Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier Hardcover – Feb 10 2011
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"You'll...walk away dazzled by the greatness of cities and fascinated by this writer's nimble mind." ---The New York Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Edward L. Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He studies the economics of cities, housing, segregation, obesity, crime, innovation and other subjects, and writes about many of these issues for Economix. He serves as the director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1992.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, some frequent repetitions and an imperfect structure show that indeed this book is largely a collage of opinions published previously in blogs and articles, as the author admits in the acknowledgements section.
Worse, certain positions are very poorly founded. For example, the book presents a naive and simplistic view of zoning based on supply and demand that excludes realities such as corruption and speculation.
Though the author tries to temper things with historical research and his own field observations, there is generally too much reliance on statistics and numerical data. This is often more confusing than convincing as illustrated by statements such as : `Holding family income and size constant, gas consumption per family per year declines by 106 gallons as the number of residents per square mile doubles'.
The author includes many self-deprecating comments, describing himself for instance as socially awkward and athletically incompetent. He does not avoid however a certain degree of narcissism and recounts his youth in New York (at 69th Street and 1st Avenue), his current suburban life in Massachusetts, his great grandmother's prayers in Trinity Church, his grandfather's emigration from Germany in 1930, etc. This does not succeed in humanizing the book but rather diminishes the objectivity expected from a Harvard professor.Read more ›
The bad stuff: as an economist, Glaeser often seems compelled to express ideas and frame facts in the most insensitive, crass, or otherwise inappropriate manner. For example, contrasting urban riots in the 1960s in Detroit with the lack of them in the South, Glaeser uses the slogan "repression works." He is also given to long asides about everything under the sun (e.g, Shakespeare, Thoreau). Under the rubric of simply meandering or not really paying attention to what he writes, Glaeser asserts that Dwight Eisenhower was eager to expand the nation's highways in the 1950s and that Americans were "happy" to pay the taxes for them. Eisenhower was, in fact, reluctant to build new roads (or do anything else) and on the subject of taxes -- well, the joke pretty much writes itself.
Most recent customer reviews
Urban Planners, students, enthusiasts...no matter your experience level...this book provides insight to key issues and challenges theory as the author provides new ideas.Published on Sept. 4 2012 by Brandon
While I really enjoyed the idea of the book (that cities are about people, not the buildings), I'm a bit concerned about this infatuation with the city. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2012 by Anastasia Prozorova