Power, Pleasure, and Profit

By David Wootton,

Book cover of Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison

Book description

A provocative history of the changing values that have given rise to our present discontents.

We pursue power, pleasure, and profit. We want as much as we can get, and we deploy instrumental reasoning-cost-benefit analysis-to get it. We judge ourselves and others by how well we succeed. It is a…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Power, Pleasure, and Profit as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is an original view of the Enlightenment by one of the most exciting of its current historians. The Enlightenment urged people to think for themselves; intellectual authority resided ultimately within the individual. It valued the emotions as highly as reason; emotions included what philosophers called ‘the passions’, not just sympathy with others, but individual desires and appetites. The Enlightenment was also a period of increasing material prosperity, in which some thinkers still praised the virtue of frugality, while others pointed out that luxury and self-indulgence were necessary to drive the modern economy. These arguments, displayed here with energy and…

From Ritchie's list on the Enlightenment.

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