Richard Florida is Professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and the founder of the Creative Class Group, a for-profit think tank that charts trends in business, communities, and lifestyles. His national bestseller The Rise of the Creative Class was awarded the Washington Monthly's Political Book Award and Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Idea Award. He lives in Toronto, Canada.
The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Lifeby Richard Florida
Many writers have commented on the massive social changes of the past few decades, but most of them have treated these shifts as something imposed on us, by technology or the marketplace. This is wrong, says
A maverick economist looks at the growing influence of today's newest "Creative Class" and offers innovative and practical lessons for business and workers.
Many writers have commented on the massive social changes of the past few decades, but most of them have treated these shifts as something imposed on us, by technology or the marketplace. This is wrong, says Richard Florida: we've chosen to alter our values, work, and lifestyle, and for good economic reasons. Why have we done this?
Florida finds the answer in the rise of a new social class. Like other classes, its basis is economic. Just as the feudal aristocracy derived its identity and values from its hereditary control of land and people, and the bourgeoisie derived its identity and values from its role as merchants of goods, the Creative Class derives its identity and values from its role as purveyors of creativity. When we see ourselves as "creative," our self-image affects the choices we make in every area of our lives.
Based on a massive body of research, The Rise of the Creative Class chronicles the ongoing sea-change in people's choices and attitudes, and shows not only what's happening but also how it stems from a fundamental economic change. The Creative Class now comprises nearly forty million Americans, or more than 25% of all employed people. The choices these people make have already had a huge economic impact, and in the future they will determine how the workplace is organized, what companies will prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities will thrive or wither.
Author Biography: Richard Florida is H. John Heinz III Professor of Regional Economic Development, Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University. A columnist for Information Week (circ. 400,000), he gives fifty to one hundred invited lectures a year, to mostly business audiences. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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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.
Great book by Florida, but I am always suspicious of folks who ride bikes in Pittsburgh--got to be a little whacky. Florida's statistical work is excellent. His conclusions from an economic perspective are wonderful (e.g. dump the NFL in your town). But he misses the point. San Francisco is his "star" city. Ever walk in downtown SF? Someone begging every ten feet. No one can afford to live there. This is good? He identifies his solution is in mobilizing the creative class. He makes statistical note of where the creative class lives and where they move. His problem is the problem of most academics--he can't define what is "good". He can only point to what is popular and what is experiencing economic growth. Yuch. Is that all there is? Case in point, there is a book out by a journalist from New York, the book is called Slice of America. It is about the author's journey across America to document people and the pies they love. Peach pie. Apple pie. Etc. You get it. People talk to her and invite her into their home. She is after a slice of America. Why? Cause she lives in New York. Florida's #3 town. She feels empy in New York. There is "nothing real there" she says in an interview on NPR. So she had to head out across America in search of finding something real so she could maintain her sanity. So if New York is so good.... I guess my point is that Florida makes the basic mistake of pushing us to another excess. In the 80's it was sports teams in cities. In the 21st Century it will be the Bohemian Index. Whatsamatter Richard? Do you just want more cities with bike paths so you dont have to ride up all those hills in Pittsburgh? Or do you really not have a clue on what makes a culture, on what makes a people? It isnt just economic growth. It isnt just a fat job market. Maybe you need to study great cultures. Maybe you need tour Europe for a few years and come back with a new approach. Otherwise this is just another psuedo Marxist elixer--populism with a twist of economic growth.
This book describes what a creative community looks like and how it can help local economies. It needs to lose the old-fashioned SAS charts and elaborate more about the idea. The academic nature of this book, unfortunately, makes it an uninteresting read overall. Another downside is that its statistics focus on entire metropolitan areas instead of local neighborhoods and specific areas of cities. Regardless, the message of the book is ahead of its time. Finally, someone has sparked needed debate and interest in urban policy issues. Factories and steel mills are out--quirky quality of life is in. The metro areas that understand, embrace and implement these concepts will be the winners. Others will wither into oblivion. The creative class is becoming a "movement" and a household name. The book's message is powerful, evident, and happening around the country. (In spite of all of those awful graphs and charts!)