The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Book review by Deane Barker
Niall Ferguson
592
★★★★ (+9.89%) 🛈
This Review | This Book

The basic gist is that the world is made up of (1) hierarchies, like governments and corporations; and (2) networks, like terror networks, the Freemasons, and old college buddies. We tend to think that power resides in hierarchical networks, but often the power is in the networks.

Networks operate in and around the hierarchies, and are often distrusted by them. Turns out The Illuminati was a real thing in 18th century Germany, and it was stamped out of existence because people in power hated the idea of people “jumping the chain of command,” and creating power outside the established order.

And such has been the history of the world. History is written by the hierarchies, but the author is claiming that true power has been in networks. He produces a lot of anecdotes and historical stories to prove his point.

There’s a lot to follow, and I often found myself wondering how what I was reading was germane to the original point. I skimmed some of it for this reason – I just couldn’t trace back the point.

Still, the basic point is a good point, and something I never really considered before.

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