The Rise of the Creative Class

This book was recommended to me by an acquaintance a few weeks ago…I’m glad they mentioned it.  I grabbed this book to read while spending last week on the beach.

The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life (Paperback) by Richard Florida is an informative book that covers A LOT of ground and has A LOT of data….but not as much “information” as I would have expected.  Let me explain.

The premise of this book is that society today is that a new Creative Class exists and is driving the way we live today.    Florida uses this creative class to explain why societal changes and patterns of living as well as why some cities are more attractive than others (e.g., Silicon Valley vs Oklahoma City).

The question behind much of the research for the book is:

How do we decide where to live and work? What really matters to us in making this kind of life decision?  How has this changed – and why?

This is an interesting question…and one that Florida tries to answer throughout the book by using statistics, quotes from other authors and a good deal of words.

The first 3/4’s of the book is dedicated to describing the Creative Class, how they live and work and why they are different from their ‘parents’.  There is a ton of data and a lot of time is spent by Florida quoting research, arguing against other theorists and using statistics to “make his case” that the Creative Class is the most important class of our time.  During this portion of the book, Florida makes the argument that there is a strong correlation between those cities/regions that are more tolerant and the number of creative class works that live and work in the area.

One interesting section of the book describes the changing work environment that is making it possible for people to set their own schedules, work from home and be much less constrained by the old ‘8 to 5’ mentality that has been a part of American business for so long. Chapters 6 through 9 are probably the most interesting and descriptive of the book.  These chapters describe the reasons behind why people in my generation (and those younger than me) are looking for more than ‘just a job’ and why many people are tiring of the ‘8 to 5’ experience.

The last quarter of the book describes how cities and regions have developed themselves into a magnet for the creative class. Florida states that in order for a city (or region) to become a ‘creative class’ magnet, they must have the “3T’s of Economic Development”…Technology, Talent and Tolerance.  A brief description of each follows.

  • Technology – a city/region much have the technological infrastructure in place to fuel a creative and  entrepreneurial culture.
  • Talent – A city/region must have a talented and highly educated workforce
  • Tolerance – A city/region much have a high tolerance level and not try to force people to ‘fit in’

The topic of the book was interesting to me but the delivery was somewhat confusing, repetitive and at times poorly constructed. Many times I got lost in the middle of a paragraph and had to start over…this from a guy who reads many many books a year on various topics.  I’m used to reading dry material…but this was worst than most.

With that said, I would still recommend this book to those folks interested in the topic of economic development, regional development, city planning or just a general review of social science literature. If you pick up this book, take my advice and skim it rather than read every word…there is a lot of “stuff” that isn’t relevant to the overall message of the book.

  • Being a part of the creative class is both hard and very enjoyable. Hard because you constantly push yourself to use your skill and imagination every day so that you can create something that can be used for your livelihood , may it be a piece of artwork , a concept or a computer program. Unlike most traditional 9 to 5 work where you work in a cubicle where you have a set of patterns that you can follow with very little imagination required. But to the same time it is very enjoyable and fulfilling because more often than not these people belonging in the creative class in occupations that their passionate about ( artists , architects , writers etc…) so in other words they love what they do , this is a big deal because unlike the monotonous and hive like mentality of the normal workforce the world of the creative class is filled with challenges that can stimulate the mind and drive the imagination.

    -Dino Delellis

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  • Hi Dino,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    I agree…being part of the creative class is enjoyable and challenging…I just wonder/wish we could open up the ideals of the creative class to everyone. Sitting in a cube from 9AM to 5PM being a drone can be very very difficult and draining.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you guys , The creative class is the most challenging not to mention exciting place in the world of professions. But let us also consider that this is also one of that this has one of the most uncertain jobs the world.

    For example :
    An artist struggling to establish himself or a writer looking for a good publisher to make his work known to the public , or think of the architects and fashion designers building his reputation.

    Usually you don't find these challengers in the normal cubicle jobs , usually you begin at the lowest tier then follow the rules of promotion to climb the office hierarchy.

    But I think the rewards of succeeding in the creative class if far more rewarding. you see successful artists , writers, architects and singers being immortalized by their creations. And honestly you don't see the tv shows interviewing successful secretaries , clerks or other cubicle type jobs , Oh no no you see them talking with those belonging to the creative class ( actors , artists , writers , etc…)