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

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

by David Brooks

In his bestselling work of "comic sociology," David Brooks coins a new word, Bobo, to describe today's upper class -- those who have wed the bourgeois world of capitalist enterprise to the hippie values of the bohemian counterculture.

Their hybrid lifestyle is the atmosphere we breathe, and in this witty and serious look at the cultural consequences of the information age, Brooks has defined a new generation.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 3.60
  • Pages: 288
  • Publish Date: March 6th 2001 by Simon Schuster
  • Isbn10: 0684853787
  • Isbn13: 9780684853789

What People Think about "Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There"

Bobos in Paradise falls into the latter category. (Except perhaps among bobos.) Brooks' writing emphasizes the big picture but forsakes many of the details that comprise it.

The book IS funny, but I disagree with Brooks summary and endnote that this new Bourgeois Bohemian establishment is somehow any better than the upper/middle classes of previous generations. Whereas the previous generation may have bought new Caddys and held scotch-soaked pool parties to impress their friends, this generation of elites buys organic cotton shirts from American Apparel. Anyway, this book, and the book/blog it has been compared to a lot (Stuff White People Like) is still a pretty funny read, but Im looking forward to the day when a Bret Easton Ellis or Chuck Palahniuk type writes a dark satire about them, á la American Psycho.

You might know a Bobo. You may know gosling Bobos, too. I was reading this very book while sitting in a cafe and two tables over, I saw Bobos In Conversation. We all have a little Bobo in us, I guess. In my life, I am surrounded by them, like leaves on a tree.

Brooks style is very conversationalits snazzy and smooth, evocative of the Bobos that he is trying to describe, but that same trendiness of prose can be irritating at times.

My first thought is that Brooks description of bobo (bohemian and bourgeoisie) culture and behavior is highly entertaining and right on target. In all I would have to say that Brooks book has some great information and is highly entertaining.

While I'm glad not to read a textbook full of stodgy statistics and all, this book started to get on my nerves near the end. The tone is refreshing (again, against dusty textbooks) but I think Brooks was too repetitious talking about the struggle the Bobos have to go through, and detailing the combining they do within each section - they overlap a lot.

It had been on my to-read list for a while: there are many pop culture references to "bobos" and I wanted to know more about the definition. Brooks talks about how certain places - like Madison Wisc, Burlington VT, etc are hotbeds of bobos.

I read Bobos in Paradise because I like David Brooks' columns and I really enjoyed "The Social Animal." The title is a nod to what Brooks describes as the merging (or rather reconciliation) of Bourgeois with Bohemian cultural values and ways of living and how this reconciliation has transformed middle class culture within the U.S. In fact, he invents the word "Bobos" to label this new educated class of people who embrace key components of both cultural forces that seemed irreconcilable not so long ago. While I don't think the recession has changed the cultural and consumerist shifts Brooks describes, the descriptions are occasionally outdated. This led me to be delighted with some chapters, like those devoted to the descriptions and analysis of the forces and timelines of Bourgeois Culture and Bohemian counterculture, and disappointed with some others, such as the descriptions of Bobo intellectual life and Bobo travel. Both of these chapters, while sometimes funny in a snarky way, seemed to focus on a much more narrow subset of the larger bobo experience that the rest of the book describes.