About the Book

Power of Networks

What makes WiFi faster at home than at a coffee shop? How does Google order search results from trillions of webpages? Why do Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube use fundamentally different rating and recommendation methods - and why does it matter? Is it really true that everyone on Facebook is connected in six steps or less? And how do cat videos - or anything else - go viral?

The Power of Networks answers questions like these for the first time in a way that all of us can understand and use, whether at home, the office, or school. Using simple language, analogies, stories, hundreds of illustrations, and no more math than simple addition and multiplication, the book provides a smart but accessible introduction to the handful of big ideas that drive the technical, social, and economic networks we use every day - from cellular phone networks and cloud computing to the Internet and social media platforms.

The book is organized into six parts, each part covering one fundamental principle of networking. These principles are simple phrases like sharing is hard, crowds are wise, and end to end that explain how all different kinds of networks are formed, managed, and maintained. Two or three chapters are included in each part on interesting topics that tell the story of that principle. Understanding these simple ideas unlocks the workings of everything from the social connections we make on Facebook to the communication networks that run such platforms.

Along the way, the authors also talk with and share the special insights of renowned networking experts: Google’s Eric Schmidt, former Verizon Wireless CEO Dennis Strigl, and fathers of the Internet Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.

This book can also be used as the basis for an introductory course in college or high school, offered to those interested in networking from any majors and disciplines. Instructional resources can be obtained on this site. Many of the materials for this book have already been used to teach over 100,000 students online between 2013 and now.

Networks are everywhere. The Power of Networks shows how they work - and what understanding them can do for you.