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Download The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns Audiobook, by Sasha Issenberg
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (255 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sasha Issenberg Narrator: Michael Goldstrom Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9780449807002
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The book Politico calls “Moneyball for politics” shows how cutting-edge social science and analytics are reshaping the modern political campaign.

Renegade thinkers are crashing the gates of a venerable American institution, shoving aside its so-called wise men and replacing them with a radical new data-driven order. We’ve seen it in sports, and now in The Victory Lab, journalist Sasha Issenberg tells the hidden story of the analytical revolution upending the way political campaigns are run in the 21st century.
     The Victory Lab follows the academics and maverick operatives rocking the war room and re-engineering a high-stakes industry previously run on little more than gut instinct and outdated assumptions. Armed with research from behavioural psychology and randomized experiments that treat voters as unwitting guinea pigs, the smartest campaigns now believe they know who you will vote for even before you do.  Issenberg tracks these fascinating techniques—which include cutting edge persuasion experiments, innovative ways to mobilize voters, heavily researched electioneering methods—and shows how our most important figures, such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, are putting them to use with surprising skill and alacrity.
     Provocative, clear-eyed and energetically reported, The Victory Lab offers iconoclastic insights into political marketing, human decision-making, and the increasing power of analytics.  Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • Sasha Issenberg is our most acute observer of the modern political campaign. With vivid portraiture and crystal-clear prose, he takes us beyond the charge-and-counter-charge, the rallies and stump speeches, to show us the hidden persuaders. This is the politics you'll never see on the nightly news. Richard Ben Cramer, author of What it Takes
  • Indispensable. . . . Issenberg has a firm grounding in the political universe. . . . [He] paints his insurgents in heroic terms, putting the spotlight on campaign warriors few of us have ever heard of. . . . [The Victory Lab is] a magical mystery tour of contemporary campaigns. By the end, a lot of the mystery will become clear, and you’ll know a whole lot more about what’s behind those calls and letters jamming your phone lines and mailboxes. Jeff Greenfield, The Washington Post
  • [The Victory Lab] traces an under-reported element of the evolution of campaign tactics over nearly a half-century in an unusually accessible and engaging manner. . . . A timely, rare, and valuable attempt to unveil the innovations revolutionizing campaign politics. The New Republic
  • Brainy. New York
  • A magnificently reported and wonderfully written book, full of eye-opening revelations and a colorful cast of characters whose groundbreaking strategies and tactics have injected 21st-century science into politics and changed it forever in the process. The Victory Lab is essential for anyone who wants to understand what really goes on along the campaign trail—and a delight for those who simply enjoy a terrific read. John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, authors of Game Change
  • Sasha Issenberg cracks open the secretive realm of modern campaigns, revealing a revolution that is influencing not only who wins elections but also the fate of the nation.  This is a terrific and important book. David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ben | 2/20/2014

    " Once it gets past some overly long history of the political science in the field dating back to the early parts of the last century, it gets pretty interesting. The discussion of the randomized experiments does a nice job conveying goals and ideas in layman's terms. What's interesting though is so much of the book focuses on tricks used to get people to vote, almost none of which involve a specific candidate. That raises the question of how much does the candidate even matter? Or put another way, how much of a worse candidate does one need to be compared to another to have the turnout things not make a difference in making them competitive? Or is it just that those tricks help bolster already well regarded candidates? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Byron | 2/15/2014

    " An interesting view into the world of political campaign research in modern US politics, and the way that politicians from Rick Perry to Barack Obama used scientific research on what works to get out the vote, and how this developed and continues to develop. A lot of the research ends up being basically exploiting social psychology and cognitive biases, and it's fascinating to read about this stuff getting exploited in politics, to see that Obama's campaign are doing A/B tests and the like. I'm curious to read a sequel/update on what happened in the most recent campaign, and especially why Romney seemed sure he'd win. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chuck O'Connor | 2/13/2014

    " Great insights into the transformation of political campaigns from guru opinion contests to experimental models driven by empirical rigor. The narrative is clunky however because the author chooses to focus on disparate episodes that make up this transformation. It would have been interesting to approach the story with the kind of seamless information presentation found in the algorithmic strategies he describes. A very exciting story though for people like me who work in communications strategy and are interested in big data. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ak-75 Harris | 2/9/2014

    " Not as innovative or cutting edge as it wants to be, but a good look at how to get more value for money in campaigning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret Sankey | 2/9/2014

    " Popular explication of the science of political science, from the early 20th century academic attempts to quantify voter turnout and the efficacy of machine organization to the running arms race between the two major parties to adopt and adapt evolving technologies--direct mail, polling, zip codes, out of state phone banks, data mining, databases and mapping (to the point that ads can be bought on specific bus routes to be seen by a targeted population) and their effect on field work, not to mention the social science research on what makes people vote (the double edge sword of offending them by sending a letter--on plain paper, no shiny--telling them about their neighbors' voting habits with the implied threat that the neighbors know about your attendance at the polls). Unfortunately, this ends just after the 2008 election and thus is not inclusive of the social media blitz employed in the most recent campaigns. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mickey Hoffman | 2/9/2014

    " This book turned out to be as much a collection of biographies as an explanation of research and practices that lead to winning campaigns. And I'm not that interested in the lives of the various political scientists and politicians. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica Mauter | 1/25/2014

    " I really enjoyed this as a history of the birth of the field of political science. It laid a pretty good foundation for understanding how the phenomenon of the 2008 Obama presidential campaign came to be. It described that campaign at a pretty high level, with a lot of interesting anecdotes. However, the narrative was messy in places. Some tidbits were annoyingly repeated. People were inelegantly re-introduced into the story. It was overly, unnecessarily expository in places. That aside, it has piqued my interest in the field of political science and pointed me towards people and organizations to study further. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan Mcginn | 1/22/2014

    " In terms of content and detail, the Moneyball for politics is an apt comparison. But in terms of the snappy repartee, not as enjoyable to read. Well researched, well reported, thorough - essential primer as we head in to the home stretch of 2012. A far better primer for understanding what's happening in elections than one might get from any talking head. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Hayne | 1/20/2014

    " Very informative into the inner workings of campaigns. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gregg | 12/15/2013

    " Experiments, big data, data mining, and campaigns: a perfect book for a geek like me. Nicely told story about the real world of campaigning bumping into the academic world of social science. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 12/3/2013

    " Terrific read giving both a historical and behind the scenes look at the role of data in campaign decision making. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas Stevenson | 10/2/2013

    " This is a great history of the science behind campaigning. From relatively unsophisticated direct mail methods to the use of algorithms, campaigning has become increasingly targeted. Niche marketing is important in getting out the vote as the Obama victories attest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trey | 9/13/2013

    " Phenomenal. If you work in politics, or are at all interested in how modern campaigns work, you should read this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melanie | 7/24/2013

    " It was interesting. I wish it were a little more social science/psychology and a little less political science, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 12/25/2012

    " To a self professed data geek, political campaigner and former reporter, this book was absolutely fascinating. If you've ever been interested in not only campaign techniques but the psychology behind voter behaviour, this book is for you. A must read for political staffers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg Stoll | 9/13/2012

    " Pretty interesting, although it talked about so many different people for so little time it was very hard to keep track. After a while I mostly ignored the people and just focused on the science/progress. "

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About the Narrator

Michael Goldstrom is a Juilliard-trained actor and comedian. He has appeared on Comedy Central, HBO, A&E, NBC, and ABC, as well as on and off Broadway. His audiobook narrations have earned several Earphones Awards.