The Rise Of The Creative Class, by Richard Florida
This book was an unmitigated failure on a variety of levels. For one, in reading this book the author’s agenda, especially his pro-gay and anti-family agenda, and even anti-working class agenda, was particularly evident, and something he hammered over and over again. In reading this book I felt like the uncool but decent city leaders who would tell the reader to stop talking so much about gays and bohemians, because that is exactly how I felt reading this garbage. On top of that, which would have made the book bad enough, the author engages in some fun lies with statistics where he tries to tie a self-created “creative index” with tolerance of gays and bohemians, when pro-gay and pro-bohemian attitudes are already included as half of his creative index, slanting the deck as to what counts as “creative.” And that is not even getting into the problems that the author’s ideas of creative professions are not very creative at all, and many of them purveyors of very uncreative b.s. that simply happens to be the sort of jobs that are being made more and more commonly these days. This book is a train wreck, something to stare in horror at but not something that is really worth taking very seriously.
This book of a bit more than 300 pages is divided into four parts and 17 chapters. The author begins with a preface, and the first chapter posits a transformation of everyday life that has been accompanied by a group of supposedly “creative” professions including IT and media professions which have gotten a lot less creative in the past few decades (1). After this the author looks at three aspects of a supposed creative age (I), namely, the creative ethos (2), the creative economy (3), and the creative class (4), where the author largely praises the lack of loyalty even as he notes some of the anxiety about job security that haunts many young people. The author spends five chapters looking at work (II), comparing the machine shop and the hair salon (5), looking at the horizontal labor market (6), looking at the white collar workplace (7), discussing the management of creativity (8), and discussing a supposed time warp (9) that affects some areas. The author spends a couple of chapters talking about life and leisure (III) in looking at the experiential life of many young people (10), as well as a rant on the big morph (11). Then the author closes with a series of chapters on community (IV) where he discusses the power of place (12), looks at the geography of creativity (13), discusses technology, talent, and tolerance (14), discusses social and creative capital (15), looks at how creative communities are built (16), and what happens as the creative class grows up (17).
Overall, this book is a disaster. Rarely has an author’s bias made him so unable to deal critically with his own cant about creativity and supposedly creative classes. The author fails to deal with some fundamental and basic questions regarding his thesis: are the people he writes about actually creative or not? The same professions the author defines as being a creative class are slammed by other writers as being bulls*** jobs with some justice. On top of that, the author seeks to defend his thesis by some illegitimate statistical analysis by which he confounds the factor he is looking for (namely the elusive creativity within communities) with some of the social factors he wishes to promote (like the presence of various artsy and immoral populations). The fact that many of the cities he slams for their lack of openness remain economically viable cities whose job growth drives a great deal of America’s economic success only indicates that the author is a blind and biased guide whose agenda gets in the way of any insights he might provide. If you’re not part of the choir that the author is preaching to, this book is definitely worth skipping altogether.