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Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There [BARGAIN PRICE] Hardcover – 2000

165 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684853779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684853772
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #530,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Sentence
I'M NOT SURE I'd like to be one of the people featured on the New York Times weddings page, but I know I'd like to be the father of one of them. Read the first page
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3.5 out of 5 stars

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Dudley on Jan. 2 2004
Format: Paperback
Bobos in Paradise is a work employing such gross stereotypes and historical conflation as to be close to unuseable. Funny, witty, yes. Accurate and up to date, no. He takes Wayne, Pennsylvania as an example of the BoBo paradise and then tells us about mass tastes that are more than a decade old. In order to sound hip he uses pop cult phrases that are just dead wrong or off the mark. For example, he says these Bobo's like "Bruise Colors", actually a phrase primarilly used for young girls "punk" lipstick, blues, greens, red browns, when what he is talking about are the standard Pottery Barn colors. Founding Fathers "went in for clean classical styles, not gaudy baroque ones" as proof of their bourgeois values. Evidently he doesn't know that the Baroque style was The style from about 1690 to 1730 and the Rococo dominated everything from about 1740 to 1790 and, in many places, well beyond. What is this guy talking about? "They were smart but not overly intellectual" WHAT ! Franklin was the intellectual par excellance. That was one of the reasons he was so popular in France. At a dinner for Nobel Prize winners, JFK said that "There has not been so much talent assembled in this room since Jefferson dined alone." People like Franklin, Jeffeson, Madison and many, many others had continual corrspondence with the leading intellectuals all over the globe. Brooks does as badly with the contemporary scene. He makes no clear differentiation between the distinctly different generations that have emerged from the mid century mark. Brooks has a spin, a very self congratulatory spin, he wants to put on his ideologically driven vision the facts be dammed. Read this for what the Neocons are up to and how they want to view the world.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Brooks appears on Matthews show, and seems intelligent. That's why I bought the book. Generally, this book hits all the high points of American intellectualism. He tosses out the right names. The book is sort of satiric, and sort of serious.
Since it was written in the Bubble period, one can be charitable. Maybe this was the most criticism one could offer up. Now things are more serious. The discussion of how elite universities, how they held their power, could be channeled to ask why academics were so wrong in Iraq? Why are America's ideas, like neo-conservatism, so, um, lame? Is that the word?
Brooks gets into a very long discussion of moral absolutes. It's kind of a "Well, if you aren't on the plan, why aren't you going to Hell?" approach. It's a little breathtaking. One can argue that religions differ on the standards, the absolute standards, so if we are here to reconcile religious differences, life is going to be very bloody. He doesn't seem to accept this point, which is fine. Unfortunately, it devalues his idea of moral relativism and the Bobos, though he doesn't use that term, as I recall.
I guess it turns out that being shallow, a bit insipid, and totally materialist has a downside. A lot of the poor world tends to hate you, and wants to destroy you. Oh, dear. What a drag. So many snags.
So, his point about academia and top schools is interesting, as history, but what are these schools really churning out? Why do we have such a large income disparity? Why are we working so hard to build an elite? It's like Brooks is saying the elite is good enough, why sweat it, but I'm not really in it for vague and undefined reasons.
You have to be bright to pull it off. One could ask why anyone would want to pull it off? To have a bestseller?
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Format: Paperback
While it may not be as catchy as "preppie" or "yuppie," in "bobo" David Brooks has coined a new term for a newly visible and significant segment of society. A Bobo, he claims, is a hybrid of the bourgeois and the bohemian--a "new meritocracy" or "educated elite." Bobos are the new movers and shakers of American business--in banking, law, the media, anything connected to the high-tech industry, even Hollywood. And like the preppies and the yuppies before them, they're making their mark on the rest of us: Starbucks, for example, was specifically envisioned as a Bobo hangout.
Brooks claims that Bobos despise yuppies, but a close study of his book will show that the two groups have several significant things in common. Both are educated professionals (though many Bobos, especially those in computer-connected fields, are college dropouts or never-wents, Bill Gates being the most obvious example) pulling in high salaries (from a minimum $100,000 annual gross to several million); couples are always dual-income. Both are comfortable with high tech in all its latest manifestations. Both take conscientious care of their bodies--no smoking, no drugs, only moderate alcohol consumption, health-club memberships, toning sports like running, skiing, and racquet games. Both are attracted to highbrow culture (Bobos are mad for museums and listen to NPR). Both enjoy vacationing in remote, out-of-the-way spots that don't expose them to the thundering herds of "fat tourists" pouring on and off busses. Both are entranced by "professional-grade" kitchen appliances and want to own a restaurant's worth of lesser tools and equipment.
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