Summary of Buck Up, Suck Up...And Come Back When You Foul Up

12 Winning Secrets from the War Room

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Buck Up, Suck Up...And Come Back When You Foul Up book summary
Political campaigns are battles with high stakes and hardball strategies, like war … or business. Two pros tell all.


9 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

10 Style


Politics is a grass roots, slug-it-out fight with a winner and a loser and no prizes for second place. Every step is a battle because so much is at stake. Authors and veteran political consultants James Carville and Paul Begala, who were notably pivotal on the Clinton campaigns, cleverly explain what makes a winning campaign work and what gets a politician elected. They also present the flip side and honestly explain why campaigns, including some of theirs, fail. The account is made richer by their knowledge of memorable historic elections, their references to using campaign concepts in business management and a few good recipes. Conversational, loose, opinionated and frank, this book is entertaining and instructive, with clear explanations of carefully distilled ideas and plenty of insider war stories. The authors may harbor some warmth for the Democrats, but that doesn’t tame them as they skewer and critique both parties. recommends this book to executives and professionals as a fun, extended metaphor on winning that includes some practical rules and sharp storytelling.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What political campaigns have in common with managing large organizations
  • Successful campaign rules that can help you run your business


Bite Your Tongue and Be Charming
The famous American author William Faulkner worked in a post office job with a secure future. But one day he just quit. He later explained, "I refused to be at the beck and call of every son of a bitch who could afford a two-cent stamp." Unlike...
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About the Authors

James Carville has managed more political campaigns than anyone else in history. He is the author of four best-selling books: All’s Fair (with his wife Mary Matalin), We’re Right, They’re Wrong; ...And the Horse He Rode in On and Stickin’. Carville lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters. Paul Begala served as a counselor in the White House and as a senior strategist to the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign. He ran other campaigns in the U.S. and overseas. He is a Research Professor of Public Policy and Government at Georgetown University and is the author of Is Our Children Learning? : The Case Against George Bush.

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