The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need to Know

The Modern Prince is a highly readable book in which classical wisdom on leadership is incorporated with modern examples of leaders.

C. Lord, The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need to Know, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2003.

Carnes Lord offers a valuable work that goes against the prevailing fashion and underscores the importance of leadership in modern politics.

The Modern Prince is a highly readable book in which classical wisdom on leadership is incorporated with modern examples of leaders. The result is a work that analyzes such political theorists as Aristotle, Tocqueville, James Madison, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and Machiavelli--and illustrates its points using 20th-century leaders from Bill Clinton to Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and France's Charles de Gaulle.

The methodology is analogous to that of the original Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli. Like Carnes Lord, the Florentine was a practitioner of politics, but also, and most famously, a writer and political theorist in 15th-and 16th-century Italy. The purpose of Machiavelli's Prince was to present, as he wrote in the dedication, "knowledge of the deeds of great men which I have acquired through a long experience of modern events and a constant study of the past." Lord does exactly that, updating both the "modern events" and the "past" to reflect current political life.

The author, a professor of strategy at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, brings to his work an impressive scholarship combined with extensive policy experience in the executive branch.

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