The Prince

I’m two books into my summer reading and I recently finished Niccolo Machiavelli’s famed classic, The Prince. Despite it’s short length, it was a harder read than I expected. That is probably due to it being a translated book. The Prince is known as a “supertext” and it is amazing how many times I’ve seen other books reference it. Machiavelli has become synonymous with dark politics but the book is explaining how to succeed as a ruler if your ambtion/success is the most important goal. It was worth the read and is something I’ll revisit again in future years (I know there is much in there that I didn’t get the first time). Here are some of the ideas that stood out to me:
“The wish to acquire is in truth very natural and common, and men always do so when they can, and for this they will be praised not blamed; but when they cannot do so, yet wish to do so by any means, then there is folly and blame.”
“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. Let him act like the clever archers who, designing to hit the mark which yet appears too far distant, and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains, take aim much higher than the mark, not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach.”
“Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehended; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.”

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.