Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review: The Victory Lab

The Victory Lab:  The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns, by Sasha Issenberg.  (NY:  Crown Publishers, 2012.

Issenberg writes a detailed history of the science of willing winning elections.  He focuses on the 1900s through Obama's election.  The book is not a quick or necessarily easy read -- there is a large cast of characters and I found it difficult to keep everyone straight.  However, he does provide an interesting history of things anyone interested in politics would want to know.  Several academic publications and experiments are mentioned, with varying degrees of detail.  For example, shame is a very effective motivator in voting (and other matters as well).  People are more likely to vote if they think their neighbors will get a list of who on their street voted, but campaigns are loathe to use that tactic.

Issenberg used to write for Philadelphia Magazine and he references his Philly background in places.

If you're looking for a last minute holiday gift for the politico on your list, this book would be welcomed and appreciated by most.  I've enjoyed it.

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