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How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians
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How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  240 ratings  ·  45 reviews

"How to Win an Election" is an ancient Roman guide for campaigning that is as up-to-date as tomorrow's headlines. In 64 BC when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome's greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign. What follows in his short letter are tim

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Princeton University Press (first published December 1st 1994)
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This book is a new translation of the Commentariolum Petitionis, a letter supposedly written by Quintus Tullius Cicero to his older brother, Marcus Tullius Cicero, on how to win the elections for consul. The introduction notes some doubts about the authenticity of the work (other possible origins include a carefully-written propaganda piece or even an elaborate composition exercise), but he still concedes that this work is a clear-eyed view of the complex nature of Roman politics in the late Rep ...more
This translation of the Commentariolum Petitionis was put out, I am assuming, in an effort to capitalize on, well, all the people who might be interested in reading something a bit more classic for the US election season. Count me in. I was actually trying to get through all of it in Latin before Election Day; that didn't happen, so I gave up and read the second half in translation.

I am not a classicist and as such had never heard of the Commentariolum before I found it mentioned in the by-line
I came across this book at a Barnes and Nobles bookstore, on a table of books that was in front of the entrance. I picked up the little book, read the jacket cover and the back of the book, that had the endorsements of Karl 'The Architect' Rove, former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, and decided that it was worth picking up to read on the train.

The book, which was translated by Philip Freeman, who also writes the introduction, was taken from the ancient Latin text the Conmmentariolum Petitionis, a short
Mar 06, 2013 Victoria rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: voters and aspiring politicians
Although men running for positions of power in the Roman Republic were deemed candidati- ‘made shining white’, due to their artificially white togas- their methods of winning elections were oftentimes anything but. In fact, Quintus Tullius Cicero informs readers in his Commentariolum Petitionis (Little Handbook on Electioneering) that “Politics is full of deceit, treachery, and betrayal”. Within this work reflecting the events of the consular election of 64 BC, Quintus Cicero presents many ‘help ...more
This is another one of those interesting little books that have been popping up lately on Rome. The book is based on a letter from Quintus Tullius Cicero to his more famous orator brother Marcus Cicero on how to deal to an upcoming election. It reads remarkably like what a modern campaign manager would say and for those who might be disillusioned it show that cynicism in politics has been with us forever. Some of the advice is insightful - remember names,some are practical - promise everyone eve ...more
Zach Vaughn
Some will probably be appalled by the apparent cynicism in this translation of Quintus’ letter of advice to his brother Marcus, especially if you are a “follower of the philosopher Plato” like Marcus Cicero, but I enjoyed this short volume translated by Prof. Philip Freeman.

As you read, you might think Quintus has advised Marcus to be like an Etch-a-Sketch. Newt probably could’ve taken some Quintus advice about not taking a vacation during the campaign and avoided the two he took (Greece and Haw
Should you be concerned about the nature of today's elections, take a look at campaign strategy 2000 years ago. The key difference: John Stuart wasn't there in the Daily show to show news clips of Marcus Cicero making promises to one group while promising the opposite to another.

The test s how both the original Latin and and an English translation.
A MUST READ! This 2,070 year old letter from Quintus Cicero to his brother Marcus Cicero (Google them) explain the basics of campaigning and electioneering that every politician adheres to still. I'm positive Obama read the excerpts about making then breaking promises.
I really liked this short treatise. Cicero's older brother offered the more famous Cicero solid advice to win his election for proconsul in the Roman Republic. His insights still prove useful for modern politicians. It also offers a number of useful tips for building lasting interpersonal relationships. Nothing too profound here, though, because it's mostly common sense. For example, before you run for public office be sure that you have the support of your family and close friends. More often t ...more
Fernando Fernandes
Fantastic "Little Handbook on Electioneering", as some call it. Written over 2000 years ago, it still remains relevant.

Take this excerpt on "promise everything to everybody" as an example: "If a politician made only promises he was sure he could keep, he wouldn't have many friends. Unexpected events will always happen and the expected ones won't. Broken promises are often lost in a cloud of changing circumstances so that anger against you will be minimal." - Quintus Tullius Cicero


Make promis
It's an interesting story, the main take away for me is that there is nothing new about the current election process. It really isn't any worse than it was in ancient democratic times. But the story in my opinion is obvious. It's a story about using human nature to build support. There isn't really anything novel in there.

