I think Nietzsche is severely misunderstood, and for the wrong reasons. I came across something a while ago that I thought explained the matter in a way, so if you're interested in philosophy you might like it :)
Nietzsche rejects the distinction between “good” and “evil” as encapsulating a theological morality inappropriate to an age without religious belief.
The word “good” has a clear sense when contrasted with “bad”, where the good and the bad are the good and the bad specimens of humanity. It lacks clear sense, however, when contrasted with the term “evil”. The good specimen is the one whose power is maintained, and who therefor flourishes. The capacity to flourish resides not in the “good will” of Kant (whom Nietzsche described as a “catastrophic spider”) nor in the universal aim of the utilitarians. […] It is to be found in those dispositions of character which permit the exercise of will: dispositions like courage, pride and firmness. Such dispositions, which have their place, too, among the Aristotelian virtues, constitute self-mastery.
They also permit the mastery of others, and prevent the great “badness” of self-abasement. One does not arrive at these dispositions by killing the passions – on the contrary the passions enter into the virtuous character in a constitutive way. The Nietzschean man is able to “will his own desire as a law unto himself”. [Likewise,] Aristotle had argued that virtue consists not in the absence of passions but in a right order among them. Like Aristotle, Nietzsche did not draw back from the consequences of his anti-theological stance. Since the aim of the good life is excellence, the moral philosopher must lay before us the ideal of human excellence. Moral development requires the refining away of what is common, herd-like, “all too human”.
Hence this ideal lies, of its nature, outside the reach of the common man. Moreover, the ideal may be (Aristotle), or even ought to be (Nietzsche), repulsive to those whose weakness of spirit deprives them of sympathy for anything which is not more feeble than themselves. Aristotle called this ideal creature the “great-souled man” (megalopsychos); Nietzsche called it the “Übermensch”. In each case pride, selfconfidence, disdain for the trivial and ineffectual, together with a lofty cheerfulness of outlook and a desire always to dominate and never to be beholden were regarded as essential attributes of the self-fulfilled man.
The essence of the “new man” whom Nietzsche thus announced to the world was “joyful wisdom”: the ability to make choices with the whole self , and so not to be at variance with the motives of one’s action. The aim is success, not just for this or that desire but for the will which underlies them. In Nietzsche we find the Schoperhauerian will re-emerging as something positive and individual, with a specific aim: that of personal dominion over the world. […] This success is essentially the success of the individual.
There is no place in Nietzsche’s picture of the ideal man for pity: pity is nothing more than a morbid fascination with failure. It is the greatest weakener of the will, and forms the bond between slaves which perpetuates their bondage. Nietzsche’s principal complaint against Christianity was that it had elevated this morbid feeling into a single criterion of virtue; thus it had prepared the way for the “slave” morality which, being founded in pity, must inevitably reject the available possibilities of human flourishing.
To some extent we can see all this as a restatement in modern language of the Aristotelian ideal of practical wisdom. When combined with Nietzsche’s theoretical scepticism, it lead to the view which is sometimes called pragmatism, according to which the only test of truth is the “practical” one. Since there are no facts, but only interpretations, the test of truth of a belief must lie in its success. The true belief is the one that arguements one’s power, the false belief the one that detracts from it.
[…] Hithertho, he argued, our beliefs and the concepts used to formulate them, have had the transcendental backing of religious Faith. At no point in the conceptual scheme of civilization has the void been fully apparant behind the thin paste of our conceptions. Now, however, everything is changing. People come into the world without certainties, and between the torn shreds of our inheritance the abyss is always visible.
In such a condition human life becomes problematic [for those unable to deal with it in an appropriate manner]. Without a radical re-construction of our worldview, which will permit the will to power on which our enterprises depend, we shall enter a peculiar spiritual desert, in which nothing has meaning or value – the world of “the last man”.
Nietzsche has been accused of nihilism, but [those who truly grasp his meaning and the implications of his insights see] that he’s trying […] to forestall nihilism and to provide us with the weapons against it.
[Sadly], his acute social criticism, and his ability to sniff the “will to belief” behind all ordinary beliefs and attitudes, have endeared him to radical critics of Western society, and caused him to be conscripted to secular causes – feminism, socialism, egalitarianism, “multiculturalism” – which he himself would have greeted with cavernous laughter.
[Excerpt from R. Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy (ISBN 0415267633). For more information feel free to contact me or read what I believe to be Nietzsche’s most comprehensive and important book; Beyond Good and Evil.]