Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes US
An “absorbing, provocative, and far-reaching” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) look at what power is, who gets it, and what happens when they do, based on over 500 interviews with those who (temporarily, at least) have had the upper hand–from the creator of the Power Corrupts podcast and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas.
Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are tyrants made or born? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops who kill the result of poorly designed systems or are they just bad people? If you were suddenly thrust into a position of power, would you be able to resist the temptation to line your pockets or seek revenge against your enemies?
To answer these questions, Corruptible draws on over 500 interviews with some of the world’s top leaders–from the noblest to the dirtiest–including presidents and philanthropists as well as rebels, cultists, and dictators. Some of the fascinating insights include: how facial appearance determines who we pick as leaders, why narcissists make more money, why some people don’t want power at all and others are drawn to it out of a psychopathic impulse, and why being the “beta” (second in command) may actually be the optimal place for health and well-being.
Corruptible also features a wealth of counterintuitive examples from history and social science: you’ll meet the worst bioterrorist in American history, hit the slopes with a ski instructor who once ruled Iraq, and learn why the inability of chimpanzees to play baseball is central to the development of human hierarchies.
Based on deep, unprecedented research from around the world, and filled with “unexpected insights…the most important lesson of Corruptible is that when psychopaths inadvertently reveal their true selves, the institutions that they plague must take action that is swift, brutal, and merciless” ( Business Insider).
Hardcover, 320 pages
Brian Klaas grew up in Minnesota, earned his DPhil at Oxford, and is now a professor of global politics at University College London. He is also a weekly columnist for The Washington Post, host of the award-winning Power Corrupts podcast, and frequent guest on national television. Klaas has conducted field research across the globe, interviewing despots, CEOs, torture victims, dissidents, cult leaders, criminals, and everyday power abusers. He has also advised major politicians and organizations including NATO, the European Union, and Amnesty International. You can find him at BrianPKlaas.com and on Twitter @BrianKlaas.