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Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us

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A provocative and revelatory look at what power is, who gets it, and what happens when they do, based on over 500 interviews with those who (for a while, at least) have had the upper hand—from the creator of the Power Corrupts podcast and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas. Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops A provocative and revelatory look at what power is, who gets it, and what happens when they do, based on over 500 interviews with those who (for a while, at least) have had the upper hand—from the creator of the Power Corrupts podcast and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas. Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops who kill the result of poorly designed systems or are they just bad people? Are tyrants made or born? If you were suddenly thrust into a position of power, would you be able to resist the temptation to line your pockets or seek revenge against your enemies? To answer these questions, Corruptible draws on over 500 interviews with some of the world’s top leaders—from the noblest to the dirtiest—including presidents and philanthropists as well as rebels, cultists, and dictators. Some of the fascinating insights include: how facial appearance determines who we pick as leaders, why narcissists make more money, why some people don’t want power at all and others are drawn to it out of a psychopathic impulse, and why being the “beta” (second in command) may actually be the optimal place for health and well-being. Corruptible also features a wealth of counterintuitive examples from history and social science: you’ll meet the worst bioterrorist in American history, hit the slopes with a ski instructor who once ruled Iraq, and learn why the inability of chimpanzees to play baseball is central to the development of human hierarchies. Based on deep, unprecedented research from around the world, Corruptible will challenge your most basic assumptions about becoming a leader and what might happen to your head when you get there. It also provides a roadmap to avoiding classic temptations, suggesting a series of reforms that would facilitate better people finding a path to power—and ensuring that power purifies rather than corrupts.


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A provocative and revelatory look at what power is, who gets it, and what happens when they do, based on over 500 interviews with those who (for a while, at least) have had the upper hand—from the creator of the Power Corrupts podcast and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas. Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops A provocative and revelatory look at what power is, who gets it, and what happens when they do, based on over 500 interviews with those who (for a while, at least) have had the upper hand—from the creator of the Power Corrupts podcast and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas. Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops who kill the result of poorly designed systems or are they just bad people? Are tyrants made or born? If you were suddenly thrust into a position of power, would you be able to resist the temptation to line your pockets or seek revenge against your enemies? To answer these questions, Corruptible draws on over 500 interviews with some of the world’s top leaders—from the noblest to the dirtiest—including presidents and philanthropists as well as rebels, cultists, and dictators. Some of the fascinating insights include: how facial appearance determines who we pick as leaders, why narcissists make more money, why some people don’t want power at all and others are drawn to it out of a psychopathic impulse, and why being the “beta” (second in command) may actually be the optimal place for health and well-being. Corruptible also features a wealth of counterintuitive examples from history and social science: you’ll meet the worst bioterrorist in American history, hit the slopes with a ski instructor who once ruled Iraq, and learn why the inability of chimpanzees to play baseball is central to the development of human hierarchies. Based on deep, unprecedented research from around the world, Corruptible will challenge your most basic assumptions about becoming a leader and what might happen to your head when you get there. It also provides a roadmap to avoiding classic temptations, suggesting a series of reforms that would facilitate better people finding a path to power—and ensuring that power purifies rather than corrupts.

