Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics
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Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  20 reviews
For more than two decades, John J. Mearsheimer has been regarded as one of the foremost realist thinkers on foreign policy. Clear and incisive as well as a fearlessly honest analyst, his coauthored 2007 New York Times bestseller, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, aroused a firestorm with its unflinching look at the making of America's Middle East policy. Now he tak...more
Hardcover, 142 pages
Published January 7th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 27th 2010)
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John Mearsheimer is the guy who, with Steve Walt, wrote the groundbreaking book, The Israel Lobby back in 2006, a five star effort that every American should read.

I eagerly opened Why Leaders Lie for more of the author's good thinking. It's present and this book is effortless to read but it's more like a handout one would receive from a professor in a course on political science.

Of course, Mearsheimer IS a professor and he makes his points clearly, yet what he says seems obvious. The principle p...more
Arash Farzad
یادداشت مترجمان

جان مرشایمر، نظریه‌پرداز جریان‌ساز حوزه‌ی روابط بین‌الملل، در تازه‌ترین اثر خود برای نخستین بار به تحلیل نظام‌مند استفاده از دروغ می‌پردازد که در سیاست بین‌الملل و سیاست داخلی کشورها در حکم ابزاری برای کشورداری محسوب می‌شود. او با پیش آوردن شواهد گوناگون از گستره‌ی تاریخ، بر این نکته تأکید می‌ورزد که رهبران کشورها برای دروغ‌پردازی‌های خود غالباً توجیهات استراتژیک معقولی در چنته دارند و از این رو، پافشاری بر احکامِ اخلاقیِ مطلق در مذمت دروغ‌پردازی در امور سیاسی، رفتاری خردمندانه و...more
Rushay Booysen
Why do politicians lie! A look into the policies that can affect the truth from seeing the light.The Bush family gets prominent feature in this book.So there is several reasons why lying can be good for a nation and this book outlines those factors.This book just refreshed my memory as to why i should not trust a politicians word
3.5-4 stars. I was hoping for a little more insight and discussion of actual events, however I thought the book explored the types of lying that occurs in politics.
Deviant Geek
I don't know why I'm relieved that the book doesn't go in the depths o politics. It rather explains the action of lying with all it forms and pretty much anything related to that. A good book. I can tell that much even though I'm not done yet

Ok. Now that I have read this thing. I can honestly say that it took me a lot of time to finish a 185 book but to tell u the truth there were a lot of information that needed a concentrated mind

Now The beginning explains the theory of lying
Lying can be divi...more
The books talks about lying as a political tool. The author focuses on the lies that leaders tell because they think that it is the best for their countries rather than the ones that they use for personal gain. He classifies political lying into five types:

1- Lying between states
2- Fearmongering (inflaming a threat to go to war)
3- Strategic cover-ups (covering failures of a policy)
4- Nationalist myths (glorifying the past and putting rival states in a bad light)
5- Liberal lies (lying about pol...more
Amir ali
از عنوان این کتاب خوشم آمد چراکه کنجکاوی مرا برانگیخت با وجود این که آدم اهل سیاست و این دست کتاب ها نیستم! تلاش نویسنده برای درک دروغ ها و فریب کاری های سیاست مداران در شرایط مختلف زمانی است و اینکه این دروغ ها به چه کار می آید و چه منافع استراتژیک برای ممالک خود دارند. کتاب از لحاظ تاریخی هم قابل توجه هست و مثال های متعددی از دروغ های متفاوت سیاست مداران در طول تاریخ بازگفت می کند، که اکثر دروغ ها موردتوجه سیاستمداران آمریکایی و تاریخ اسراییل است! نتیجه گیری پایانی کتاب هم در نوع خود جنجالی اس...more
The American Conservative
'This book by John Mearsheimer, coauthor of the courageous masterpiece "The Israel Lobby," is a step toward remedying the academy and media’s disregard of political perfidy. Mearsheimer “concentrates on lies that are told in the service of the national interest. These strategic lies benefit the collectivity, unlike selfish lies, which benefit a particular individual or group of individuals.”

He explains that “strategic lies can do good things for a country, although there is always the possibili...more
Please, someone told Obama of this book! The guy obviously have no clue. It's in English, so it would be easy for him to read and just 80 pages long, so he'll finish it in a month or two.
It´s a ok book. Fast reading, few pages, author have a strong positions about politics. But like he said, it´s a good book to start the discussion about why leaders lie.
I liked the argument and the few examples he provides. Though most of it isn't surprising nor amazing, no one had analyzed the phenomenon of lying in international politics before so I can't really hold that against Mearsheimer. That being said, it was overly repetitive and the idea could have been conveyed easily in a lengthy paper (20-25 pages) without missing too much.
Feb 18, 2014 Omar added it
Why Leaders Lie is a good short read. It offers interesting examples to back up its argument and it views lying and other forms of deception in a positive, constructive manner. However, the book can be highly repetitive, which is a sign of lack of editing. Eg the term "reservation price" is defined 3 times in the book (so far...)
Margaret Sankey
Rather than juicy anecdotes, this is more background for POL 370--an attempt to systematize the situations in which leaders choose to lie (to each other, to constituents, to international organizations, for what seem like righteous reasons, the variations of nationalist mythology and fearmongering, etc.) and the risk-return results.
Nothing new about why government lie...because everyone lies..so rather than reading this book, I suggest everyone take the red pill instead.
George Tdgs
Boring book. Had nothing new to tell me, except for some funny instances where leaders lied in the International diplomatic scene
This should not have been a book. It should have just been an article, or a series of articles. It was a decent read though.
An ok read - very fast and somewhat interesting, but can get repetitive.
Arielle Carter
3.5 stars. Easy read. May have been as easily expressed in an article.
A good introduction, but entirely too generalized.
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John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and codirector of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago.
More about John J. Mearsheimer...
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy The Tragedy of Great Power Politics Conventional Deterrence: The Memoir of a Nineteenth-Century Parish Priest Liddell Hart and the Weight of History La logica di potenza. L'America, le guerre, il controllo del mondo

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