Seeing Like a State (1999, Yale University Press) 4 stars

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed is …

Review of 'Seeing Like a State' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

I read this because it was heavily cited in a few different blog posts/essays that I found thought-provoking. This took me a really long time to get through, but has similarly been really thought-provoking, and has influenced how I think about a lot of different things.

In a very small nutshell (maybe a pistachio?): abstraction can be very useful but it's very easy to overlook the value of all the concrete details along the way; blind faith in it combined with a way to impose the abstraction on others can be pretty dangerous.

For what it's worth, I think you can basically read the introduction and then read Part IV: The Missing Link. At the beginning of that part he summarizes the salient points of Parts II and III. If you find any of those stories particularly interesting, there's nothing stopping you from going back and actually reading them. I …