This is Machiavelli and I like the way he treats reading as a majestic occasion, leaving aside his working clothes and getting rigged up in his brocaded best before diving into four hours of reading.  Clearly, I really need to up my game on the sartorial front, perhaps putting on a cocktail dress before I enjoy the company of books.

“I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take off my workday clothes, covered with mud and dirt, and put on the garments of court and palace.  Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable court of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives of their actions, and they, in their human kindness, answer me.  And for four hours at a time, I feel no boredom, I forget all my troubles … I absorb myself into them completely.”


Source: Machiavelli, 10 December 1513, quoted in Erik S. Reinert, How Rich Countries Got Rich… and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor (London: Constable, 2007), p. 13


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