Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up: 12 Winning Secrets from the War Room

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9780743234481: Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up: 12 Winning Secrets from the War Room

The political strategists who directed the Clinton campaign's War Room reveal the lessons and secrets from their hard-fought battles -- and how to use these highly effective strategies for success in business and everyday life.
James Carville and Paul Begala have waged political war all across America and on three continents. They've won some of the most spectacular political victories of the twentieth century and lost a few campaigns too. Along the way, they've learned a few lessons. Some sound simple, like "Never Quit," some comic, like "Kiss Ass," and some are more complicated and nuanced, like "Strategy Ain't Tactics." But each lesson contains tried-and-true wisdom, illustrated with colorful stories from long political experience:
· Find out how Carville's mother used a bass boat to "frame the debate" in
selling encyclopedias.
· Learn the War Room tricks for sharpening your message and delivering the perfect sound bite.
· Discover what success secret Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tom DeLay share.
· And much more.
Whether you are a senior executive or a secretary, a political junkie or the president of the United States, the rules to live by can be found in Buck Up, Suck Up...and Come Back When You Foul Up.

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Review:

Even if you fervently disagree with the party bias they tout proudly and often, you probably concur that Democratic political consultants Paul Begala and James Carville know what it takes to craft a winning strategy. In Buck Up, Suck Up... and Come Back When You Foul Up, the two lay out 12 of the rules they developed while separately and jointly masterminding some of the hottest political races in recent years. And with entertaining and enlightening behind-the-scenes anecdotes drawn from both effective and futile experiences along the campaign trail--most notably their work with Bill Clinton during his two presidential terms--Begala and Carville present a practical course that can be followed in business as well as politics. "If the audience you're trying to reach is smaller than the one hundred million voters we spend our time trying to reach," they write, "we believe these lessons are even more important because your target audience is even more sophisticated, even more interested, even more up-to-the-minute."

At first glance, some rules appear blatantly obvious ("Don't Quit," "Turn Weakness into Strength") and some intentionally controversial ("Kiss Ass," "Know How to Recover When You Really Screw Up"). But, in their explanations, the relevancy and potential application of each consistently comes through. For example, in "Frame the Debate," they note how Ronald Reagan controlled the agenda in his 1980 challenge to Jimmy Carter through early attacks on the incumbent's most unpopular policies--showing precisely why "military strategists know that most battles are won ... by the side that determines where, when and how an engagement is fought." Likewise, in "Know How to Communicate," they bring five tips (tell a story, be brief, be emotional, be unique, be relevant) to life by explaining how their use aided campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, and others. The result, while perhaps too profane for some and definitely not Republican-friendly despite its grudging acknowledgment of a few masterful GOP performances, is nonetheless uniformly readable and genuinely practical. --Howard Rothman

About the Author:

James Carville is the best-known and most-loved political consultant in American history. He is also a speaker, talk-show host, actor, and author with six New York Times bestsellers to his credit. Part of a large Southern family, he grew up without a television and loved to listen to the stories his mama told. Mr. Carville lives with his wife, Mary Matalin, and their two daughters in New Orleans.

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