I 18 years old and I am from India. I am writing a book on Political Principles and Ethics based on my experience (which is wide because I grew-up in a poor family and my father made us rich). I have experienced poverty and richness, being bullied at school, being loved and hated by teachers as well as friends, real-life experiences and difficulties. I have read books on politics and ethics. I have faced family fights and hatred.

My work is still in progress. I am considering publishing it, but then I thought, "I also want to practice politics to do duty for my motherland and provide a safer and better country to coming generations. Now if I publish it, everyone will know my style of politics and they can easily hinder my success. I should not publish it and instead complete my work for my own future reference only."

Can someone clear my dilemma, how might publishing affect my political career? Will it weaken me?

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    This is certainly not the kind of question we usually receive here. I am curious how the community will handle it. I edited a bit, though, because we really don't like questions which ask for opinions. – Philipp Feb 22 '17 at 17:55
  • Imho, it's a good question, especially after the edit. Practical and answerable – user4012 Feb 22 '17 at 18:01
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    No doubt I am far too jaded, but your question immediately raised some red flags. I read: "I have some deeply held political beliefs, but do not want anyone to know about them before I am elected". I am sure that you did not intend it to come across this way, but it is something you should keep in mind if you choose to publish your thoughts (or not). – Michael J. Feb 22 '17 at 18:12
  • Impossible to answer other than "were you paying attention to the last US election? I don't think publishing, saying, or even doing anything is in any particular way good or bad. It all depends on how your team spins it later on down the road..." – user1530 Feb 22 '17 at 19:20
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    Voted to re-open as it could be answered very well by someone with experience as an elected official. That would be in keeping with the Good Subjective/Bad Subjective guideline, and be an awesome fit for the site. – indigochild Feb 23 '17 at 16:48

When you want to make a career in politics, you must take positions on issues. No matter if you want to make it in a democratic or an autocratic system, you will require people to support you. And other people will only support you when they know that you share their political positions. When you are silent about your positions, then nobody will try to stop you, but nobody will try to support you either. If you want to gain political support, you need to convince people that you can further their agenda. And you can't do that by keeping your agenda a secret.

Yes, there will be people who oppose you, because your ideas go against their interests and/or beliefs. But you can't make it in politics without making enemies. All that matters is that your friends outnumber your enemies (not necessarily in number but rather in power). A famous quote often misattributed to Winston Churchil says:

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.

So publish your opinions, loud and clearly, and seek contact with those who share them.

There is, however, one thing I am skeptical about. You are just 18. I know, you think you are an adult now. But politically-speaking you are still young. Very young. Few people make it far in politics before they are at least twice as old as you are. It might be a bit early for you to write about political principles and ethics. If you want it to be taken seriously, you would first have to prove that you actually know what you are talking about. Either by having some academic qualification in political science or by already having a successful career in politics or journalism. At the current point of your life you might want to stick to social media or blogging to publish your political ideas.

Also be careful about another thing: Make sure that the opinions you want to express aren't actually illegal to publish in the country where you are living. When you are living under a regime which practices political censorship, be careful about what you write. You can't influence politics from prison (or when you are dead). Stay within the legal boundaries of the system you want to change.

  • "prove that you actually know what you are talking about" - you would need to demonstrate that it's somehow magically achieved by the means of "having a successful career in politics or journalism" - both of which merely mean you can speak well and convince people to your views, but not actual knowledge. – user4012 Feb 22 '17 at 19:58

In short - YES, it may weaken you (but it may also offer strengths).

  • Negatives:

    • People will always use anything you say against you - both the things you said, and things that are taken out of context, and things that aren't true anymore as you age. The more verbal output you produce (not just books), the more grounds opponents can find to attack you.

    • Special case is if your opinions change - the youth typically are more uncompromising and extreme compared to older people for a variety of reasons; and people's opinions change throughout their lives - look at the changes in politics of Theodore Roosevelt, for example; or for non-elected politician, US Supreme Court Justice Souter (or former Democrat Donald Trump... on pretty much any topic you can think of). Problem is, people will either judge you on your earlier opinions, OR, on the "inconsistency" of opinions - you can't win, someone will find SOME excuse to dislike or attack you.

  • Positives

    • Mind you, it doesn't stop political success - both Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Hitler and many other successful politicians published books before getting to power.

    • Research shows that notability and being familiar to electorate helps with electoral success (at the extreme examples, look at various actors and celebrities that got elected, from Ronald Reagan to Jesse Ventura to a bunch of famous personages in Russian parlament too numerous to mention)

      Publishing a book - if it becomes a bestseller - would help in that.


There are actually a lot of politicians who started at an early age and ended up with a different view than the one they started with. You can check their history. Most attacks come from the early affiliations to parties or ideologies. Some from early opinions on topics which were not well known. Here is what I would advise you should not do.

Claim affiliation to a party.

Claim affiliation to an ideology.

Emit an opinion on subjects you do not know well. You are more likely to change your mind after you learn more on something than on an issue you already know.

Check your facts and sources whenever you base yourself on something. Also check the facts going the other way around (disproving your point).

Be too idealistic. Something that usually changes a lot with age is the faith in the good intentions of people.

Support incoherent views. This would almost surely blow up in your face. You can avoid this by careful examination of your work.


Just looking at American politics, the following have written books (possibly with a ghostwriter):

  • Donald Trump
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Barack Obama
  • Mitt Romney
  • John McCain
  • John Kerry
  • George W. Bush
  • Al Gore

Trump and Obama published their books well before deciding to run for president.

The point being that every major party presidential candidate for some time has published a book. It's practically a requirement. That said, it does provide ammunition for later attacks. For example, Dr. Ben Carson was accused of faking some of the material in his autobiography. And accusing Hillary Clinton of using a village is always good for a laugh.

If you're going to publish a book at this point, make it non-political. Advocating political positions may help with book sales in the short term, but writing a story that stands on its own will be stronger in the long term.

Now if I publish it,everyone will know my style of Politics and they can easily hinder my success.

Your style of politics will be one of the most public things about you. If you can only succeed if it's hidden, then you will not be able to climb very far. You will have to share it with employees and colleagues over time anyway. It will eventually come out.

I would be far more worried about revealing things like the time you snorted cocaine or the time you threatened another student at knifepoint. Both of those are examples from the writings of presidential candidates, one successful (Obama) and one not (Carson).

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    They usually wrote books before pending elections as opposed to early in their lives. IMO Obama is the only relevant example. – Drux Feb 24 '17 at 7:34

Will publishing affect my Political Career?

Yes, both positively and negatively. It allows for others to attack you, and still others to admire you. Depending your story and how you tell it.

Will it weaken me?

Possibly. It could also strengthen you.

End of the day, you want to ask yourself, which is more important, your career as a oolitician or your desire to help others.

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