The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts and How They Get You Through the Day by Ray Oldenburg has been on my to read list since grad school. Sadly it didn’t live up to that long hype – I hated it so much, that I actually had to force myself onto a chapter-a-day schedule to get it read. Mostly I think the book is super dated. It was written in 1989 and so much about society, and planning, and day-to-day life has changed since then that it seemed pretty irrelevant. (The book is now on its Third Edition, published in 1999, which might have annoyed me less – at the very least it would be aware of this thing call “The Internet”, but DCPL of course only had the oldest edition, so that’s what I read). Oldenburg’s main point is that “third places” (places that are not home or work/school, where you can met informally, without prior planning with folks around you) are important, which is true, but I think this is a thing that planners all recognize now – “third-place” and “mixed use development” are all buzz words nowadays. So perhaps Oldenburg is really a victim of his own success – I don’t like him because all of his ideas have been adopted. It’s a positive way to view the book, I suppose. Me, I’m mostly glad it’s over.