The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president. In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. This is essential reading for every student of government, and is the ultimate book on power politics.