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Triumph of the City book image
Social Science

Triumph of the City

By Edward Glaeser

book iconPan Macmillan


Understanding the modern city and the powerful forces within it is the life’s work of Harvard urban economist Edward Glaeser, who at forty is hailed as one of the world’s most exciting urban thinkers. Travelling from city to city, speaking to planners and politicians across the world, he uncovers questions large and small whose answers are both counterintuitive and deeply significant. Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Why can’t my nephew afford an apartment in New York? Is London the new financial capital of the world? Is my job headed to Bangalore? In Triumph of the City, Glaeser takes us around the world and into the mind of the modern city – from Mumbai to Paris to Rio to Detroit to Shanghai, and to any number of points in between – to reveal how cities think, why they behave in the manners that they do, and what wisdom they share with the people who inhabit them. 'A masterpiece' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics 'A brilliant read: persuasive and provocative' Time Out 'Replete with lightly borne learning, this is a tremendous book' Bryan Appleyard, Literary Review 'Fascinating' Sunday Telegraph 'Comprehensive, compelling and strongly recommended" Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and Adapt 'A hymn to the city' Metro

Summary by AI

Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser

Author's Background:

  • Edward Glaeser is an economics professor at Harvard University.
  • He is known for his research on urban economics and the economics of cities.

Main Theme:

  • The book argues that cities are the engines of economic growth and innovation.
  • Glaeser believes that cities offer a unique combination of advantages that make them more productive and prosperous than other types of settlements.

Key Points:

  • Density: Cities are more densely populated than other areas, which allows for greater interaction and collaboration among people.
  • Diversity: Cities are home to a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, which fosters creativity and innovation.
  • Specialization: Cities allow people to specialize in different tasks, which increases productivity.
  • Networks: Cities have extensive networks of infrastructure, transportation, and communication, which facilitate economic activity.
  • Culture: Cities are often centers of culture and art, which attracts talented people and enhances the quality of life.


  • Positive:
    • The book has been widely praised for its insights into the role of cities in economic development.
    • It has been translated into multiple languages and has become a standard text in urban economics courses.
  • Negative:
    • Some critics argue that Glaeser's focus on density and specialization ignores the negative aspects of urban life, such as pollution, crime, and inequality.

Who Should Read It:

  • Anyone interested in urban economics or the future of cities
  • Policymakers and urban planners
  • Students of economics, sociology, or geography


Sakura Arden Park
Yuya Uzu



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