Great Founder Theory
What drives social change throughout history and the present? What are the origins of institutional health or sclerosis? My answer is that a small number of functional institutions founded by exceptional individuals form the core of society. These institutions are imperfectly imitated by the rest of society, multiplying their effect. The original versions outperform their imitators, and are responsible for the creation and renewal of society and all the good things that come with it—whether we think of technology, wealth, or the preservation of a society’s values. Over time, functional institutions decay. As the landscape of founders and institutions changes, so does the landscape of society.
This answer forms the basis of the lens through which I analyze current and historical events, affairs, and figures. But though it may be intuitively compelling, fully substantiating such a framework is no small task. This manuscript, titled Great Founder Theory, is my substantiation. It explains all of the models that are key to understanding how great founders shape society through the generations, covering such topics as strategy, power, knowledge, social technology, and more.
The first edition of this manuscript was published in 2018 and has now been updated for a new 2020 edition. This manuscript is not a book—but a book is coming soon! The upcoming book will be a full treatment of the aforementioned topics, fleshed out with historical examples and several new chapters on the topic of civilization as a whole, and written for a broad, educated audience. Subscribe to my newsletter here to get updates on the upcoming book.
In the meantime, I invite you to read and consider the more theoretical treatment of these topics that I have published here.