Leveraging Holistic Synergies: Ben Lopatin

Books I Want to See

April 26, 2019

It's books I "want to see" and not book I "want to read" to emphasize that these do not exist and maybe they're future projects?

I’ve made up the titles.

While these are books I would find interesting, it’s more the case that I’ve found this to be an excellent exercise in articulating concepts and ideas that have held my interest.

Some of these are superficially, at least, pretty mundane.

The Nature of Nature: Comparative conceptions of nature throughout history and across cultures

This is one I’ve probably been thinking about the longest.

Basically, where do these ideas come from and what is the consequence of different conceptions of nature? E.g. “man apart from nature” vs “man as part of nature”.

Starting bibliography

  • Worster, Donald; Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas
  • Silver, Lee M.; Challenging Nature: The Clash Between Biotechnology and Spirituality
  • Levinovitz, Alan; On Naturalness; stumbled upon this and it has its own bibliography, and it turns out Levinovitz is writing a book that addresses a significant part of my book statement (“One Nature Under God”).

In Search of the Authentic: Tracing the origins and fusion of global foods and cuisines

How can Italian food be authentically Old World if it uses New World foods?

Is using recipes and ingredients from other cuisines “cultural appropriation”?

It seems fair to take pride in a cuisine or prefer a dish be prepared the way it was back home, but I suspect that we treat cuisines as oddly independent creatures and that this is inaccurate.

How has ingredient availability changed in both places and for cuisines (separated from their geographic origins)? How have cuisines influenced each other?

The arguments about “authentic” are similar to arguments about “natural”.

Cans, Trucks, and Heaps: How refuse is collected and dealt with around the world

I don’t even really appreciate how this is done where I live. A truck comes by and collects the trash, and presumably it’s taken to the local landfill (which happens to be one of the large “off site” fills for NYC trash).

How is a landfill sited? Built? Managed? What about recycling?

What are the relative costs of waste management, whether financially or in terms of people?

Main Street Biz: the economics of typical consumer facing businesses

A barber shop: what kind of revenue does it make? What are its expenses? What about the local coffee shop? The veterinarian?

I’m curious what it takes to keep some of these businesses going. What kinds of expenses do they have? What are their chief lines of revenue?

The Odd Gods: an encyclopedia of the quirky minor deities across mythologies

There must be, say, a god of urinals /somewhere/.

Inspired by watching and re-reading American Gods.

Starting bibliography

  • Hamilton, Edith; Mythology
  • Lindow, John; Norse Mythology

National electoral methods around the world and their incentives

Vote for national party? A local party? Purely by district? How are districts rendered? And what are some of the incentives these systems create for both candidates and the elected officials?

I don’t know to what extent you could decouple this from parliamentary rules. Is there something about certain ways of electing representatives that makes them more appealing targets of lobbyists? Or that encourages “political entrepreneurship” vs. playing the party line tightly?

A citizens guide to understanding government contracting

This is one that I have some actual experience with. That said, there’s a lot I didn’t know when I was vocationally involved, and even more so now.

Starting bibliography

  • Light, Paul C.; The True Size of Government
  • Kelman, Steven; Procurement and Public Management
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