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The New Geography of Jobs

Narrated by: Sean Pratt
Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (348 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

We're used to thinking of the US in opposing terms: red versus blue, haves versus have-nots. But today, there are three Americas. At one extreme are the brain hubs - cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Durham - with workers who are among the most productive, creative, and best-paid on the planet. At the other extreme are former manufacturing capitals that are rapidly losing jobs and residents. The rest of America could go either way. 

For the past 30 years, the three Americas have been growing apart at an accelerating rate. This divergence is one the most important developments in the history of the US and is reshaping the very fabric of our society, affecting all aspects of our lives, from health and education to family stability and political engagement. But the winners and losers aren't necessarily who you'd expect.  

Enrico Moretti's groundbreaking research shows that you don't have to be a scientist or an engineer to thrive in one of the brain hubs. Carpenters, taxi-drivers, teachers, nurses, and other local service jobs are created at a ratio of five-to-one in the brain hubs, raising salaries and standard of living for all. Dealing with this split - supporting growth in the hubs while arresting the decline elsewhere - is the challenge of the century, and The New Geography of Jobs lights the way.

©2012 Enrico Moretti (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Moretti has written the most important book of the year, I can't recommend it enough. The Cal-Berkeley economic professor's book is extremely necessary for politicians and commentators alike.... Brilliant." (Forbes)

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Important research

While Moretti's coverage of his finding here is somewhat spare of details, he covers a substantial body of work he and colleagues have done surrounding what he calls the innovation sector and how its rise and geographical locations have changed America and the world. The coverage is fairly comprehensive even though the details are sometimes missing. There are a few things that are disappointing in their absence. Moretti describes what makes particular lines of industry a part of this innovation sector, why in prior eras, phenomena such as the development of the modern auto industry were innovation sectors (and are no longer), and how innovation spans "high-tech," biotech, and clean tech. I wish he would say more about the growth of transformative players who reinvent traditional sectors in innovation and knowledge centric ways, and how their performance compares with what he is defining as the innovation sector, as well as what options there are to push more segments of US economic activity to act innovatively. My lens involves a lot of travel but being based in a city that is rapidly growing but is not really a player in any of the three main innovation economies Moretti addresses. I know my city is not the only one in this situation. Towards the end of the book, the treatment of potential structural mismatch between jobs and college majors is too glossed over; this is really important and I wish more time were spent on it. The narration is okay, but I do not like the narrator's style (he reminds me of Kai Ryssdal and has all the same issues). It is, however, listenable and professionally narrated and does not overly detract. The findings here are really new and really important and I think they make this book an easy must-read.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Almost Stopped Listening

The other reviews that mentioned the halted reading style (think Captain Kirk) are completely on point. I have made a note of this narrator's name and will never, and I do mean never, listen to another book by him. Absolutely not my style and made it extremely frustrating to finish the book that had some interesting content. I listen at 2-3x speed so that might have made it worse.

Also agree that the book needs a PDF with tables and charts. Publishers need to stop getting away with not providing supplementary materials for books like this.

Check out the hard copy from the library is my recommendation.

172 of 179 people found this review helpful

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Good book—strange narration

Interesting content but the narrator is distracting with strange pauses and mispronunciations. Good urban econ content

51 of 53 people found this review helpful

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Highly Disappointed that there's no PDF

If I knew this wouldn't of came with a pdf, I would not have bought it.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • CSM
  • BRYN MAWR, PA, US
  • 12-15-18

Good book but a bit repetitive

Interesting listen but it is a bit repetitive and covers many of the same topics as Hillbilly Elegy and other books that address the inequality in US

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Great middle and end; narrator is just fine

Started a bit slowly but really enjoyed the middle and end. Some have complained about the narrator, but I thought it was fine. Listen to the sample and decide for yourself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Important & Informative

I don't understand why people criticized the narration of this book. It was fine. Sean Pratt does add a little drama to the text, but he does it the same way a good professor enlivens a lecture. If anything, he spices up the content.

And the content is fascinating. I'll be reading this to my children so they gain a better understanding of today's job market and the forces that created and are changing it. A must-read for anyone interested in boosting U.S. competitiveness in the world economy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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good book, missed some key perspectives

I enjoyed this book and I learned a great deal. In trying to make his case for innovation hubs, however, the author downplayed some critical points. In the United States, race and culture are much greater factors than the author acknowledges. Yes, innovation plays a significant role in the distribution of opportunity, income, and wealth. Racial segregation and cultural factors, however, also play key roles.

19 of 36 people found this review helpful

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True collaboration requires physical proximity


This book is a great read that illuminates how the US economy is stratified. It explains why we seem to talk past each other on a national scale; we simply live in vastly different local economic circumstances. The book clarified for me why the information economy still requires knowledge workers to cluster together. I thought I knew the recipe for success of the knowledge hubs, great universities, but Moretti, expertly using pair comparisons, shows that it takes much more than that. He also outlines how difficult it is to jump start a depressed local economy. Subsidies to attract businesses are rarely effective, enhancing quality of life to attract individuals is also problematic. It seems that all of these ingredients must be carefully nurtured. By far the best use of public funds is in education. Successful innovation hubs like San Jose, California, have a much higher level of average education among adults than depressed areas like Flint, Michigain. Unfortunately local spending on education isn't effective, it must be done on a national scale because of the inherent mobility of highly educated workers.

I have become a big fan of Sean Pratt reading these type of books which have the potential of being either dry or confusing with a lesser performance. Listening at 1.5x is just the right speed that approximates reading speed. At this speed the narrative is much clearer and much less likely to seem boring or tedious. Other narrators at this speed end up sounding quite stilted.

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Excellent Book!

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator did an outstanding job with the reading. This book really enlightened me on many things andissues that are very apparent in the world today. This is a must read for anyone interested in cultural and economic geography.