The Square and the Tower
Networks and Power, From the Freemasons to FacebookBook - 2018
Most history is hierarchical: it's about popes, presidents, prime ministers and other potentates. It's about states, armies and corporations. It's about orders from on high. But what if that's simply because hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on? What if we are missing the less visible social networks that are the true drivers of change--leaving them to the conspiracy theorists, with their dreams of all-powerful Illuminati? The twenty-first century has been hailed as the Age of Networks. However, in [this book], Niall Ferguson argues that networks have always been with us, from the structure of the brain to the food chain, from the family tree to freemasonry. Throughout history, hierarchies housed in high towers have claimed to rule, but often real power has resided in the networks in the town square below. For it is networks that tend to innovate. And it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread. Just because conspiracy theorists like to fantasize about such networks doesn't mean they are not real. From the cults of ancient Rome to the dynasties of the Renaissance, from the founding fathers to Facebook, The Square and the Tower tells the story of the rise, fall and rise of networks.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2018
Characteristics: xxvii, 563 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm