Reddit Reddit reviews The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

We found 123 Reddit comments about The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics
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123 Reddit comments about The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics:

u/Jaxster37 · 938 pointsr/worldnews

Money is a powerful incentive. I'm horrified and disgusted by it as well, but unfortunately it just shows that there is a price at which all morals are abandoned. This is what autocracies do and we let them because it's in our best interests to.

Edit: This may be a good reminder to look at CGPGrey's video on how leaders stay in power and track the similarities with recent conflicts in Venezuela and Syria. Also check out the book the video's based on.

u/roboczar · 94 pointsr/todayilearned

Well, as much as people like to think they were autocrats playing a game, they were not. Both of them were conscious of threats to their power by the landed classes, the junkers and the boyars, specifically, who tended to dictate policy in a more real way than the rulers themselves.

Much of the reasoning behind the war, despite personal reservations of the heads of government, was dictated by internal politics as much as external.

Edit: didn't think I'd get this many upvotes. Recommended reading on "autocratic" power structures and why autocrats are many times less autocratic than you might think.

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

u/gaumutra_fan · 75 pointsr/india

The Southern states got lucky - they don't have natural resources. Everyone thinks that having natural resources means you'll get wealthy but it's the exact opposite. It is the surest way for a poor region to stay poor.

Here's how it works in a place like Jhakhand. The rights for the minerals are sold to the lowest bidder with the highest bribes. The politicians in power depend entirely on these bribes. Once they're in power, they only need to keep the businessmen happy. They don't need to invest in schooling, healthcare or anything else that improves the lives of their people because the money from the minerals continues to flow into their pockets. In fact, investing in schooling in such a state is bad idea for the politicians because once folks is educated they will realise the scam that the politicians are perpetrating and disrupt the flow of money. Since no one is educated and the state is run by the mineral mafia, no businesses will invest because they have no one to employ and don't want to be extorted by the mafia.

Whereas in a state like TN that is blessed with a lack of natural resources, the politicians need to up their game to stay in power. This means freebies, but also measurable improvements in literally every sphere of life - secondary education, higher education, healthcare. Police has to be less corrupt because otherwise businesses won't invest. TN was bending over backwards to attract manufacturing and IT before it was cool in Gujarat. This is a virtuous cycle that leads to more benefits - because everyone was already educated, most women were already having fewer children decades ago.. Fewer children meant more resources poured into those children, making them more likely to succeed. Educated productive citizens working in IT and manufacturing generate more income for the state government than unskilled labourers. In TN, that income is used to develop the state. In Bihar, it's used on fodder scams.

But it's so simple then! We can fix Bihar and Jharkhand! We just need to elect a politician who won't take bribes, will use the money generated from the natural resources to educate the population, on healthcare, on roads, on electricity etc. Yeah ... that's not happening. Because a person who starts this shit in Bihar will have their legs broken by the people who like the status quo and want it to continue. The goondas who break your legs have their salaries paid for by the bribes you hate so much. Gtfo if you like having two functional legs.

Don't listen to hogwash that "south indian culture" is somehow superior. I'm south Indian and I've lived in all parts of India. It's not true, and it's just racist BS. To blame people in Bihar and Jharkhand for not being educated because of "culture" is basically victim blaming.

If you'd like to learn more about why natural resources are a curse, please read The Dicatator's Handbook or watch this 20 minute trailer - Rules for Rulers. If nothing else, it'll cure you of the thinking that you could do a better job if you were in power.

u/Bluebaronn · 54 pointsr/geopolitics

I was a fan of The Dictators Handbook.

Kissinger's On China was also very good.

u/crunchyninja · 34 pointsr/news

(I hope that's how you post links in Reddit)

Anyways, really good book, similar to Machiavelli, but with enough contemporary examples, and explanations to feel unique. Can't recommend it enough.

u/iwaseatenbyagrue · 31 pointsr/news

The reason for this is all very simple. The Bridge people did not sufficiently pay off the right people in Uganda's government. It is very common tactic in these autocratic countries to demand payment in exchange for allowing the organization to provide aid. The reason is that the dictator has to pay off key people under him. It happens in cases like this especially, where the aid is not a physical thing like money or food, etc., that can itself be easily siphoned off by those in control. In this case, the schools probably compete with other profitable ventures controlled by key people in the government, and the loss of revenues has to be made up somehow.

Zuckerberg and Gates refused to pay up, so now they are shut down. Whatever reasons the government has come up with for the shutdown are just cover for the real reason.

The Dictator's Handbook explains in more detail the dynamics of how this works.

u/zigzagman1031 · 30 pointsr/news

If you're trying to be fancy about it you do it like this:
The Dictators Handbook

Put the words you want to be a link in between brackets [example] and then put the URL in parenthesis directly after [example](example url)

u/Thetonn · 20 pointsr/ukpolitics

Bugger. You stole my suggestion. OP, read this book. It is great.

On a simliar bent but obviously inferior, I'd recommend The Dictator's Handbook which covers more of a political science approach, and will make you reconsider 'stupid' political actions and Freakonomics which covers economics and unintended consequences.

However, the recommendation I'm going to make, in line with my flair, is The Lion and the Unicorn, a dual biography of the greatest political rivalry in British politics, between William Gladstone (the intellectual champion of classical liberalism) and Benjimin Disraeli (the cynical strategist who created the modern conservative party and massively expanded the franchise.

On the face of it, a book about 19th century British prime ministers might not be what you immediately thought of, but it has everything. Parties being created, and destroyed. Idealism against strategy, moral outrage against cynicism, Imperialism and foreign interventions against liberal internationalism, where a candidate elected on a ticket of anti-imperialism inadvertantly triggered the largest colonial expansion in world history. It covers how British politics was created, and the strategies and ideologies that were perfect then remain in place to this day, with Neoliberalism, Globalisation and 'One Nation' effectively a bastardisation of Gladstone's economic policies, Free Trade vs Imperial Preference debates, and the original One Nation Conservatism championed by Disraeli allying the industrious elite with the upper working class populace against the liberal elite (remind you of anything...)

u/AmaDaden · 20 pointsr/AskSocialScience

I've recently finished the The Dictator's Handbook. It argues that most corruption is all about maintaining power. You need to support the people that support you. In a democracy, this means helping your constituents. In a dictatorship (and even some little noticed areas of democracies like town governments) that means giving gifts to those under you who's support you need. Typically this is just free money but it could be tax breaks, cushy jobs, regulatory changes, or other positions of power.

u/mofukkinbreadcrumbz · 18 pointsr/politics

That's most of what politics is. The more good you do for the people, the less good you can do for those who control the people and in turn, the less power you have.

u/FravasTheBard · 17 pointsr/QuotesPorn

The only time that happens is when the military allows the people to storm the established regime - almost always because the established regime didn't give the military leaders enough money. Typical people cannot, have not, and will never destroy a standing state army.

Relevant CGP Grey video for clarity, but honestly the book Dictator's Handbook is much more thorough.

u/Ellistann · 17 pointsr/politics

The Book he based that off of is called The Dictator's Handbook. Its his primary source, and is fantastic.

Been listening to it on my way to work over the last 3 weeks.

Read it, or be like me and listen to it.

u/Apatomoose · 14 pointsr/history

Here's an Amazon link

And on Audible

u/Peetrius · 13 pointsr/globalistshills

The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

  1. For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team 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.

    This is essentially any public choice economics class you'll ever take. It's a great break down on the real incentives of rulers and how that influences their rule, even more so it goes into detail how these incentives shape economies, policies, wars, business, and much more.



    Nonfiction- Political Science/Public Choice theory

u/GregoryPanic · 13 pointsr/politics

Yes, I do actually, because compromise would be forced as the norm and obstruction would be incredibly difficult. It also breaks up the power within congressional districts, because fewer powerful entities directly affect the voting populace.

It's about restricting the ability of congressional leaders to consolidate power within their districts, and having it come down to money.

Look at it this way, each congressperson current represents about 700,000 people (if i remember correctly). For what is considered a "local representative", that's not very "local". It makes it too easy for monied interests to convince the populace at-large of how this effective stranger thinks about xyz issues.

Break this number down to 150-200k each, and it seems a little more reasonable that community groups could have a real chance at having their voices heard. A union representing 1000 people is suddenly 1% of the vote, if 50% of people vote. That same union is a fraction of a % in a 700k district.

