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Simply the best book on politics written.... Every citizen should read this book.—CGP Grey
A lucidly written, shrewdly argued meditation on how democrats and dictators preserve political authority...Bueno de Mesquita and Smith are polymathic, drawing on economics, history, and political science to make their points...The reader will be hard-pressed to find a single government that doesn't largely operate according to Messrs. Bueno de Mesquita and Smith's model. So the next time a hand-wringing politician, Democrat or Republican, claims to be taking a position for the 'good of his country,'remember to replace the word 'country' with 'career.'—Wall Street Journal
Machiavelli's The Prince has a new rival. It's The Dictator's Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith.... This is a fantastically thought-provoking read. I found myself not wanting to agree but actually, for the most part, being convinced that the cynical analysis is the true one.—Enlightenment Economics
In this fascinating book Bueno de Mesquita and Smith spin out their view of governance: that all successful leaders, dictators and democrats, can best be understood as almost entirely driven by their own political survival-a view they characterize as 'cynical, but we fear accurate.' Yet as we follow the authors through their brilliant historical assessments of leaders' choices-from Caesar to Tammany Hall and the Green Bay Packers-we gradually realize that their brand of cynicism yields extremely realistic guidance about spreading the rule of law, decent government, and democracy. James Madison would have loved this book.—R. James Woolsey Director of Central Intelligence, 1993-1995, and Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
In this book, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith teach us to see dictatorship as just another form of politics, and from this perspective they deepen our understanding of all political systems.—Roger Myerson, Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago