A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2021
“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.”
“COMPELLING... [A] useful framework [for] recognizing that while difficult to change, human behavior can be steered in better directions.”
“UNEXPECTED INSIGHTS…presented in a digestible and accessible way…Maybe the most important lesson of Corruptible is that when psychopaths inadvertently reveal their true selves, the institutions that they plague must take action that is swift, brutal and merciless.”
"ABSORBING, PROVOCATIVE, FAR-REACHING...Essential for interpreting history and world events—both the province of tyrants—alike."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“ENRICHED BY COLORFUL CASE STUDIES AND LUCID EXPLANATIONS…a nuanced and entertaining guide to the meaning and function of power.”
“PRESENTS SOME FINDINGS THAT [SHOULD BE] CAREFULLY CONSIDERED…Helps to explain our present time of tumult…In some cases, people started out with good motives and eventually lost their way. But some of them, perhaps more than we think, were already wired that way.”
“ILLUMINATING…reveals why some people and systems are more likely to be corrupted by power than others."
—Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again
“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, New York Times bestselling author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
“A NEW, INSIGHTFUL, AND SEDITIOUS ROADMAP TO THE PRIMAL URGE TO DOMINATE… Dangerous as a drug addiction, power changes both those who have it and those who just want a quick fix.”
—Richard Engel, Chief Foreign Correspondent of NBC News
"AN EXTRAORDINARY INTERROGATION OF THE WORKINGS OF POWER... A critical book for these troubling times. A must read!"
—Eddie S. Glaude Jr., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University
"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 and the newsletter "Letters from an American"
"THE FREAKONOMICS OF POLITICAL SCIENCE... With revelations that reach from global politics to how your company is managed, this is a perceptive and, above all, entertaining read."
—Max Boot, Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
“PASSIONATE, INSIGHTFUL, AND OCCASIONLLY JAW-DROPPING…Corruptible sets out the story of the intoxicating lure of power—and how it has shaped the modern world.”
—Peter Frankopan, internationally bestselling author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
"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, former managing editor of Time magazine and author of Information Wars
“A MAGNIFICENT BOOK THAT IS AS RIVETING AS A CRIME STORY… Klaas merges insights from evolutionary science, a wealth of recent social psychology research, and personal interviews with the powerful (and corrupt).”
—Peter Turchin, author of Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth
“A GPS SYSTEM FOR NAVIGATING A WORLD INCREASINGLY FULL OF ILLIBERAL DEMOCRACIES, MODERNIZED DICTATORSHIPS, AND POPULISTS WHO CARE ONLY FOR POWER…The power-hungry don’t ask why, they only ask why not.”
—Garry Kasparov, Chairman of both the Renew Democracy Initiative and the Human Rights Foundation, and, formerly, world chess champion
“A BRILLIANT EXPLORATION…This book builds Brian Klaas’ reputation, offering an essential guide through our world of democratic decay, corruption, and cronyism.”
—Dan Snow, bestselling author of On This Day in History