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On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense Paperback – June 2, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
For readers who are feeling glum about America and its place in the world, or those who despairingly look at our culture's cookie cutter, strip mall consumerism and flash-bang glitter, Brooks (Bobos in Paradise) offers a balm with his latest pseudo-sociological treatise. More a way to look at what he sees as America's problems (e.g., our thirst for enormous gas guzzlers and super-sized soft drinks) with optimism than a series of suggestions of how to fix them, this book by the New York Times op-ed columnist tells readers it's okay to consume, consume, consume-so long as they look toward the future while doing so. At times playful and sarcastic (though less funny than intended), the book jumps from statistical analysis to cultural observation to defense of Bush's foreign policy, all without much of a mooring in essential context or factual citation. This is deceptive optimism; one long essay insisting our society's problems are not so big, provided we talk about them in the right way. While engagingly written and insightful at points, Brooks's affirmation is unlikely to resound with anyone outside the conservative choir, and even less likely to spark change-or even a desire for change. Still, it's nice to feel loved-if not by the rest of the world, than at least by this author.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Woe the conservative who finds favor with the “liberal” press. After his breakthrough turn in Bobos in Paradise, Brooks, a New York Times op-ed columnist, was the rare elephant in the living room that the Blue states could cuddle up to. While none of the criticism seems overtly motivated by politics, there is a tone of disappointment in most of the reviews. Brooks still has a way with his well-honed cultural skewer, although a tendency towards generalizations bothers many critics. The loudest grumbles are provoked by Brooks’s incessant need to go for the easy joke, many of which just aren’t funny. More importantly, critics raise questions about the relevance of his argument. It seems, for the moment, the zeitgeist has Mr. Brooks in its rear-view mirror.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
With "On Paradise Drive," Brooks does it again. This time he takes a broader look at segments of the American population and explains what motivates them to work so hard and be so optimistic. In the book, Brooks brings to life the diverse ways in which we Americans dream about our futures and live out our lives to accomplish our dreams. As it turns out we are united in our future orientation, self-determinism and optimism yet diverse in the paths we choose to pursue. It is delightful to see so many segments of the American population pursuing happiness and at least partially finding it in the pursuit. Aristotle and Thomas Jefferson would be delighted to read this book since they both understood how important it was for humans to seek happiness even with the some of the inevitable bad decisions we make and consequences we experience along the way.
The one area I would have liked Brooks to explore is the actual failure of western societies to improve subjective well-being (i.e the sociologists' term for happiness) since WWII. For those who are interested, two good books to read on this are David Myers' "The American Paradox" and Robert Lanes' "The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies." Happiness has not increased since WWII and following September 11 people's values are changing. It would be fascinating to hear David Brooks thoughts on this development.
As a side note, Brooks the thinker/writer/commentator is certainly doing great work. As a person, I find his humility, realist's idealism, and sense of humor admirable. Two pieces I read that really give us a sense of David Brooks the person were his tribute in Readers Digest to the late Michael Kelly of The Atlantic (who died in an accident while on assignment in Iraq) and Brook's Times' column on his son's bar mitzvah. In them we sense Mr. Brooks love of liberty, doing good, family, and the friends such as Mr. Kelly that he admires for their strength of character.
I wholeheartily recommend this book. For thought-proving insight and good humor, the views of David Brooks on any subject and in in any media -- books, his tues/sat New York Times columns, or friday evening appearances on PBS's The New Hour)-- are always worth considering.
This is a book that I will re-read.