30 review for Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Wineberg

    Why is it politicians are so corrupt? Why do they, and judges, and civil servants look on public service as the path to power and riches rather than service? Brian Klaas has written Corruptible, an exhaustive analysis of how we end up with these people in charge and what can be done to prevent it. It’s an entertaining adventure that spans the globe and history. It’s not pretty. It seems those who seek power are in fact psychopaths. Give them just a little power and they manipulate everyone and ev Why is it politicians are so corrupt? Why do they, and judges, and civil servants look on public service as the path to power and riches rather than service? Brian Klaas has written Corruptible, an exhaustive analysis of how we end up with these people in charge and what can be done to prevent it. It’s an entertaining adventure that spans the globe and history. It’s not pretty. It seems those who seek power are in fact psychopaths. Give them just a little power and they manipulate everyone and everything to accumulate more. They might be open about it, like dictators, or secretive, posing as honest, helpful and humble achievers. And everything in between. With numerous remarkable examples and bizarre and shocking stories, Klaas shows that good intentioned people can become monsters when they are promoted to be in charge. Of anything, from whole empires to the maintenance departments of a high school. Everything then revolves around them; it becomes all about their prestige, their power, their glory, their wealth. Nothing else in the world comes close. They suck out the wealth, suck out the goodwill and suck out anything that smacks of equality. We see it everywhere. Klaas examines several cases where lives went gradually, or even suddenly, criminally wrong. He says what we really need are the people who don’t want to run for office, who don’t want the responsibility. They’ll likely be more honest and less power mad in office. Using examples such as a condo board, he shows that those kind of rational people steer clear. Instead, the board gets eager candidates who can’t wait to rule over everyone else in the development, instituting strict (if not irrational) rules, fining transgressors and seeking revenge over every complainer or opponent, or someone who just wants to be left alone. This model scales to the national level, where self-selecting candidates are precisely the people we should not be voting for. It’s why voters stay away from polls. It’s why they think the field of candidates seems to be of lower quality every election. It’s how dictators come to power and how countries get into trouble. It’s the paradox of power: “Those who shouldn’t be in power are more likely to seek it,” he says. Klaas describes unending psychology studies that demonstrate the defects in character that lead to power grabs. He also toured the world, meeting with former dictators, murderers and thieves, who today, out of power, seem like perfectly lovely people. While In power, they had no hesitancy say, sending in the troops to crack skulls, or to literally poison opponents themselves. They stole public funds by the billions. They wore their newfound wealth and power arrogantly. With all the studies constantly being done, all kinds of profiles and generalizations are available. Corruptible people interrupt more, they stereotype other people more, they use less moral reasoning, and are more judgmental of behaviors in others than themselves. They even drive through pedestrian zones faster. Seriously. A study showed that people driving expensive power cars would not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks as much as drivers in just average cars. There’s a study for everything. In the USA, the police are a major outlet for corrupting power. Encouraged by government, military veterans sign up by the thousands, ready, willing and able to shoot or smash anyone they don’t particularly like, in the guise of a police officer. It happens over a thousand times a year. Worse, the federal government got the brilliant idea of donating surplus military equipment to local police forces, pretty much forcing them to create SWAT teams and commando units to make use of it. It has the same result: those who want to be cops are precisely the people who should never be hired into the force. Those who wouldn’t go near it are the ones who should be in it. “If you’re a bully, a bigot, or a sexual predator, policing is a really attractive career choice,” according to Helen King of the Metropolitan Police, London. Police are renown for domestic violence in their own families, abuse of steroids, and lying in court, all far in excess of national averages. It takes a different mindset to correct. This is the experience of New Zealand. Their police recruitment advertising emphasizes community relations and co-operation, not armed bodybuilders storming a home. The result is all but zero police murders, a better reputation, and all kinds of community minded men and women choosing police work. In selecting recruits, working cops take them out on patrol and report back on their attitudes. They say things like Wait… they’re coming in for the wrong reason. And they’re turned down. The result is a complete rebalancing of the force. Applications are up 24% as a broader spectrum of candidates feels it a worthwhile career. A quarter are now women, compared to ten percent in the USA, where police forces tend to be 30% whiter than their communities. Police in New Zealand account for 0.8 deaths of civilians per year; in the USA, it is well over 1100. In New Zealand, police are the community, not enforcers. Compare this to Stebbins, a small town in Alaska, Klaas says, where almost all the cops are convicted felons, because they’re the only ones who apply. The more there are of them, the fewer other people want to work there. This creates vacancies where the only ones to apply…. So there are things to be tried. Klaas is not short of ideas, though many are easy to shoot down. And he misses some obvious ones, like term limits. If, as in ancient Greece, political offices were limited to a single term, lobbying would shrivel, and the comfort and security of a lifelong career would never be a factor. Cronyism would not work. He does however, recommend an end to long partnerships among the police, where buddies stick up for each other, look the other way, and co-operate in illegal activities that cops think they can get away with, what with all their insider information and connections in the force. He cites Kevin Dutton, who listed the top ten careers for psychopaths: CEOs, lawyers, TV/radio personalities, salespeople, surgeons, journalists, police, clergy, chefs and civil servants. Politicians don’t make list only because their numbers are so limited. But in general, it’s everywhere. I did have one issue with Corruptible. Klaas is a definitive writer. He is very clear and very certain in his claims. So when he’s wrong, he can be embarrassingly firm. He cites the decades unthinking consensus among anthropologists and psychologists that dominance comes from large numbers of people living together. “Put enough people together, and hierarchy and dominance always emerge (His emphasis). It’s an ironclad rule of history…Our choice is either to live in tiny co-operative groups or embrace hierarchy. “ As if Klaas is the expert. But this has been thoroughly debunked by David Graeber and David Wengrow in The Dawn of Everything. Major cities existed side by side with villages and small bands; they were not the result of a progression from small to large. Major cities existed without top-down administration, all over the world. People used to be co-operative, helpful and supportive in huge communities. Homelessness did not exist. Cities built communal housing for all. Inequality came later, with institutions, like royalty and religion. The opportunities for corruption were minimal, unlike today when they are ubiquitous. They say there is simply no basis for claims like Klaas’. For Klaas to cite civilization itself as a cause of corruption is unsupportable. Just skip chapter two; it’s wrong. So power does corrupt. Situations corrupt people. Positions corrupt people. Some personalities are prone to corruption. Corruptible people self select when all it takes is an election or a promotion. And once inside the bubble, few can see what monsters they have become. They’re too busy demanding absolute loyalty. Finally, Klaas says that few studies suggest that power makes people more virtuous. Power is a drug, it seems. If you get a taste, it can overwhelm you – and take down the whole country if they let you keep at it. David Wineberg If you liked this review, I invite you to read my book The Straight Dope. It’s an essay collection based on my first thousand reviews and what I learned. Right now it’s FREE for Prime members, otherwise — cheap! Reputed to be fascinating and a superfast read. https://www.amazon.com/Straight-Dope-...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Boissonneault

