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Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, by Edward Glaeser Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,056 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edward Glaeser Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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America is an urban nation. More than two thirds of us live on the three percent of land that contains our cities. Yet cities get a bad rap: they’re dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime ridden, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly. Or are they?

As Edward Glaeser proves in this myth-shattering book, cities are actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live. New Yorkers, for instance, live longer than other Americans; heart disease and cancer rates are lower in Gotham than in the nation as a whole. More than half of America’s income is earned in twenty-two metropolitan areas. And city dwellers use, on average, 40 percent less energy than suburbanites.

Glaeser travels through history and around the globe to reveal the hidden workings of cities and how they bring out the best in humankind. Even the worst cities—Kinshasa, Kolkata, Lagos—confer surprising benefits on the people who flock to them, including better health and more jobs than the rural areas that surround them. Glaeser visits Bangalore and Silicon Valley, whose strangely similar histories prove how essential education is to urban success and how new technology actually encourages people to gather together physically. He discovers why Detroit is dying while other old industrial cities—Chicago, Boston, New York—thrive. He investigates why a new house costs 350 percent more in Los Angeles than in Houston, even though building costs are only 25 percent higher in Los Angeles. He pinpoints the single factor that most influences urban growth—January temperatures—and explains how certain chilly cities manage to defy that link. He explains how West Coast environmentalists have harmed the environment and how struggling cities from Youngstown to New Orleans can “shrink to greatness.” And he exposes the dangerous anti-urban political bias that is harming both cities and the entire country.

Using intrepid reportage, keen analysis, and eloquent argument, Glaeser makes an impassioned case for the city’s import and splendor. He reminds us forcefully why we should nurture our cities or suffer consequences that will hurt us all, no matter where we live.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Triumph of the City is bursting with insights and policy proposals to debate…You’ll…walk away dazzled by the greatness of cities and fascinated by this writer’s nimble mind.”

    New York Times

  • “This is popular economics of the best sort. Mr. Glaeser clearly believes that hell isn’t other people; heaven’s more like it, for all our faults. He’s right, and he says it well.”

    Economist (London)

  • “Provides an illuminating mix of history, statistics, and polite polemic, while displaying a basic faith that cities are sufficiently interesting to hold the reader’s attention.”

    Washington Post

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Reviews

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Toni | 2/18/2014

    " Not uninteresting, but his argument isn't the kind of thing you really need a whole book to make. And if you're looking for a love song to the city, you'd do much better to get your Jane Jacobs on instead. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Keith | 1/12/2014

    " A great summary on why cities are one of man's greatest inventions and how we need to nourish them. I really agreed with him a lot on housing policy and how the US has a set up a lot of programs and policies that are anti city. Some of his education ideas are not quite there though. And no matter how cheap the housing I am never moving to Houston. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Alex Boerger | 1/4/2014

    " Great book everyone working for a city should read. Build high in the sky to save nature! Build bigger cities where the living conditions are good (not to cold, not to hot). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Wade | 12/29/2013

    " Not sure what to think about this one but it was well worth my time. An economist who looks at planning from a semi objective perspective is refreshing. What I most took away is that cities are people, not their buildings, and we often get that confused and it causes problems. Investing in your human capital and creating Human Habitats where people like to congregate and share ideas is tantamount for a successful city. His detached assessment of Detroit and other Rust Belt cities was most useful for me, as I summed up his main argument and density is good mantra quickly. Still he has lots of good stats to back up his assertions. His ideas on poverty are interesting put probably fall a lot short of reality. He is one step back from Florida's Creative Class BS but he doesn't seem to have an answer to what you do with everyone who isn't an innovator. There can be only so many Steve Jobs. A good book I may actually reread right away to capture everything he discussed. Also, another pro is his development of so many cities and key aspects of planning. "

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About the Author

Edward Glaeseris the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard, where he also serves as director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He has written numerous articles on urban issues, including the growth of cities, segregation, crime, and housing markets. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1992 and has been at Harvard since then.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.