- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 47 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Abridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: January 9, 2001
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00005AAQ6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There Audiobook – Abridged
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But under the tongue-in-cheek veneer are some important cultural messages. Strip away the $5 bagels and $5,000 shower stalls, and there are people searching for meaning in life (see Erich Fromm's books for a different view on this), because they have a complex mix of cultures behind them that need to be resolved. A critical point is that education matters, possibly above all else. It creates the need for the search, but also enables the search to take place.
This book will give you an important insight into the state of the current generation of people well up the tree. It's not highly academic, it's not impersonal and impartial, it doesn't get deeply into the psychology and cultural isses involved. But these aren't weaknesses of the book. This is a first overview of the field. We can expect more material in time, in other forms.
Brooks fills this book with hilarious insights about bourgeoise bohmemians. Among my favorites are such rules for bobos as: (1) Only vulgarians spend lavish amounts of money on luxuries. Cultivated people restrict lavish spending to necessities. (2) You can never have too much texture. (3) Educated elites are expected to spend huge amounts of money on things that used to be cheap. "Bobos prefer the same items as the proletariat," says Brooks. "It's just that they buy rarefied versions--the $3.75 cup of coffee, the $12 bar of soap, a white T-shirt for $50 or more."
This book certainly captured the values of people that I know. But I rate "Bobos" ony four stars because it does read in parts like a pumped up magazine article, with Brooks seeming to develop his ideas to fill pages, not just to make a point. Regardless, READ THIS BOOOK!
Grael Norton, Senior Faculty, AuthorsAcademy.com
Unlike other readers who have posted their opinions here, I DO think that Brooks has an important and original sociological insight, though it is imperfectly linked to his discussion of social class. There IS a new consensus about moral and material virtue, and it is not wrong (even if a bit glib) to call it "bourgeois" and "bohemian" (hence, "bobo").
His satire of "Bobos," however, is exaggerated for humor (Brooks's real metier), and he thus ends up making claims for the ubiquity and power of the "Bobo" class that are, as other readers have pointed out, simply unwarranted. The satiric jauntiness of parts of the book (the best parts) are never harmonized with the pious conclusion that bobos are really not so bad, indeed that in boboism lies our social salvation (a piety that I hope would move the "real David Brooks" to laughter).
Honestly, though, I happen to agree with both perspectives, and only wish that Brooks had been able to pull off the elusive meeting point; sadly he did not. At its worst moments, this books feels like "Dave Barry meets Fyodor Dostoyevsky" (whom I believe this Dave does actually quote). It's still worth reading, though, for its best and irreverent highpoints.