The Prince lauded by former bank chief
LONDON — Mervyn King, the former Bank of England governor who served under three prime ministers, chose Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince as his favourite book and said it offers lessons for today’s rulers.
“It’s a tremendous read” and “a wonderful treatise on political statecraft,” King said in an interview. “It is an extraordinary book because of its timelessness.”
The Prince, written in the 16th century as a guide for those in power, inspired the term “Machiavellian,” defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “practicing duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct.” King, who left the U.K. central bank in June, said he disagreed with negative interpretations of the text.
“What I liked about The Prince is that far from being cynical, in my view, it exhibits what John Maynard Keynes once called ruthless truth telling,” King said. “He’s being extraordinarily clear and objective about what is required to obtain and stay in power.”
The work is a “forerunner” to today’s politics and politicians “do need to understand what it takes to win power and why they’re doing it,” he said.