Thursday, October 4, 2012
The Victory Lab by Sasha Issenberg
Part Of The Synopsis From Dust Jacket:
The Victory Lab follows the academics and maverick operatives rocking the war room and reengineering a high-stakes industry previously run on little more than gut instinct and outdated assumptions. Armed with research from behavioral psychology and randomized experiments that treat voters as unwitting guinea pigs, the smartest campaigns now believe they know who you will vote for even before you do. Issenberg tracks these fascinating techniques - which include cutting edge persuasion experiments, innovative ways to mobilize voters, and statistical models predicting the behavior of every voter in the country - and shows how much our most important figures, such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, are putting these techniques to use with surprising skill and alacrity.
I don't often have the experience of reading a book about politics that scares the hell out of me, and fascinates me at the same time. There isn't a lot about politics that I find scary, well not that I want to say on here. I know some of my blog readers have very differing political views, so I will leave that for Facebook. The mechanics of politics, don't normally install a sense of doom in me in quite the same way as the idea of certain people holding office. Now I'm not saying The Victory Lab is a harbinger of the End Times, but some of it had me wishing I could move to a small remote cabin in the middle of the woods and hide from those who's job it is to convince me to vote a certain way.
I'm amazed by the rapid growth int he campaign industry and the way political consultants, with a lot of accuracy, can figure out who will vote, how they'll vote, and what can get them to change their minds. As a political junkie, I found The Victory Lab to be fascinating look at the history and the current applications of this information and how it is collected. As a private individual who would like to think I'm unique and can't be quantified in such a manner, I find the whole concept to be utterly baffling and confusing. When I really think about it though, I must admit that the men and women who get paid to figure this stuff out, know what they are talking about.
Now for the giveaway. I have one copy, generously offered by the publisher, up for grabs. If you are interested in entering, please leave a comment with your email address. The giveaway is, I believe, only open to residents of the US. You will have until 11:59 pm CST, on October 18th to enter. I will use random.org to pick the winner.