Updated: 05/01/2003; 2:40:33 PM.
Robert Paterson's Radio Weblog
What is really going on beneath the surface? What is the nature of the bifurcation that is unfolding? That's what interests me.

Friday, August 02, 2002

The Cultural Creatives

When I first saw the book and its cover, I was concerned that this was a "silly' book. I define silly as the type of book that always uses personal examples - you know the "Jane Smith revelation" to give the reader a personal look at the underlying idea in the book. But while there are some of these, the big idea is well defined pulled together and reserached.

The authors help us see the cultural dynamics of how two groups are rebelling against the "modern" world view. Not only do they help us understand PLU's (In England PLU's are defined as "people like us") but also the meaning of Fundementalism - the other polar reaction to the modern world.

When I read Free Agent Nation, the Rise of the Creative Class and The Cutlural Creatives, I wonder if we will come together soon as a real force.

5 of 5 stars 50 Million "Cultural Creatives" Influencing U.S. Agenda, October 5, 2000
Reviewer: John (see more about me) from Los Angeles, CA

Every decade or so a book captures the social zeitgeist, the essence of the times, reflecting us as we are and revealing who we are becoming. In the 1980s, books by Alvin Toffler (Future Shock and The Third Wave) and John Naisbitt (Megatrends) took America by storm as they presented leading edge thinking and technology, and foretold how we would live as the millennium ended.

Now, a book for the 21st Century, Ray and Anderson's The Cultural Creatives, is poised to have the greatest impact on Americans' understanding of themselves - and shaping of their future - since Megatrends. "The Cultural Creatives" is already joining the national lexicon as the name of the substantial American sub-culture - 50 million adults - that the authors identified after more than 100,000 questionnaires, 500 focus groups and scores of personal interviews.

The Cultural Creatives, who transcend normal demographic boundaries, are characterized by their values. They tend to: love nature and are concerned about its destruction; hold a holistic perspective; value relationships, psychological and spiritual development; support women's and children's issues; be optimistic about the future; be unhappy with both the left and right in politics and seek a new way that's not the "mushy middle." The authors present 18 "values statements" that tend to define the population.

The Cultural Creatives is not only an immensely important work on American culture at this critical time -- with implications for marketing, politics and most aspects of American life -- it is also a fascinating, easy and accessible read. The authors present complete profiles of America's three sub-cultures -- The Cultural Creatives, The Moderns and The Traditionals -- along with historical context for all the groups and a collection of personal stories of cultural creatives from all walks of life ... and how they found their way into this group that's intent on generating "a future that works for everyone."

Not to be missed by anyone interested in the personal and social transformation emerging worldwide.

Free Agent Nation
5 of 5 stars On your own . . ., April 22, 2002
Reviewer: mtchalice (see more about me) from Dana Point, CA USA

This book is all about how America's new independent workers are transforming the way we live and the economy in which we work. This book was recommended by a new friend and mentor and it has been timely indeed. The work that Daniel Pink has done to document the new business model sweeping America will undoubtedly have detractors and naysayers. Yet it fits with my own experience in the high technology market in which I have spent more than thirty years.

Mr. Pink points out that the largest employer in the U.S. is Milwaukee's Manpower, Inc. and that two out of three workers in California do not hold traditional jobs. These facts, combined with the aging of the American Workforce, the need for more family friendly schedules, and advancing technology makes for a powerful prediction that more and more American workers will be Free Agents in the next century. 

This book is full of interesting factoids, anecdotal data, and documented trends that not only make the point for Free Agency, but is convincing for the predictions made. The format of the book is also useful in that each chapter ends with "The Box."  This summary includes "The Crux," which is the salient point of the chapter; "The Factoid," which is a major and usually surprising fact that supports the crux of the chapter; "The Quote," which is also lifted out of the chapter and serves to support the conclusions; and "The Word," which is usually a new word or phrase that Mr. Pink believes can be moved into the lexicon of the Free Agent. 

A timely and useful book and one that all managers (who are toast according to Mr. Pink) and employees alike must take the time to read. Whether or not you are or plan to be a Free Agent, this book will prove extremely useful in understanding our workplace and the emerging economy.

10:05:44 PM    comment []

The Creative Class need to Live in the Right Place

Richard Florida's new book "The Rise of the Creative Class" is much more than an analyisis of what type of place is best to support creativity - though this idea is percpetive and powerful. No the book is much more than that and gave me the best overall insight into the forces that are driving the emergence of creativity and those that live by it as the driver of the new economy.

