Book Review: Glimpses of Utopia, by Jess Scully • Glam Adelaide

Book Review: Glimpses of Utopia, by Jess Scully

NON-FICTION: A refreshing exploration of current societal systems in need of reform and real-life solutions to improve our world.

By
A barrage of thoughts to inspire your mind.
Overall
3

Are you interested in politics, climate change, and social justice? Do you see a need for societal systems to change? Want to hear about how communities around the world are redesigning the norms of society?

If the answer is yes, then the first book from Jess Scully, the City of Sydney’s Deputy Lord Mayor, is sure to inspire you. Glimpses of Utopia focuses on ten core societal systems in need of reform. It also provides real-world solutions that have been used within Australia or overseas, all of which appear progressive.

The book explores several key issues. What is Utopia? The ultimate vision? What does it mean to put citizens at the centre? How can we restructure political systems? How do we design business models or their ownership into ones that care? 

As you may have gathered by the questions she seeks to answer, the concepts raised in the book are suitable for an open-minded audience only.

Meticulously researched with multiple examples of implementation, further chapters discuss corporates, privatisation, and investment models. They highlight the need to reform financial systems, restore the commons, and rebuild systems that demand equity for all. 

If you are not part of the change and simply an observer of trends in economics or philosophy, or are interested in the ways that society is changing beneath our feet, this book has it covered. The last chapter is about the civic conversation and its conclusion summarises several key points. The finale mostly details further actions for reform that need a network and force systemic change.

In this way, the book ends well. However, the chapters throughout are poorly constructed. Each chapter covers a different societal system in need of reform and lists multiple solutions but lacks a firm direction or preference from the author. Consequently, it reads more like a barrage of thoughts and comes across as waffling.

Glimpses of Utopia is a good book to explore in a group if you want to discuss ideas and new ways of doing things. Whilst it could benefit from heavy editing, it is a book worth reading. Jess Scully is an outstanding advocate for citizen participation in a sustainable future, a firm believer in equity in all areas of life, and is renowned for her progressive policies.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

Distributed by: Pantera Press
Released: August 2020
RRP: $32.99


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