    It’s a familiar story: A corrupt leader rises to power, is often willingly allowed to do so, and proceeds to leave a trail of destruction in his wake (it’s usually, but not always, a male). We see this time and time again throughout history and across the globe. But we never seem to learn. How can we account for this? The conventional answer is to blame power itself, as in the proverbial saying “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But as political scientist Brian Klaas explains It’s a familiar story: A corrupt leader rises to power, is often willingly allowed to do so, and proceeds to leave a trail of destruction in his wake (it’s usually, but not always, a male). We see this time and time again throughout history and across the globe. But we never seem to learn. How can we account for this? The conventional answer is to blame power itself, as in the proverbial saying “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But as political scientist Brian Klaas explains in his latest book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, things are not so simple. While power can indeed corrupt, more often bad people are drawn to positions of power in the first place, and pursue these positions within systems that actually encourage bad behavior. To ensure that the right people are placed in power, we have to do more than focus only on individuals; we need to fix the underlying systems that allow them to thrive. As Klass wrote: “What if power doesn’t make us better or worse? What if power just attracts certain kinds of people—and those are precisely the ones who shouldn’t be in charge? Maybe those who most want power are the least suited to hold it. Perhaps those who crave power are corruptible.” The conventional (but probably oversimplified) idea that power corrupts is best exemplified in the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment conducted in 1971. In this experiment, volunteers were placed inside of a simulated prison environment. One group of volunteers was assigned to become prisoners while the other group was assigned as guards. What the researchers discovered was that those assigned as guards, once given power, began to mistreat the prisoners, so much so that the experiment was stopped before its planned two-week duration. This seems to show that power does in fact corrupt, and that this could happen to anyone. But as Klaas points out, the interpretation of this experiment is not as straightforward as you might think. First, not all the guards became abusive, so if power does corrupt, it clearly affects people differently. Second, the volunteers may have been attempting to act out their roles in a certain way, thinking that’s what the researchers were looking for. In fact, the latest research into this experiment calls into question whether or not the volunteers were actually coached to act aggressively. And finally, and most crucially, new research has revealed that the way you advertise the study impacts the type of people who volunteer. If you advertise for volunteers for “a psychological study,” you get a far different response than if you advertise for “a psychological study of prison life.” Just by adding the phrase “of prison life” to the advertisement, researchers found that more aggressive, authoritarian, and narcissistic personality types applied for the study (after conducting personality tests). As Klaas notes, ordinary people are not turned sadistic when given power; rather, sadistic individuals actively seek out positions of power. If this is true, this is a crucial discovery. It means that bad people will always seek out positions of power, and that the only way to stop them from attaining it is to fix the systems that allow them to thrive—and to get people to stop voting for them. Unfortunately, that last point is easier said than done. It seems that we are evolutionarily predisposed to vote for bad leaders. As Klaas explains, in our hunter-gatherer past, it made sense to select leaders based almost exclusively on physical traits. After all, you would never select the weakest member of your tribe to lead the next hunting expedition or war. In our hunter-gatherer past, then, perception mostly matched reality: the most physically gifted and aggressive individual was the one most likely to achieve the tribe's survival goals. But, as is mainly the case, in the modern world, basing decisions strictly on our evolutionary psychology is mostly idiotic. Hunter-gatherers may have been justified in eating as many calories of sugar as they could find, for example, but if we follow this instinct in the modern world, we will almost assuredly die (from obesity-related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes). This is an example of what is called an evolutionary mismatch. Likewise, there is absolutely no correlation between the ability to lead a modern, knowledge-based