The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviors

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There frequently is some mystery in stories dealing with success and failure that can often be detected when social structures and interactions are analyzed. This detective work is illuminated by Stanford economics professor Matthew Jackson in The Human Network. He describes how influence and power are determined by one’s popularity, while connections to prestigious friends along with the ability to communicate and receive information and maintain outgoing connections make up the equation for success. Mapping this network of characteristics contrasts the control and influence of the Italian Medici family in the middle ages with other Florentine rivals. Using marriage, loans, and important business and social connections, the family gained their eminence. Tracing the social reactions of human responses, the author looks at the tendency of people to attach to those most similar to themselves, termed homophily, within our schools and neighborhoods and shows how segregation is perpetuated by social interaction. He also examines the finance, looking at the details of the financial crisis of 2008 and the connections among banking systems and praising the success of micro loans based on friendship and trust. The ramifications of behaviors during periods of contagion is timely especially during this present episode of a surrealistic viral pandemic. In spite of the many repetitions and some rambling, this book presents an introduction to another way of looking at how the world works: through links and nodes that form interweaving networks that require translation.


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Author Matthew O. Jackson
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Vintage
Publish Date 2020-02-04
ISBN 9781101972960
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2020
Category Science & Nature
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