This results in a) more level headed politicians who can actually get to know the entirety of their district and not just rely on the big money havers, and b) better democratic representation.

TL;DR: Increasing the number of reps actually dilutes the power of an individual rep, such that they become more beholden to their voters.

edit: credit where credit is due - this book is amazing and explains in detail why a system that increases the number of reps leads to better representation. But to keep it simple - the first thing dictators do is consolidate power by getting rid of as many "key people" as possible, and when a representative represents 1 million people, the "key people" are people with the money to run ads, not community representatives.

u/kafros · 12 pointsr/greece

Ο Τσίπρας το έχει κάνει ευαγγέλιο αυτό

μην σας ξεγελάσει ο τίτλος. λέει για όλα τα πολιτεύματα και εξηγεί την φύση της διαφθοράς.

u/v3ritas1989 · 10 pointsr/worldnews

>Oil revenues constitute more than 98% of the government of South Sudan's budget according to the southern government's Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning


So I think you have it backwards!

They also have a lot of metals. So resources are available to theoretically sustain a 10 fold population.

According to prominent political theory(the dictators handbook), HIGH resources that can be extracted with dying slaves or just outright use foraigners to extract complicated resources like oil will lead to a higher chance of a dictator arrising due to a coup leading to policies that make the people poor, keep them stupid and unhealthy. Which in turn leads to the main survival tool of ppl beeing manual agreculture which needs a lot of ppl. All of this will then lead to high birth rates (and death rates).

u/projectvision · 10 pointsr/news

Its not flawed. It's true. And the further we get from being an actual democracy, the truer it gets.

From an actual power standpoint, lobbyists and major donors have way more influence than a vote does. Read more of the dynamics of why that is:

u/rnev64 · 10 pointsr/geopolitics

Interesting analysis.

Yet I'd like to challenge the fundamental argument : both authoritative and centralized states like Russia and the more pluralistic nation like the US, Canada or UK do not directly act to benefit their people. In all nations a governing elite forms as well a a civil service bureaucracy - and these two groups always act in ways that first and foremost benefit themselves.

There was a famous study of the US (by Harvard researchers iirc) that showed less than 1% of decision by US congress were consistent with what is perceived to be the public benefit or interest - rather it was shown that congress votes according to sectoral interests 99 out of 100 times.

All governing elites in all nations act with such similar selfish interests - but often enough these interests will also benefit the rest of the nation, it's not the intent but it is a byproduct. for example: big trade interests (corporations, share-holders, however you choose to define them) in the US want to keep the south-china seas open for trade because they profit billions off of it (as does the government/civil-service/bureaucracy - indirectly) - the benefit to American citizens in contrast is a secondary by-product.

Situation is similar in Russia: taking over Crimea is something Putin perceives as an interest for his regime but indirectly this is also in the interest of Russians because as you mentioned having Ukraine integrate with western economy weakens all of Russia - thereby worsening the economic situation and the quality of life for all Russians.

Now I am not claiming there are no difference between the western democracies and the Russian democracy (and I believe it is some type of democracy or pseudo-democracy - even if different than the "western" models) - but at the end of the day the fundamental core difference is how big the beneficiary elite is - in Russia it's tiny and in the west it's much bigger.

I believe the book "The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics" does a good job explaining this idea - that ultimately the difference between a centralized/pseudo-totalitarian state and less-centralized democracies is only the relative size of the ruling elite - that's still a big difference but it's a quantitative difference, not a qualitative one - as we might like to think.

u/dylanoliver233 · 10 pointsr/collapse

People such as Noam Chomsky have described the modern politician as essentially a middle manager. That is the interests of the majority actually has no influence on decisions made. Using the U.S as example:

" The report, "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" (PDF), used extensive policy data collected between 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the U.S. political system.

After sifting through nearly 1,800 U.S. policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile), and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the U.S. is dominated by its economic elite. " The same study found that the majority had 0 impact on political decisions.

Here from that bastion of left wing'ism /s Business insider:

Another important point, democracies are not necessarily different that autocracies in how leadership maintains power:

20 min video. Enlightening , based on this book:

u/CreepyWindows · 9 pointsr/uwaterloo

Alright, if you're going to make blanket statements about my motivation to post this, I'll bite.

For one, I'm not left. I'll also note tell you who I voted for but it wasn't the liberals. I'm more in support of the democratic idea that when more people vote, it makes the system less easy to corrupt and also keeps the leaders in check.

If you want to read a book about democratic processes and why you should vote when you can, and encourage others too, "The Dictators Handbook" is great and it's only like 22 bucks.

As u/blex mentioned, of course I'm not unbias as no one is. But if your problem with a post encouraging people to vote is that "liberals do it," it implies you support parties who want as fewer people to vote, which are often more corrupt parties or parties that are only acting democratically, and not truely are (see Russia and see the book I linked).

I hope you learned a little bit on why it's important to vote, and why you should encourage others to.

u/SomeGuy58439 · 9 pointsr/slatestarcodex
u/West-Coastal · 9 pointsr/history

You're probably referring to this CGP Grey video based on The Dictator's Handbook.

u/-AFH- · 8 pointsr/vzla

> Es hora de leer más y dejar usar videos de youtube como argumento

Ese video de youtube se basa en un libro. The Dictator Handbook. Bastante bueno, por cierto.

Si vas a aplicar una de superioridad moral denigrando el mensaje porque viene en la forma de video de youtube, te invito a que leas el libro y aprendas algo (Btw, en Venezuela nos aplicaron una dictadura de "manual").

u/mistersavage · 8 pointsr/IAmA

I'm reading a couple of great books. The Dictator's handbook ( and Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark (very good book to read right now- sigh)

u/msnangersme · 8 pointsr/singapore

Fascinating and relevant book on how people get into power and remain there.

The book argues 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.

u/veringer · 7 pointsr/worldnews

> Putin is in power because he's backed by the wealthiest and the military.

Sort of, but we could phrase this is in the reverse. Putin is in power because he enables these people to remain rich and expand their financial empires. And because he distributes or facilitates the distribution of wealth and profits to key military/police factions. In a nutshell he has his hands on enough power/money to:

  • Ensure the baddest men in Russia are on his side and compensated for assuming the risks associated with the difficult wet work necessary to maintain his hold on power (assassinations, cracking skulls, intimidating opposition, etc), and
  • Keep other powerful instruments happy/loyal enough to allow Putin's continued hold on power.

    For more, watch CGP Grey's Rules for Rulers which is based on The Dictator's Handbook. There's also a conversation/video from the author at Big Think.

u/gregmck · 6 pointsr/math

I've been sort of recreationally fascinated by similar thoughts for a couple years now.

Some readings/topics I've stumbled across, not necessarily mathematical but aligned to your theme:

u/thosehiswas · 5 pointsr/The_Mueller

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

This book explains their actions read it.

u/Godofdrakes · 5 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

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

Corruption is politics.

u/dansdata · 5 pointsr/worldnews

You'll probably find a lot of things in online-newspaper-article comments that'll make you want to hang yourself too, but the rather large number of people who're pinching the bridge of their nose and wondering what the hell they ever thought they were doing voting for Tony aren't the ones commenting in those places. :-)

The whole astonishing-hatred-for-Gillard thing is, ONCE AGAIN, Australia being a pale shadow of the USA. Look at what US right-wingers say about Hillary Clinton, and bing, there you go, Julia-hatred before the carbon paper.

(Hillary's pretty god-damned horrible in objective terms, but utterly wonderful compared with more popular candidates there, at least until Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken are real presidential prospects.)

The Kevin thing was... well, OK, he really is a prissy perfectionist who's an absolute bastard to work with. That's not why he got kicked out, but it's why all of the people nearest him disliked him, and shit like that's what dooms your political career.

(The Dictator's Handbook has an interesting and highly defensible explanation of why people stay in power: . Boiled down, it's the duh-quote "only the people who do what is necessary to stay in power, stay in power", but there is of course more to it than that.)

u/Cymelion · 4 pointsr/australia

>Ugh. I'm good thanks. I've had more than enough cringe watching his humans need not apply video

Read that instead then - Also great you judge people on one piece of their work - he has done many other videos on many other subjects - but ok.

>Why do you think the liberals hate scientists themselves though?

Tacit Consent.

