07 August 2007

The Merchant of Power -- John F. Wasik

This was essentially a biography of Sam Insull, however it was more a biography of the electrification of Chicago and the world. I found this to be a fascinating book about the relationships that existed between some of the intellectual and financial giants of the late 19th and early 20th century. The most interesting part of the book is the fact that it sheds so much light on the importance and prominence of Sam Insull and yet he is all but unknown in popular culture. Many people know Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse, but have no knowledge of Insull. I found his rise to success and his continued drive throughout life to be somewhat motivational, for lack of a better term. His accomplishments were quite varied and he succeeded in almost everything he put his mind to. This book is also a tale of how government intervention and essentially jealously by lessor individuals ruined a great man. This is not unique to Sam Insull and it is sad to see, however it does provide a warning for future regualtion as well as a caution to up and coming inventors.

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