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The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community Paperback – August 18, 1999
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A book that should be read by everyone in North America over the age of 16 -- The World of Beer
A day doesn't go by that I don't refer to Ray Oldenburg's The Great Good Place. At a time when all great, good independent bookstores everywhere are under siege, we're fortunate that Mr. Oldenburg has articulated our message so clearly. -- Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, Miami, Florida
Examines gathering places and reminds us how important they are. People need the 'third place' to nourish sociability. -- Parade
Oldenburg believes that the powerful need in humans to associate with one another will inevitably lead to the revival of places where, as the theme song to the TV show Cheers so aptly put it, 'everyone knows your name.' We'll drink to that. -- Booklist
Ray Oldenburg is inspirational. He is the first to recognize and articulate the importance of the greeting place (third place) for the well-being of the individual and society at large. -- Ron Sher, President, Terranomics Development and founder of Third Place Books, Seattle, Wash.
The great value of this book is that Mr. Oldenburg has given us an insightful and extremely useful new lens through which to look at a familiar problem. -- New York Times Book Review
This wonderful and utterly important book verifies our need for fun through conversation in "great good places." Oldenburg writes passionately of our country's current and urgent problems resulting from our ever-increasing social isolation and provides us with a very simple solution. America must read and react to this rational common-sense solution to salving our stressed lives. And our government needs to promote, permit, and zone responsible neighborhood hospitality, recognizing the value of "a vital informal life." -- Lynne Breaux, owner, Tunnicliff's Tavern, Washington, D.C.
Well-written, informative, and often entertaining. -- Newark Star-Ledger
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Top Customer Reviews
As we move towards a "private property society" and focus on "property rights" as we seem to understand them, the ability to be social, without prior planning, is slowly eroding. Simultaneously, the places to "hang out" are disappearing as a consumer driven market seems desirous of generating the most profit for the fewest people (corporations). Because of a desire for inexpensive goods, a local business, owned and operated by nearby residents, is next to impossible - especially in the face of the mass market competition from large corporations.
I think Oldenburg hits the nail squarely on the head. As I drive around (in a car-based economy), it's increasingly difficult to find a place to "hang out" and/or become a regular.Read more ›
Oldenburg does a good job building his case. He looks at characteristics and benefits of third places and then chooses examples from history and other cultures to illustrate the ideas.
A friend of mine remarked that The Great Good Place was one good idea repeated over and over again for 300 page. Not entirely fair, but there is some truth to it. The book also suffers from being oversold. For instance, the publisher's subtitle implies that hair salons are part of the topics that are covered. In fact, they are barely even mentioned. I suppose that the publicity that this relatively academic text made it nearly irrestistible for the publishing house to try to spice things up for the average reader.
Honestly, three stars might be the most fair rating for the book. In addition to what feels like some occasionally thin material, I feel that the author elides or ignores the potential negatives of his third places. All the same, I ended up rating it four stars because I generally agreed with his ideas. That agreement made me predisposed to enjoy it. So for me, the fourth star is because I found it pleasant to read.
Recommended for people with an interest in the social value of public spaces.
There are no substantive mentions of hair salons or bookstores in this work. I'm not sure how they slipped into the title.
On the whole, this work raises interesting questions about the decline of public life and public space in American culture. Oldenburg throws a number of darts at the suburbs and poor urban planning, but seems to spend more time lamenting the lost innocence of small-town America than thinking about the future and how things could be turned around. There's a lot of thought-provoking material here, and I think this work represents a good jumping-off point for further consideration and research.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the central idea of Third Places but don't feel like the author added enough interesting examples or insights to make the extra length of a book worthwhile. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Martin Kelley
This book will teach readers and inform them as to why they have the desires to gravitate toward certain places.Published 3 months ago by RWB
Ray does a thorough job reminiscing about classic "third places" in Europe and the United States from a sociologist's view. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Justin S Jackson
This book, along with Jane Jacobs' Death & Life of Great Cities, could be the basis of a college course on the sociology of urban neighborhoods. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Chicago Slim
A good read and a wonderful resource for my dissertation on physical space and community.Published 14 months ago by Daniel M. Maxwell
everyone thinks starbucks invented "the third place"...in fact..they did not...this is an amazing book if you need to understand the sociology of cafes.Published 18 months ago by fhcgsps
This book will help make the places where we live in the 21st century better places to live!
Rich conversation is almost a thing of the past and Oldenburg defines some... Read more