Slackonomics: Generation X in the Age of Creative Destruction

About The Author

As I wrote in the book, “I’m not an economist, not even a rogue one.” That is a tongue-in-cheek reference, of course, to the wildly best-selling book, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. While I’m not an economist, I am using an economic lens to look at how everyday life has changed for Generation X (of which I’m one, having been born in 1968). I do this through pop and alt-culture and personal narrative that’s then backed up by economic analysis. In other words, Slackonomics an economic portrait of Generation X. But that’s the book.

My story goes like this (apologies for the third person reference, but that’s how bios are written):

Lisa Chamberlain packed up her yellow Ford Mustang in 1988 and drove from Cleveland Heights, Ohio (where she grew up) to Northern California, where she lived and worked before enrolling at the University of California, Davis. She graduated in 1992 with a BA in international relations (after changing majors five times – from chemistry and biology, to English and anthropology – which turned out to be good preparation for a journalism career).

After waitressing at a diner in the Tenderloin and temping in corporate offices in downtown San Francisco in the early ’90s, she moved back to Cleveland where an internship at an alternative weekly paper, the Cleveland Free Times, led to a low-pay but full-time staff position. Having established herself as a versatile reporter and news editor, she left the paper in 1996 to work as the communications director for Dennis Kucinich’s first successful Congressional campaign, then moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill. At the height of the impeachment of President Clinton, Lisa ran out of Washington screaming, and returned to the weekly paper in Cleveland, which had been purchased by the Village Voice. After 2+ years as the editor-in-chief –- during her tenure, the paper won an unprecedented number of awards –- she moved to New York (2002) where she completed the mid-career program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism with a concentration in urban planning.

Lisa is now a regular contributor to The New York Times, as well as the Executive Director of the Forum for Urban Design. She has also written for New York magazine, the New York Observer, Salon, Metropolis, and other publications. She lives in a dumpy studio on St. Marks Place in the East Village, is an amateur photographer (although not terribly active lately, click here for flickr photos), hangs out at Mudspot Café (where Slackonomics is lived!), and is a regular at the hottest yoga studio in New York City: Bikram Yoga Lower East Side.