Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" in 1513, but it was not published until 1532. Machiavelli wrote it in an attempt to gain favor with the powerful Medici family after he was jailed and politically exiled from Italian society in 1512.
"The Prince" or "Il Principe," as it is called in Italian, discussed power and the ability to rule. In Machiavelli's view, rulers have the authority to do whatever is necessary to defeat enemies, achieve political success and maintain their power. His ideas on ruthlessness and efficiency were shocking at the time, and Pope Clement VIII spoke out against the book's principles. Though Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" in hopes of returning to Italian politics, his plan backfired, and he spent the rest of his life in exile.