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The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics [NOOK Book]

Overview

For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don’t care about the “national interest”—or even their subjects—unless they have to.

This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ ...

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The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

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Overview

For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don’t care about the “national interest”—or even their subjects—unless they have to.

This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with, and the quality of life or misery under them. The picture the authors paint is not pretty. But it just may be the truth, which is a good starting point for anyone seeking to improve human governance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Machiavelli's The Prince has a new rival. . . . This is a fantastically thought-provoking read. I found myself not wanting to agree but actually, for the most part, being convinced that the cynical analysis is the true one." —-Enlightenment Economics
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610390453
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 487,206
  • File size: 730 KB

Meet the Author

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is the Julius Silver Professor of Politics and director of the Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy at New York University. He is the author of 16 books, including The Predictioneer’s GameAlastair Smith is professor of politics at New York University. The recipient of three grants from the National Science Foundation and author of three books, he was chosen as the 2005 Karl Deutsch Award winner, given biennially to the best international relations scholar under the age of 40.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Rules to Rule By ix

1 The Rules of Politics 1

2 Coming to Power 21

3 Staying in Power 49

4 Steal from the Poor, Give to the Rich 75

5 Getting and Spending 101

6 If Corruption Empowers, Then Absolute Corruption Empowers Absolutely 127

7 Foreign Aid 161

8 The People in Revolt 195

9 War, Peace, and World Order 225

10 What Is To Be Done? 251

Acknowledgments 283

Notes 287

Index 301

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommend

    This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand real politics and power...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2011

    Excellent analytical framework to understand how dictatorships (and corporations) work

    This book goes into a head of a dictator and offers an elegant consistent analytical framework to understand the reasoning of any dictator. In fact, many of its examples come from the corporate world since corporations are often built according to the similar principles. You can apply this framework to analyze any authoritarian regimes in the world - both the ones recently established in the post-Soviet space and the ones existing for decades in Africa or the Middle East. As the authors demonstrate through numerous historical examples, they all rely on the same set of institutions to sustain themselves. This book will allow you to predict which dictators may be successful in maintaining their hold on power for long, and which ones are bound to fall soon. It also points to particular moments of vulnerability of any dictatorship and, therefore, may serve not only as a guide for an aspiring dictator, but also to the ones plotting to bring existing dictators down. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the policies of authoritarian regimes or hierarchically built organizations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Yes

    Put on your new glasses and prepare to view the world of politics from an island of practicality. Look around, the presidential campaign, Libya , banks . What will become of Libya ? The trail may follow the money from oil. Our country ? Why do income distributions look like Nigeria ? The banks ? Whay are people in charge of the country's finances always from Goldman Sachs ? Foreign aid ? Huh ? Why are we hated when we give them money ? Read this book . Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you won't regret it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted January 26, 2012

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    Posted October 21, 2011

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