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.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary


Can The Great Recession Happen Again?

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, September 17, 2018

I am not quite sure exactly when I received “The Subprime Primer,” a slide deck that someone e-mailed me early in 2008. I do remember thinking that it was unlikely ever to be surpassed as an introduction to the financial chain reaction that began as I was writing “The Ascent of Money” and reached its climax in the months after the failure of Lehman Brothers, the 10th anniversary of which fell Saturday.


‘Steady State’ Or ‘Deep State,’ It’s All The Same: Bureaucracy As Usual

by Niall Fergusonvia The Boston Globe
Monday, September 10, 2018

Who rules? Behind the shiny façade of a monarchy or a presidency — behind all the pomp and ceremony — who really pulls the levers of power? The idea is an ancient one that there are two layers of power, one brightly visible, the other in the shadows. A standard figure in the royal courts of the early modern era was the éminence grise.

John McCain
Analysis and Commentary

The Warrior Spirit Hasn't Quite Died With John McCain

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, September 3, 2018

There’s raising Cain — a good, old-fashioned term for raising hell. And then there’s raising McCain — which has a similar quality, but a loftier goal.

Analysis and Commentary

If Hillary Clinton Had Won, US Politics Would Be Even Crazier

by Niall Ferguson quoting Jack Goldsmithvia Boston Globe
Monday, August 27, 2018

My six-year-old son and I have been reading Philip Pullman’s extraordinary trilogy, “His Dark Materials.” (We had run out of Harry Potter.) Pullman’s books are a kind of atheist antidote to C.S. Lewis’s delightful “Narnia” series. Central to the plot is the idea, derived from modern physics, that our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes and that there could be “wormholes” that connect one universe to another.

Analysis and Commentary

Doom-Mongers Prophesy Democratic Decline. They Always Do.

by Niall Ferguson mentioning Larry Diamondvia The Boston Globe
Monday, August 6, 2018

The profession of doom-monger has flourished since the earliest days of the United States. The Founding Fathers themselves knew enough European history to understand that the odds against the success of a republican form of government were high. Every republic tended to slide into tyranny, usually because the people threw in their lot with a demagogue.

Analysis and Commentary

The Double Meaning Of Helsinki

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, July 23, 2018

I have many friends who hate Donald Trump. Most are liberal academic types who hate him the way their parents or grandparents once hated Richard Nixon. Their hate is tempered by the fact that Trump is not currently bombing or invading a foreign country. Remember, it was the anti-Vietnam movement that elevated hating Nixon above the realm of party politics.


I Picked A Fine Time To Become An American

by Niall Fergusonvia The Boston Globe
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I picked a fine time to become an American. It was a gray, overcast morning in Oakland, Calif. The finest England football team for a generation had just been beaten by the dastardly Croats. And Hurricane Donald Trump had just made landfall in London.

Analysis and Commentary

12 Rules For Summer, Inspired By Jordan Peterson

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, July 2, 2018

If Germany’s footballers have been the biggest losers of the year to date, then the Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson has been among the biggest winners. His book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” — only the second he has ever published — has sold more than a million copies. His YouTube channel has 1.26 million followers.


Empathy, But Also Realism, Are Necessary In Facing Immigration

by Niall Fergusonvia Boston Globe
Monday, June 25, 2018

I am an immigrant — a legal one. Over a period of 16 years, I’ve gone through a succession of work visas, acquired a green card, married an American citizen (herself an immigrant), passed the citizenship test, and in just 17 days will take the naturalization oath, accompanied by my wife and our two American-born sons.


Immigrant Overload, Not Brexit, Heralds The End Of The European Union

by Niall Fergusonvia South China Morning Post
Monday, June 18, 2018

It is rather hard to imagine a similar play being written about the European Union in the early 21st century. The influx of migrants would have precisely the opposite effect. Far from leading to fusion, Europe's migration crisis is leading to fission.