Books 2017-11-09T00:06:49+00:00

The Democratic Coup d’État

4.8 out of 5 stars

The Democratic Coup d’État

I’m excited to officially announce that my first book, The Democratic Coup d’État, is now available for sale.

I’m offering a set of amazing bonuses as a thank you for your support. If you pre-order the book, you’ll get bonuses that are worth 10x the cost of the book(s). See below for more details.

What’s the book about?

The term coup d’état–French for stroke of the state–brings to mind coups staged by power-hungry generals who overthrow the existing regime, not to democratize, but to concentrate power in their own hands as dictators. We assume all coups look the same, smell the same, and present the same threats to democracy.

It’s a powerful, concise, and self-reinforcing idea. It’s also wrong.

In the book, I advance a simple, yet deeply contrarian, argument: Sometimes, a democracy is established through a military coup. The book takes the readers on a gripping journey through events ranging from the Athenian Navy’s stance in 411 B.C. against a tyrannical home government, to coups in the American colonies that ousted corrupt British governors, to twentieth-century coups that toppled dictators and established democracy in countries as diverse as Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, and Colombia.

Ultimately, the book is a cautionary tale about the risks of blindly accepting comfortable yet demonstrably wrong societal assumptions. It’s about the importance, to paraphrase Mark Twain, of pausing and reflecting whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority. It’s a story of how our society developed a theory condemning all military coups before analyzing the facts, which, if you know your Sherlock Holmes, is the worst mistake an investigator can make. Once the theory was created, reinforced, and retweeted, it became the truth. And we have refused to let the facts disturb it.

Written for a general audience, the book entertains, challenges, and provokes, but more importantly, serves as a reminder of the imperative to question the standard narratives about our world and engage with all ideas, no matter how controversial.

The arguments in the book have already generated headlines across the globe, and were featured on CNN, BBC, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, among others.

Important notes

  • The pre-order bonuses will all disappear on November 9th at midnight Pacific.
  • You’ll find links to pre-order the book below, but you can buy the book from any bookseller. As long as you have a receipt, you’re eligible to receive the bonuses.
  • If you don’t need all of the books you purchase, you can donate the remainder to a worthwhile organization. I’m happy to give you suggestions.
  • Some of the bonuses have limited availability. First-come, first-served.

What are the bonuses?

Pre-order 1 book before November 9th, get nearly $250 in bonuses

Unlimited spots

  • For this category, you can order either the paperback or the e-book. If you pre-order the paperback version, I’m happy to sign it for you and mail it back to you.
  • Over 100 bonus materials for the book, including documentaries and video footage of the events covered in the book, interviews with relevant figures, podcasts, and radio programs. ($47 value)
  • “Get your life back” productivity training video. In this 1-hour video session, I reveal some of the productivity secrets that allowed me to write The Democratic Coup d’État in eight months while holding a full-time job. It was recorded before a group of lawyers, but you’ll find countless tips in this presentation, regardless of your profession, on how to defeat procrastination, escape email overwhelm, overcome writer’s block, minimize distractions, and double your productivity. ($97 value).
  • An invitation to a live hour-long Q&A session where you can ask me questions about the book, contrarian thinking, or really, anything. Even if you can’t make it to the live event, you can submit questions ahead of time for me to answer. ($97 value).

Click here to order a copy and forward your receipt to [email protected] with “Preorder 1” in the subject line.

Pre-order 2 books before November 9th, get nearly $500 in bonuses

Only 50 spots

  • For this category, you can order either the paperback or the e-book. If you pre-order the paperback version, I’m happy to sign it for you and mail it back to you.
  • Everything included in the Pre-order 1 category
  • A 1-person invite to a book release party we’ll host in our home in Portland, Oregon (if you want more than one invite, you can order more copies) ($250 value)
  • A personalized thank-you video from me (priceless)

Click here to order two copies and forward your receipt to [email protected] with “Preorder 2” in the subject line.

