The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community

DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.4
04/27/23
views 13473
comments0
Author:Ray Oldenburg
04/27/23
views 13474
comments0
Author:Ray Oldenburg
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.4

The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community
Ray Oldenburg, Marlowe & Company, 1999
Senteo’s Review information

A sociological study of what the author refers to as “The Third Place”, or a community enhancing place that comes just behind the home and workplace in terms of time spent, but which is essential as a complement to work and domestic lives.

The author sets out by first studying the social benefits of these places in American society, how they serve as spontaneous meeting grounds for daily neighborhood interactions in creating viable communities. He then presents an analysis of international equivalents – the German-American beer gardens, Main Street, the English pub, the French café, the American tavern and classic coffeehouses, along with what made each of them unique. In the final section, he analyzes the forces which have led to the destruction of these important places – suburban sprawl, automobile culture, technology (television, computers, iPods), separation of sexes and shutting out youth. The book concludes with suggestions for restoring these endangered places to society.

This book provides a thought-provoking analysis of third places and the impact of their absence on society. The author conducts a thorough sociological analysis from a historical perspective, analyzing the necessary components of the third place, as well as providing some suggestions to restore them. He also avoids some of the temptations of blaming it solely on technology of recent years, recognizing that this dynamic has been influenced by a confluence of factors since World War II, such as the automobile, suburbanization, detachment in terms of proximity to the work place, etc.

The author to some extent lays out a prescription that the demise of third places needs to be addressed from a social planning standpoint, while the formation of such third places throughout history was more a natural function of the co-location of home and work as well as the absence of other distractions such as technology or 24/7 work environments.  Perhaps social planning in the modern world is one way to recreate these places, however the effectiveness of such prescriptions is questionable, and only to be addressed in another book, as the final chapter is far too short and does not really address solutions in a methodical way.

“The Great Good Place” argues that “third places” – where people can gather, put aside the concerns of work and home, and hang out simply for the pleasures of good company and lively conversation – are the heart of a community’s social vitality and the grassroots of democracy.

This book is an essential sociological study in “third places” and their importance to society and even viable democracies. It should be of high interest to sociologists, architects, planners or marketers. The underlying elements which enforced the third place in society certainly have applications for the marketer seeking to create an environment of belonging or identification, however from a methodology standpoint the marketer may find this analysis somewhat thin.

Senteo Subject Category
Senteo

This book provides good research into “third places” from a sociological and historical perspective. The author makes some suggestions as to possible ways to go about restoring this endangered environment, however no methodology or firm framework.

The best book reviews in your inbox!
Subscribe now and receive a special gift with your subscription.


    Leave a Reply

    The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community
    Ray Oldenburg, Marlowe & Company, 1999
    Have you already read this book?
    Here, are people invited to rate the book?

    How useful was this post?

    Click on a star to rate it!

    Average rating / 5. Vote count:

    No votes so far! Be the first to rate this book.

    See content on this topic

    Michael Ruckman is the founder and President of Senteo. He is also a senior advisor at Efma. He discusses the...
    Michael Ruckman Talks about Customer-Centric Business Models
    What is the difference between retention and loyalty, and between customer-centric and relationship-centric business models? How exactly can one monetize customer experience? Michael Ruckman answers these questions and more…
    Voice On Demand Retail Podcast: Part 3 – Leadership in the Retail Market
    Michael Ruckman talks about Customer Experiences & Customer Journeys, The three faces of Digital for Retailers and the state of leadership in the retail market today.
    Michael Ruckman Talks about Customer-Centric Business Models
    What is the difference between retention and loyalty, and between customer-centric and relationship-centric business models? How exactly can one monetize customer experience? Michael Ruckman answers these questions and more…
    What is Relationship-Centricity?
    This short video explains what relationship-centricity is and how it is different from customer-centricity. Follow the link to see how companies can extract value from their relationships with
    How to Build a Business That Lasts 100 Years
    Join strategist Martin Reeves as he explains how executives can apply six principles from living organisms to build resilient businesses that flourish in the face of change.
    Build a Tower, Build a Team
    Tom Wujec from Autodesk presents some surprisingly deep research into the “marshmallow problem” — a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow.
    What is Relationship-Centricity?
    This short video explains what relationship-centricity is and how it is different from customer-centricity. Follow the link to see how companies can extract value from their relationships with
    How to Build a Business That Lasts 100 Years
    Join strategist Martin Reeves as he explains how executives can apply six principles from living organisms to build resilient businesses that flourish in the face of change.
    Senteo Rating
    Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier
    Senteo Rating
    The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
    Related Book Reviews & Education
    The authors provide a roadmap for current leaders on how to successfully build a nurturing culture and environment allowing for employee development and learning between each leadership stage.
    Hyken argues that if any business wants to have loyal customers, they must start with loyal employees. Hyken introduces 5 ‘Cults’ that must be implemented to make customers into evangelists.
    The authors argue that games will change how all of us work – for anyone convinced that engagement is a key ingredient of the future of work, they believe games are the definitive model.
    This book is written by and for marketing professionals. The authors divide the brain into three parts, and single out the ‘old brain’ as the most important part to target.