Wicker Park's economy, which depends largely on its hip, young residents either working long hours as bartenders or waitstaff, or long hours in various digital design occupations. This is fascinating, original and deeply humane sociology at its finest; he demonstrates that in the name of freedom, young people working in allegedly relaxed service-sector jobs waste years of their lives in a whirl of drugs, alcohol and deceptively low wages. It's a classic example of a circular economy: While a bartender at an upscale Wicker Park club may earn $250 or more in tips from a shift, he or she is likely to go right out to an after-hours club with friends and spend it all on lavish tips to another bartender on the circuit. To anyone who's ever worked in the nightlife business, all this will ring sad but true.
The book sounds very meta: a theoretical dissection of the nostalgia and "performance of cultural distinction" of hipsterism is exactly the type of book best discussed loudly in a cafe over microbrews and free trade coffee.