Pre-order 10 paperback books before November 9th, get over $2,000 in bonuses

Only 15 spots

  • For this category, you must order the paperback version of the book. I’m happy to sign all of the copies and mail them back to you.
  • Everything included in the Pre-order 1 category
  • A private, 1-on-1, 30-minute virtual call with me to discuss whatever you want ($600 value). I do consulting on contrarian and innovative thinking, as well as personal and business productivity, but you’re not limited to those subjects.
  • A 5-person invite to a book release party we’ll host in our home in Portland, Oregon ($1,250 value)
  • A personal shout out to you in the acknowledgments of my next book. (If you don’t want your name mentioned, just let me know) (priceless)
  • A personalized thank-you video from me (priceless)

Click here to order a copy and forward your receipt to [email protected] with Preorder 10 in the subject line.

Pre-order 50 paperback books before November 9th, get over $7,000 in bonuses

Only 5 spots

  • For this category, you must order the paperback version of the book. I’m happy to sign all of the copies and mail them back to you.
  • Everything included in the Pre-order 1 category
  • 1-hour in-person or virtual presentation on a topic of your choosing to your company, school, or book club. ($5,000 value) (if the in-person presentation is outside of Portland, Oregon, travel expenses aren’t included).
  • A 5-person invite to a book release party we’ll host in our home in Portland, Oregon ($1,250 value)
  • A personal shout out to you in the acknowledgments of my next book. (If you don’t want your name mentioned, just let me know) (priceless)
  • A personalized thank-you video from me (priceless)

Click here to order a copy and forward your receipt to [email protected] with Preorder 50 in the subject line.

Advance Praise for The Democratic Coup d’État

“Are there cases when a coup can advance democracy? Ozan Varol . . . argues that while the vast majority of military coups are undemocratic in nature, and lead to less democratic political regimes, there are significant examples of democratic coups d’etat. If the concept seems ridiculous, consider the fact that [on July 4th] Americans will celebrate an armed uprising to overthrow an autocratic government. Why are bloody insurgencies sometimes considered legitimate but not actions taken by established militaries acting on behalf of disenfranchised citizens?”

— Foreign Policy

“Ozan Varol . . . first coined the paradoxical concept of the ‘democratic coup.'”

— BBC

“Varol’s research explains why many see [some] coups as the expression of the popular will of the people.”

— CNN

“Engagingly written, The Democratic Coup d’État draws on a wide range of examples from the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America to provide a nuanced account of how military interventions in politics can sometimes promote democracy—and why they often do not. This is an important contribution to the study of comparative constitutional law and military sociology.”

— Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School

“A democratic tour d’force! In this timely, beautifully written, and forcefully argued book, Varol challenges conventional wisdom about the role of the military in democratization. Whether one agrees or not, this is an argument that I suspect we will have to wrestle with again and again.”

— Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School

“As recent years have shown, the preservation of liberal democracy can never be taken for granted. In this highly original book, Ozan Varol dares to argue that in certain contexts, the use of military force—including military coups—has been a fundamental means of restoring the institutions of liberal democracy. Varol challenges democratic theorists and citizens alike to ask what price we are willing to pay and what risks we should be willing to run, to sustain liberal democracy.”

— Richard H. Pildes, New York University School of Law

“The Democratic Coup d’État constructs a provocative but nuanced account of how military coups can sometimes launch a democratization process and the varied roles played by the military during transitions from authoritarian rule. Constitutional and political scholars, as well as those interested in the Arab Spring and other recent events around the world, will surely learn from Ozan Varol’s rich examples and careful, insightful arguments.”

— David E. Landau, Florida State University College of Law

“Through an impressive exploration of transitional events such as Julius Caesar’s assassination, the Glorious Revolution, the Turkish War of Independence, and the Arab Spring, Varol shows how coup makers can bring about democratic change. The Democratic Coup d’État is an important corrective to the literature and a must-read for those interested in democratic transitions.”

— Mila Versteeg, University of Virginia School of Law