They pull funding from STEM fields and in-turn people like the OP are finding it harder to find work in Aus - we have a major brain drain with people leaving Australia to find work in their field.

So while individually they might not even care about scientists one way or the other - by their actions or inactions they consent to a permeating culture of scientific regression in Australia from the Liberal party and its supporters.

u/fgejoiwnfgewijkobnew · 4 pointsr/CanadaPolitics

>They treat parties like completely static entities.

That's really interesting criticism given CGP Grey doesn't discuss any aspects of any of the hypothetical animals running in the elections. These videos are about the voting mechanics of each system.

If you're interested in how or why politicians change their tune to reflect the electorate see Rules for Rulers which is a distillation of the book The Dictator's Handbook.

u/CalvinballAKA · 4 pointsr/mattcolville

I've had a lot of fun with Diplomacy, though it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

If you're interesting in more realpolitik, CGP Grey's video "Rules for Rulers" (which you may well have already seen) and the book that inspired it, The Dictator's Handbook both view politics from the perspective of power. They're very useful for both understanding real world power politics and developing a setting driven by poewr politics.

u/rarely_beagle · 4 pointsr/slatestarcodex

I think a model that takes a few variables into account could perform pretty well over time and space. Central in this model would be history of being occupied. Also important is harshness of environment encouraging cooperation. Another aspect would be whether or not a Dictator's Handbook scenario is in effect. Often this takes the form of a local leader allowing a foreign power to provide skilled labor and capital equipment to help the country extract resources. In this scenario, the local government's primary job is to use payoffs and/or threats to prevent the local population from interfering or demanding a cut.

Both direct occupation and DH quasi-occupation would create a conflict between the best interests of the citizenry and the best interest of its rulers. Any increase in power of the government could result in decreases of leverage of the population. In this scenario, paying taxes, cooperating with onerous regulations, and providing information to the government could be legitimately seen as a betrayal. This would explain Seoul's unusually high anti-social punishment rate (Japanese Occupation).

I would be very curious how 1760 Boston would have scored on this test. The Boston Tea Party sometimes confuses children because it is a stark example of authorities praising anti-social punishment. Also note Greece's 20th century hardships and Omman's precarious sovereignty given Iran and SA's machinations in the area.

From wikipedia on the ongoing Qatar diplomatic crisis:

> Trump's public support for Saudi Arabia emboldened the kingdom and sent a chill through other Gulf states, including Oman and Kuwait, that fear that any country that defies the Saudis or the United Arab Emirates could face ostracism as Qatar has.

u/SloniB · 4 pointsr/thedavidpakmanshow

Rules for Rulers explains everything. It explains Rex Tillerson (he's Putin's key to extracting oil while empowering local rivals the least). It explains why Giuliani and Gingrich got dropped (the keys for getting into power are different from the keys to stay in power). And it explains our role in resisting the worst parts of Trump's agenda (we are they keys to power for Trump's keys to power - the legislature - and, as such, we can control them). I keep watching this video, and it keeps illustrating something new about the situation we're in. Makes me want to read the book it's based on.

u/Stephanstewart101 · 3 pointsr/geopolitics

The Dictator’s Handbook

This is a great book for understanding why governments do what they do.

u/illz569 · 3 pointsr/worldbuilding

Two things popped into my head right off the bat:

  • The Dictator's Handbook - it doesn't specifically cover the process of decay and decline, but it's an excellent study on realpolitik, and its look into the behavior of people with power would probably be very helpful for constructing a failing government.

  • The other one I thought of was Dan Carlin's Death Throes of the Republic. It's an audio book, and probably not as detailed as Gibbon's, but it's still excellent, especially if you want something in a different format.
u/sachinprism · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I would say that countries are really complex systems that cannot be simplified with a couple of variables into developed and underdeveloped.

I always thought that this oversimplification made sense but then I migrated from India to the US and realized that the United States is actually archaic in a lot of things that India is good at. A big example would be mobile payments and mobile internet in general - Even the poorest of Indians are comfortable using mobile wallets and more Indians have mobile wallets than they have credit cards. I think India sort of skipped the plastic money phase and went straight to mobile.

Planet Money has an excellent podcast on the topic of how and who determines the variables that make a country developed or underdeveloped -
Essentially it works just like how an inefficient, political system works - The powerful and well networked get to make the decision on what matters

Another thing to factor in is democracy and functioning of the government. There is and there never will be truly altruistic leaders. Every individual is essentially motivated by self interest. So lets a leader comes into power in a developing country, he will have a cohort of individuals whom he has to keep satisfied for him to stay in power longer. This cohort will consist of people who have the most resources in the country - Industrialists, people who own the media etc. The smaller the number of people he has to please, the better it is for him. If the country becomes developed, then there will be more people to keep satisfied and thus it becomes harder for the leader. So development is actually counter-intuitive for someone who wants to stay in power.

There are some interesting exceptions - Saudi Arabia, China etc. It would be really good if someone can explain the rationale of leaders in these countries and how they stay in power. It's difficult to rely on stats such as the Gini coefficient in these authoritarian countries - cause they may be manipulating it.

A really good book on this topic -

There is a video that explains the book perfectly. Could not find it. sorry.

Deviating a bit to reply to one of the comments....

One of the comments here say that knowledge comes at the charity of developed countries - nothing could be further from the truth. Developed countries invest in developing countries purely for utilitarian purposes. China for rare earth minerals and manufacturing, Inda and Bangladesh for clothes etc. There is nothing wrong with this. Capitalism at work. I think one thing that badly affects developing countries is "Interventionism". That is rich people thinking they exactly know what a kid in Kenya needs. This has historically lead to more inequalities and even civil wars in Africa. If you really want to help someone, just give them a small loan, they will know what to do with it.

u/readmeink · 3 pointsr/worldnews

I'm going to bank with he doesn't. It's rarely good politics for a dictator to care about the lives of the common people at the expense of his cronies who keep him in power, especially in a war scenario.

Source: The Dictator's Handbook

u/Ant-n · 3 pointsr/Monero
u/ScowlEasy · 3 pointsr/worldnews

Bad behavior is almost always good politics.

There's a CGP grey video Rules for Rulers, which talks about how horrible, despotic people can remain in power for so long (hint: figure out who actually got you into power, and keep that person happy).

If articles are more your fancy this one has most of the same content.

u/sgt0pimienta · 3 pointsr/IRstudies

There are three books I'd like to add as suggestions:

  • Development as Freedom, by Amartya Sen. 285 pages, 5 hour and a half read without pauses.

  • The Dictator's Handbook, by Bruce B. de Mesquita and Alistair Smith. 300 pages, 5 hour read without pauses.

  • Making Globalization Work, by Joseph Stiglitz. 5 hour, fifteen minute read without pauses.

    For reference, the site I used says World Order by Henry Kissinger, the book we read previously, takes 6 hours to read. So these books a bit shorter.

    Development as Freedom:

    This book proposes a relatively new theory for public policy based on free agency. Amartya Sen's thesis is that the objective of governing and developing a country is to provide freedom to its citizens. He does a pretty good analysis of how a country works policy-wise and he makes a proposal to reach this free agency goal. I think this book would broaden perspectives on how to view a government's labor, on what development is, and what it should be.

    The Dictator's Handbook:

    In this book, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alistair Smith decompose multiple historical situations both in governing and in private enterprises in order to define the universal dynamics of power. It is a great book and it explains, with sufficient evidence, what a leader needs to capture and retain power in any system imaginable by redefining how we view government systems.

    Making Globalization Work:

    I have read a bit of the previous books, but only a single chapter of this one, so instead I'm going to quote a review on amazon:

    > Three years ago, I was a little freshman economics student at a small college. My World Politics professor assigned me this book to read halfway through the semester, and I am quite happy that I read it. Stiglitz is blessed with both brains and writing ability, something that too many economists do not have [...] Stiglitz does an exceptional job of summarizing much of the baggage that international policy makers carry from their past mistakes.

    >The largest criticism that people have of the book is that much of what he says has been said by other people. This is true. But those other people can't write and aren't remotely as accessible as Stiglitz is. If you're looking for a good jump-in, read this book.

u/ezk3626 · 3 pointsr/Kaiserreich

First, in reality the whole thing is fluid and political science is more of an art than a science. There is a part of me that sees government from the lens of The Dictators Handbook which views governments without any regard to ideology but only on the number of people who control wealth (democratic governments have large groups of people while autocratic have smaller groups). From that perspective I'd imagine that AutDem, PatAut and NatPop are the same sort of oligarchy with an elite group of maybe a hundred people in government, industry, military, media and religion who make all of the decisions for the state.

