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Corruptible

On sale

1st September 2022

Price: £10.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529338102

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Illuminating . . . reveals why some people and systems are more likely to be corrupted by power than others’ – Adam Grant

Passionate, insightful, and occasionally jaw-dropping . . . Corruptible sets out the story of the intoxicating lure of power-and how it has shaped the modern world’ – Peter Frankopan

A brilliant exploration‘ – Dan Snow

‘Klaas is the rarest of finds: a political scientist who can also tell great stories. He mixes memorable anecdotes with stern analysis to tackle one of the biggest questions of all: do we have to be ruled by bad people?‘ – Peter Pomerantsev

Does power corrupt or are corrupt people drawn to power?
Are tyrants the products of bad systems or are they just bad people?
And why do we give power to awful people?

In Corruptible, professor of global politics Brian Klaas draws on over 500 interviews with some of the world’s top leaders – from the noblest to the dirtiest – including presidents, war criminals, cult leaders, terrorists, psychopaths, and dictators to reveal the most surprising workings of power: how children can predict who is going to win an election based just on the faces of politicians; why narcissists make more money; what makes a certain species of bee more corrupt than others; whether a thirst for power is a genetic condition; and why being the second in command is in fact the smartest choice.

From scans of psychopathic brains, to the effects of power on monkey drug use, Klaas weaves cutting-edge research with astonishing encounters (including a ski lesson with the former viceroy of Iraq, tea with a former UK prime minister, and breakfast with Madagascar’s yogurt kingpin president). Written by the creator of the award-winning Power Corrupts podcast, Corruptible challenges our basic assumptions about power, from the board room to the war room, and provides a roadmap for getting better leaders at every level.

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Reviews

Dan Snow
A brilliant exploration . . . This book builds Brian Klaas' reputation, offering an essential guide through our world of democratic decay, corruption, and cronyism
Robert Sapolsky, author of Behave
A fascinating, fun read . . . Klaas has striking insights, presents impeccable science accessibly, and tells terrific stories-all with great writing and wonderfully mordant humor
Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author of Begin Again
An extraordinary interrogation of the workings of power . . . A critical book for these troubling times. A must read!
Heather Cox Richardson, author of How the South Won the Civil War
Engrossing, thought-provoking, and funny . . . An important exploration of how ordinary people can keep leadership out of the hands of monsters
Max Boot, Washington Post columnist
The Freakonomics of political science
Peter Turchin, author of Ultrasociety
A MAGNIFICENT BOOK THAT IS AS RIVETING AS A CRIME STORY
Richard Stengel
Rich insights and fascinating observations . . . [Shines] a light on recent efforts to ensure that the corrupt don't get power, and the incorruptible do
Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Renew Democracy Initiative and the Human Rights Foundation
A GPS system for navigating a world increasingly full of illiberal democracies, modernised dictatorships, and populists who care only for power . . . The power-hungry don't ask why, they only ask why not
Polly Toynbee
Surrounded by people, companies and organisations that abuse their power, we've never needed Brian Klaas's penetrating study more. He has amassed a rich collection of evidence to offer some hope that we can pick better leaders and hold them to account
Peter Pomerantsev
Klaas is the rarest of finds: a political scientist who can also tell great stories. He mixes memorable anecdotes with stern analysis to tackle one of the biggest questions of all: do we have to be ruled by bad people?
Peter Frankopan
Passionate, insightful, and occasionally jaw-dropping . . . Corruptible sets out the story of the intoxicating lure of power - and how it has shaped the modern world
Adam Grant
Illuminating . . . reveals why some people and systems are more likely to be corrupted by power than others
Ian Dunt
Powerful, authoritative, humane and utterly compelling. This is a book of big ideas, written with nuance and dynamism. When you turn the last page, you realise that you'll never look at the world quite the same way again
Washington Post
Fun and entertaining . . . With a deft literary hand, Klaas describes how positions that offer power and possibilities for enrichment feature incentives that attract the wrong sort of people
Nigella Lawson
A compelling enquiry into power, its abuse, and why the wrong people wield it, by a learned and invigorating storyteller
Business Insider
UNEXPECTED INSIGHTS . . . presented in a digestible and accessible way...Maybe the most important lesson of Corruptible is that when psychopaths inadvertently reveal their true selves, the institutions that they plague must take action that is swift, brutal and merciless
Kirkus Reviews
Absorbing, provocative, far-reaching . . . Essential for interpreting history and world events-both the province of tyrants-alike
Publishers Weekly
ENRICHED BY COLORFUL CASE STUDIES AND LUCID EXPLANATIONS . . . a nuanced and entertaining guide to the meaning and function of power
Richard Engel, Chief Foreign Correspondent of NBC News
A NEW, INSIGHTFUL, AND SEDITIOUS ROADMAP TO THE PRIMAL URGE TO DOMINATE . . . Dangerous as a drug addition, power changes both those who have it and those who just want a quick fix
Charles King, The TLS
Klaas is an entertaining guide who has read widely across different fields and is able to connect his findings insightfully and judiciously . . . From parliaments to executive suites, the world could benefit from innovative systems designed in the way that Brian Klaas lays out with clarity and passion