wise councel makes a prince wise is wrong. "a prince who is not wise himself will never take good advice"
An inexperienced prince will be unable to unite the different counsels from different counsellors.
A new prince is watched more closely than a prince that inherits a principality.
If a new prince is seen as able he is regarded higher than a prince that inherited a principality.
You are evaluated more by what you do in the present than what you did in the past.
A new prince in a new principality that has manages to establish good laws, a powerful army and useful allies is regarded very highly.
Princes lose their states because of the following reasons:
- they do not have their own armies
- their people hated them
- their nobles hated them
If you are powerful enough to defend your state, and do not make the above mistakes, you will not lose your state.
It is a common oversight in people not to make provision for the bad times while they are experiencing good times.
Do not accuse fortune if you lose a principality. You must prepare for stormy times when times are calm.
You should not rely on others to come and help you when things get bad.
Your own efforts are the most reliable and long-lasting.
Too many people believe the world is run by fortune (fate) and that there is nothing you can do to change that.
People believe this because if you consider everyday affairs, only by guessing can you guess how things will turn out - is seems as if we are not in control.
Fortune only controls half of our lives. We are able to control the other half.
Fortune might seem like a raging river, powerful and unstoppable. However if you prepare thoroughly beforehand, when the raging river comes, you can easily direct it using canals you build long beforehand.
A prince might be happy one day and ruined the next. One cause of this is when such princes relies entirely on fortune. When good fortune changes, they are ruined.
A prince should base his actions on the realities of the current situations.
Men achieved riches and glory through using many different, opposite methods. Do not imitate others without thinking. Totally different actions and methods might bring the same results and the same actions and methods by different men in different situations might bring different results.
The way you run your state that leads to success, does not mean that you should always use the same ways under all future circumstances as well. Caution and patience might for example lead to success, but when times and circumstances change, caution and patience might then lead to failure.
Careful, cautious men gets ruined when circumstances change. They are not prepared to change what worked for them in the past. They also might not know how to act in ways that does not correspond with their natural ways.
It is better to be adventurous, bold and daring when dealing with fortune. You should be in control, otherwise you will be controlled.
Many things currently all work together positively making it a perfect time for a new prince.
Troubled times clearly reveal the abilities of a prince.
Italy is ready and willing to follow someone that is prepared to lead them. The current bad state of affairs in Italy begs for someone to protect the people from the current cruelties.
Italy currently has tremendous opportunity for someone to establish new laws and get the country in order. A prince able to do that will be respected in awe.
Italians are strong, capable soldiers, but Italy lacks capable military leaders.
Italy needs its own army to be able to free itself. A prince's own soldiers is always the best, skillfully led by their own prince they admire.
By knowing the limitations of the current best armies, it is possible to come up with a new army with none of these limitations. This is the kind of improvements that will help a new prince rise in power and reputation.
Such a golden opportunity should not be allowed to pass. A prince that frees Italy from the current horrors will be respected, loved, followed, supported and obeyed.
Copyright � 2001, 2002 - All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Reproducing this website in full or in part is strictly prohibited.