Bobos in Paradise

Bobos in Paradise

The New Upper Class and How They Got There

Book - 2000
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Baker & Taylor
A guide to bourgeois bohemianism describes the social class' attitudes towards consumption, business, intellectualism, pleasure, spiritual life, and politics.

& Taylor

Profiles two formerly mutually exclusive groups of people--the business-driven bourgeois and the intellectually driven artistic bohemians--noting how in the last decade they have merged to create a single social ethos.

Simon and Schuster
It used to be pretty easy to distinguish between the bourgeois world of capitalism and the bohemian counterculture. The bourgeois worked for corporations, wore gray, and went to church. The bohemians were artists and intellectuals. Bohemians championed the values of the liberated 1960s; the bourgeois were the enterprising yuppies of the 1980s. But now the bohemian and the bourgeois are all mixed up, as David Brooks explains in this brilliant description of upscale culture in America. It is hard to tell an espresso-sipping professor from a cappuccino-gulping banker. Laugh and sob as you read about the information age economy's new dominant class. Marvel at their attitudes toward morality, sex, work, and lifestyle, and at how the members of this new elite have combined the values of the countercultural sixties with those of the achieving eighties. These are the people who set the tone for society today, for you. They are bourgeois bohemians: Bobos. Are you a Bobo? Do you believe that spending $15,000 on a media center is vulgar, but that spending $15,000 on a slate shower stall is a sign that you are at one with the Zenlike rhythms of nature? Does your newly renovated kitchen look like an aircraft hangar with plumbing? Did you select your new refrigerator on the grounds that mere freezing isn't cold enough? Would you spend a little more for socially conscious toothpaste -- the kind that doesn't actually kill germs, it just asks them to leave? Do you work for one of those hip, visionary software companies where everybody comes to work in hiking boots and glacier glasses, as if a 400-foot wall of ice were about to come sliding through the parking lot? Do you think your educational credentials are just as good as those of the shimmering couples on the New York Times weddings page? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are probably a member of today's new upper class. Even if you didn't, you'd still better pay attention, because 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. Bobos in Paradise is a witty and serious look at the cultural consequences of the information age and a penetrating description of how we live now.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, [2000]
Copyright Date: ©2000
ISBN: 9780684853772
Branch Call Number: 305.52 Br 2000
Characteristics: 284 pages ; 23 cm


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Nov 03, 2018

I believe it was the gleefully contrarians at the Baffler who referred to Times columnist and NPR staple David Brooks as "a notoriously unwoke neoliberal apologist." They also sell toilet paper with his face on it. The about the author paragraphs refers to him as a "comic sociologist," and this is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time, but I don't think I was laughing at the right parts. I was laughing at Brooks's almost staggering cluelessness and lack of grounding in any kind of political or cultural reality. Here is an elite awkwardly trying to satirize other elites. At least I think that's what he's doing. Bobo stands for "bourgeois bohemians," a description that, unsurprisingly, never took off. I very much enjoyed hate reading this. Hey, he's not as bad as fellow Times columnist and globalization cheerleader Tom Friedman.

Sep 07, 2013

Where oh where is this mythical "meritocracy" of Brooks? Does he mean anyone who fails miserably and then receives a highly paid position with a so-called (s)think tank? Could he provide some source data? No, of course not! It is funny that George W. Bush couldn't qualify for the enlisted specialty I was in while doing military service, but then I actually finished boot camp (unlike Bush, who phased out at the 4-week point, or half-way mark, but then somehow returned to Houston and miraculously became an "officer" and a "pilot"). John Boehner washed out of Navy basic training, yet is Speaker of the House, a chronic inebriate, and can't perform simple arithmetic? Perhaps Brooks is referring to who?

Mar 19, 2012

The author brings together his version of bohemians lifestyle and that of the bourgeois, hard headed businessman. Whether his theses has merit is still open. However, he does a great service to intellectuals, junior variety types who may not be aware of the career paths that await. Humour in the Intellectual Life chapter is priceless. The faux lifestyles to mimic a life they (the BoBo's) couldn't want to live is brought out as well. The BoBo's are those that combine and mesh lifestyles of both the bohemian and the bourgeois. Not many might agree, and the author recognizes at the end the real conflicts are between those who have accepted the fusion and those that do not. Not sure where he gets his facts, so it appears he works from anecdote.
Still a good read for that newly minted BA, MA.


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