“The Winners Write the History Books”

My high school history teacher always said, “If I meet you in 30 years and you tell me you remember only one thing from my class, I want it to be that ‘the winners write the history books'”.

Here is an interesting graphic recently shared by Chris Blattman and originally displayed in Bloomberg Business:


This graphic reminds me of a passage from one of the most interesting books I’ve read in the past few years, Chuck Klosterman’s “I Wear the Black Hat”:

Everyone knows history is written by the winners, but that cliche misses a crucial detail: Over time, the winners are always the progressives. Conservatism can only win in the short term, because society cannot stop evolving (and social evolution inevitably dovetails with the agenda of those who see change as an abstract positive). It might take seventy years, but it always happens eventually. Serious historians are, almost without exception, self-styled progressives. Radical views–even the awful ones–improve with age.

Needless to say, I will always remember this cliched association between winners and writers. Cheers Mr. Berg!

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