Niall Ferguson

Milbank Family Senior Fellow

Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard, where he served for twelve years as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of fifteen books, most recently The Square and the Tower. His previous book, Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. His many other prizes include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013). In addition to writing a weekly column for the Sunday Times (London) and the Boston Globe, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, an advisory firm. He also serves on the board of Affiliated Managers Group. His new book, The Square and the Tower, in published in the U.S. in January.

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Recent Commentary


Hard To See America’s ‘Success Story’ In Current Bloody Times

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Is the world turning pinker? Is all for the best (as Voltaire’s Dr. Pangloss claims in “Candide”) in the best of all possible worlds — or at least, better than in any previous state of the world? Or is the world turning a darker shade — blood red rather than pink? In the wake of yet another massacre at yet another American school by yet another political extremist with yet another screw loose and yet another assault rifle, it is hard to swallow the pinker thesis.


The Precedent For Trump's Administration Isn't Nixon—It's Clinton

by Niall Ferguson, Manuel Rincon-Cruzvia The Atlantic
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

History is at least as much about the structures of power as it is about the personalities of “great men”—or terrible ones. Of course, a president’s idiosyncrasies matter, and the outsized and outrageous personality of the current president of the United States has riveted the public and press.


The Machines Ate My Homework

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, February 12, 2018

Are we living through the re-mystification of the world?


Trump 2020? Possible, But Through Path Of Potholes

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, February 5, 2018

Sometimes an agonized facial expression speaks louder than a thousand words. As President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address last week, the Democratic side of the House of Representatives was one big rictus of pain.


Meet The Man Poised To Take Over The World Economy

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, January 29, 2018

The most interesting man at this year’s World Economic Forum was a rather scrawny 53-year-old former English teacher from Hangzhou in eastern China whose business is poised to take over the world economy: Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba.

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Toward a Clean, Well-lighted Internet

by Niall Fergusonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

Social networks swerve in unexpected—and sometimes dark—directions, defying utopian attempts to harness them. Digital citizens need to master hyperconnection without being mastered. 

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Niall Ferguson’s “The Square and the Tower”

interview with Niall Fergusonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, January 25, 2018

AUDIO ONLY Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Photographic portrait of the “Great and Generous Leader,” Joseph Stalin.
Analysis and Commentary

The Feats And Failures Of Hierarchical Power: Stalin, Xi Jinping, Macbeth

by Niall Fergusonvia Big Think (NY)
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hoover Institution fellow Niall Ferguson discusses social networks and hierarchical power and notes that If you want to understand what a truly hierarchical political system looks like, just look at Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union.

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Niall Ferguson's "The Square And The Tower"

interview with Niall Fergusonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, January 25, 2018

A historical overview of networks and power, from the Freemasons to Facebook.


Trump Exemplifies The Ugly American. Davos Will Accept Him Anyway.

by Niall Fergusonvia The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Two years ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, it seemed inconceivable that Donald Trump would be elected president of the United States. One year ago, it seemed inconceivable that he would ever come to Davos in that role. This week, the worst nightmare of Davos Man is coming true. President Trump — the personification of all that the “globalists” fear and loathe — is coming to town.