09FEB24 / accessions

The accessions department notes with some discontent that the following were ordered a full calendar month previously. Such are the hazards of buying titles from outside of the current top fifty English-language non-fiction bestsellers list in Sweden: it is presumed that such must be obtained from suppliers overseas before the local supplier (Adlibris) can fulfill the promises implicit in its extensive online catalogue1.

Eilenberger’s The Visionaries: the institution was hugely impressed with the author’s previous opus, Time of the Magicians, making this an obvious choice. Biography and history provide for the institution a way in to philosophy that the straight texts of philosophy themselves often fail to provide; it seems that complex thoughts are easier to comprehend when considered in the context of the one who thought them, and of their times.

Middleton’s Understanding Collapse: that the institution is broadly in the business of futures sometimes gives rise to surprise that its reading habits are so often oriented toward history; the still-ongoing mania around “artificial intelligence” suggests that the quality of futuring in general might be far superior were more of its practitioners even remotely conversant with the history of their own lifetimes. This is billed as an entry-level academic text on historical and archaeological cases of collapse; given the increasing frequency of the use of the term in near-term sociopolitical contexts, having concrete examples to discuss is always helpful.

  1. Yes, Amazon does have a foothold in Sweden, albeit—presumably due to the same labour laws that Tesla has been bumping up against—not a very strong one. Yes, it would be far quicker, and likely far cheaper, too. But the institution tries its best to live by its principles. ↩︎



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