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

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  22 ratings  ·  4 reviews
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 way of life and thought that seems natural, inevitable, and inescapable. As Da
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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 8th 2018 by Belknap Press
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3.91  · 
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 ·  22 ratings  ·  4 reviews


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Maria
The shift from medieval Europe to our modern world was the shift from collective security based on fixed social positions to a more fluid relationship between working to better yourself and having personal greed marketed as a public service by labeling it the "invisible hand."

Why I started this book: Short audio, to fill the gap between waiting for my library holds.

Why I finished it: This was not the book that I was expecting to read. Wootton traced the formation and history of the ideas of po
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Joel Zartman
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This engaging work looks at the transition that occurred in the Western world in the early modern period. Wootton shows how the values of the Enlightenment, against which we are constantly carping, were put in place both in theory and practice. The result, free markets and political liberty, he argues, now serve to keep the values we have been complaining about for ages, because there are real complaints to be lodged, still the main ones.

I am no expert. I do find the book persuasive. He does exp
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Fred Goh
A tough book to get through. Wootton seems motivated by economy and determined to condense very deep points about the Enlightenment paradigm into 9 short chapters, yet liberal in his digressions and segues. Deserves a second re-read if and when I have the time.
Marcus
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovely Stuff!
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MA, PhD (Cantab), FRHistS

David Wootton is Anniversary Professor of History. He works on the intellectual and cultural history of the English speaking countries, Italy, and France, 1500-1800. He is currently writing a book entitled Power, Pleasure and Profit based on his Carlyle Lectures at the University of Oxford in 2014. His most recent book is The Invention of Science, published by Allen Lane.

I
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