Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 19 - 2015

Book 19: The Rise of the Creative Class: Revisited by Richard Florida – 465 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Initially published in 2002, The Rise of the Creative Class quickly achieved classic status for its identification of forces then only beginning to reshape our economy, geography, and workplace. Weaving story-telling with original research, Richard Florida identified a fundamental shift linking a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing importance of creativity in people's work lives and the emergence of a class of people unified by their engagement in creative work. Millions of us were beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always had, Florida observed, and this Creative Class was determining how the workplace was organized, what companies would prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities would thrive. In The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, Florida further refines his occupational, demographic, psychological, and economic profile of the Creative Class, incorporates a decade of research, and adds five new chapters covering the global effects of the Creative Class and exploring the factors that shape "quality of place" in our changing cities and suburbs.

I’ve always been interested in sociology and the study of demographics (hence why I have a degree in sociology), but since moving out of professional accounting and into the higher education sector (still in Finance), I’ve found myself increasingly interested in studying innovation – what drives it, what effects it has, who and where, how and why. This book, an updated edition of a book originally published in 2002 looks to answer these questions, and it is one of those rare books that I walked away from, quoting a lot, particularly when the topic of innovation came up time and time again in the recent election in my country. This book is long, and deep, but it really explained a lot of things to me that I’d thought about but not ever seen articulated properly. It’s a book for those who want to work their way up the business world. It’s a book that explained to me why I seek out different things in my job than my friends, why I want to not only move up the chain but broaden my skill set, why I was never going to be satisfied being a regular accountant (but rather one focused as much on how I can do things better as on the monthly results), why I love to travel, why I seek out experiences that broaden me, rather than being satisfied with the type of lives my friends seek out. I’ve often talked to my brother about wanting to move overseas, and it’s a running joke among my friends about how I’m never home (I travel overseas at least once a year, so my friends like to play ‘Where in the world is Tara?’). I’m the kind of person who never could just get married, have babies, work the same job for thirty years and then die; the thought raises a cold sweat in me. This book is the explanation for how the world is slowly being framed, at least in the big metropolises of the world, for that type of person. How the ‘creative class’ is wealthier, more agile, more about quality and outcome than rules and tradition. How the creative class is focused on working for interest and challenge, not just money (and how strangely enough, this very attribute means they often do end up earning more money than their non-creative counterparts). I read the second half of this book on a train journey from Boston to New York, and it felt very appropriate – Boston is the city I want to eventually move to, New York the mecca of all things new and shiny. I was on holidays, away from the new job I’d taken on, working on implementing new budgeting and forecasting practices at the university I work for, framing the conversation on how we can cost our courses – a new idea in the world of higher education. I love my job because I feel like I’m contributing something important to the world, working in higher education, and because I get to innovate and challenge and learn – I purposely choose to work in a role and a sector that is dynamic and changing, one with opportunities for me to fix problems rather than one with established practices and processes where I’d never get a chance to learn, develop, improve and own. This book is about all those things. It’s about the cities that get the mix right to attract the creative class. It’s about the benefits that class of people bestows on those cities. Ultimately it’s an analysis of our future, if only we are brave enough to reach out and grab it. I watch my own city, my own country, the few trying to fight the many who just want a laid back casual life that is simple and easy, fighting our changing world, fighting the dynamic place we could be, and I despair. Oh well, its always hard being ahead of the curve.
All in all, a truly fabulous read that resonates powerfully. The future is going to be amazing if we only embrace it!

19 / 50 books. 38% done!

5914 / 15000 pages. 39% done!

Currently reading:
-        Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – 220 pages
-        Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich – 300 pages
-        The Meteor Crater Story by Dean Smith – 69 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        The Martian by Andy Weir – 369 pages
Tags: academic, anthropology, business, scholarly

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