Seeing Like a State: The Book Club

A book club to spice up your February.

Last fall, I ran a progress studies-themed book club centered around the theme of Organizing Genius. It was a huge success and became one of my favorite parts of 2020.

My friend Priyansha and I have decided to host another book club, this time reading just one text: Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott.

Why Seeing Like a State? SLAS is one of those books brought up in Silicon Valley all the time. Writers will reference it frequently on their Substacks and it's often allegorized on Hacker News. And for good reason—it's a classic work in understanding why we're terrible at improving the human condition, and it lays the groundwork for understanding how technology is reshaping governance today.

We have a lot of questions we want to discuss. Here's a few:

Why are so many countries failing miserably in responding to the COVID-19 crisis? Why are deep inequities like poverty and famine persistent despite our best efforts? How is technology altering the relationship between states and their citizens, and is it for better or worse?

The first session will be on February 2nd, 2020 at 9:30pm (ET). We'll meet for four weeks, 75 minutes each time.

Our biggest goal with the book club is to make friends. Seminal books are best enjoyed with company. So if you'd like to join us, check out our Notion.

SLAS Book Club