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Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life
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Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,392 ratings  ·  215 reviews
It's a mantra of the age of globalization that where we live doesn't matter. We can innovate just as easily from a ski chalet in Aspen or a beachhouse in Provence as in the office of a Silicon Valley startup.
According to Richard Florida, this is wrong. Globalization is not flattening the world; in fact, place is increasingly relevant to the global economy and our individ
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published March 11th 2008 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published February 19th 2008)
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Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics
Richard's "Who's Your City?" is a frenetic, sloppily edited, fact-filled book that suffers from identity crisis. Is it a self help, economics, business, city planning, popular psychology, or sociology book? By trying to be everywhere, Florida risks going nowhere. Despite an underlying manic confusion of ideas, however, Florida still manages to conjure up plenty of interesting demographic and economic facts in an entertaining and digestible way, making this, his latest installation, worth the rea ...more
Esteban del Mal
What I learned from this book:

New York City is, statistically, the most neurotic space in the U.S.;

Bakersfield sucks (I already know that, book; thanks all the same);

There's something called the 'Gay/Bohemian Index' that you monied-types want your city to fall into because it means shit is about to get gentrified;

I should probably make every effort to be a goatherd someplace in the Third World (it's really all I'm qualified for with all these creative IT nerds running roughshod over everything a
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked this up because it looked interesting and because my husband and I don't intend to stay where we are our entire lives. This wanderlust led me to this book which, I hoped, would give us a starting place on (some idea) of where to go next. After all, it's a big world to be explored.... What I got was something akin to the textbooks that were forced upon me in college. And dry textbooks at that! I found myself skimming for the goods and even skipping entire sections. The book was far too l ...more
I waited for this book for eons on my local library's wait list. Have to say I'm somewhat disappointed after such a high state of anticipation. The premise is solid and relevant, the research is there to prove the author's thesis, and the author also injects various anecdotes to keep it readable. Even with all that, it still reads a little bit like a users manual -- which is not a bad thing if you're looking for concrete information in terms of moving to a new city, but this isn't really the boo ...more
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Rachel Giles, Tommy Giles
"Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert writes that 'most of us make at least three important decisions in our lives: where to live, what to do, and with whom to do it.' He happens to list the 'where' question first. But like most who study happiness, his book mostly focuses on the 'what' and the 'who.'" ...well, THIS book is about the 'where'.

I first became intrigued by this topic when reading a couple of essays by the software venture capitalist Paul Graham: Cities and Ambition and Can You Buy Si
I read this book quickly in an airport when it was first published, and dug it out again recently when a colleague reiterated the author's WHO, WHAT, WHERE theory to me at a conference when I was having a bit of a crisis of Place. He feels we often focus on the WHO (relationships) and WHAT (our jobs) of happiness, but neglect the WHERE. I thought maybe this would guide me to making a move. It didn't because I'm not so sure his theory is completely accurate. While some places are certainly more s ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Florida is kind of a well-spoken but tragically bland guy. Maybe it's his subject matter. Either way, it wasn't going anywhere for me.

Essentially, Who's Your City analyzes what makes a city attractive or not, what qualities those attractive cities have that make them so and who's attracted to those qualities. At face value, it should be an alderman, mayor or city manager's Bible, but it's not. It's stats with some explanation - nothing your mom couldn't tell you.

That being said, this is not to d
Anne Bogel
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Florida challenges the assumption that in this internet age, it doesn't matter where we live, since so many of us can work from anywhere. He says that simply isn't true, because the synergistic effects of likeminded people coming together to live, work, and play are huge and have far-reaching implications.

3 crucial decisions we all have to make are what we're going to do with our lives, who we're going to do it with, and where we're going to do it. Florida says we don't devote nearly enough ener
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's an excellent companion read to The Big Sort. Unlike others, I found it a quick read (one day) and not overly technical.

I wrote long discussions about Who's Your City at and about The Big Sort at
Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting agglomeration of statistics about place and personality. The surprising thing is how unsurprising the results are for the surveys and studies described. The most neurotic place is the U.S. is exactly where you think it is. The cities that offer the most amenities and are therefore the most desirable to live in are the same ones that everyone is already talking about moving to.

I can't say that I learned very much in that light, but it is still helpful to read and be reminded of a
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, school
This is the perfect subject for a magazine article but I'm not convinced it works as a book. Most of the chapters repeat the same basic points - that where we choose to live affects all other aspects of life. This may seem like common sense but it's good to hear that place does matter instead of the usual 'flat world' bullshit spewed out by Friedman and others. ...more
Darya Conmigo
I like the main idea, that the the geographic place influences us more than we care to admit and think through. The data is heavily US-centric but that's understandable since that's what the author's research is based on. The questionnaire at the end is quite helpful. I also like the author's voice and his push for better connected, more tolerant environments that lead to innovation. ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
Interesting book, and did a decent job at making it practical and personally applicable. I found the sections on the relationship between cities and different personality types a bit too abstract for my taste (the conclusion depended on so many conditions being true and was very hypothetical), but in general it's very well researched and well written. ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
A self-help book that, while containing interesting stats and some thought-provoking concepts, was not all that helpful. I'm actually in a position, with my family, to choose the city we want to live in next, having just sold our house and traveling in the meantime. So after seeing a $3 used copy at an Adelaide thrift store, I jumped at it. But after finishing the book and taking the "Place Finder" quiz online, I don't feel much closer to an answer. And if I'm being honest with myself, I didn't ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, cities
3.5 stars. I've always believed that where you live has just as big an impact (if not more so) than the people you know and the job you have. That's essentially the premise of this book, and reading it now felt especially relevant as I am facing yet another move in just a few weeks.

