deep's Reviews > Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety

Elsewhere, U.S.A. by Dalton Conley
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Sep 13, 10


This is the best book on socioeconomics that I’ve read this year and in my shortlist for best overall of 2009. If Soros addressed the current economic world at systemic and financial levels, Conley does so at the sociological and technological. The Internet, Blackberries, social networking, knowledge work replacing the creation of stuff, working at home, the upward spiral of education, earnings and status, equal earners, raising kids, how people can feel more fragmented despite greater connectedness…Conley identifies and puts into words what many may feel but are unable to characterize, where it's coming from, and how it all fits together.

Conley is an academic, but does not write here with cautious academic rigor. The work reads more like a free wheeling, cokehead rant from someone who isn’t actually full of shit. He peppers his positions with enough footnotes and every day facts to keep the credibility level high. All done with entertaining verve. Still, the pacing can be somewhat exhausting and tangential as he relentlessly strings one point to the next from start to finish.

Many of the points made will not be news, but their current relevance and the way they’re woven together is what makes this such an enjoyable and persuasive read. A factual jam session of social and economic observations with an especially lucid player. If you liked the way all the strings were woven together in The Wire to paint a complete and current social picture, you’ll dig this.
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