In the background explodes a fireball, in front of it emblazoned in capital letters "POWER": The title page suggests a cheap guidebook. But as we read, the book turns out to be an ingenious analysis of how power and success change us.
Cleverly, the psychology professor at Trinity College in Dublin interweaves reputable studies with examples from politics, business, sports and science. Risky war tactics and outrageously high bonuses Robertson calls as evidence of the effect of "drug power". Based on the career of boxer Mike Tyson, he explains how victories improve the chances for the next battle. He also tracks down the mystery of why Oscar winners statistically live four years longer than just Oscar nominees. Like a crime writer, he lures the reader on the wrong tracks, delays the dissolution and carries more and more evidence together.
But now and then Robertson loses himself in speculation about what happened in the brain of Tony Blair before the Iraq war. Such remote diagnostics will make some scientists wince. But the book captivates with convincing everyday scenarios and experiments in which the reader recognizes himself. Hanna Drimalla
Ian Robertson MAKES dtv, Munich 2013 336 p., € 19.90 ISBN 978- 3-423-28012-9 E-Book for € 15.99 ISBN 978-3-423-41689-4display