economy and how much one can bench press, but the way we vote in modern elections, we might as well replace the debates with weight lifting competitions. We consistently vote for tall white men with masculine faces and physically fit bodies and overconfident, aggressive personalities. We especially seem to like overconfidence and aggression, but the problem with this is that, overwhelmingly, these are the precise personality traits one will find in psychopaths or narcissists. The disturbing conclusion is that, barring further considerations regarding the individual's actual qualifications, intelligence, and moral character, our instincts tell us to vote or promote psychopaths—who are themselves more likely to pursue power in the first place. Research bears this out. In addition to political positions, psychopaths disproportionately fill corporate boardrooms and executive offices. As Klaas wrote: “When psychopathy is sampled in society as a whole, about one in every five hundred people scores above the psychopath threshold of thirty [on a psychological test measuring psychopathy]. In the study of aspiring corporate managers, it was one in every twenty-five. Those results could be an outlier, but that study suggests that there are about twenty times more psychopaths in corporate leadership than in the general population.” Power is not corrupting the majority of individuals; bad leaders are seeking these positions of power out as the most efficient means of controlling other people and satisfying their selfish desires. Let’s recap the depressing situation so far: Psychopaths naturally seek out power and often get it because they have the traits that make us subconsciously want to vote for or promote them. Once they get in power, they cause massive levels of harm because the qualities that get them elected or promoted (overconfidence, aggression, ambition, greed) are the same qualities we often find in those with low levels of competence, intelligence, and moral character. On the flip side, if you’re a good, decent person with intelligence and humility, in all likelihood, you avoid positions of power altogether (with rare exceptions; think Marcus Aurelius or George Washington). So then why do we think power corrupts, if the evidence points to the opposite conclusion? According to Klaas, four cognitive biases explain why most people think power corrupts when it doesn’t. First, leaders placed in bad situations often have to choose between equally bad options. It’s not that leaders are always inherently corrupt, but that they have to make tough choices most of us will never have to face (like allowing a small number to die to save far more people in a war or triage situation). Second, leaders that are already bad seem to become worse, but that’s only because they are learning better strategies and tactics. The final two reasons are that bad leaders may not necessarily be worse than the average person, it’s just that they have more opportunities to commit wrongful acts and are under more scrutiny and therefore are more likely to get caught. So while power may corrupt in some instances (Klaas covers this extensively, evening examining the physiological changes to the body from power and stress), this phenomenon is overstated; by far the greater problem is that already corrupt people seek power and we willingly give it to them. And if that’s the case, the next question is, What can be done? Klaas has some suggestions. Klaas starts by explaining that there is no simple fix; we can’t prevent every corrupt leader from getting elected or being promoted. But by instituting a series of reforms in how we recruit, vote, and monitor leaders, we can lessen the chance that bad people achieve positions of power while limiting the harm they can do while in office—all while encouraging the best among us to pursue these positions instead. Klaas outlines several options including better recruiting and vetting practices, randomly selecting individuals to perform oversight (sortition), rotating people through departments to prevent fraud, personalizing decisions by having leaders meet face-to-face with the people their decisions will impact, and more thorough, randomized monitoring, not of lower-level employees, but of those in positions of power. But perhaps the greatest deterrent to bad leadership is knowledge. If we can recognize our own tendencies to vote for or promote the wrong people based on superficial assessments made with our Stone Age brains, we can consciously try to do better. We can pay more attention to someone’s actual qualifications than to their superficial charm; we can recognize that overconfidence and aggression are often red flags; and we can fix our systems so that good behavior is rewarded, and that the morally upright among us seek out positions of power instead.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lukas Dufka