However in my experience there is more motivating people than merely a desire for control of the budget. Though I could never get past the pornography in Game of Thrones but it had some great thought on the subject power is power and power lies where people believe it lies. The primary difference between the three authoritarian government has to do with the stories people tell to explain power. As best I can tell NatPop tells a story of a great people and the emphasis is on the blood of the people, they are the descendants of gods and are of a different sort then other people. AuthPat is a story about a great man, the world is filled with chaos but HE brings order and so we follow HIM. AuthDem is a story about a great nation, the government is better than other governments and its laws are better than other laws.

How I understand this is to say the OTL Churchill in the UK was an authoritarian democrat. The justification for his quasi-dictatorship was not that Churchill was just such a great man (though obviously that is implied in his telling of story) and certainly it was not that noble English blood is better than other blood (though that too he believed) but primarily it was that the United Kingdom was the greatest empire in the world because its laws were just and it made the world a better place. Churchill's narrative was that they would win because their whole system was just better than those of their enemies.

We can add Totalism to the same model since the number of people who controlled the budget was very similar to that of the others. Their story is that they have set the people free and any oppose them are seeking to enslave the people, therefore everyone should give up what they have for the cause of the world's freedom.

u/DolphusTRaymond · 3 pointsr/worldnews

There's a book you may enjoy which explains why autocrats are horrible to their populations.

u/expo1001 · 3 pointsr/BlueMidterm2018

I'll have to put it on my list. I would also recommend "The Dictator's Handbook" by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita.

u/jscythe · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Read this. If you want to know what's going to happen, just look at Ethiopia in the 70's. The famine wasn't the result of drought. The famine was a deliberate move on the part of the Ethiopian government. The people that starved every year were considered waste. They weren't making any of the government's constituents money, so they weren't important enough to feed. That's where we are headed in this country. If you really want a solution, and you aren't just trolling, you need to get off your ass and teach people how to be self-reliant. Shit's about to get so bad that even your little rant will seem utterly meaningless.

u/Ekkisax · 3 pointsr/ProtectAndServe

No book will prepare you for law enforcement, it has to be touched, smelled, heard, and seen. If you're already a cop then the best thing you can do to be better is to be a well rounded human being and books can help with that.

Here's the recommended reading from some of the prior threads I was able to find in the sub.

  1. On Killing
  2. On Combat
  3. Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement
  4. Intro to Criminal Evidence
  5. Blue Blood
  6. 400 Things Cops Should Know
  7. Cop: A True Story
  8. [Verbal Judo] (
  9. [What Cops Know] (
  10. [Into the Kill Zone] (
  11. Training at the Speed of Life
  12. Sharpening the Warrior's Edge
  13. The Gift of Fear
  14. Deadly Force Encounters
  15. The Book of Five Rings

    I've read a good portion of the above listed. I highly recommend Emotional Survival and going to see one of Gilmartin's talks if he's in your area. Below are a few of my personal suggestions.

  16. Meditations
  17. Blink - Not sure if I buy it, but interesting to think about.
  18. [Armor] (
  19. Iron John: A Book About Men
  20. The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics
u/delmania · 3 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

> How do you square that description with his support for Trump policies that clearly clashed with his principles?

That's easy to answer, it's rule 4 of the excellent Dictator's Handbook, which is Pay your key supporters just enough to keep them loyal. The Republican Party depends heavily on the financial donations of 3 ultra-rich families to run elections and stay in power. These families despise Trump's personality, but love his policies (for the obvious reason these policies enrich them). It's not even a stretch to say that Ryan was told by the GOP leadership to support Trump to ensure the financial donations continued. I think resigning is probably the only principled action Ryan has ever taken.

u/Robert_Jarman · 3 pointsr/AnarchismBookClub

I found two books, one is basically a book for everyone, and the second is the book that proves the logic of the first with a rather long table of statistics and formal math and even more historical examples,

The logic is sound and consistent. It also importantly for anarchists, affects also other hierarchies like corporations, and even can go into a lot of the discussion on racism, sexism, and similar.

I also like the book for some of the suggestions it offers. It clearly explains that the more liberty, the better, with nearly no limits on how much better the world is when more people contribute, a strong counterargument to claims of say a strong and central state is needed to consolidate something. It also talks about corporations and private institutions, and while he doesn't directly call them co-ops, he does say that democratic companies where the profits are distributed based on a formula or on a public basis improve the world and their own internal governance. And it explains why the more democratic something is, the harder it is to overwhelm it via a coup.

It also gives some ideas on how to fix the whole kaboodle, such as social networking making the profits of executives limited if the average puny shareholder has a platform to discuss and directly vote, escrow account lending and foreign aid, higher education in authoritarian countries, cell phones, and amnesties to those who cede power.


u/JollyGreenJesus · 2 pointsr/politics

This isn't a phenonema that's just restricted to US presidents.

Throughout the ages, whenever a ruler's health would start to fail, the essential supporters that he relies on would start to scramble to figure out how to replace him.

The Dictator's Handbook does an excellent job of explaining this, with a respectable number of historical examples. (I'm in no way related to the production of this book, it's just a really good book.)

u/SomethingInThatVein · 2 pointsr/Documentaries

Your assertion that there is absolutely no state-sponsored influence on any facets of American media, and that there are no power players who involve themselves in advertising, is obviously, categorically false. Your argument is founded solely on either naivety or misinformation. I'd recommend to everybody seeing this read The Dictator's Handbook, NY Times best-selling Dark Money, and maybe even Pulitzer-prize winning Black Flag for a more in-depth study on the complicated issue of how exactly we're manipulated and exploited.

u/pocketknifeMT · 2 pointsr/politics

Can you name a more competent leader on the African Continent?

He was quite effective and even good, in a dictator's handbook sort of way.

He probably was killed over his credible plan to tank the petro-dollar. That's something any American administration would literally kill to stop.

u/Beyond_Earth_Rising · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

You can start here. Then move onto here to address what you just said. For fun you can then move onto here. Once you've got all that under your belt you can learn how politics really works by reading this.

Good luck! But I urge you not make comments like "Nazis were left wing" until you've combated your ignorance with those books! Don't do it for me, do it for yourself and your country!

u/MercuryEnigma · 2 pointsr/CGPGrey2
u/switzerlandsweden · 2 pointsr/brasil

esse episódio foi baseado nesse livro, vale a leitura

u/TheFifthPageOfReddit · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

So I'm by no means an expert on this, but a while back I read a book called The Dictator's Handbook that goes into why executives and monarchs do this to their companies/counties.

A condensed version of the book can be seen by watching this CGP Grey video.

The TL;DW version of this:

Nobody rules alone. Executives have to answer to their board of directors, who in turn have other people they have to answer to and so on and so forth. These people have the power to throw you out if you don't please them.

How do you please people best? Bribe them. Give them incentives to keep you as top dog. How do you get the resources to bribe? Pillage your country/company for wealth.

You shower your immediate underlings with gifts and benefits and they won't oust you. Partially because they're in a good situation from it. Partially because if they do there is a risk that they'll get culled in a change of power (fewer people = more wealth for each person).

As a result top executives who find that they cannot get the resources to give to their underlings by improving the company will instead just grapple for anything they can get a hold of to keep their position.

This is of course a simplified explanation and the book goes into it way better.

u/Veganpuncher · 2 pointsr/Adelaide

I'm sorry I missed it. Edward Luttwak's legendary Coup d'Etat, and de Mesquita and Smith's The Dictator's Handbook are also good sources if you didn't make it.

Machiavelli is, of course, the Baseline for the aspiring tyrant.

u/DrunkenEffigy · 2 pointsr/politics

You know how I know I'm talking to a moron, cause you hyperfocused on the one word that offended you and ignored the 3 links provided on your other questions. Also cause I pointed out that you can name any country and find corruption problems with it. I love the fact that the second article you linked included that graphic and you didn't notice because I'm guessing you didn't bother to read it. Note even countries on the low end of the corruption spectrum aren't squeaky clean (U.S. see pharmaceutical lobbyist). As to systemic corruption problems in central and South America I personally believe it to be a problem with specific resource contribution overshadowing citizen contribution as covered in The Dictator's Handbook.

