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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.

Reviews

A brilliant exploration . . . This book builds Brian Klaas' reputation, offering an essential guide through our world of democratic decay, corruption, and cronyism
Dan Snow
A fascinating, fun read . . . Klaas has striking insights, presents impeccable science accessibly, and tells terrific stories-all with great writing and wonderfully mordant humor
Robert Sapolsky, author of Behave
An extraordinary interrogation of the workings of power . . . A critical book for these troubling times. A must read!
Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author of Begin Again
Engrossing, thought-provoking, and funny . . . An important exploration of how ordinary people can keep leadership out of the hands of monsters
Heather Cox Richardson, author of How the South Won the Civil War
The Freakonomics of political science
Max Boot, Washington Post columnist
A MAGNIFICENT BOOK THAT IS AS RIVETING AS A CRIME STORY
Peter Turchin, author of Ultrasociety
Rich insights and fascinating observations . . . [Shines] a light on recent efforts to ensure that the corrupt don't get power, and the incorruptible do
Richard Stengel
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
Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Renew Democracy Initiative and the Human Rights Foundation
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
Polly Toynbee
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
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
Illuminating . . . reveals why some people and systems are more likely to be corrupted by power than others
Adam Grant
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
Ian Dunt
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
Washington Post
A compelling enquiry into power, its abuse, and why the wrong people wield it, by a learned and invigorating storyteller
Nigella Lawson