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Wolfgang Wopperer

Joined 1 week, 6 days ago

Philosopher by training, facilitator by trade. Late-coming social activist and experienced stacker of books.

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Wolfgang Wopperer's books

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2022 Reading Goal

91% complete! Wolfgang Wopperer has read 11 of 12 books.

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You Matter More Than You Think (Hardcover, 2021, cCHANGE press) 3 stars

Activism, commodified

3 stars

While reading the book I kept asking myself: I agree with every single component of O'Brien's thinking – then why does it “feel” so wrong?

Here's my tentative answer:

Using ideas and concepts taken from Barad, Wendt etc. out of their original context creates the risk of misinterpretation. E.g. “quantum” and “entanglements” are not understood as phenomena at the scale of people, communities etc., but as the “original” microscopic quantum phenomena somehow influencing macroscopic reality. This creates a false sense of tangibility when we are really talking about quite abstract ideas.

Even more importantly, there is no sense of how to apply her ideas. There is just no explanation or evidence for actual “fractal patterns that both resonate and replicate at all scales”, just the de facto metaphor of the fractal pattern repeated again and again – which means at the very heart of the book, there is a giant …

The Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky (2018) 4 stars

Immersive, imaginative, important – an instant classic

5 stars

Deep and wide-ranging world-building, a complex and thrilling plot, and an uncoventional, convincing and immersive representation of slavery and exploitation. I especially liked how Jemisin managed to capture my attention and keep me guessing on three levels simultaneously: deep civilisational history, impending apocalypse, and finally family and personal sacrifice.

Radical Uncertainty (2019, Little, Brown Book Group Limited) 3 stars

Well-argued but not particularly deep

3 stars

A typical nonfiction bestseller hopeful: Well-narrated, full of vivid examples, reasonably well structured and argued – but its core arguments could be boiled down to a few pages, and most of its assumptions and evidence would need to be scrutinised in order to reliably assess them.

The authors' central recommendation is:

[T]he mark of the first-rate decision-maker confronted by radical uncertainty is to organise action around a reference narrative while still being open to both the possibility that this narrative is false and that alternative narratives might be relevant.

The nature of technology (2009, Free Press) 5 stars

The Nature of Technology will change the way you think about this fundamental subject forever. …

A compelling general theory of technology

5 stars

A compelling general theory of technology, based on the idea of evolution via recombination. Well-argued, clear and not too abstract, while miles above the usual non-fiction fluff. Connections to Kuhn, Perez, Holling and (implicitly) Kauffman.

Ministry for the Future (2020, Orbit) 4 stars

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization was simple: To advocate for the …

Important but not fully successful artistically

4 stars

Terrifyingly, largely nonfiction. After a very strong, almost shocking opening, it lacks a strong story arc that pulls you through the book, the kaleidoscopic storytelling feeling a bit artificial. But full of interesting, sometimes essential ideas and insights about climate breakdown, the wider socio-economic system and possible solutions. After only two years already somewhat dated, which makes it even more terrifying.

The  Dispossessed (Paperback, 1999, Millennium) 5 stars

E-book extra: In-depth study guide.Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek …

Brilliant imagination of an anarchist society

5 stars

Le Guin explores why and how an anarchist society can work, undaunted by complexity and in vivid detail. At the same time a reflection on individuality, sense of purpose, and the nature of abstraction. Probably one of the best books I've ever read.