Brian Klaas is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, US Politics, Western foreign policy, political violence, and elections. He has advised governments, US political campaigns, international politicians, the European Union, NATO, and more. Brian holds a doctorate in politics from the University of Oxford and is an associate professor in Global Politics at University College London. He is a regular commentator and political consultant to an extensive lineup of international media outlets, a Washington Post columnist, and the author of several books, including Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, a look at what power is, who gets it, and what happens when they do.


01:45 Brian tells about his background, work, and new book.

05:45 Corruption in power

10:15 A lot of the time the wrong people get into power because of their superficial charm.

12:45 The importance of having the right people in power and the consequential outcomes

14:25 Studies show that we choose leaders by how they look.

16:00 Do we have biases, based on looks, in the church when selecting leaders?

20:00 How can we pick the best leaders without letting our natural human biases get in the way?

27:00 Brian’s overall message from his book is that there are better and worse ways to select leaders. It takes a lot of self reflection.

28:00 Systems matter a lot for how humans behave. Brian explains why that matters.

29:40 As latter-day saints we are afraid to challenge the system.

30:50 We don’t always have to destroy the whole system but maybe tweak something small that could make a big difference or be more effective.

34:50 Different types of power hungry people; it isn’t always bad. There is a stigma in church that people shouldn’t want high leadership roles and power. It’s all about being humble.

40:30 Hungry to serve rather than power hungry

43:45 Does having a position of power corrupt us?

48:15 Kurt describes his experience as bishop in an inner city area that had high need. He had to balance his empathy for these people but still stay in control of the finances.

49:30 The goldilocks solution: just the right amount of emotional distance. As leaders we have to have a balance of empathy and pragmatism.

54:30 How do we deal with corrupt leaders?


Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us
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