Reading List: Political Strategy Books



If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner” Nelson Mandela

If you are presidential adviser, a politician, a student of political science or you are interested in politics and power. Reading these books will enhance your understanding of politics and power.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Denma Translation: This is the oldest military strategic manual in existence. The core principle of this manual is the understanding that conflict is an inescapable part of human life. Sun Tzu teaches that aggression and response in kind can lead only to destruction, we must learn to work with conflict in a more profound and effective ways. It is more true today where nuclear armed conflict will ensure the mutual destruction of aggressor and defender.

The Prince by by Niccolò Machiavelli:  In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli used a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, developing logical arguments and alternatives for a number of potential problems.

World Order by Henry Kissinger:  The book is the work of the foremost modern statesman and explores how to build shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflicts, proliferating technology and ideological extremism.

Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky: Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky’s impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.”

On War by Carl Von Clausewitz translated by Micheal Howard and Peter Paret:  The book is the most significant attempt in Western history to understand war, both in its internal dynamics and as an instruments of policy. Since the work’s first appearance in 1832 it has been read throughout the world and has stimulated generations of soldiers, statesmen, and intellectuals from Marx and Bismarck to Raymond Aron.

The Logic of Political Survival by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Alastair Smith, Randolph M. Silverson and James D. Morrow:  The book tackles : “Why are leaders who produce peace and prosperity turned out of office while those who preside over corruption, war, and misery endure? Considering this political buzzle, the authors answer the related economic question of why some countries experience successful economic development and others do not”

Why Nations Fail by Baron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson: Drawing on fifteen years of original research, the authors conclusively show that it is our man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success or the lack of it. Are China’s economy continue to grow at such a high speed and ultimately overwhelm the West? Are America’s best days behind? Are we creating a vicious cycle that enriches and empowers a small minority?

Buck Up, Suck Up, and Come Back When You Foul Up by James Carville and Paul Begala:  The authers have waged political war all over America and on three continents  winning most of their political battles. There are lessons to be learned from their strategies, experience, wisdom and stories they share.

The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics  by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and  Alastair Smith: Anyone trying to improve human governance must start reading with this book.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: It is for those who want power, watch power or want to arm themselves against power. It distills 3000 years of history of power to 48 laws that are understandably applicable and readable.


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