PODCAST EPISODE

238. Brian Klass — Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How it Changes Us

The Michael Shermer Show

Dec 28 2021 • 1 hr 40 mins


Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops who kill the result of poorly designed systems or are they simply bad people? What sort of people aspire to power anyway? Are there individuals among us who should never be given the title of president, or CEO, or PTA leader lest they build their own dictatorship?

Michael Shermer speaks with Brian Klaas, a renowned political scientist, Washington Post columnist and creator of the award-winning Power Corrupts podcast, about his long sought answers to the above questions.

In his new book Klaas draws on over 500 interviews with some of the world’s top leaders — from the noblest to the most crooked — including presidents and philanthropists as well as rebels, cultists, and dictators, to get to the root of power and corruption. Klaas dives into how facial appearance determines who we pick as leaders, why narcissists make more money, why some people don’t want power at all and others are drawn to it out of a psychopathic impulse, and why being the “beta” (second in command) may be the optimal place for health and well-being.