You specifically are a racist because you believe corruption happens because they are Latin-American. By the way the first article you linked was actually talking about the improvements in Latin-America dealing with corruption. But I'm guessing you didn't read that either because you are a low effort racist and you liked the headline. Also you ignored my answers to your other two questions.

u/DoYouEnjoyMy · 2 pointsr/LateStageCapitalism

I recommend this book. It will explain why that will never happen

u/Hoihe · 2 pointsr/hungary
u/PRbox · 2 pointsr/ChapoTrapHouse

Thanks for the recommendation. I've got a lot of "left-leaning" books (well, some of them) on my list now that all sound interesting, and Debt is definitely a high priority because people keep recommending it.

Have you read any of his other work? Bullshit Jobs sounds really interesting but a couple reviews said the original article he wrote on the topic pretty much sums the book up in a much lower word count.

A few of the books on my to-read list in case anyone sees this and is interested:

u/techno_mage · 2 pointsr/politics

> So much shit already went down before he was elected. What makes you think its over now?

"The Dictator's Handbook" Pg. 195 Chapter 8, People in Revolt.

A successful leader always puts the wants of his essential supporters before the needs of the people. Without the support of his coalition a leader is nothing and is quickly swept away by a rival. But keeping the coalition content comes at a price when the leaders coalition depends only on a few. More often then not, the coalition's members get paid at the cost of the rest of society. Sure, a few autocrats become hall of famers who make their citizens better off. Most dont. And those who don't will spend their time in office running down their nation's economy for their own and their coalition's benefit.Eventually things get bad enough that some of the people tire of their burden. Then they too can threaten the survival of their leader.

Although not as omnipresent as the threat posed by the risk of coalition defection, if the people take to the streets en masse then they may succeed in overwhelming the power of the state.

TL:DR : trump fucked up by going against the Intelligence Community, people who literally can watch him 24/7. It starts a trickle, which quickly turns into a stream. this isn't the end I'm sure.

video that explains this

Same Video but Starting at "taxes and revolts"

u/shogun333 · 2 pointsr/HouseOfCards

You have to have the right attitude to watch the show. If you're a little child and someone tells you Santa doesn't exist it's depressing. However, there's eventually a satisfaction to growing up.

HoC is just a show but it is (IMO) a more sophisticated type of media than just a Disney movie with cartoonishly obvious good and bad. Hopefully it grows your palette as a consumer of media and if nothing else expands the healthy scepticism you hold towards politicians and authority figures in our society.

My view of politicians is that they are all manipulative little Underwoods, whether they are on your side or the oppositions. Underwoods are always the ones that rise to high office. The reason why the free countries like the US are lucky is that their system does a reasonable job of aligning the interests of the people with those of the selfish, monstrous leaders. I recommend this book if you want to read more. There's no important difference between US leaders and Saddam or Gaddafi. It's the system and society that surrounds them that leads to such different societies.

u/slitherrr · 2 pointsr/TwoXChromosomes

I could go through this line by line with responses, but I don't really have the energy, and it's not really why I posted the video anyway--his treatment of horseshoe theory is less important than the concept's illustration (even though I think your particular treatment isn't completely fair-handed). I'll just throw in a couple of reactions, with the caveat that you can probably ignore them and take, "He uses shortcuts for concepts he's built up elsewhere that make sense in context" as my point and leave it there.

The first point to throw out is that Coffin himself uses "thought leader" as a particular shortcut for "person who exists to popularize concepts in trade for social currency", and continually recognizes the hypocrisy of also being someone who is popularizing concepts in trade for social currency (just not in this video). We do all exist in capitalism, after all, so pointing this out is just as (in-)valid as calling out someone who hates the free market for buying food at a grocery store.

Specifically at: "Millions of people died in communist revolutions and communist regimes." If you paid attention to those, they... really weren't movements of the left. You certainly have a point that movements spawned from ideas from the left can be co-opted by fascists, but that doesn't make those fascists leftists, it just means co-option is easy.

This is why violent revolution is contraindicated, by the way, at least, if you're trying to achieve a democratic result. I recommend a treatment of the topic here by CGP Grey (, which is itself a distillation of this book by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (, but the major point is that if you want to bypass Democracy while co-opting a populist idea, backing your movement with the military is a great way to do it (as in, the precise tactic of pretty much any government with the Communist label that has achieved majority power to date).

u/Slick424 · 2 pointsr/collapse

Read a book

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

It explains very well why democracies are better places to live and why autocrats are incentivised to keep the general population in crushing poverty.

u/bajum_bajum · 2 pointsr/Documentaries

Foreign Aid is such a complex topic.
I found that de Mesquita's tongue-in-cheek book "The Dictator's Handbook"
( has an interesting angle on that topic. When focus is on the motives of the aid givers, some seemingly absurd results and situations seem less absurd.

u/Teantis · 2 pointsr/InternationalDev

Oh also when you go to college try to look in your school's econ department or poli Sci department for a professor who works on development projects. Many professors, especially at elite schools do as part time consultants advisors or whatever. Take their class, get involved with them as much as you can, and generally show interest in what they're working on and stuff. See if you can get them to include you ad an assistant or whatever in your breaks if you can afford to spend a break working for free or very low pay (or even shell out your own travel) that will be good (obviously unfair but such is life). Connections and being able to show your merit up close to people who personally know hiring managers etc., will trump any resume or academic preparation.

Another very accessible book is the dictator's handbook by Bruce Bueno de mesquita, who is a leading development academic but the book is written in plain English and not a lot of academic jargon.

u/zayelion · 2 pointsr/theredpillright

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita : The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics
>For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team 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.

This book explains so much in such a minimal amount of time it is scary. Every complete piece of idiocy corruption good and bad deed, why capitalism or socialism or communism or liberalism or anarchism in any political system. It was written before the current political climate but makes mention to our current major players. I wonder why? If anything just watch CGP's video. Morals have nothing to do with much of anything important.

> “Simply the best book on politics written…. Every citizen should read this book.”

-CGP Grey (

> "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, July, 2011

u/ltethe · 2 pointsr/technology

I recommend The Dictators Handbook

For something to take the twinkle out of your eye when it comes to local government. I don't disagree with your sentiment, but I'm just tempering your sparkle for local government.

Another example would be China, where the "Federal" government is much more highly trusted then the local branches which have corruption leaking from every angle and no recourse from the locals except to make a trip to Beijing and implore the Party to come to their aid.

u/redalastor · 2 pointsr/canada

There won't be because the point of the money is to be a bribe to be stolen. If Trudeau just came out and said he was bribing such and such dictator people would react just like they do for the sales of weapon to Saudi Arabia. Instead he says he giving charitable help and looks away as it is stolen.

If you are interested in the details there's a great chapter about it in The dictator's handbook.

u/BaronBifford · 2 pointsr/ask_political_science

NB: I recommend this video and this book. They're amazing.

u/patrick_work_account · 2 pointsr/books

I just finished The Dictator's Handbook and it is one of the most insightful books on politics and power that I have ever come across.

u/Hynjia · 2 pointsr/Anarchism

Wanna know a trick? can read a book...and...not finish it...

I sometimes approach books and I'm like, "holy shit, I'm gonna die." Then I realize that if I don't like it, I can...just...stop and never pick it up again if I want. That is a thing I can do.

And by god, I freakin' do it! The Dictator's Handbook is boring as hell. And I just don't care what the author has to say. Who gives a shit what Adam Smith Knew? Just a few books I've not completed because I'm just not interested.

So! Go! Read! And be interested in the content! Because if you're not, then there are so many other more interesting books to read!

u/Dyolf_Knip · 1 pointr/todayilearned

I'm reading a book, The Dictator's Handbook, which does an excellent job answering exactly that question. Basically, all the people who were in a position to kill him were benefiting from keeping him in power. They knew it, and Shaka knew it. They wouldn't turn on him unless the rewards*%success of supporting someone else made for a more attractive offer.

