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

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A groundbreaking new theory of the real rules of politics: leaders do whatever keeps them in power, regardless of the national interest.
As featured on the viral video Rules for Rulers, which has been viewed over 3 million times.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith's canonical book on political science turned conventional wisdom on its head. They started 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 democracy is essentially 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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About 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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4.8
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Additional Information

Publisher
PublicAffairs
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Published on
Sep 27, 2011
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781610390453
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Fascism & Totalitarianism
Political Science / Political Ideologies / General
Political Science / Political Process / Leadership
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Joe Klein, best-selling author of Primary Colors and one of our most brilliant political analysts, now tackles the subject he knows best: Bill Clinton. Astute, even-handed, and keenly intelligent, The Natural is the only book to read if you want to understand exactly what happened–to the military, to the economy, to the American people, to the country–during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and how the decisions made during his tenure affect all of us today.

Much has been written about Clinton, but The Natural is the first work to cut through the gossip, scandals, media hype, and emotional turbulence that Clinton always engendered, to step back and rationally analyze the eight years of his tenure, a period during which America rose to unprecedented levels of prosperity. Joe Klein puts that record into perspective, showing us what worked and what didn’t, exactly what was accomplished and why, and who was responsible for the successes and the failures.

We see how the Clinton White House functioned on the inside, how it dealt with the maneuvers of Congress and the Gingrich revolution, and who held power and made the decisions during the endless crises that beset the administration. Klein’s access to the White House over the years as a journalist gave him a prime spot from which to view every crucial event–both political and personal–and he sets them forth in an insightful, readable, and completely engrossing manner.

The Natural is stern in its criticism and convincing with its praise. It will cause endless debate amongst friends and foes of the Clinton administration. It is a book that anyone interested in contemporary politics, in American history, or in the functioning of our democracy, should read.
***NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER***
AN EXPLOSIVE , REVELATORY ASSESSMENT OF THE GREATEST BETRAYAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY
William Barr · Paul Manafort · Michael Cohen · Steve Bannon · Rudy Giuliani · Mitch McConnell · Roger Stone · George Papadopoulos · Jeff Sessions · And More!
When former FBI Director Robert Mueller III was assigned to the Special Counsel investigation looking into the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 US election, many Americans felt relieved. But when the report was delivered in April 2019, it was clear that the case was far from closed-and pinning Trump down on conspiracy charges was going to be a lot more difficult than it had first seemed.
In The Plot to Betray America, Malcolm Nance, New York Times bestselling author and renowned intelligence expert, reveals exactly how Trump and his inner circle conspired, coordinated, communicated, and eventually strategized to commit the greatest act of treachery in the history of the United States: compromisingthe presidential oath of office in exchange for power and personal enrichment.
Seduced by the promises of riches dangled in front of them by Vladimir Putin, the Trump administration eagerly decided to reap the rewards of the plan to put a Kremlin-friendly crony in the Oval Office. And instead of interfering, the Republican Party's faithful William Barr, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Mitch McConnell, Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, and Jeff Sessions among others did everything they could to facilitate Trump's damage to national security to fill his own pockets. Through in-depth research and interviews with intelligence experts and insiders, Nance charts Trump's deep financial ties to Russia through his family's investments, including those of Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner, and the corrupt behavior of his other double-crossing pro-Moscow associates.
Only by untangling the spider web of personal and financial relationships linking the White House to the Kremlin can we start to free ourselves from the constricting clutches of our foreign adversaries and work to rebuild our fractured nation.
In this geopolitical page-turner, The Plot to Betray America ultimately sketches the tracks and blueprint of the Trump administration's conspiracy against our country-and how we can still fight to defend democracy, protect our national security, and save the Constitution.
An eye-opening account of life inside North Korea—a closed world of increasing global importance—hailed as a “tour de force of meticulous reporting” (The New York Review of Books)
 
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
 
In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.
 
Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. She takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.

Praise for Nothing to Envy

“Provocative . . . offers extensive evidence of the author’s deep knowledge of this country while keeping its sights firmly on individual stories and human details.”—The New York Times

“Deeply moving . . . The personal stories are related with novelistic detail.”—The Wall Street Journal

“A tour de force of meticulous reporting.”—The New York Review of Books

“Excellent . . . humanizes a downtrodden, long-suffering people whose individual lives, hopes and dreams are so little known abroad.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“The narrow boundaries of our knowledge have expanded radically with the publication of Nothing to Envy. . . . Elegantly structured and written, [it] is a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction.”—John Delury, Slate

“At times a page-turner, at others an intimate study in totalitarian psychology.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a master of game theory, which is a fancy label for a simple idea: People compete, and they always do what they think is in their own best interest. Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory and its insights into human behavior to predict and even engineer political, financial, and personal events. His forecasts, which have been employed by everyone from the CIA to major business firms, have an amazing 90 percent accuracy rate, and in this dazzling and revelatory book he shares his startling methods and lets you play along in a range of high-stakes negotiations and conflicts.

Revealing the origins of game theory and the advances made by John Nash, the Nobel Prize—winning scientist perhaps best known from A Beautiful Mind, Bueno de Mesquita details the controversial and cold-eyed system of calculation that he has since created, one that allows individuals to think strategically about what their opponents want, how much they want it, and how they might react to every move. From there, Bueno de Mesquita games such events as the North Korean disarmament talks and the Middle East peace process and recalls, among other cases, how he correctly predicted which corporate clients of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm were most likely engaged in fraudulent activity (hint: one of them started with an E). And looking as ever to the future, Bueno de Mesquita also demonstrates how game theory can provide successful strategies to combat both global warming (instead of relying on empty regulations, make nations compete in technology) and terror (figure out exactly how much U.S. aid will make Pakistan fight the Taliban).

But as Bueno de Mesquita shows, game theory isn’t just for saving the world. It can help you in your own life, whether you want to succeed in a lawsuit (lawyers argue too much the merits of the case and question too little the motives of their opponents), elect the CEO of your company (change the system of voting on your board to be more advantageous to your candidate), or even buy a car (start by knowing exactly what you want, call every dealer in a fifty-mile radius, and negotiate only over the phone).

Savvy, provocative, and shockingly effective, The Predictioneer’s Game will change how you understand the world and manage your future. Life’s a game, and how you play is whether you win or lose.
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