Cynicism. Ruthlessness. Deviousness. Power politics. These words are often associated with Niccolò Machiavelli, the author of The Prince (1532). But, it turns out, he was anything but. He was a sweet man (though something of a philanderer), a profound democrat, good looking, a party animal. In short, Machiavelli has gotten a bad rap, says novelist Salman Rushdie.
To get more insight into this badly misunderstood figure, we’d recommend spending time with Philosophy Bites’ interview (MP3 or iTunes) with Quentin Skinner, one of England’s finest intellectual historians who has written extensively on Machiavelli. You can also find The Prince listed in our collection of Free eBooks. H/T Andrew Sullivan
Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.