Really a fascinating piece of work. Doesn't simply divide up history into "democracies" and "dictatorships", but argues that it's all a question of how many people's support are necessary for a ruler to stay in power. With democracies, obviously you need a lot of voters, though just how many can vary wildly from 51% down to just a few percent. With autocrats like this, it's usually little more than a couple military leaders and control over a few financial instruments. The population in general can go hang itself for all they care. Indeed, for modern autocracies whose money comes mostly from selling off natural resources to foreign corporations, the people actually populating the ruler's own country are often totally dispensable and little more than an occasional source of trouble.

u/nickik · 1 pointr/asoiaf

I am more in the renly camp myself. As in I dont think he is a idiot.

> Why? Because the people of Westeros follow power, charisma and leadership

That is false. The people do not matter much. This is fudalism, not democracy. The amount of people that matter for your 'election' as king are about 1-5% of people.

Renly gained support because had a big house behind him, good relation with another big house. This much power draws more power.

These lords knew that if the where in the winning groupe the would get favers, casels, lands tax releases and so on.

Stannis expected people to follow him, not because he would grant them faver just because it is right. The simply fact is, ranly understand how feudalism works, stannis does not.

> They criticize him for being slow

I agree that the slow play was probebly a good one. A robert like stick against Kings Landing would probebly have been just as effective. I dont think that it really mattered, both the slow and the fast way would lead to victory.

> Renly's men truly loved and believed in him, Renly could make friends like no other.

That is not really importent. Its about the money. Do you think Randly Tarly like the Lord Blowfish? Do any of the Lords of the Reach like Tywin? No. Non of this really matters a huge amount.

> getting rid of men like Varys and Littlefinger who did not work for the good of the realm

Again why do so many people talk about ' the good of the realm', nobody (almost) nobody cares about 'the realm'. They care for themselfs, there power there money or some other think like LF overcomming his inferiority complex. Renly does not fight for the good of the realm, stannis does not fight for the good of the realm, and so on.

Why is it so hard to understand that in feudalism nobody cares about the cood of the common man. Its about the what the people in power want.

> knew what it took to be a King

Its called using your own power to gather a winning colition.


Renly was a pretty good player, he had a good starting position ie. having the faver over his brother and getting storms end and beeing born one of the top 5 familiys.

Renly would have easly taken King Landing from the smash Tywin between him and Robb. He would probebly not have to fight with robb, much more lickly the would have come to terms. Renly would not have started a war with Dorne, while the Dorne and the Reach dont like each other neither renly nor doren would push for war.

Renly would probebly had governed a stable kingdom. He spending his time having fun, not fighing pointless wars. He was also not cruel, in the sence that he would hurt people for fun. I think as far as feudal kings go he would have been as good as any.


Some might be intressted in actual analysis of dictatorships and how they can be analysed. I would higly recomend the work of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita.

Some easly understandable podcast here:
> The Political Economy of Power (
> Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on Democracies and Dictatorships (

If you are more the reading type, his most easy to read book, witch is his theory explaind for non sientists:
> The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics (

This stuff might sound borring, but I would really recomend it, if you are into the poltics part of Game of Thrones I cant belive you would not enjoy this stuff.

u/Sdoraka · 1 pointr/france

je suis en train de lire le Dictator's Handbook ( ) ce livre propose une facon de voir comment les regles du pouvoir, d'une dictature a une démocratie, en passant par l'entreprise. attention, ce livre peut rendre cynique !

u/0deDau · 1 pointr/Quebec

(Toi aussi t'as lu The Dictator's Handbook? Excellent bouquin que je recommande à tous ;) )

u/BlueLightSpcl · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

Political Scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita provides some insight into this question in The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

His work uses game theory to look at who leaders depend on to stay in power, and how large those factions are relative to the general population amongst other things. I found it to be an interesting and accessible read.

u/lee61 · 1 pointr/im14andthisisdeep

>War is a result of the ruling classes conspiring to set the masses of their nations against each other while they sip champagne together and laugh."

I think the point is that war is another tool of diplomacy and at the end of day don't really affect those in power. This picture can almost be a 1:1 comparison when talking about countries that experience civil war. After the war is over you will normally see that the new ruling class would still keep previous rulers.

>Think also about how many brutal dictators and fanatics act in what can only be described in blatantly evil ways.

Dictatorships tend to be evil not because people are evil. It's because to stay in power in a dictatorship, you have to give benefits to a small coalition. This picture hits closer to home in countries and nations that have or had a small coalition.

> You think that every time they decide to go to war against them it's merely a lark, that they're secretly dining together behind the scenes while the stupid masses duke it out? You think they're all a bunch of bloodthirsty sociopaths who enjoy sending people to war, that it doesn't weigh on any of their consciences at all?

I think the point is to show that soldiers, especially in small coalition countries, tend to be stepping stones in a larger game they don't really have much play in.

Here is great book that gives historical context and examples.

If you aren't a fan of reading then here's a great video that is based off the book

u/unsolvablemath · 1 pointr/thedavidpakmanshow

The dictator's handbook... is a great explanation.

u/GetsTrimAPlenty · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

So legitamcy, like others have said.

Then other things from the Dictator's Handbook:

  1. It helps keep their supporters in line
  2. It helps them get money

    2 is fairly straightforward. Current efforts to help democratize autocracies like to demand changes in governance in exchange for loans; Since giving loans / debt forgiveness without changes doesn't result in change, commonly. So an easy answer for a dictator is to just throw a sham election and say: "See? I'm all democratic n' shit". If they're sneaky enough to do the rigged election right, then they can meet the letter of the terms of the loan / debt forgiveness and immediately get themselves more money.

    1 is a bit of a walk, but in summary: dictators need people to rule (someone to run the police, someone to collect the taxes, etc), so they pay their supporters to keep them in line while stealing from the populace. But their supporters are also those that are most likely to work to overthrow them, so a ruler needs a way to keep them in line in addition to the rewards I mentioned. One easy way is to show that they're replaceable, you get replacements from the population that supports them. A sham election can then be used to show a wide range of support from the populace; This isn't very convincing to any thinking person, but does create uncertainty about how popular a leader really is (since there are some actual supporters in that 90%+ voting rate that the election returns) and thus how unlikely it would be to stir up a rebellion to overthrow the leader. This balance of "carrot" and "stick" helps to keep the supporters in line and off balance.

    Good overview by CGP grey. It doesn't cover the election per-say, but it does get you used to thinking like this.

    Also since I'm less than half way through the book there may be other reasons, but these were the reasons I've come accross.
u/captainahob · 1 pointr/technology

Every form of government on this planet has to bend to the will and respond to the needs of the “Keys to Power.” If you haven’t read the book yet, you should. This CGP Grey video is quite well done and explains.

Also you should remember that good leadership has existed and will exist again in this country. How about offering a fucking solution instead of regurgitating the same old speech?

I would propose we get somebody who promises to suck corporate cock, like Trump, but is secretly on the people’s side. Once they get elected they do a 180 and become the next trust buster. An education revolutionary. An energy revolutionary. Somebody to really give these fucks what-for and give the power back to the people.

u/the_other_brand · 1 pointr/TrueReddit

No, that's a very broad overview of the latest findings in the Political Sciences on how Dictatorships work. The Dictator's Handbook is a pretty informative book on the structure and ,holding of power. Power is rooted in voting blocs for Democracies and money for everything else. Any structure used to maintain or use power results in governance.

This governance structure is something deeply wired into humanity. This was the conclusion to another book I read called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. The premise of the book is that there has to be a reason why Homo Sapiens came to be the dominate Homo species on this planet. And it was the best guess of the author that it was Homo Sapiens ability to collectively believe in fictional structures that allowed them to unite in groups bigger than tribes. These fictional structures are what we today would know as laws, governments, states, nations, corporations, etc.

It was a long way around, but in short you can't separate government and power. One concept always induces another. Its a fundamental part of human nature.

u/SideraX · 1 pointr/france

Ok, j'avoue avoir un peu exagéré et simplifié sur cette expression.

Je suis pas d'accord par contre sur le fond. Oui bien sur la majorité des êtres humains sont capables d'empathie et l'utilise, on serait pas ou on en est aujourd'hui sans ça. Là où je suis pas d'accord c'est de dire que les positions de pouvoirs sont maintenu par des gens si différents de la personne lambda.
Par contre maintenir une position de pouvoir oblige un certain changement de comportement, c'est aussi ça qui est prédit par la théorie des jeux.

