Weekend Reading: Readwise's Next Chapter, Reviewing Revolt of the Public, and the Helicopter State

September 17, 2021 • #

📚 The Next Chapter of Readwise: Our Own Reading App

Great to see this evolution of Readwise to enter the “read-later” app space. None of the options out there seem to be thriving anymore (Pocket, Instapaper, etc.), but some of us still rely on them as essential parts of our reading experience.

The Readwise team has been moving fast the last couple years with excellent additions to the product, and I can’t believe they were also working on this for most of 2021 along with the other regular updates. Impressive.

🪧 Book Review: The Revolt of the Public

Scott Alexander reviews Martin Gurri:

People could have lowered their expectations, but in the real world that wasn’t how things went. Instead of losing faith in the power of government to work miracles, people believed that government could and should be working miracles, but that the specific people in power at the time were too corrupt and stupid to press the “CAUSE MIRACLE” button which they definitely had and which definitely would have worked. And so the outrage, the protests - kick these losers out of power, and replace them with anybody who had the common decency to press the miracle button!

Revolt of the Public was published in 2014, a time when most of his diagnosis of political discontent was prescient. But as SA points out, most of the subject matter is received wisdom in 2021.

I still highly recommend Gurri as a writer, and RotP for its analysis of root causes more than its predictions of things to come. More on Gurri here and here, and give a watch to his Revolt of the Public in 10 Minutes talk to get the precis on his work if you’re unfamiliar.

🏛 The Helicopter State

Jonah’s G-File is one of the rare read-every-issue newsletters, and this one is one of my recent favorites:

The government can’t love you, and when it works from the premise that it can, folly or tyranny follow. We need people in our lives, not programs. Because people give us the very real sense that we are part of something, that we’re needed and valued. Programs treat us like we’re metrics in some PowerPoint slide.

Helicopter parenting has a negative perception, as it should, but it’s still done all the time. Helicopter governing should be treated the same, but is also promoted and defended far too often.