on October 26, 2015
A very uncreative book dealing with what is supposed to be an interesting and exciting topic. Does Richard Florida discuss the new creative class of individuals that have been tinkering in their garages for decades now, changing all facets of society; from entertainment and art, to technology and health? No. Florida casts his definition net so wide that he's caught all the fish in the sea.
In the book, he basically defines someone in the creative class as someone who thinks creatively. He even goes so far as to say that the house cleaners he employs can be considered somewhat part of the creative class, as they are at liberty to do their work when and how they please. It is almost irrefutable that each and every human has the capacity to be creative - I would like to hear about a previously unrecognized class of people that ooze creativity and are changing their own lives and their society because of it. But no. Instead; lawyers, doctors and engineers of all stripes are part of Florida's Creative Class. I have had a hard time getting through this book because it's so dry, but even up to Chapter 8, he has hardly, if at all, discussed artisans, artists, entrepreneurs, tinkerers, makers, etc.
Even aside from Florida writing a book about something that simply discusses anyone who is middle class and up, the book reads like a university textbook. This is not a book you want to read on the bus to work, lest you miss your stop and ride the bus all the way back to where you got on. Instead of a book bursting with interesting and exciting anecdotes, making you feel anxious about missing out on the creative revolution... we get a book with charts, statistics and discussion of cracker-dry everyday phenomenon. If you can imagine a marketing meeting at the stodgiest retail bank, then you can imagine what it's like reading this book.
The title of the book really should be: The Rise of the Middle-Class... and how it has transformed work, leisure, community & everyday life.
A gave it three stars, because despite my scathing review, there are a few nuggets here-and-there regarding people who could actually be considered part of the creative class.
on December 17, 2011
Dr. Florida offers both Rise of the Creative Class--Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition--Revised and Expandeda delightful fast-paced account of historical futurism and a useful lesson on the futility of socioeconomic forecasting. In some ways the text seems to be inspired by Jules Verne's futurist novels. The difference, of course, was that Verne was offering fantasy, and Florida is trafficking in preposterous 'futures'. Not long after the publication of the book, the author's future collapsed - teachers were laid off, politics roared back to a dim pre-history, Sillycone Valley's 'creatives' spend their spent creativity on insignificant apps for a bored generation. But not all was lost, of course. Creativity continues to flourish on Wall Street.
on July 19, 2004
Richard Florida sees clearly what our present leadership does not- our country is in transition and the old rules no longer apply . He systematically shows through his research that cities that are thriving economically, intellectually and culturally are developing around a base of diversity, flexibility and tolerance. Talented people are moving to places that appeal to them and will allow them to reach their potential. He shows the only non-renewable resource is time and the only renewable resource the human intellect. Type his name into Google and you will find pages of growing city planning commissions either listening to him speak or their members quoting his book.
Run, Richard, run!
on June 8, 2004
The good news is, Richard Florida's book recognizes the growing economic and sociological impact of creativity. The bad news is that in just two years, it has lost some of its gloss. The collapse of the bull market, the popping of the dot.com bubble, the 9/11 trauma, each took some shine off of the creative economy, with its casual dress days, flexible schedules and free rides. But even though this appraisal occasionally sounds quaint, we believe that the book's faith in the transforming economic and social power of creativity, its broad view, and its excellent references and quotations make it worth recommending.
on June 1, 2004
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. It would seem that most of what he describes is (at least for now) no longer true, as high-tech workers can no longer pick and choose but are now in the position of being glad to find any job at all.
He does not mention at all the phenomenon of overseas outsourcing. This may not have been a hot topic when the book was written but by the time (Fall '03) he wrote the preface to the paperback edition it was so, and he does not even mention it, despite the fact that it is at the very least having a large psychological effect on the high-tech job market.
on May 19, 2004
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.
on May 3, 2004
If you've written a positive review here, you're probably one of the 38 million (how elite, basically 1/7 of the adult population) Americans who is a member of Richard Florida's Creative Class. Pat yourself on the back. You have new ideas. And you probably live in one of the creative cities - NYC, Austin, San Francisco... Fun for you. Now if government politicians would just pay attention to you - as if they don't already! - things would be even better!
But this is all bunk. Richard Florida hasn't written a path-breaking new book. He's repacked some ideas in some cute catch phrases and smartly marketed that book to... the 38 million people who like to think they're hip, creative, and cosmpolitan.
Actually, though, many of the cities that make it into his top 10 are, in fact, losers when it comes to domestic migration trends. San Francisco and New York, for instance, have been losing people to other, lower-cost destinations. (These cities only avoid being net losers because of immigration of lower-skilled, lower-paid workers from abroad.)
on April 11, 2004
This book is a facinating look at what really makes cities tick. As someone who grew up around boston and now lives in NYC the issues about city planning that Florida (the author) talks about are extremely relevant. I wish all city planners would read this before they go knocking down old neighborhoods or insisting on funding stadiums over education. His findings about diversity and creativity also should add to the many arguments against the current trend of discrimination that seems to have re-emerged.
on February 20, 2004
I think many of the preceding reviews provide insight on this book: the argument is a tough-sell, it relies on generalizations, and it doesn't get everything right. However, I don't this book is meant to be a final statement, but rather the beginning. Taken in that light, Florida's work has great importance for cities and governments as we try to lay the foundations for sustained prosperity and happiness in the USA.
At a time when stadium boondoggles are soaking taxpayers around the country, Florida's book is urgently relevant. The argument may need some work, but hey: entrepreneurs of all kinds tend to thrive in a diverse, artsy, weird, non-conformist environment. Corporate welfare is not the answer (see Detroit), bike lanes and grunge music is (see Portland, OR).
Wealth and happiness is ultimately created by people, not by giant corporations. Devising a great place to live, where people have great parks, schools, arts, and freedoms is the best path to the well being of economies and citizens alike.
on February 19, 2004
Richard Floridaï¿½s book, ï¿½The Rise of the Creative Classï¿½, provides readers with some interesting ideas about economic and social growth. Throughout the book, Florida relates economic growth to creativity and diversity, without one, you may not have the other. In addition, he identifies 3 Ts as necessary for growth: technology, talent and tolerance. While planning for the future, cities no only have to look at economic development, but must look at the climate the city provides for the arts. Recently moving from South Dakota, one of the areas Florida describes as have high social capital but lacking economic growth, Floridaï¿½s ideas about fostering an environment in which creativity thrives ring true. Economic development does not mean acquiring a chain restaurant, but it should include developing an authentic local environment that allows creativity to flourish.
Many criticize Floridaï¿½s use of the Bohemian Index and Gay Index (however well it correlates to economic growth), citing the information does not apply to the majority of middle class Americans. The paperback edition of Floridaï¿½s book contains a preface where the author points out that the creative environment is not limited to a city itself, but a region that allows people to live in the environment that suits them the best, i.e. Silicon Valley and San Francisco together provide an environment to growth. I do, however, find Florida's diversity ranking a bit lacking. Honolulu, one of the most diverse areas I have lived in, does not seem very diverse, because Asians and Pacific Islanders were considered as one racial/ethnic group.