C'est vulgarisé ici :

Edit : tiré du bouquin : )

u/Trollatopoulous · 1 pointr/worldnews

I love it! Been hardcore fan of BBdM & Smith for so long now, it's good to see someone do a video on their work!

For anyone else, read: The Dictator's Handbook

u/James_Solomon · 1 pointr/liberalgunowners

I normally wouldn't respond further, but I actually did write up a summary of a relevant book so I could discuss it with other people, and I think you might benefit from it.

I just finished The Dictator's Handbook, which explains selectorate theory to the layman.

You can read about the finer points and implications of selectorate theory by yourself, or watch this CCP Grey video on the Rules for Rulers which covers selectorate theory. The relevant point here is that if the situation ever got so back that government sanctioned right wing death squads started hunting Demcorats, you'd be screwed either way. No revolution can succeed when the essential supporters of a government are being satisfied by policies, favors, and rewards.

The Russian Revolution would not have been successful if the Tsar had not banned vodka and lost a third of government revenue during a long and taxing war. It didn't matter that the people hated him before the vodka ban and more afterwards; his key mistake was alienating the army. Without pay and painfully sober, they saw had no issue with gambling for a change in masters. Until that moment came, there could not have been a February Revolution.

So if your coworkers were ever emboldened to the point of hunting Democrats, they'd have the backing of the best funded and most advanced military in the world. You can shoot your coworkers, but shooting the US Army is something else.

u/the_normal_person · 1 pointr/CanadaPolitics

The Dictator's Handbook is a fantastic political science book. Not just about the politics of dictatorships, but the politics of democracies, small municipalities, and businesses as well. Super cynical, but provides tonnes of really great examples and case studies.

On of my favourite books period.

u/Noplanstan · 1 pointr/AskMen

The Dictators Handbook: It definitely made me more cynical but realistic about politics. CGP Grey did a video based on the book so check it out if you’re curious.

The thesis of the book is basically all rulers/politicians can only survive by being selfish and paying off those who support them. In dictatorships, these are generals, businessmen and bureaucrats. In a democracy those are the constituents who elect you. Those who do not vote do not matter which is why in the US politicians cater to the whims of the Boomers rather than Millennials. Boomers vote, Millennials don’t. Doing something for millennials is something not done for boomers (aka the people who put you in power) and makes it more likely that boomers will elect someone who has their interests at heart. If you want a better explanation check out that video! It’s fantastic and I’ve watched it countless times.

Also Millenials, please go vote! If you’re dissatisfied with politics this is the only way to change things!

u/Go_Todash · 1 pointr/worldnews

This goes on everywhere, throughout time. For anyone wanting to read more, I recommend The Dictator's Handbook . When I see these stories now, I recall passages from the book. For some quotes:

u/themaninblack08 · 1 pointr/worldnews (mostly for an overview of how systems of society drive behavior for better or worse) (mostly for the understanding on how economics developed into political power in the context of taxation to pay soldiers)


And given the context, probably Hobbes.

u/brennanfee · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

> YES! The people had a choice to choose anyone they wanted, based on his platform, supported by Lobbyist A or not, and they didn't.

You are just simply wrong. The system, as described, is broken. No matter who tries to run only a supporter of Lobbyist A is the result. Over and over again, year after year.

> Right, which is why the parties represent exactly what they've been representing for the past 150 years and have never changed at all.

The change we are talking about only began in the last 50 years.

> If the people want Jared, and Jared isn't supported by any lobbyists, they can elect him anyway. That's possible!

No, the reality matters. In our example, Jared might be part of the Owl party or even outside party. What's "possible" doesn't matter... only what happens given the reality of the workings of the machine. With FPTP, Jared will have no chance. Code and Pepsi rule the "soft drink" market. No challenger will come along and take first or second place ever again. The fact that it's "possible" technically but impossible practically is what we are talking about here. They simply wouldn't allow it. That's how we define monopolies and duopolies - not by what's possible but on how things actually function. Of course, given our pro-business government we allow them to retain their control without encouraging real competition because that's what the business want - who cares if it is no longer capitalism as a result. We no longer seem to care about monopolies or unfair competitive practices because the businesses own the politicians.

> I read the stupid paper. It's not very convincing.

I never referenced the paper, you did. This is a more fundamental concept then that paper. [Besides, it was a peer reviewed paper so making it sound like just a one-off is disingenuous.] Where we are at an impasse is the method used to determine the form of government.

> Stop treating me like a child. It's unbelievably stuck-up.

Reflect on your viewpoint. That's what adults do. You have mistaken my willingness to use your definitions as tacit approval of that definition. You keep dodging the fundamental question because you are clearly WRONG on the fundamental question when using your definition. That is very child-like behavior. Still, I apologize for getting snippy, it is uncalled for regardless.

> He supports PR for the UK because people vote for actual parties there, unlike here where they don't.

That's a painfully simplistic view of what he "supports".

Finally, I'll note yet again you dodge the question of what method to use to determine what a government is. You maintain the structure is enough. Yet, when provided clear examples both in the world and through the thought experiment that your definition becomes untenable you refuse to reflect and examine the more established definition or viewpoint. As I have said repeatedly, having the vote is not enough. In our thought experiment the structure is sound (you have yet to indicate a problem with it)... and yet, it is clearly a system to deny the people what they desire. It has clearly been manipulated to prevent the people from having real control or say in who they vote for and the policies produced as a result. Democracy in name only; autocracy in result. Might as well just get rid of the vote. [Which is coming, that's where we are headed. Once the labor force collapses, the people will no longer be necessary and autocrats will simply rule.]

In a functioning democracy, you should be able to see a link between the vote tally and the seats and policies created. When 55% of the people vote monkey and 45% vote tiger... your legislation should be as close as practicable to a 55/45 split. The policies created should than reflect a compromise between the views of monkey and tiger. Owl is is still screwed in this example and so still produces an issue. Again fixable.

The only reason we have lasted with this imbalance so long is due to the checks and balances and the Bill Of Rights. The genius of the founders was to avoid that centralization of power and a corruption of the people's basic rights. But as I have said, they failed only in addressing one issue; defacto control by outsiders through the party system. As I have said, they were just unaware that that outcome is inevitable with FPTP. During their time, FPTP was the only known method. Genius is always weighted within its time; it is unfair to use the knowledge of today to reflect on their inability to "see" it. Our problem is that even people today aren't aware that there are better ways.

u/LurkerInSpace · 1 pointr/Documentaries

No, I'm saying that political leaders have similar incentives in most societies, and that this often leads to poor behaviour. This book is a good summary of why this happens.

No two individuals are the same, but we know that if we want a job done that offering money is a good way to get a whole variety of individuals to offer to work for us. That doesn't mean they are "all the same" though.

u/hexalby · 1 pointr/AskMen

If your politicians are not doing what you expect them to do, it means the group you are part of is too inconsequential for them to be significant in their acquisition or hold on power.

So the resources that would be used to win the approval of your demographical block are used to win the approval of the segment of the population critical to their success.

Since their objective is to win they have to promise this critical segments more than the competition, so everything that is spent on you is wealth that their opponents can promise to the critical segment, winning over the politician that is trying to please you.

The solution is to find a party where your support is critical to their success. This holds true whatever your personal beliefs are.

If yo want a better explanation I suggest having a look at the book the dictator's handbook or if don't have time to read a big (and honestly) fairly heavy book this video is an interesting summary.

u/EnderWiggin1984 · 1 pointr/JordanPeterson

Reccomended reading:

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

Youtube summary:

Follow up:

Author Ted Talk:

Academic work that lays out Selectorate Theory:

u/hipsterparalegal · 1 pointr/books

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

u/LeinadAlbert88 · 1 pointr/argentina

Sacado del libro The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

> Autocrats aim for the rate that maximizes revenue. They want as much money as possible for themselves and their cronies. In contrast, good governance dictates that taxes should only be taken to pay for things that the market is poor at providing, such as national defense and large infrastructure projects. Taking relatively little in taxes therefore encourages the people to lead more productive lives, creating a bigger pie. Democrats are closer to this good governance ideal than autocrats, but they too overtax. The centerpiece of Reaganomics, the economic plan of US president Ronald Reagan (1981–1989), was that US taxes were actually higher than this revenue maximizing level. By reducing taxes, he argued, people would do so much extra work that government revenue would actually go up. That is, a smaller share of a bigger pie would be larger than the bigger share of a smaller pie. Such a win-win policy proved popular, which is why similar appeals are again in vogue. Of course, it did not quite work out this way in fact.

