This episode of Berkshire Bookworld is an unusual one, a telephone conversation with Ray Oldenburg that I recorded during the early weeks of the 2020 COVID lockdown. I had already agreed with Ray that I would coauthor a new edition of his famous 1989 book The Great Good Place, and I was calling him on his 88th birthday to check in and talk about third places.
Ray introduced the term "third place" back in 1989, and it's now ubiquitous. Property developers, museum planners, and shared workspace companies use it - sometimes accurately and sometimes not.
I hoped that Ray and I would continue to have conversations as I sketched out new chapters for the book, but this was, in fact, our only phone call. We did manage a Zoom cocktail hour, with the help of his friend Robert Dugan, and then another cocktail Zoom with friends in Brooklyn, who'd been inspired by Ray and wanted to meet him. They are among the many people around the world whose enthusiasm and experience will help to shape the 21st-century, post-pandemic edition of The Great Good Place.