The story covers the process of winning an election. The methods to do so are to make promises to everyone (a broken promise hurts less than refusal to make one), do everything
This was one of the daily deals from Audible around Election Day, and it was well worth the 99 cents! I laughed at parts, particularly at how little things have changed. All this time I thought that Americans were responsible for the sad state of political affairs, but come to find out, these attitudes existed in ancient Rome. He is telling his brother to surround himself with those of nobility who can help him in his political life; promise the voters what they want to hear, and then renege on ...more
Practical advice on a civil/political campaign.
John Defrog
The title is self-explanatory. Essentially it’s a letter written by Quintus Tullius Cicero to his brother Marcus, who was running for the office of consul of the Roman Republic, advising him on the finer points of political campaigning. It’s a short and educational read (depending on how much you know about ancient Rome), and it will sound remarkably familiar to anyone who follows politics seriously enough to become as cynical about it as I have. For that reason alone, I can’t recommend it enoug ...more
Avinash Aaron
This Book is Good to learn about Election and how to be a smart politicians to win votes and friends in that field. It also teach us how to judge and always be careful because we will not know when people will stab your back.

The best thing about this book is this guild was written during ancient Rome and still followed by Modern Politicians all around the world.
This was a translation of a brief letter from Quintus Tullius Cicero to his brother with tips on winning an election. It was amusing to see how little has changedin two thousand years, but the book really didn't show me anything new, either. I picked it up very cheap from Audible on election day, and am glad I didn't pay very much for it, since it was so short.
Great stuff here. Not that I'm running for elections, but a great way into the thinking of policians seeking to win one. Almost like The Prince. Not all the tips shared here can be applied in your real life, since you're unlikely trying to get people to like you enough for a one time transaction, and can risk damaging feelings on broken promises.
Being such a short work concerned with practical advice on a prosaic subject, I donʻt have much to say about it except that it is somewhat remarkable how similar campaigning in ancient Rome and modern America are. Beyond that, I appreciate the fact that this volume contains both the Latin text and the English translation on facing pages, and the introduction is short enough to be interesting to even the most casual reader.
In the 2000+ years since this was written, the art of public persuasion hasn't changed much, or at all. Flatter people and promise them everything, still two of the best techniques out there. Quintus Cicero's analysis of his brother's competition is hilarious.
A brief but amusing letter on how to win favor with voters in ancient Greece. Similar to the Prince, but shorter and more to the point. It's worth a read for anyone interested in politics that's looking to kill an hour or so.
Wow! This book shocked me, but also didn't really surprise me. You can totally see these tactics being used by everyday politicians.
It's so crazy! The lies and the acting involved in politics...
Koray Ozdemir
Apr 12, 2014 Koray Ozdemir added it
Recommends it for: Kemal Kilicdaroglu
Recommended to Koray by: Selen Ustun
"If a politician made only promises he was sure he could keep, he wouldn't have many friends. Events are always happening that you didn't expect or not happening that you did expect. Broken promises are often lost in a cloud of changing circumstances so that anger against you will be minimal."
Quintun Tullius Cicero
Read three times for my history class...fascinating how the race for elections has not really changed all that much--human nature hasn't changed much through history.
Cicero's famous pamphlet still is simple but eloquent. Anyone running for anything can get good, timeless advice from a master
Scot Marvin
Looks like the folks running on the Democratic ticket needed to read this book (election night, 11/4/14).
Cicero gives an incredibly concise outline to his brother who is running for office in ancient Rome. The same outline entirely explainsToday's politicians on both sides of the aisle. Clearly people are the same today as then, and must be addressed in the same predictable ways to obtain their vote, help and money.

Perhaps you and I are the exceptions??

I now know how to run for office simply by following Cicero's outline. After reading the plan, it all in the execution.

I did not know much about Cic
Richard Wilson
I really enjoyed Robert Harris's Cicero books and against their background I enjoyed reading this too. The similarities and differences between elections in the Roman Republic and today are fun to find. However, Quintus's advice to his brother is purely cynical. Surely elections are about competing ideologies not just campaigning methods!
Wow. Politics have not changed.
Sounds like it was written yesterday.
This book is ascribed to Quintus Tullius Cicero but was probably not written by him. But the real problem is that the translation changes the meaning of words in order to make the politics of the late roman republic seem more like american politics of today.

It's still worth reading, but not to be trusted.
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Quintus Tullius Cicero (/ˈsɪsɨroʊ/; Classical Latin: [ˈkɪkɛroː]; 102 BC – 43 BC) was the younger brother of the celebrated orator, philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero. He was born into a family of the equestrian order, as the son of a wealthy landowner in Arpinum, some 100 kilometres south-east of Rome.
More about Quintus Tullius Cicero...
Wie man eine Wahl gewinnt: Der antike Ratgeber von Quintus Tullius Cicero (German Edition)

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