I would like to thank a number of people who have directly contributed to this book by making me add or change at least one and in some cases many sentences. For comments on the original book, now Chapters 1–8 of this edition, that includes Patrick Dunleavy, Barbara Goodwin, Steve Harrison, Richard Kimber, Alan Manning, Brendan O’Leary, Christopher Pollitt and Martin Smith. I also learned much from the members of the ‘London Rational Choice Group’ at our irregular meetings. These were the most fun and educational meetings I ever attended. They were usually held at Brian Barry's flat in Bloomsbury, and lasted two or three hours, fuelled by the cheese that Brian and Anni provided, and the wine the rest of us brought. Twice there I delivered some of the ideas in this book and the ensuing discussions helped enormously, as did discussions of a paper on this topic delivered at various universities in the United States in early 1987. Members of the Brunel Economics department were helpful in discussing some of the bargaining aspects of political power. I also gave a paper at the Urban Political Studies Group. The lively discussion that followed may not have made me change my mind on any issue, but it gave me fair warning of the problems that I later faced over the oxymoronic – some might say ‘moronic’ – concept of ‘systematic luck’.
Brian Barry, who later became a dear friend, was encouraging from the time of the first proposal to Edward Elgar. Talking to Brian was always a treat and if sometimes I took months to understand his occasionally cryptic comments, their revelatory nature was no less rewarding when I eventually caught up with him. Over the years Brian and I would discuss all sorts of things together. My wife, Anne, and Brian's wife, Anni, would tell of hearing from another room their respective husbands shouting furiously down the phone, only to see them all smiles after the call; Brian and Keith had been having another of their little academic debates.
In more recent years, following Brian's death, my former PhD student, Will Bosworth, has taken on this role. Our discussions these days mostly take place on Messenger, and they can be almost as furious.