- Series: Hardball
- Hardcover: 233 pages
- Publisher: Summit Books; First Edition edition (May 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671631608
- ISBN-13: 978-0671631604
- Package Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 174 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,351,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hardball: How Politics Is Played--Told by One Who Knows the Game Hardcover – Large Print, May, 1988
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Hardball, first published in 1988, is like a modern version of Machiavelli's The Prince, only much more richly illustrated, with anecdotes drawn from talk-show host Chris Matthews's stint as a congressional staffer (where he worked for, among others, renowned Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill). Discussing such basic principles as "It's not who you know; it's who you get to know" and "Don't get mad, don't get even--get ahead," Matthews not only dishes out choice Washington insider info, he has over the years inspired many readers to apply his principles for political success to their own professional lives. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
A former Senate aide, presidential speech writer and assistant to Tip O'Neill, Matthews here offers an entertaining view of Washington politics. He covers much the same ground as Hedrick Smith's The Power Game but writes more informally and with amused tolerance of "the true believers in the power of political self-interest." The anecdotes illuminate rules for success in playing hardball, which Matthews defines as "clean, aggressive Machiavellian politics": keep your enemies in front of you. A Reagan example of savvy is among the most vivid: the president's remark during the debates with Mondale that he would not exploit for political purposes "his opponent's youth and inexperience." Matthews, who writes a column for the San Francisco Chronicle, turns unexpectedly stern in his discussion of a third rule: the press is the enemy. "Like policemen, they are always on duty. Don't trust any of them."
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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As the author points out, virtually all of the techniques, systems and characteristics are universal and could be used in sports, business, for-profit and non-profit environments as well as high-level politics. It is a book that is fun to read and does not bogged down with details or tedious issues of the day, choosing to focus more on the actions and reactions of the proponents and antagonists as they fought for their cause de jour. It's a primer for PoliSci 101, not too heavy but not kindergarten either. Neither a Pulitzer candidate or a coffee table tome, it will keep your interest especially as you relate the chapter's characters with the chapter's title.
You can't lay it all on populism: Matthews deals eloquently with populism. It might be the ready availability of "facts" to support any side on any issue. I don't know.
Anyway, the book is well-written, and surprisingly objective, given that Matthews does have a political bent. For me, the only part where it fell shorter than it probably meant to was in its advice, which seems to presuppose that the doors to power that are within reach of young white upper-working class men are within the reach of everyone. It's not who you know, it's who you get to know is true as far as it goes. But, as a woman, I won't be getting to know anyone in the men's shower room any time soon.
Other than that, the book is great, and shows mostly everything about how a politician functions in life and how a politician can “play” the game in this world.
Overall a very good book with practical application in politics, buisness, or daily life. Highly recommend this book.
Matthews may be annoying on TV, but he is an absolute political genius who outlines exactly how to confront ever situation you'll come across in politics.
I highly recommend this book.