“That was one of the transformational moments of my life,” Caro said years later. It led him to think about Moses for the first time. “I got in the car and drove home to Long Island, and I kept thinking to myself: ‘Everything you’ve been doing is baloney. You’ve been writing under the belief that power in a democracy comes from the ballot box. But here’s a guy who has never been elected to anything, who has enough power to turn the entire state around, and you don’t have the slightest idea how he got it.'”
In my opinion, The Power Broker remains the most important narrative study of the power of bureaucrats ever written.
Even with hundreds of thousands of observations from multiple waves of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and its predecessors, I doubt anyone cutting big datasets will ever produce something with the lasting impact of this book.