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The Rise Of The Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community And Everyday Life Hardcover – May 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (May 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465024769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465024766
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 16.3 x 3.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #595,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Florida, an academic whose field is regional economic development, explains the rise of a new social class that he labels the creative class. Members include scientists, engineers, architects, educators, writers, artists, and entertainers. He defines this class as those whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, and new creative content. In general this group shares common characteristics, such as creativity, individuality, diversity, and merit. The author estimates that this group has 38 million members, constitutes more than 30 percent of the U.S. workforce, and profoundly influences work and lifestyle issues. The purpose of this book is to examine how and why we value creativity more highly than ever and cultivate it more intensely. He concludes that it is time for the creative class to grow up--boomers and Xers, liberals and conservatives, urbanites and suburbanites--and evolve from an amorphous group of self-directed while high-achieving individuals into a responsible, more cohesive group interested in the common good. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"An exhaustive study that ought to be read by every city planner and economic developer who wants to thrive in the next century.... It tells us a lot about ourselves, where we've been and where we are going." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gigi on Oct. 25 2003
Format: Hardcover
Florida's idea of a creative person is the software engineer who develops alternate downloadable ring tones for your telephone, or the Saturn engineers and marketers who come up with fake wood aftermarket car dashboard appliques. This is a degraded definition of creativity, one sure to include just about everyone in society up to and including the roofer installing an asphalt shingle on your roof, provided she makes the critical choice of applying the shingle one quarter inch to the right rather than one quarter inch to the left.
In its own sweet way, Florida's "creatives," or at least his watered-down definition of same, is as prejudiced as classic racists, homophobes, and sexists. Only instead of attempting to shunt blacks to the back of the bus, Florida's burgeoning "creative" managers are sending the working class factory jobs to China and the service class jobs to India. Having to live near these people, it would seem, is too painful for someone who markets Viagra for a living.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michelle H. Hegan on March 18 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book states (and restates and restates) that there is this creative class that is making money and transforming cities into vibrant economies if they are given the freedoms they need to stay creative. Sadly while he in name only includes artists, writers and musicians he seems only concerned with creative technology folks. Sure they are making money but artists continue to do what they do and have always had liveable communities. Economically viable? Well they don't have a starbucks on every corner and they can't afford hip nightlife and funky grocery stores but people have been making art weather or not cities chose to cater to them. The overpaid techies who have the privlege of comanding huge salaries and little personal responsiblity for their wealth need more put on a silver platter for them. Artists and creative types have rarely looked to others for their sustainablity. This is a book that is so shallow in its approach to creativity an a truly authentic and sustainable city economy that it left me annoyed. And the passing references to this Creative Class being very diverse but not black made me sit up. Some of the most gifted (and popular) artists, musicians, writers and directors are black, surely they make up some of this group. But not in Austin, not in Texas where being black is dangerous. Mr. Florida has created a neat package, trendy catch phrase and tidy profit, but he has not tapped or understood true creativity.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was conceived during the 1990s when the high-tech bubble economy caused a labor shortage which made it possible for recent college grads with the right "hot" skills to "write their own tickets". Professor Florida wondered why Pittsburgh, his home town, was having trouble attracting high-tech talent, and graduates from local schools were choosing to move away. He found that these young, single, upper-income, well-educated people were making job choices based on geography. They wanted to live somewhere "fun" for young people. That is with amenities such as a vibrant night life, opportunities for outdoor recreation such as biking, rock climbing, etc. Thus they chose places like Austin TX with its music scene over Pittsburgh with its symphony.
This is interesting enough, and Florida makes the connection to earlier work (especially that of Jane Jacobs) on what makes a city an "authentic" and interesting place to live.
It is well known that as time goes on, so-called "knowledge workers" are becoming a larger and larger part of the economy. However Florida, perhaps driven to some "irrational exuberance" by the bubble economy we were living in when he was writing this, makes some pretty outlandish claims for the importance and power of this class of workers (which he calls "the creative class"). As of mid-2004, this all seems a quaint relic of 1990s "new economy" optimism.
He also fails to address two things which have had a huge impact on the labor market in recent years:
He mentions but does not address at any length the collapse of the high-tech bubble, and what impact this change will have on the phenomena he describes.
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Format: Paperback
This book presents an interesting concept but the author doesn't tell us what to do with this information. He suggests that the "creative class" must become conscious of their identity as a class and begin to act in concert, but he doesn't outline a method for doing this. One would think that he would want to provide a platform for the unification and interaction of a class which he has identified.
The author suggests that municipalities would be wise to structure their geography to attract creative class individuals. Another approach, which he does not consider, would be a strategy to develop more creative class individuals from the resident population. Unlike other natural resources, which are finite, creative class capital can be generated by educational opportunities and personal development.
An interesting thought occurred to me while reading this book: Dr. Florida describes creative class individuals as uninterested in group conformity. Meanwhile, the major political parties become increasingly polarized and intolerant of dissent within the ranks, sidelining independent-thinking "moderates." Thus public policy is being developed by parties who have driven the creative class out from their midst. This, more than anything, may be the most critical issue for the creative class to confront.
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