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The Birth (and Death) of the Cool

The Birth (and Death) of the Cool
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“Describing 'cool' as a set of ;beliefs, values, and behavior patterns; rooted in the personal and musical styles of Bix Beiderbecke, Lester Young and Miles Davis (with a healthy dose of Bugs Bunny).”—Publishers Weekly

“Like Dim Sum for the intellectually curious and literary-minded, Gioia's chronicle of the birth and death of cool samples a variety of genres and disciplines.”—ForeWord Magazine

“A sign of the worth of Gioia´s book is that it is hard to summarize... Gioia has an extremely interesting thesis and, if he is correct, the impact of these changes will be very substantial in the entertainment industry, mass marketing, and consumer behaviour. Time will tell whether Gioia´s argument will bear out, until then it is well worth reading and keeping in mind.”—Jazz Times

It's hard to imagine that "the cool" could ever go out of style. After all, cool is style. Isn't it? And it may be harder to imagine a world where people no longer aspire to coolness. In this intriguing cultural history, nationally acclaimed author Ted Gioia shows why cool is not a timeless concept and how it has begun to lose meaning and fade into history. Gioia deftly argues that what became iconic in the 1950s with Miles Davis, James Dean, and others has been manipulated, stretched, and pushed to a breaking point—not just in our media, entertainment, and fashion industries, but also by corporations, political leaders, and social institutions. Tolling the death knell for the cool, this thought-provoking book reveals how and why a new cultural tone is emerging, one marked by sincerity, earnestness, and a quest for authenticity.

Ted Gioia has published six highly acclaimed books. Gioia's The History of Jazz was selected as one of the twenty best books of the year in The Washington Post and was a notable book of the year in The New York Times. He is also the author of Delta Blues, Work Songs, and West Coast Jazz. Visit him at www.tedgioia.com.

Fulcrum Publishing; November 2009
264 pages; ISBN 9781933108551
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