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Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks
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Bobos in Paradise (original 2000; edition 2010)

by David Brooks

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1,174226,871 (3.44)18
Member:gigi4799
Title:Bobos in Paradise
Authors:David Brooks
Info:Simon & Schuster (2010), Kindle Edition, 290 pages
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Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There by David Brooks (2000)

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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Gross oversimplification I thought, though it went on and on and on and on......
  MissJessie | Oct 16, 2013 |
sad to see all of the thinkers and activists of the 60's that sold out to their new establishment so much of having it all rather than being it all ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
The chapter that follows American literary history from 720 should be required reading for the typical high school, maybe eve core class inin college before tackling Benjamin Franklin, Emerson and his crowd, on to Hemingway, then the beats....it would explain why the students are still sujected to things like the transcendentalists. Funny how Franklin is still so understandable, as we read all of those "habits" books.

A great book,and Brooks just keeps on writing. ( )
  carterchristian1 | Mar 2, 2012 |
This light-hearted social criticism examines the so-called “educated class,” positing that today’s elite grew out of the hippie flower children of the ’60s into the money-hungry yuppies of the ’80s, to ultimately reach an uneasy truce between their conflicting ethos today – to become “Bourgeois Bohemians,” or “Bobos,” for short. This new “meritocracy,” composed of dot-com millionaires, Hollywood producers, pop culture analysts and other members of the “creative class,” has successfully overthrown the old money elite, which inherited their megabucks instead of earning them.

I suspect many readers will recognize themselves in these pages, sometimes uncomfortably so. All the time I was reading the book, I was shopping at Pottery Barn, listening to NPR and searching for a lost spiritual identity in foreign cultures, just as this book posits that most Bobos do. (Of course, I lack the money that these people supposedly have, so I can still feel superior about that.) But the author gleefully admits that he’s a Bobo too, and even though he gently pokes fun at this compromised generation, he is very fond of them at the same time.

The book is amazingly easy to read, for nonfiction, mostly because Brooks approaches his subject with such gentle humor. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Bobo recreation, in which Brooks describes a trek through the a gigantic outdoors outfitters store as if he is climbing up the side of an ice-covered mountain, with the goal of reaching the coffeeshop on the top floor. I also enjoyed the description of the lifespan of an intellectual, the apex of which is described this way: “Books and panels are fine, but in the end, those who are not on television find their lives are without meaning.”

Read in 2002. ( )
  sturlington | Oct 27, 2011 |
Boring claptrap. ( )
  phyllis01 | Jun 4, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684853787, Paperback)

You've seen them: They sip double-tall, nonfat lattes, chat on cell phones, and listen to NPR while driving their immaculate SUVs to Pottery Barn to shop for $48 titanium spatulas. They tread down specialty cheese aisles in top-of-the-line hiking boots and think nothing of laying down $5 for an olive-wheatgrass muffin. They're the bourgeois bohemians--"Bobos"--an unlikely blend of mainstream culture and 1960s-era counterculture that, according to David Brooks, represents both America's present and future: "These Bobos define our age. They are the new establishment. Their hybrid culture is the atmosphere we all breathe. Their status codes now govern social life." Amusing stereotypes aside, they're an "elite based on brainpower" and merit rather than pedigree or lineage: "Dumb good-looking people with great parents have been displaced by smart, ambitious, educated, and antiestablishment people with scuffed shoes."

Bobos in Paradise is a brilliant, breezy, and often hilarious study of the "cultural consequences of the information age." Large and influential (especially in terms of their buying power), the Bobos have reformed society through culture rather than politics, and Brooks clearly outlines this passing of the high-class torch by analyzing nearly all aspects of life: consumption habits, business and lifestyle choices, entertainment, spirituality, politics, and education. Employing a method he calls "comic sociology," Brooks relies on keen observations, wit, and intelligence rather than statistics and hard theory to make his points. And by copping to his own Bobo status, he comes across as revealing rather than spiteful in his dead-on humor. Take his description of a typical grocery store catering to discriminating Bobos: "The visitor to Fresh Fields is confronted with a big sign that says 'Organic Items today: 130.' This is like a barometer of virtue. If you came in on a day when only 60 items were organic, you'd feel cheated. But when the number hits the three figures, you can walk through the aisles with moral confidence."

Like any self-respecting Bobo, Brooks wears his erudition lightly and comfortably (not unlike, say, an expedition-weight triple-layer Gore-Tex jacket suitable for a Mount Everest assault but more often seen in the gym). But just because he's funny doesn't mean this is not a serious book. On the contrary, it is one of the more insightful works of social commentary in recent memory. His ideas are sharp, his writing crisp, and he even offers pointed suggestions for putting the considerable Bobo political clout to work. And, unlike the classes that spawned them--the hippies and the yuppies--Brooks insists the Bobos are here to stay: "Today the culture war is over, at least in the realm of the affluent. The centuries-old conflict has been reconciled." All the more reason to pay attention. --Shawn Carkonen

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:20 -0400)

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