The Square and the Tower

Currently Reading:  The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson

Best For: Anyone interested in strategy and power.  Especially people who like to hear about popular historical episodes from different perspectives.

Favorite Quote: On Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve response to the Great Financial Crisis “By purchasing all kinds of assets in the first phase of ‘quantitative easing’ and then large quantities of government bonds in the second and third phases, the Fed helped contain the crisis.  This was a triumph for the hierarchical system of monetary governance, an acknowledgement that, left to itself, the international financial network would not have repaired itself.”

Notes: This book is an interesting study of power and influence throughout history.  It examines the difference in power originating from the network (the town ‘square’ – horizontal power) versus the hierarchy (the lord’s ‘tower’ – vertical power).  While some of the anecdotes seem a little disjointed and if you’re not as well read as Dr. Ferguson some of the references can be obscure making the narrative a difficult to follow, but overall a very interesting read.

Previous book read: The Robber Barons by Matthew Josephson

On Deck: Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky