Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There

Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There

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By (author) David Brooks

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  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 20mm | 68g
  • Publication date: 20 August 2001
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0684853787
  • ISBN 13: 9780684853789
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Illustrations note: index
  • Sales rank: 133,413

Product description

It used to be pretty easy to distinguish between the bourgeois world of capitalism and the bohemian counterculture. The bourgeois worked for corporations, wore grey, and went to church. The bohemians were the artists and intellectuals. Bohemians championed the values of the radical 1960's; bourgeois were the enterprising yuppies of the 1980's. Now the 'bo's' are all mixed up and it is impossible to tell an expresso sipping artist from a cappuccino-gulping banker. In attitudes toward sex, morality, leisure time and work, it is hard to separate the renegade from the company man. The new establishment has combined the countercultural sixties and the achieving eighties into one social ethos. These Bobos define our age. Their hybrid culture is the atmosphere we breathe, their status codes govern social life and their moral codes govern ethics and influence our politics. Our hybrid Bobo culture is going to be dominating society for a long time to come. Read all about it in this serious and witty essay on how we live now.

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Author information

David Brooks is a senior editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD and a contributing editor at NEWSWEEK. Formerly a reporter and editor at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, he's had articles in THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST and other publications.

Review quote

Chris Tucker "The Dallas Morning News" Thanks to Brooks, bobos will join preppies, yuppies, and angry white males in the American lexicon.

Editorial reviews

A lighthearted morphology that traces the evolution, mating rituals, and nervous system of a new group of social animals: the bourgeois bohemians (Bobos) who arose from the affluent educated class and reconciled the counterculture values of the 1960s to the entrepreneurial energies of the 1980s. The collapse of the WASP Establishment, beginning in the 1950s, left a vacuum for a new hierarchy that would be more ethnically inclusive and meritocratic. The culture wars of the next few decades ended, according to journalist Brooks (the Weekly Standard), with a fusion of the mainstream organization man and the artistic rebel of unconventional morality. The grand achievement of the educated elites in the 1990s was to create a way of living that lets you be an affluent success and at the same time a free spirit rebel. Often sporting such unusual job titles as creative paradox, corporate jester, or learning person, Bobos work with monklike self-discipline because they view their jobs as intellectual and even spiritual. The world of the Bobos is tolerant, quiescent, intellectual but worldly, and instinctive. At the same time, Brooks (admitting his own membership in this caste) cheerfully underscores their many paradoxes and contradictions: for example, although they mistrust authority, Bobos havent hesitated to exercise control through campus speech codes and stricter zoning requirements. Like Tom Wolfe, Brooks can toss off nifty neologisms like Latte Towns (upscale liberal communities, often university-based, that are fueled by gourmet coffee) and Status-Income Disequilibrium (young intellectuals resentment that their income doesnt match their professional achievements). Yet Brooks can neither achieve brilliant comic heights achieved by the observer of radical chic and The Me Decade, nor back his viewpoint with the spine of sharp reporting that informs even Wolfes fiction. Friendly teasing of the mandarins of the Information Ageinfectiously funny, but seldom getting under the skin or drawing blood. (First serial to Newsweek) (Kirkus Reviews)

Table of contents

The rise of the educated class; consumption; business life; intellectual life; pleasure; spiritual life; politics and beyond.