Thirty-five years ago, a billboard announced to the world: “Smile Los Angeles! You’re the Center of the Universe.” Hyperbolic at the time, today, this exaggeration comes close to reality. While Southern California is not at the literal center of the universe, it is nevertheless an eye-popping illustration of our globalizing world.
Over the course of forty years of reporting, author James Flanigan has written about Southern California for such publications as Forbes and the New York Times. In Smile Southern California!, Flanigan provocatively distills his experiences with and knowledge of the region, arguing that Southern California is an economic model for the United States and the world. With clarity and precision, Flanigan examines numerous pillars of the region’s growth, including dynamic entrepreneurship; the rapid growth of international trade,; the harnessing and development of new technologies; and the evolution of the entertainment industry. He assesses the achievements of the region’s people, businesses, and institutions. The text highlights the influx of immigrants to Southern California, and discusses these people’s role in building local businesses and bringing capital to the region. Flanigan concludes the book by looking past the boundaries of today and into to the economic opportunities and challenges of tomorrow–for Southern California and America.
Throughout the book, Flanigan weaves in numerous interviews that bring to life the economic forces that he describes. Most valuable are the stories that he shares of businesspeople–well and less known–who demonstrate where our economy stands and where it is heading.
Smile Southern California! delivers more than a “pat on the back” for the inhabitants of Los Angeles and its environs; it offers an insider’s view on Southern California, valuable insights for readers with an eye on the economy, and an exciting story full of real people and triumphs to boot!