These are but just a sampling of synonyms listed in Doubleday Roget’s Thesaurus under the word “power” – defined in Miriam Webster’s New Collegiate dictionary as, “possession of control, authority, or influence over others.”
Interesting, then, that the CEO of arguably one of the most “powerful” companies in the world – Facebook – has chosen a book entitled The End of Power (March 2013) as the first pick for his new book club that he so fittingly announced on the social networking site earlier this month.
With over 1.35 billion monthly active users, 864 million daily active users and 8,348 employees worldwide (as of September 2014), Facebook is the world’s largest social network, having exponentially extended its sphere of influence, power and reach across the world since its founding in 2004.
Maybe that’s why Moisés Naim, the author of The End of Power, was, according to Bloomberg, “surprised, totally stoked” that Zuckerberg chose his book as the first read in his newly formed book club.
Fully titled The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used To Be, it chronicles the decline in “power” among once-dominant mega-players – such as governments, religions and other organizations – and the rise of micro-powers, such as individuals. “In the 21st century”, Naim writes, “power is easier to get, harder to use, and easier to lose.”
In fact, Zuckerberg’s announcement on his personal Facebook page is the perfect case in point for Naim’s main argument: that power has shifted more and more to the individual. Indeed, a simple post and three hours later, Naim’s book was sold out on Amazon.com, moved to the no. 123 spot in the sales ranking, and was listed among Amazon’s “movers & shakers” for books making the biggest gains on the best-seller list. It is now number 15 on Amazon’s “Best Sellers in Economics” list.
If that isn’t power, then I don’t know what is!
Moisés Naim is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an award-winning columnist, former Foreign Policy editor, and former Venezuelan politician. You can learn more about him and his book by visiting his website here.
For several in-depth book reviews, see below:
More thoughts on power and government here.