How to Be Rich & a Free Spirited Rebel at the Same Time

Last week I published a couple of blogs (here & here) citing David Brooks’ book Bobos in Paradise. I would like to highlight one more quote to you today. I believe this quote encapsulates the entire idea of what it means to be a “bobo”.

The grand achievement of the educated elites in the 1990s was to create a way of living that lets you be an affluent success and at the same time a free spirit rebel. (pg. 42)

By Brooks’ definition, a Bobo is someone who is both a bohemian & a bourgeois. Brooks shows how it is the liberal institutes of higher education that have created this strange new elite in Western society.

The rich have sent their kids to the best colleges which have given them the best opportunities to succeed in our information society. It should come to no surprise then that these children of the affluent are becoming affluent. What has come as a bit of a surprise is the fact that they have tried to hang on to the liberal/bohemian ideals they learned in their Freshman English classes.

Brooks shows how these bobos don’t see any contradiction here. Instead, these bobos are the kings of compromise. They constantly look for the middle ground. They see no problem with spending $4 dollars on a cup of coffee everyday as long as it’s fair trade. There is no issue with spending three thousand dollars on a new refrigerator because the kitchen is the room of the bohemian lifestyle.

Food for thought.




  1. I was so excited to see this post because “bobo” is totally a thing in France. My friends there said it was sort of a negative term that mainly applies to wealthy Parisians who call themselves (socially/environmentally) liberal but dress as if they weren’t wealthy. Closest thing here would be “hipster.”

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