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How to Run a Country: An Ancient Guide for Modern Leaders

by Marcus Tullius Cicero Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 152 pages
AU$24.99 NZ$26.08
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest statesman and orator, was elected to the Roman Republic’s highest office at a time when the very existence of his beloved country was threatened by power-hungry politicians, dire economic troubles, foreign turmoil, and political parties that refused to work together. Sound familiar? Cicero’s letters, speeches, and other writings are filled with timeless wisdom and practical insight about how to solve these and other problems of leadership and politics. How to Run a Country collects the best of these writings to provide an entertaining, common sense guide for modern leaders and citizens. This brief book, a sequel to How to Win an Election, gathers Cicero’s most perceptive thoughts on topics such as leadership, corruption, the balance of power, taxes, war, immigration, and the importance of compromise. These writings have influenced great leaders—including America’s Founding Fathers—for two thousand years, and they are just as instructive today as when they were first written.

Organized by topic and featuring lively new translations, the book also includes an introduction, headnotes, a glossary, and suggestions for further reading. The result is an enlightening introduction to some of the most enduring political wisdom of all time.

Introduction vii

How to Run a Country 1

  • Natural Law 1

  • Balance of Power 4

  • Leadership 6

  • Friends and Enemies 16

  • Persuasion 24

  • Compromise 30

  • Money and Power 36

  • Immigration 43

  • War 46

  • Corruption 49

  • Tyranny 56

  • Cicero's Epilogue: The Fallen State 66

Latin Texts 68

Passages Translated 115

Glossary 121

Further Reading 131

''Edited by Philip Freeman, How to Run a Country is a brief introduction to Cicero's political philosophy … [I]t contains--in English and Latin--fragments from Cicero's books and speeches, as well as letters to friends and colleagues … [Cicero's] views on war and immigration will strike many readers as modern and sane.'' - Richard King, The Australian
Philip Freeman is the author of many books, including Oh My Gods: A Modern Retelling of Greek and Roman Myths, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar (all Simon & Schuster). He received his PhD from Harvard University and holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.