Notes on Seeing Like a State

A summary of James C. Scott's 'Seeing Like a State'.



Author(s): James C. Scott

Published: 1999

Genre: History, Governance, Technology


Inspectional Reading


What follows is how I conducted an initial, inspectional reading of this book, followed by analytical notes, and concluding with syntopical notes. You can compare the various stages to see the progress and difference as I move through the stages and take inspiration from it in developing your own webs of knowledge. Notion is an especially powerful tool to help you not just develop a good writing habit, but to develop effective and clean storing of information.

Summary Notes

Short Summary




From 'Acknowledgements'; a beautiful excerpt from Brian Friel's 3-part play '
From 'Acknowledgements'; a beautiful excerpt from Brian Friel's 3-part play 'Translations' on empire and tradition

Analytical Reading


What follows is my analytical reading of the book, including detailed notes of every chapter and discussion points summarising my understanding of this book, my views on these ideas, and further points for discussion.

Main Body Notes

Syntopical Analysis


What follows is my syntopical analysis of multiple books around history and civilisation and my attempt at deriving the fundamental principles of history based off their works and my own wider thoughts on the matter. Influences include: Ibn Khaldun, Malik Bennabi, and others whose names I forget but owe my knowledge to.



Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott

Antifragile, Nassim Taleb

Misbehaviour of Markets, Francois Mandelbrot