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The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life Paperback – December 23, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A pioneering cartographer of talent." -- Fast Company

"An intellectual tour de force, scholarly yet colorfully written." -- Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"Florida draws a vivid picture of what it takes to make a great 21st-century city." -- Denver Post

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (December 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1864032561
  • ISBN-13: 978-1864032567
  • ASIN: 0465024777
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author of the bestselling The Rise of the Creative Class and Who's Your City? Richard Florida is a regular columnist for The Atlantic. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and other publications. His multiple awards and accolades include the Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Idea of the Year. He was named one of Esquire magazine's Best and Brightest (2005) and one of BusinessWeek's Voices of Innovation (2006). He lives in Toronto, Canada.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

263 of 278 people found the following review helpful By P. Lozar on September 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Richard Florida's study began with a rather straightforward premise: what characterizes the cities and regions that are economically successful today? His conclusions are rather controversial, but, based on the statistical evidence he presents (as well as my own experience), I found them highly convincing.
The liveliest economies, he finds, are in regions characterized by the 3 T's -- talent, technology, and tolerance. The implications are profound, to wit:
1. Conventional wisdom holds that, to boost an area's economy, it's necessary to attract large companies and thus create jobs. In fact, companies locate where the talent is; all the tax breaks in the world won't bring a large company to your area if they can't find the quality of employees they want there. Often, too, the talent itself will generate new companies and create jobs that way.
2. Urban planners assume that, to attract talent/jobs, what's important is to provide infrastructure: sports stadiums, freeways, shopping centers, etc. In fact, creative people prefer authenticity -- so making your city just like everyplace else is a sure way to kill its attractiveness.
3. The often-misunderstood "gay index" doesn't mean that gay people are more creative, or that attracting gays to a community will ipso facto boost its economy. Creative people tend to prefer gay-friendly communities because they're perceived as tolerant of anyone who isn't "mainstream"; a city that's run by a conservative good-ole-boys network isn't a good place to try to start a business unless you're one of the good ole boys.
The book is primarily descriptive and analytical, rather than prescriptive.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Chris M. on July 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book. As a professional who cares deeply about the survival of his own urban area, I found this book an indispensable and provocative read. I do have some reservations (below), but, nonetheless, recommend this book to anyone who cares about the future of cities. More detailed review follows.

Richard Florida's Rise of the Creative Class tells two stories. First, Florida tells the story of an emergent social class comprised of people engaged creatively in the workplace. Because creativity qua capital is the most critical resource in the new economy - as opposed to more traditional sources of capital such as land and natural resources - the "creative class" wields considerable influence in transforming societal norms. The societal transformations ushered in by the creative class are, in fact, means to further nurture and support creativity. Everything from a looser dress code to the postponement of marriage and family can be viewed as reflections of the needs and wants of people actively engaged in creative pursuits.

After detailing this emergent class - and identifying this class as the vanguard of economic growth in the 21st century - Florida instructs regions on how best to attract and maintain the creative class. Cities and regions would do well, Florida insists, on accommodating the needs and wants of the creative class. Places that offer a diverse array of authentic experiences and a tolerant attitude toward different lifestyles will excel in attracting creative workers. Inherent in this argument is that place - more than ever - is the key determinant in fomenting creativity, and, by association, economic growth.
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122 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Celia Redmore on January 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Possibly anyone who wrote a book on the �Creative Class� just before 2003 should be exempt from critical review � just like anyone who wrote an investment guide in 1928, or a colonial government primer in 1775. But �The Rise of the Creative Class� has recently been reissued in paperback, is frequently quoted by ambitious politicians, and is still being touted by its author. Therefore, it matters that we re-examine its contents carefully.
Richard Florida�s thesis is that there is a niche group of society, which over the past century has grown to become a separately identifiable class in its own right, distinguishable from the Working Class or the Service Sector Class or the almost-disappeared class of agricultural workers. This is different from saying that today�s better-educated workers need less direct supervision, or that many jobs vary more in content from day to day than used to be the case.

The author struggles mightily to define the nearly one-third of the population that he calls �creative� as a valid class. He proposes definitions, backs up a couple of pages later, corrects his proposal, and starts off down another path. The result is more of an out loud conversation with himself than a clearly delineated model. There are no neat conclusions here.
The book uses both published sources and the author�s own research to identify the characteristics of his new class: who they are and what motivates them. Sometimes the sources are of doubtful value.
One has to wonder why he would turn to his public policy students at prestigious Carnegie Mellon University to find out why highly-paid manufacturing jobs are no longer attractive to young blue-collar workers.
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