    A perfect mix of research and narrative in my opinion. Didn't have so much fun reading a political science book since The Dictator's Handbook by Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. Not only is it a fun read, it also, and more importantly, delivers a much needed antidote to anyone who might feel tempted to believe in yet another anti-corruption crusader who comes from outside of politics (usually with bags of money) and promises to save us from the corrupt, self-serving politicians. "Look A perfect mix of research and narrative in my opinion. Didn't have so much fun reading a political science book since The Dictator's Handbook by Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. Not only is it a fun read, it also, and more importantly, delivers a much needed antidote to anyone who might feel tempted to believe in yet another anti-corruption crusader who comes from outside of politics (usually with bags of money) and promises to save us from the corrupt, self-serving politicians. "Look at me, I'm so rich and successful, I don't need to steal (anymore). You can trust me." Somehow, this always ends in tears and yet people keep falling for the same old trick again and again. Brian Klass explains why this happens and what we need to do in order to escape this vicious cycle. If I was in government in any country, never mind how corrupt, I'd be calling Brian's agent right now to check if he does consulting...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jon Munro

    A typical start to a Corruptable paragraph sounds something like this... "Are CEOs drawn to power due to their narcissism, Machiavellism, and psychopathy, or does the corporate ladder favour employees who display these traits?" To answer this question, we'll look at the chemical composition of a prawn cocktail crisp, learn about rural France in 1368, and hear the story of a pony named Steve who learned to play the bassoon." 4.5*. V interesting read. A typical start to a Corruptable paragraph sounds something like this... "Are CEOs drawn to power due to their narcissism, Machiavellism, and psychopathy, or does the corporate ladder favour employees who display these traits?" To answer this question, we'll look at the chemical composition of a prawn cocktail crisp, learn about rural France in 1368, and hear the story of a pony named Steve who learned to play the bassoon." 4.5*. V interesting read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jelan

    Brian is an excellent writer -- erudite and entertaining at the same time. I'm amazed at the fascinating examples he finds both in history and in the present to illustrate his points. Brian is an excellent writer -- erudite and entertaining at the same time. I'm amazed at the fascinating examples he finds both in history and in the present to illustrate his points.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Reedman

    Was nice to read a pop psychology book that pulled it’s weight academically. It referenced the replication crisis, acknowledged limitations of most psychology experiments being performed on WEIRD university undergrads, and debunked many over referenced/under criticized experiments (Milgrim, Stanford Prison, etc). The theorizing about power was genuinely thought provoking. Does power corrupt or are corruptible people drawn to power? And if both, how do you limit the corruption of leaders in any c Was nice to read a pop psychology book that pulled it’s weight academically. It referenced the replication crisis, acknowledged limitations of most psychology experiments being performed on WEIRD university undergrads, and debunked many over referenced/under criticized experiments (Milgrim, Stanford Prison, etc). The theorizing about power was genuinely thought provoking. Does power corrupt or are corruptible people drawn to power? And if both, how do you limit the corruption of leaders in any context? Klaas drew on examples from despot dictators to psychopathic janitors to tyrannical homeowners associations which helped to keep it juicy and upbeat. For the most part it was also surprisingly non-partisan. Klaas has some cool ideas about what change could look like - sortition (governance or oversight by random chance selection), surveillance of the powerful instead of the masses, active recruitment of incorruptible people (especially of the not white men variety), and ensuring that the powerful cannot reduce human suffering to abstraction. The author did love using a cheesy outro on every chapter to lead in to the next one. I still don’t know if I hated it or thought it was cute. Probably both. Good vibes though.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Min

    I wish I had this book when I was writing my university paper on corruption. This was a captivating and informative look into the cogs and wheels that drive corruption as a social phenomenon and systemic problem. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey the author takes us on. Many interconnected issues were explored and yet I didn't feel as if the author was "over-reaching". The transition from topics such as the "nature" versus "nurture" debate to evolutionary theories that may why society is drawn to I wish I had this book when I was writing my university paper on corruption. This was a captivating and informative look into the cogs and wheels that drive corruption as a social phenomenon and systemic problem. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey the author takes us on. Many interconnected issues were explored and yet I didn't feel as if the author was "over-reaching". The transition from topics such as the "nature" versus "nurture" debate to evolutionary theories that may why society is drawn to certain types of people over others all made sense. I was extremely fascinated by the author's concise analysis into the age-old adage "absolute power corrupts absolutely". The author also offers a rather innovative set of solutions that are aimed to go towards ameliorating corruption. By employing in what I perceive to be a "tiered" approach, the author explains corruption to be the result of self-selecting individuals (those who seek power) who reach positions of power and stay in power. The suggestions the author makes thus corresponds to various components of corruption in a systematic fashion. Overall, a holistic and concise read. I'd be keen to read critiques on the author's analysis and solutions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Albert Jaeger

