This morning, driving to work, I tuned to my favorite radio station www.wpr.org (90.7 on the FM dial where I live) and the Joy Cardin show was on. Joy was talking with Richard Florida, author of (among other things) the new book The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity
He was fascinating! Usually I make some phone calls on my 45 minute drive in, but I could not tear myself from the conversation.
Florida’s premise is that following large economic dives (such as the one we’re amidst) come periods of great prosperity, due to the changes people had to make to survive the downtowns. He gave examples and said that after the big downturn in the 1880s (or was it 1890s?) and following “The Great Depression” came a decade of innovation and boom precisely due to the new way of living the downturns had spawned.
That was fascinating in and of itself, but it was his conjectures about the likely changes coming out of this particular depression that had me totally jazzed. A lot of his ideas hearkened to ones I’d heard before. He’s written several books on the Creative Class and that seemed to be fueling this current one. This brought to mind books like The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, A Whole New Mind: Ehy Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future (Updated With New Material), Jump Time: Shaping Your Future in a World of Radical Change
Pink’s book talks about the shift we’ve made from the Industrial Age to the Information Age and now to the Conceptual Age in which the rise of right-brained ways of being (design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning) makes creativity the coin of the realm. The Cultural Creatives talks of the rise of what I guess I would call the Starbucks-Whole Foods-NPR crowd back when it was written, which is morphing into the slow-food, minimalist, intellectual creative crowd now.
One of the things I loved in what he said was “we have been getting our identities by the stuff we buy – especially with houses and cars – ‘bigger is better.’ Now we’ll move into a time when our identity comes from what we create.”
He talked about a world in which people focused more on relationships and activities than stuff. Livability. Values. Being able to walk to work. The more he talked the more excited I was about the future – I’d like to live there now, please. And of course, it is WE who will create it.
Think of how exciting it will be to have most of your friends, family neighbors and colleagues doing cool things rather than buying cool things. Writing/dancing/making music/kayaking/learning woodworking/exploring Bulgaria.
I’m reading a novel now (something I typically do once a year or so – most of the 26 books/year I routinely read are nonfiction) – Ghostwalk
and thank goodness it’s over the top good because I ordered Florida’s book on Amazon and it should be here next week. I’ll read it and report in.
Meanwhile – i want to build community here folks. Don’t be shy about commenting. Tell me what you think. Have you read Cultural Creatives or A Whole New Mind? What did you think? What do you think of Florida’s ideas?
By the way, here’s what Amazon. com says about The Great Reset:
“We tend to view prolonged economic downturns, such as the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Long Depression of the late nineteenth century, in terms of the crisis and pain they cause. But history teaches us that these great crises also represent opportunities to remake our economy and society and to generate whole new eras of economic growth and prosperity. In terms of innovation, invention, and energetic risk taking, these periods of “creative destruction” have been some of the most fertile in history, and the changes they put into motion can set the stage for full-scale recovery.
In The Great Reset, bestselling author and economic development expert Richard Florida provides an engaging and sweeping examination of these previous economic epochs, or “resets.” He distills the deep forces that have altered physical and social landscapes and eventually reshaped economies and societies. Looking toward the future, Florida identifies the patterns that will drive the next Great Reset and transform virtually every aspect of our lives—from how and where we live, to how we work, to how we invest in individuals and infrastructure, to how we shape our cities and regions. Florida shows how these forces, when combined, will spur a fresh era of growth and prosperity, define a new geography of progress, and create surprising opportunities for all of us. Among these forces will be
- new patterns of consumption, and new attitudes toward ownership that are less centered on houses and cars
- the transformation of millions of service jobs into middle class careers that engage workers as a source of innovation
- new forms of infrastructure that speed the movement of people, goods, and ideas
- a radically altered and much denser economic landscape organized around “megaregions” that will drive the development of new industries, new jobs, and a whole new way of life
We’ve weathered tough times before. They are a necessary part of economic cycles, giving us a chance to clearly see what’s working and what’s not. Societies can be reborn in such crises, emerging fresh, strong, and refocused. Now is our opportunity to anticipate what that brighter future will look like and to take the steps that will get us there faster.
With his trademark blend of wit, irreverence, and rigorous research and analysis, Florida presents an optimistic and counterintuitive vision of our future, calling into question long-held beliefs about the nature of economic progress and forcing us to reassess our very way of life. He argues convincingly that it’s time to turn our efforts—as individuals, as governments, and as a society—to putting the necessary pieces in place for a vibrant, prosperous future.”
So — what do YOU say?