The Dictator's Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith
Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

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These rules are illustrated with well-told political anecdotes and the book shares revealing insights about the nature of constituencies that leaders must capture...
-Guardian

Synopsis

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.

 

About Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith

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Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is the Julius Silver Professor of Politics at New York University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. A specialist in policy forecasting, political economy, and international security policy, he received his doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan. Bueno de Mesquita is the author of fifteen books and more than one hundred articles as well as numerous pieces in major newspapers and magazines. He has appeared on all the major networks as well as television broadcasts in Brazil, China, Korea, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. His previous book, The Strategy of Campaigning, was co-authored with Kiron Skinner, Serhiy Kudelia, and Condoleeza Rice. He lives in San Francisco and New York City.
 
Published September 27, 2011 by PublicAffairs. 354 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Guardian

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Reviewed by Ed Howker on Aug 18 2012

These rules are illustrated with well-told political anecdotes and the book shares revealing insights about the nature of constituencies that leaders must capture...

Read Full Review of The Dictator's Handbook: Why ... | See more reviews from Guardian

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