    This book asks a perennial but multi-faceted question (does power corrupt or do the corrupt seek power or does causality run both ways?) that has vexed political thinkers forever. The book is an entertaining read (I also listened to the Audible version read by Brian Klaas himself). Based on a wide-ranging survey of what different disciplines say about corruption, Klaas argues that there are practical and effective reforms that may help reduce corruption in the body politic. A Bulwark Podcast epi This book asks a perennial but multi-faceted question (does power corrupt or do the corrupt seek power or does causality run both ways?) that has vexed political thinkers forever. The book is an entertaining read (I also listened to the Audible version read by Brian Klaas himself). Based on a wide-ranging survey of what different disciplines say about corruption, Klaas argues that there are practical and effective reforms that may help reduce corruption in the body politic. A Bulwark Podcast episode with Brian Klaas on 11/16/2021 triggered my interest in the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Pearl Reynolds

    Well documented, organized and written. I agree with 95% of Brian Klaas's views regarding those who hold power and wish to attain it. Current events support these views.... Overall, an excellent read, especially for those interested in psychology, sociology, current affairs, political science, etc. I would recommend it to anyone interested in any of the social sciences or college students looking for research material. My copy of this book was obtained from a Goodreads giveaway. I appreciate the Well documented, organized and written. I agree with 95% of Brian Klaas's views regarding those who hold power and wish to attain it. Current events support these views.... Overall, an excellent read, especially for those interested in psychology, sociology, current affairs, political science, etc. I would recommend it to anyone interested in any of the social sciences or college students looking for research material. My copy of this book was obtained from a Goodreads giveaway. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dinara Bekmagambetova

    Суть книги вкратце: власть привлекает людей, подверженных коррупции и злоупотреблению своими возможностями. Мы, избиратели, в свою очередь поддерживаем этих неподходящих людей во главе государств и компаний, потому что, как первобытные сороки, ведемся на блестящие побрякушки (в данном случае - поверхностные, имиджевые штуки вроде фоток Путина в тайге). И вишенка на торте - прогнившие системы, которые делают все еще хуже. То, о чем пишет Клаас, применимо не только к управлению государством, но и Суть книги вкратце: власть привлекает людей, подверженных коррупции и злоупотреблению своими возможностями. Мы, избиратели, в свою очередь поддерживаем этих неподходящих людей во главе государств и компаний, потому что, как первобытные сороки, ведемся на блестящие побрякушки (в данном случае - поверхностные, имиджевые штуки вроде фоток Путина в тайге). И вишенка на торте - прогнившие системы, которые делают все еще хуже. То, о чем пишет Клаас, применимо не только к управлению государством, но и в принципе к любой иерархической системе. Автор считает, что нам нужно в корне поменять рекрутинг власть имущих. Сейчас на важные посты рвутся амбициозные, целеустремленные люди, которые, может быть, совсем не подходят для таких должностей, в то время как другие, возможно лучшие кандидаты, стараются держаться подальше от "грязной политики". Иными словами, репутация у института власти настолько подмоченная, что нормальные люди стараются держатся от нее подальше. Классная иллюстрация - подход Новой Зеландии к найму новых полицейских (отрывок из книги приведу ниже). В этой стране поняли, что если вы хотите, чтобы полицейские были более человечными, то надо не пытаться изменить текущих сотрудников, а таргетировать именно таких людей, которых вы хотите видеть в своем штате.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    The MSW Book Club named this book as its next choice, and when I heard the author’s interview on the podcast, I immediately wanted to join in. The main question the book explores is “does absolute power corrupt absolutely?” The answer is that while power is definitely corrupting, some people are more corruptible than others. Worse still, political systems over the millennia are rigged to attract the wrong people to power. So what can we do to make sure power goes to the least corruptible? The an The MSW Book Club named this book as its next choice, and when I heard the author’s interview on the podcast, I immediately wanted to join in. The main question the book explores is “does absolute power corrupt absolutely?” The answer is that while power is definitely corrupting, some people are more corruptible than others. Worse still, political systems over the millennia are rigged to attract the wrong people to power. So what can we do to make sure power goes to the least corruptible? The answers are given in illustrative and easily accessible anecdotes. They’re all about us flawed human beings. I highly recommend this book, and I’m looking forward to the discussions in the podcast book club.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    This is a valuable non-fiction explanatory thesis on who obtains power, why others do not, how they obtain power, what they do with power, why so many leaders are bad people who are corrupt and how to improve all of these areas. Dr. Klaas has previously written The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy (Hurst & Co, November 2017); The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy, (Oxford University Press, December 2016) and How to Rig an Elect This is a valuable non-fiction explanatory thesis on who obtains power, why others do not, how they obtain power, what they do with power, why so many leaders are bad people who are corrupt and how to improve all of these areas. Dr. Klaas has previously written The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy (Hurst & Co, November 2017); The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy, (Oxford University Press, December 2016) and How to Rig an Election.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    A great and informative read on despots and dictators. I am a big fan of Brian Klaas from listening to his excellent Power Corrupts podcast. This book complements that show beautifully, showing how powerful individuals control their world. Does power corrupt leaders or are corruptible individuals drawn to leadership positions? You will exit this book smarter about world politics and corrupt regimes and a little scarred that so much bad behavior and evil still exists.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Keith Ammann

