I read The Prince in a World Lit class some 10 year ago... I enjoyed it. IIRC, it seemed like some pretty decent instructions on how to be a ruthless but effective autocrat. It goes much deeper than that (I want to say some fairly novel-at-the-time ideas on social justice, for example), but it's been too long and I'd be pulling any further description out me bum.
On the plus, it's not a very long book, so it's probably worth a read regardless.