> To a certain extent, Reagan was right: lower taxes encouraged people to work and so the pie grew. However, crucially, in democracies it is the coalition’s willingness to bear taxes that is the true constraint on the tax level. Since taxes had not been so high as to squash entrepreneurial zeal in the first place, there wasn’t much appreciable change as a result of Reagan’s tax cuts. The pie grew a little, but not by so much that revenues went up.

u/Troyd · 1 pointr/politics

Sounds like you have a handbook - is it for dictators?

u/johnnywatts · 0 pointsr/malaysia

>Explain that. Even the US of A couldnt run away from corruption.

We don't need a perfect system. We only need a system that makes it incredibly inconvenient and difficult to abuse.

No nation is corruption free. However, the US's system is far better than Malaysia's when it comes to curbing government power. To get any new law done at all you need to go through 4 stages of checks (House, Senate, White House, Supreme Court).

Remember Trump's Muslim ban? Overturned by the courts. Not even the President who controls the most powerful military in the world can do anything about it. It's why TIMES magazine named Putin the most powerful man in the world, not Obama at that time. Putin can do anything, Obama has to beg the House, Senate and Supreme Court for everything.

On top of all that you have 50 state governments. All of which has their own armed forces (National Guard and State Reserve system), and have the right to ignore Federal law and protect their own state. It's how marijuana can be illegal on the Federal level, but if you go to Colorado you can smoke until you syok.

Compare it to Malaysia's system, where somehow you had a PM who is also Finance Minister, and almost ended up with the PM holding absolute power. Power is highly centralized in the hands of the Federal government, and thus the PM.

>As for lack of natural resources as a reason for failure, I disagree. There is this theory called "resource curse". Its the contries with a lot of natural resources who are doomed. They get susceptible to colonisation and corruption.

This one my theory is based on The Dictator's Handbook and CGP Grey's The Rules For Rulers (also based on the same Handbook):

The summary is that all government power is based on the distribution of Treasure since no man rules alone.

In a resource rich nation, the Treasure is said resources, and if the government is able to keep the extraction of resources going, and makes enough Treasure to keep everyone happy, it will be stable.

In a human rich nation, the Treasure is the talents of those humans. The Treasure is based on increasing the amount of Treasure those humans generate (tax dollars). If the government keeps the humans happy, and get a lot of Treasure from it, it will be stable.

Malaysia is neither one or the other. And it falls into a valley where revolution and bloodshed is cyclical once it starts.

u/JeffersonClippership · 0 pointsr/Whatcouldgowrong

If you're asking that kind of question you're too stupid to understand the answer but if you wanna try to understand, read these books

u/jonawesome · 0 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

A dictator is a fundamentally bad thing. The best interests of all leaders (dictators or democrats) usually reside in getting/staying in power. For democrats, that means keeping a winning coalition of the people at large happy, but since a dictator has only to keep a small group of powerful supporters happy (usually a military, or a group of rich elites), they have no direct motivation to invest in public goods that benefit the population as a whole when keeping just a small inner circle happy is so much cheaper.

This is not to say there is no such thing as a benevolent dictator. Altruism is rare, but it does exist. Lee Kuan Yoo, the former leader of Singapore, is the best example modern history has of someone with near-absolute power who used it mostly for the betterment of the people. The problem is that hoping for altruism is playing the lottery, with pretty bad odds since it usually does take some level of ruthlessness and conniving self interest in order to become a dictator in the first place. It's hoping that someone chosen for his lack of niceness might turn out to be nice after all.

Democracy doesn't function very well without democratic institutions. It needs a system where it's beneficial for all involved to maintain the system as opposed to exploiting it. Military leaders have to feel that they're better off supporting the ruler than strong-arming them. Lower class minority groups have to believe that the system is close enough to them to not be worth rising up against. Everyone has to feel that following the law is better than bribing officials or ignoring the rules, without the necessary threat of force for it. It's hard to get there, and especially when democracy is put in place from the top down. If the power of a leader is guaranteed by American military aid, then the leader has a bigger motivation to appease the American military than to invest in public welfare. If a democrat draws support from anything other than a winning coalition of the populace, democratic institutions will lack enough power to enforce stability through democratic means.

I think your question could be asking two different things: "Can dictators be good for the people they rule over?" and "Can keeping dictators in place be good for American interests?"

The answer to question 1 is a near-unequivocal "No," though there are a few counterexamples. The problem is however that replacing them is extremely difficult.

For question number 2,the answer is often "Yes." Be careful not to confuse the two.

It is however worth remembering that even the most successful democracies had a lot of difficulty getting there. Most European countries had monarchs slowly give up more and more power over time, and have had several different political systems over the years. The initial governments put together after the American and French Revolutions were failures. The American Revolution began in 1776, and Washington was inaugurated in 1788. One could reasonably argue that America didn't have working democratic institutions until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Remember that (and the progress made in Tunisia) whenever someone writes off everything about the Arab Spring.

If you're interested in the motivations for public welfare for dictators and democrats, I would suggest reading [Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's The Dictator's Handbook.] ( It explains the way that preferences affect systems in an easy to understand way with great real-life examples.

u/1vaudevillian1 · 0 pointsr/worldnews

Can anyone read the article?

North and South don't care about the prize. Boon said we don't need a gold star we want peace. Give the gold star to trump.

Ugh. This comment section reads like:

hur dur dur dur. Trump is great and helped.

Trump did shit all nothing except a twitter war.
If you have any clue about politics and the times lines and events that happened under kim you would understand better.
Here watch this:
or you could read the dictators hand book. You can buy it here:

Read up on some of what has happened under Kim.

Kim was western educated.

He comes into power after his fathers death.

He has to then solidify his power or he will be disposed of, plain and simple. He has a brother you know.

This means he has to play the game. Continue with the old way forward.

But he has a plan. Kill brother. Kill Generals that would stop him. Continue with nukes to make sure no one can stop him and save face. Spout off rhetoric just like his father.

I can almost guarantee he wants to move NK to be more like China. There is huge GDP to the south and huge GDP to the west. He wants in on it. This will make him more rich and his loyal generals. Not only that it will pull the nation out of poverty and starvation.

NK is literally one really bad growing season away from millions dying, this is bad for any regime. The only thing that NK really has for export is rare earth elements and everyone needs those. Those require huge investment and know how to acquire.

Going forward after the deal is signed, you will see China coming in and helping build infrastructure to help with transportation and moving goods around faster to build up faster. The reason why China would be the one to do this; for several reasons. They don't want to become a democracy. They don't want those ideals. Also China has always been worried about the fall of NK, millions of people coming into China would be a disaster for them. The south will help with financing.

If anyone deserves a nobel peace prize it would be Dennis Rodman.

u/lostadult · -1 pointsr/politics

> I still think she legitimately cares about the country and wanted to make people's lives better.

I'd hate to burst your bubble, but I doubt that she actually cares about people. She clearly cares about some things. However, this doesn't mean that she cares about you even in the abstract, because - let's be honest over here - power doesn't work this way. Here's a quick guide on how it works. Enjoy. :)

Edit: Those down voting me should really read the book CGP Grey references and the classics as well. All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again;

u/spirit_of_negation · -1 pointsr/edefreiheit

"Dictator's handbook"

Geht die Gründe warum Diktaturen sehr cucked sind überzeugend durch. Kurz: Diktator muss um an der Macht zu bleiben die Interessen des Volkes weniger berücksichtigen und die seiner unmittelbaren Lakaien mehr. Kriege zu gewinnen ist viel wichtiger wenn man abgewählt wird wenn man sie verliert, während Diktatoren oft an der Macht bleiben, auch bei Niederlage weil sie die wichtigen Institutionen vollends kontollieren. Entsprechend haben demokratische Anführer oft größeren Anreiz an Schlagkraft.

Edit: Stellt euch den einfältigen Cuck vor der das hier runtergewählt hat. Gottes Versehen.

u/Aelar · -1 pointsr/russia

It is my opinion that рокировка undermines the country and harms it, greatly.

I of course believe that democracy helps most of the people most of the time. See Why Nations Fail and, for that matter, The Dictator's Handbook.