Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"The Square and the Tower" Niall Ferguson (Last Book I Read)

The last book I read was "The Square and the Tower" by acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson.  The subtitle is "Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook."

With the technicalities out of the way, allow me to write that this book, and a number of books sitting on my shelf still, is one that I had been very eager to tackle.  I have work from this author, but what whetted my curiosity more than anything were the podcasts I heard Ferguson interviewed on, and the many mentions about this history on any number of other writings and podcasts.

The square and the tower are symbolic of two ways power and networks exist and exchange the role of power broker in society.  Its a fascinating characterizing of history, Ferguson traces power for hundreds of years and establishes a pattern of eras where either the square or the tower dominate.  The tower symbolizes the hierarchical order of traditional power  --  from the highest office in the land to the lowest, and the square symbolizes network power --  such as we have with the web, and the presiding power holder is social media.

This book was written just last year, 2018, so its fresh and relevant.   Instead of reinventing a very good review, I'll end my efforts and instead direct you to a great podcast devoted entirely to this book by Historian Brad Harris.


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