The Utopia of Rules

On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

paperback, 272 pages

Published Feb. 23, 2016 by Melville House.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

5 editions

Bureaucracy, Games, Capitalism, and Batman

5 stars

What an incredible book. A poignant look at how and why bureaucracies are created and maintained, how they are a form of game that’s opposed to actual play, how each of us has a responsibility to actively imagine a better world and create the conditions under which it can come into existence, and a surprise analysis of Christopher Nolan’s film “The Dark Knight Rises” which (trust me) makes sense in this context.

A clear recommendation for anyone who wants to look critically at how we as a society run the world. It’s also not too dense (as opposed to some other political philosophy works) and written in a very approachable way.

Sadly, a slog to get through.

3 stars

A collection of essays with an almost-clever title but too many detours.

Far too often, I found myself having to re-read parts of essays in order to understand whatever the main point was. There were so many times that the content just meandered somewhere, tried to build into the point, and created confusion about whatever he was trying to describe.

At one point, I was 40 pages into an essay with another 10-20 to go, and it started feeling like he was trying to justify why it was okay to like fantasy literature and games despite the bureaucracy within them. I doubt that was his intent, but that was precisely the way they felt due to the way he writes.

So much of what was said was entirely superfluous, which... is fine. But again, for someone who was touted as being the 'most readable' theorist, this was pretty unreadable.

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5 stars
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5 stars