The Prince is a book that was controversial before it had even been sent to the printer. Written in vernacular Italian instead of Latin, dedicated to a member of one of the most powerful Italian families of the day, and only printed after Machiavelli’s death, this treatise on how to tyrannize effectively was considered shocking even by his contemporaries. The discussion of its morality that continues to this day gives us the modern-day word Machiavellian.
The book is organized into several sections, each one giving direction on the ruthless rule of principalities that Machiavelli based on both reading and personal experience. Despite its controversial nature, The Prince is often cited as one of the first examples of modern philosophical thought, and the “advice” contained within is still quoted as relevant today.