Be Like the Fox

Be Like the Fox

Machiavelli's Lifelong Quest for Freedom


'A ripping read ... fascinating, charming, enjoyably unorthodox' Daily Telegraph

Was Niccolò Machiavelli really the cynical schemer of legend - or was he a profound ethical thinker, who tried to save the democratic freedom of Renaissance Florence as it was threatened by ruthless dynasties? This revelatory biography shows us a man of fox-like dissimulation: a master of disguise in dangerous times.

'A gripping portrait of a brilliant political thinker, who understood the dangers of authoritarianism and looked for ways to curb them' The New Yorker

'Compelling ... this unconventional biography questions whether the philosopher deserves his reputation as an advocate for tyranny' Julian Baggini, Financial Times

About the author

Erica Benner

Erica Benner is a political philosopher who has taught at Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Yale. She is the author of Be Like the Fox, which was selected as one of the Guardian's Best Books of 2017 and shortlisted for the 2018 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. Erica was born in Japan and currently lives in Berlin.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more