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The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World


The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World

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    Available in PDF Format | The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World.pdf | English
    Jonathan Powell(Author)

* 'Niccolò Machiavelli is misunderstood,' argues Jonathan Powell in his twenty-first-century reworking of the Italian philosopher's influential masterpiece, The Prince. Taking the lessons Machiavelli derived from his experience as an official in fifteenth-century Florence, Powell shows how these lessons can still apply today. Illustrating each of Machiavelli's maxims with a description of events that occurred during Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister, The New Machiavelli is designed to be The Prince for modern times.

* Tony Blair's Chief of Staff from 1994 - 2007, Jonathan Powell recounts the inside story of that period - drawing on his own unpublished diaries. He tackles the critics of Blair's 'sofa government' and gives a frank account of the intimate details of the internal political rows, the failure to join the Euro or hold a referendum on the European constitution, the struggle with the hauliers strike and the foot-and-mouth outbreak that postponed the 2001 election, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland, the relations with Clinton, Bush and Chirac, thebanning of fox-hunting, the triumphs and failures of spin and the scandals and inquiries - ranging from Bernie Ecclestone to the police investigation into 'cash for peerages'.

* Like The Prince, The New Machiavelli is short, stark and clear. It provides a gripping account of life inside 'the bunker' of Number 10 and draws lessons from those experiences, not just for political leaders but for anyone today who has access to the levers of power.

"It's a quirky, thoughtful take on the impact of The Prince on modern politics" (Anne McElvoy New Statesman)"A gloriously indiscreet political memoir...The merit of Powell's memoir is precisely that it lacks the intrusive ego of the big politician" (Sunday Times)"The reader of this elegant little work will learn more about the workings of the new Labour court than he will from many weightier volumes, including perhaps that of the Prince himself, Tony Blair" (Review)"This book... sheds valuable light on the operation of power" (Tom Clark Guardian)"This book is of immense value, not just as a manual of modern government, but because it illustrates the arrogant, unselfconscious belief of the Blairites that they knew best about everything" (Andrew Gimson Telegraph)

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Book details

  • PDF | 340 pages
  • Jonathan Powell(Author)
  • Bodley Head; First Edition edition (14 Oct. 2010)
  • English
  • 10
  • Biography
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Review Text

  • By Dr. M. Rologas on 15 July 2017

    In truth the Machiavelli angle functions as a stellar piece of marketing for the book but it doesn't really offer us anything profound beyond a few universal truths about poltics and the human condition that most of the readers of a book like this will be familiar with already. Even so one has to commend the author for at least trying to breathe a little new life into a genre as frequently stale as the political memoir. Otherwise he writes well and mercifully doesn't spent the entire length of the book talking about himself and there are plenty of acute observations that will be of interest to observers and practioners of politics alike.He is loyal to his employer Blair, perhaps too loyal at times, but the overall judgement that (the catastrophe of the Iraq invasion nothwithstanding) the derailing of the 'New Labour' project was much more the fault of Brown than Blair is surely sound. The popular consensus that the whole undertaking was structurally flawed is wrong: it could have succeeded and it would have made the Labour Party the natural governing party of British politics. That it failed was largely down to Brown's constant opposition to the modernising efforts of Blair which served to render the whole project largely incoherent. The subsequent retreat of the Labour party from the centre ground of British politics opened up the space for the populist right and the consequent disaster that is Brexit...

  • By Lindsey Clare Gee-Turner on 8 February 2015

    I didn't quite get the answer for me personally! It was detailed & complicated thoughts but going by the title, I did think it might be a little bit tongue-in-cheek. (He knows one of my brothers). It just showed what a politician he is. I preferred Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland about something real - see earlier on my Profile page. Great radio programme with Rory Bremner.

  • By David Weston on 4 March 2011

    This is a good read, and for those interested in the Blair years, one of the best books from the pro-Blair camp. Powell was the ultimate insider, always at Blair's side. He is searing in his judgement on Gordon Brown, and backs this up with chapter and verse on exactly how Brown was so toxic. I read this soon after reading DC Confidental, Sir Christopher Meyer's book, and it covers much of the same ground (9/11, Iraq etc.). Both are worth reading.

  • By Floyd Millen on 1 October 2012

    In Phillip Powell's The New Machiavellian, he does what he vowed he was not going to do; he has attempted to firstly write, and then to rewrite history. This is not a criticism, simply an observation.His account of his time at the heart of power and the machinery of government is enchanting. The book is replete with historical information and sprinkled with an awareness of the sensitivities of individuals, personalities, departments and competing entities. Powell shows that timing is as important as the need to be strategic and purposeful. He provides the casual observer of politics with great insight into the working of the labour administration, its juxtaposition with events and explores the internecine conflicts - which had its genesis then and - which are again raising its head in the current opposition.Great ideas and observations include;* The importance of history which has parallel to Plato's edict of what a ruler needs,* The reluctance of officials to adjust theory to reality,* The need to remove the requirement that ministers be drawn from the ranks of MP's,* The short sighted rush to deliver the first 100 day plan which leaves government bereft of what to do after the first hundred-days:As a business man, I take comfort from the advice given to Tony Blair by Bill Clinton; "When things look grim... just turn up for work every morning expecting something good to happen".The most surprising part of this book is where Powell essentially accuses Tony Blair of being a pathological liar. Whilst Powell subsequently attempts to dampen this accusation, he is unsuccessful; the damage is done.I really didn't know what to expect from this book but what I got, I didn't expectWhilst there are criticisms of Tony Blair, the book is essentially a hero worship to Mr Blair. The way Powell treats Gordon Brown has the effect, that criticism of Tony Blair seems to be thrown in for good measure rather than being truly critical i.e. Powell's criticism of Blair for not going further, is more of an endorsement, a pat on the back and a little nudge rather than a criticism. In contrast, Powell's criticisms of Gordon Brown are scathing and a full blown character assassination.The failings and flaws of Gordon are clear for all to see, but if the New Machiavelli does nothing else, it leaves the reader feeling that there really is another - untold - side to the conflicts between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. There are facts and there's fiction, there are also interpretations of what constitutes fact and what constitutes fiction; on this issue, Powell attempts to be too authoritative and certain that his facts are the only facts. His intense dislike of Gordon Brown leaves him unable to dissect and provide a truly neutral account of the flaws inherent in Gordon and Tony.The lingering view that I have of this book is that it is itself Machiavellian. The lingering impression is that despite his wealth, his illustrious career and his proximity to power - at the time of writing - the author appears lost and still looking for an opportunity to serve at the feet of his great leader again (don't rule out his wish to also serve the current prime minister).Powell has undoubtedly produced an informed work which clarifies what Machiavelli really espoused: however, for those who refuse or are unable to make the leap from the commonly held perception of Machiavelli - as a self-centred, self-obsessed power hungry person - to someone who merely described how to acquire, wield and hold on to power, the association of Mr Blair with Machiavelli is unfortunate as it implies something quite and dark about the personality of one of Britain's greatest Prime Ministers.Dr Floyd Millen

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