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The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics (2011)

por Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith

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4731439,294 (4.09)5
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.… (mais)
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Inglês (13)  Sueco (1)  Todas as línguas (14)
Mostrando 1-5 de 14 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Good book (and audiobook) which explains why dictators behave the way they do, how it's a rational choice for them, and how broad-based political systems ("democracy") behave different from narrowly-based systems (autocracy). Maybe a bit longer than it really needed to be, but some decent insights, particular in how systems tip from private goods to public goods as coalition size increases, some real world examples, and examples from outside politics. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Any mono-causal theory of the world faces an uphill climb, but this one managed to pull it off. They reduced much of politics to the simple question of leaders' desires to stay in power, and dismissed differences of kind between "democracies" and "dictatorships" in favor of a mere difference of degree: how leaders behave depends on the size of the coalition to which they owe their power. The smaller the coalition, the more a leader is incentivized to use state resources to pay off his supporters; the larger the coalition, the more it makes sense to improve the people's welfare.

A fun and provocative read marred by a series of low-grade typos and grammatical errors — primarily but not exclusively misuse of commas. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
This book was a lot better than I expected. I've kept postponing the read for months thinking it would bore me with history and treaties, when in fact it's a revelatory view of all the political systems, not just autocracy.

Without getting too much into details I'll say that it will give you much to think about when it comes to politics, both domestic and global. There's already a great deal of what I see happening now that could have been more easily explained and predicted through it's lens.

Just as an example, I'm pretty sure that if this book was written today, Bolsonaro's Amazon related actions would have been one of the examples given of an autocrat following the 1st rule of power grabbing. If you want to know what rule I'm referring to... well, you'll just have to read it for yourself! ( )
  parzivalTheVirtual | Mar 22, 2020 |
After listening to an excellent interview with one of the authors, I had high expectations for this book. But, unfortunately, when laid out in detail, the authors' theory doesn't hold water. They are highly selective in their examples and biased in their interpretations, they are naive about a lot of economics, and the quantitative studies they cite to back up their positions are fairly ridiculous. Even still, the case studies were interesting, and at least the book has a clear thesis—I enjoyed arguing with the authors as I read. I didn't mind the tongue-in-cheek writing style.

> Portugal and Canada have the straightest roads to their respective capital-city airports among societies whose leaders rely on lots of essentials to hold power. Portugal has the world’s thirteenth lowest ratio and Canada is twenty-eighth. Which countries have the ten lowest ratios? Answer: Guinea, Cuba, Dominica, Colombia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Ecuador, Ethiopia, and Equatorial Guinea.

> Leaders, given their druthers, would always like the set of interchangeables to be very large, and the groups of influentials and essentials to be very small. That's why the world of business has so many massive corporations with millions of shareholders, a few influential large owners, and a handful of essentials on the board of directors who agree to pay CEOs handsomely regardless of how the company fares.

> sooner or later every society will cross the divide between small-coalition, large-selectorate misery to a large coalition that is a large proportion of the selectorate—and peace and plenty will ensue ( )
  breic | Dec 21, 2019 |
I was expecting stories about evil dictators, not a practical guide to politics. The real-world feel of this book made me continuously think of the book Physics for Future Presidents. ( )
  Jerry.Yoakum | Sep 25, 2019 |
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Bruce Bueno de Mesquitaautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Smith, Alastairautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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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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