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

Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher: Tantor Media

Date: March 2012

Duration: 11 hours 46 minutes


For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been 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.


  • Anissa B.

    one of the most interesting and thought-provoking analyses of the political apparatus of suffrage. the authors have done a great job at applying mathematical principles to predicting election outcomes

  • Lorenzo Wormer

    A well-narrated audiobook about a novel political theory that definitely falls out of line. With their '3-Axis' description of political systems Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno De Mesquita offer a powerful new insight into the workings of our complex political world. Just like Newtonian mechanics uses most simple terms to describe how physical masses move with near absolute validity, they manage to explain the movements of the masses of the people. They do so by filtering out all the noise that isn't essential to the behavior of people in power. Personalities, moral good or idealogical motives do play some role in politics, but have no place in a proper scientific theory. So they take the only thing that is granted to be found in every political act, the will to stay in power, and manage to describe with just this axiomatic assumption all sorts of political phenomena. While having nothing but self-serving ego-monsters as our leaders is a rather grim perspective on the world, it might just be the closest-to-reality political theory there is, as the authors validate with many, many examples. In the end they even offer some approaches on changing this grim reality to the better. Great content, good narration, awesome audio book.

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

by Alastair Smith, Bruce Bueno De Mesquita

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Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics, Alastair Smith, Bruce Bueno De Mesquita