However, Florida published this book in early 2008, right before the housing bubble burst, and so it's a really weird capsule of the real estate prosperity mindset of the time. As a result, this book feels necessaril
Jay Cruz
If you're not happy with the place you live in, it takes very little to convince you that place matters. Most people understand this fact and we don't need to read a book like this to convince us that where you choose to live is important. So this book is more for people who haven't realized this, which is probably a minority of people, which ironically is not the target reader of this book.

With that said, this is a book I didn't need to read, but I'm glad I did read. It gives hard proof, as in
Belinda Longoria
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll admit that there were portion of this book that I skipped over and just didn't find personally interesting to me, but I loved the book as a whole, and it was a surprisingly quick read. I definitely appreciated the breadth and level of thought that the author takes in considering Should I Stay or Should I Go in terms of hometown. I think I found this book at the right time for me, and it's definitely put into words some of the questions I've been pondering and research I've been doing and di ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great book that gives data and research results for all kinds of information about cities and regions in the U.S. and whether those places are family-friendly, have more extroverts, are considered creative and artistic hubs, etc. If you're planning on relocating and moving to a totally different place, this is the book for you! OR if you're just interested in what parts of the country are specific to certain values, ideals, tendencies, etc. this would be an informative book!
CONS: it co
Noah Schumerth
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This book has an excellent subject matter, but is written in such an organization that it takes forever to read. I would table this books for a week at a time because I struggled to maintain interest. This was a shock, given I am an urban geography student by trade, and thus this book should have been gripping me.

Florida writes a textbook and sells it as a casual reading book. This has really great (maybe a touch outdated in 2018) data within it, and some GIS work that, while translating poorly
Gerrold Young
Richard Florida has done a good job of highlighting what’s slowly starting to come to light. The fact that where we choose to live is one of the most important decisions we’ll make in our lives. Our relationship and career prospects will be largely influenced by the city we choose to inhabit. Dr. Florida has made plain that different cities attract different types of people. Meaning, cities in and of themselves, have distinct personalities. This is a concept trust has been in the lexicon of the ...more
Moriah Miller
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It gets a little repetitive and his writing isn’t my favorite, but the content is fascinating. The last chapter, Place Yourself, is one I plan on rereading.

I definitely think this book has changed my perspective on location and has likely influenced some of my major life decisions.

I do question a few things, like how Florida emphasizes how a place attracts certain people without giving much attention to how a place might shape people to become a certain way, which is more of how I think about i
Dan Tasse
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: research
Hmm. Some decent information and studies, interspersed with personal anecdotes and allusions to how great the author is. He seems full of himself, and it shows in his writing. Partially as a result, I don't remember much from this book, besides the kind of "common knowledge" we know about cities: artists and creative people lead to higher property values, gentrification is a thing, exurbs suck, etc. And you are a good little creative-class yuppie. Blah. ...more
David Manning
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: misc-nonfiction
This book could have been condensed into more charts and fewer paragraphs; its message would not have been lost. I don't really know who this book is for, since those rooted will not move and those ready to move will do so without this book convincing them to. It seems a study for study's sake, or maybe for someone that wants to move to convince someone that does not. I listened to this on Audibles at 2X speed during a long car drive and enjoyed it either way. ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
Overall I was very disappointed with this work. Florida, an academic, relies heavy on click-bait type material with little subsistence to his work. After reading 300 pages of the book, I found that he offered little in the way of guidance in decision making and broad generalizations about the NYs and SFs of the world. Would not recommend.
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
It is focused only on Canada (and somewhat the US). It has many stats and a checklist, but the writing feels robotic.

I think the central premise is interesting, i.e. that people may be more or less compatible with a city depending on their values. These include whether they like big cities or rural countryside, openness / diversity, jobs, and their stage of life.
Nishant Mehrotra
Was good when I was thinking of where to live in 2010.
He breaks regions into the new "economic zones" instead of thinking of each city as a place to live.

I don't think he anticipated Amazon receiving bribes from NYC State government to get their HQ.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I would like to see a revised edition of this to reflect the changes since the Great Recession. Interesting concept though.
Nancy Bronez
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-books
Excellent look at the "personalities" of different cities. Wish Florida would write an updated version.
Gave to all my adult kids.
Andrei Bezruchonak
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting one about the role of location in our life and it's impact on our career and family decisions... ...more
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Richard Florida (born 1957 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American urban studies theorist.
Richard Florida's focus is on social and economic theory. He is currently a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management, at the University of Toronto. He also heads a private consulting firm, the Creative Class Group.
Prof. Florida received a PhD from Columbia Univers

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