John Murray has won Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us by Dr Brian Klaas for six figures after a five-way auction.
Joe Zigmond, editorial director at the John Murray Press imprint, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein on behalf of Anthony Mattero of the Creative Artists Agency. North American rights are with Rick Horgan of Scribner. Corruptible will be published by John Murray in hardback in January 2022.
“Corruptible is the real story of the phenomena lurking below the surface of all leadership problems: who is drawn to power, who is given power and how it changes us,” the blurb reads. “With cutting-edge research and over 500 interviews with some of the world’ s top leaders – from the noblest to the dirtiest – including presidents, philanthropists, cult leaders, terrorists and dictators, it offers lessons about why we keep getting the wrong kind of masters in organisations big and small.”
The publisher said: “Via astonishing human insights – why children can predict who is going to win an election based on the faces of politicians alone; why narcissists make more money; why being the second in command makes for the happiest life – Corruptible reveals a vision of human behaviour that fundamentally changes our understanding of power and society.”
Klaas is an associate professor in global politics at University College London and a columnist for the Washington Post who has appeared regularly on Radio 4's "Today", "Newsnight" and ITV. He was previously based at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. He is also host of the award-winning “Power Corrupts” podcast and is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, US foreign policy, and American politics. Klaas has advised governments, US political campaigns, Nato, the European Union, multibillion-dollar investors, international NGOs and international politicians.
He said: “We've all got our own pet theories about power: that it corrupts, that awful people seek it, that we're doomed to be ruled by abusive idiots. I decided to go beyond our household sayings to instead figure out what's actually true, based on years of research and actual evidence.
“In the process, I explored a weirder and more fascinating world than I expected. One day I was writing letters to a psychopathic janitor languishing in prison, the next I was sipping wine with the daughter of a cannibalistic dictator. I researched corruption in beehives, chatted to neuroscientists about how power physically changes our bodies, and even hit the slopes for a ski lesson with a man who once ruled Iraq. And in the process, I realised that pretty much all those popular sayings, all those pet theories, are mostly wrong.”
Zigmond added: “Dr Brian Klaas has produced one of those non-fiction books that makes you see the world differently. Drawn from research across evolutionary anthropology to behavioural economics, social psychology to animal biology, he has successfully tackled the timeless question of why we get such bad leaders and has dismantled the old adage that power corrupts.
“Via countless jaw-dropping interviews with presidents, prime ministers, police chiefs, criminals and one yoghurt mogul, Corruptible is a revelatory dissection of the relationship between people and power.”