Machiavelli is probably the most demonstratively misquoted and misrepresented writer, probably due to his writing about the fundamentals of politics.

Actually that might not be fair, he did say lots of things in ‘The Prince’ that are open to interpretation. Due to writing from a morally neutral position (or amoral?), people are able to read his words in anyway they like. The prince deals with the attainment and maintenance of power, a good price is one who is adept at this, and focuses on the needs of the country, rather than his own needs.

Other books by Machiavelli outline his view on how a state should be organised, and his views are often at odds with a casual reading of the Prince.

If you enjoy reading books, and are curious about what Machiavelli really meant you can read his own words (translated into English), I (as a metallurgist) recommend this collection: Portable Machiavelli.

Project Gutenberg Free Texts;