    This book contains a great deal of useful and very important information on how power corrupts, on how it attracts the corruptible, and how and why people are poor judges of integrity in leaders, and I wish I'd liked it better than I did. However, I found the author's voice to be tedious—like the narrator of a TV documentary, constantly having to rope the audience back in with "provocative" questions he's about to answer. IMO, it would have been a much stronger book with the fluff cut out. This book contains a great deal of useful and very important information on how power corrupts, on how it attracts the corruptible, and how and why people are poor judges of integrity in leaders, and I wish I'd liked it better than I did. However, I found the author's voice to be tedious—like the narrator of a TV documentary, constantly having to rope the audience back in with "provocative" questions he's about to answer. IMO, it would have been a much stronger book with the fluff cut out.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Rhodes

    This is an excellent book on power — who wants it, who gets it, and how it is used or abused. It explores power dynamics in all kinds of societies. It seek to explore the reason why so many corruptible and bad people often find their way into positions of leadership and power, as well as asking how to we organize ourselves to draw into these positions better people who will not abuse our trust. Highly recommend.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    Memorable stories: a complex thesis made easy to understand. Highly readable. So vivid. For more of a summary, see my "Why Are Powerful People So Terrible?" on Medium (this version of the link is un-paywalled). Memorable stories: a complex thesis made easy to understand. Highly readable. So vivid. For more of a summary, see my "Why Are Powerful People So Terrible?" on Medium (this version of the link is un-paywalled).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    Captivating stories serve as great examples for the concepts Klaas wants to communicate. The history of power, the science of power on/and people, and strategies to encourage the right people into power are all thoroughly examined and would serve as a great guide for individuals, communities, and societies to foster justice instead of corruption.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adam Karapandzich

    This book started stronger than it finished. I was happy to see Klaas start with a heavy dose of evolutionary psychology and biology. But the strong case he presented in the beginning evaporated throughout.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mickey Hoffman

    Written by a social scientist, this book is not only insightful and fascinating, it's fun to read. There could be hope for humans in power, maybe.... Written by a social scientist, this book is not only insightful and fascinating, it's fun to read. There could be hope for humans in power, maybe....

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Bergeron

    I love his podcast, Power Corrupts. I loved this book too. Full of information you wish you didn't need to know, but are better off for knowing it. I love his podcast, Power Corrupts. I loved this book too. Full of information you wish you didn't need to know, but are better off for knowing it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    ATALACG

    Nice job whit your book

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tiina

    Very informative and very enjoyable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Farrukh Pitafi

    Fascinating unputdownable book. A must read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Great topic, disappointing execution.

  25. 4 out of 5

    ◬❍Nastja❍◬

    A brilliant study of human nature.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jill Cordry

    Very interesting premise here. People who seek power are often those who should definitely not be in power.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Yusuf

    Brilliant ... Essential for interpreting history and world events—both the provinces of tyrants—alike.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Holmes

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve Scott

  30. 4 out of 5

    William White

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