How to Win An Election - advice from Quintus Tullius Cicero, circa 64 BC

As featured on NPR's All Things Considered with Robert Siegel on Feb. 7, Princeton University Press author Philip Freeman, the translator, speaking about How To Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians.

SIEGEL: And there's one piece of wisdom at the beginning that I found most striking and sounded to me most modern. He said, every day as you go down to the forum, you should say to yourself, I am an outsider. I want to be consul. This is Rome.

FREEMAN: It was great advice for him to do every day because as an outsider, Marcus Cicero, stood very little chance of being elected as consul, so he always had to remind himself just what he was up against.

SIEGEL: He sounded to me there like a sports psychologist, telling him to visualize, you know, imagine yourself...

FREEMAN: Oh, absolutely.

SIEGEL: ...being consul of Rome. I also love this line. He wrote, now, my brother, you have many wonderful qualities, but those you lack you must acquire and it must appear as if you were born with them.

FREEMAN: Absolutely. Cicero, like I said, was a fairly shy and reserved person, so Quintus wanted him to learn to be an actor. And that's really at the heart of a lot of the advice he gives him, is how to act like a person who cares about voters, even if you really don't.

How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians
by Quintus Tullius Cicero
translated by Philip Freeman
Princeton University Press | 9780691154084 | $9.95 | Feb 2012