The Creativity Index (Guide to Charts)

"The key to economic growth lies not just in the ability to attract the creative class, but to translate that underlying advantage into creative economic outcomes in the form of new ideas, new high-tech businesses and regional growth. To better gauge these capabilities, I developed a new measure called the Creativity Index (column 1). The Creativity Index is a mix of four equally weighted factors: the creative class share of the workforce (column 2 shows the percentage; column 3 ranks cities accordingly); high-tech industry, using the Milken Institute's widely accepted Tech Pole Index, which I refer to as the High-Tech Index (column 4); innovation, measured as patents per capita (column 5); and diversity, measured by the Gay Index, a reasonable proxy for an area's openness to different kinds of people and ideas (column 6). This composite indicator is a better measure of a region's underlying creative capabilities than the simple measure of the creative class, because it reflects the joint effects of its concentration and of innovative economic outcomes. The Creativity Index is thus my baseline indicator of a region's overall standing in the creative economy and I offer it as a barometer of a region's longer run economic potential. The following tables present my creativity index ranking for the top 10 and bottom 10 metropolitan areas, grouped into three size categories (large, medium-sized and small cities/regions)".--Richard Florida

9:53:13 PM    comment []

Gladwell's the Man

Nearly everything that Malcolm Gladwell writes is worth reading. So far hie most important book is The Tipping Point which explores how ideas and culture really work.

For me the big aha is that we only have to find and change the few signs that govern a system to change a major culture. What does this imply? That we can change bureaucracies into more attractive cultures.

What is The Tipping Point about?

It's a book about change. In particular, it's a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does. For example, why did crime drop so dramatically in New York City in the mid-1990's? How does a novel written by an unknown author end up as national bestseller? Why do teens smoke in greater and greater numbers, when every single person in the country knows that cigarettes kill? Why is word-of-mouth so powerful? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? I think the answer to all those questions is the same. It's that ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease. They are social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an examination of the social epidemics that surround us.

9:46:31 PM    comment []

Malcolm Gladwell meets Jane Jacobs

Here is an excellent article written by Malcom Gladwell ( The Tipping Point) on how Jane Jacobs ideas of the optimal urban environment need to be installed in the workplace.

Clear to him that the egg of social culture precedes the chicken of creativity and collaboration:

"The point of the new offices is to compel us to behave and socialize in ways that we otherwise would not--to overcome our initial inclination to be office suburbanites. But, in all the studies of the new workplaces, the reservations that employees have about a more social environment tend to diminish once they try it. Human behavior, after all, is shaped by context, but how it is shaped--and whether we'll be happy with the result--we can understand only with experience. Jane Jacobs knew the virtues of the West Village because she lived there. What she couldn't know was that her ideas about community would ultimately make more sense in the workplace. From time to time, social critics have bemoaned the falling rates of community participation in American life, but they have made the same mistake. The reason Americans are content to bowl alone (or, for that matter, not bowl at all) is that, increasingly, they receive all the social support they need--all the serendipitous interactions that serve to make them happy and productive--from nine to five."

A Review of The Death and Life of Great American Cities

A reader , October 11, 1996 5 out of 5 stars
The classic exposition of how cities work. A must-read.
Even 35 years after it was written, The Death and Life of Great American Cities remains the classic book on how cities work and how urban planners and others have naively destroyed functioning cities. It is widely known for its incisive treatment of those who would tear down functioning neighborhoods and destroy the lives and livelihoods of people for the sake of a groundless but intellectually appealing daydream.

But although many see it as a polemic against urban planning, the best parts of it, the parts that have endeared it to many who love cities, are quite different. Death and Life is, first of all, a work of observation. The illustrations are all around us, she says, and we must go and look. She shows us parts of the city that are alive -- the streets, she says, are the city that we see, and it is the streets and sidewalks that carry the most weight -- and find the patterns that help us not merely see but understand. She shows us the city as an ecology -- a system of interactions that is more than merely the laying out of buildings as if they were a child's wooden blocks.

But observation can mean simply the noting of objects. Ms. Jacobs writes beautifully, lovingly, of New York City and other urban places. Her piece "The Ballet of Hudson Street"   is both an observation of events on the Greenwich Village street where she lived and a prose poem describing the comings and goings of the people, the rhythms of the shopkeepers and the commuters and others who use the street.

In this day when "inner city" is a synonym for poverty and hopelessness, it is important to be reminded that cities are literally the centers of civilization, of business, of culture. This is just as true today as it was in the early 1960s when this was written. We in North America owe Jane Jacobs a great debt for her insight and her eloquence.


5:00:53 PM    comment []

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