Cover image for Unfinished business : women men work family
Title:
Unfinished business : women men work family
Author:
Slaughter, Anne-Marie, 1958- , author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2015]

©2015
Physical Description:
xxii, 328 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
"When Anne-Marie Slaughter accepted her dream job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. Her husband and two young sons encouraged her to pursue the job; she had a tremendously supportive boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and she had been moving up on a high-profile career track since law school. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family. The reactions to her choice to leave Washington because of her kids led her to question the feminist narrative she grew up with. Her subsequent article for The Atlantic, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All, " created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine's history. Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has pushed forward, breaking free of her long-standing assumptions about work, life, and family. Though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the "motherhood penalty, " women at the top and the bottom of the income scale are further and further apart. Now, in her refreshing and forthright voice, Anne-Marie Slaughter returns with her vision for what true equality between men and women really means, and how we can get there. She uncovers the missing piece of the puzzle, presenting a new focus that can reunite the women's movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive. With moving personal stories, individual action plans, and a broad outline for change, Anne-Marie Slaughter reveals a future in which all of us can finally finish the business of equality for women and men, work and family."--
Language:
English
Contents:
"It's such a pity you had to leave Washington" -- Part I: Moving beyond our mantras. Half-truths women hold dear ; Half-truths about men ; Half-truths in the workplace -- Part II: Changing lenses. Competition and care ; Is managing money really harder than managing kids? ; The next phase of the women's movement is a men's movement ; Let it go -- Part III: Getting to equal. Change the way you talk ; Planning your career (even though it rarely works out as planned) ; The perfect workplace ; Citizens who care.
ISBN:
9780812994568
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST  AND NPR * "An eye-opening call to action from someone who rethought the whole notion of 'having it all,' Unfinished Business could change how many of us approach our most important business: living."-- People

When Anne-Marie Slaughter accepted her dream job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. Her husband and two young sons encouraged her to pursue the job; she had a tremendously supportive boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and she had been moving up on a high-profile career track since law school. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family.

The reactions to her choice to leave Washington because of her kids led her to question the feminist narrative she grew up with. Her subsequent article for The Atlantic , "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine's history.

Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has pushed forward, breaking free of her long-standing assumptions about work, life, and family. Though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the "motherhood penalty," women at the top and the bottom of the income scale are further and further apart.

Now, in her refreshing and forthright voice, Anne-Marie Slaughter returns with her vision for what true equality between men and women really means, and how we can get there. She uncovers the missing piece of the puzzle, presenting a new focus that can reunite the women's movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive.

With moving personal stories, individual action plans, and a broad outline for change, Anne-Marie Slaughter reveals a future in which all of us can finally finish the business of equality for women and men, work and family.

Praise for Unfinished Business

"Another clarion call from Slaughter . . . Her case for revaluing and better compensating caregiving is compelling. . . . [Slaughter] makes it a point in her book to speak beyond the elite." --Jill Abramson, The Washington Post

"Slaughter's important contribution is to use her considerable platform to call for cultural change, itself profoundly necessary. . . . It should go right into the hands of (still mostly male) decision-makers." -- Los Angeles Times

"Slaughter should be applauded for devising a 'new vocabulary' to identify a broad, misclassified social phenomenon. And she is razor-sharp on outlining the cultural shifts necessary to give caregiving its due." -- The Economist

"A meaningful correction to Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In . . . For Slaughter, it is organizations--not women--that need to change." -- Slate

"I'm confident that you will be left with Anne-Marie's hope and optimism that we can change our points of view and policies so that both men and women can fully participate in their families and use their full talents on the job." --Hillary Rodham Clinton

"Slaughter's gift for illuminating large issues through everyday human stories is what makes this book so necessary." --Arianna Huffington


Author Notes

Anne-Marie Slaughter is president and CEO of New America and the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Slaughter director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department, the first woman to hold that job. She is the author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family which made the Business Book of the Year 2015 shortlist in the UK.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

As this heartfelt book relates, when the author (The Idea That Is America) left her Princeton University professorship in 2009 to work on policy for then-Secretary of State Clinton, her sons were 10 and 12. Slaughter could only get home on weekends, and before long she found her children were suffering from her absences. Her conflicted feelings resulted in her much-read Atlantic piece, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," which she expands here. "Lean in too far without a counterweight... and you will tip over," Slaughter warns. As she explains, her tipping point led her not only to leave D.C. but also to more widely examine the challenges of caregiving in the U.S. Slaughter also takes a fresh and informative look at recent advances made by feminists, finding that though much has changed since the women's movement came to prominence, the movement is still "only halfway home." She provides concrete steps for the remaining journey, concluding that until society learns to value care (of children and the elderly) as much as competition, there will never be true gender equality, in the workplace or elsewhere. If heeded by Americans, her thoughtful analysis could cause a sea change in how they value their jobs and one another. Agent: Will Lippincott, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Many listeners will remember Slaughter's controversial 2012 essay, "Why Woman Still Can't Have It All" (ow.ly/WBtzz). The intervening years have given Slaughter a chance to revisit some of the experiences leading up to and following that writing. The result is a thoughtful, well-researched, and thought-provoking book, dedicated to the examination of gender inequality at work and at home. The book examines common beliefs and assumptions related to gender roles; looks at the lenses through which we view those roles, the workplace, and one another; and offers both practical proposals and other, more open-ended thoughts about how society might need to change in order best to serve the needs of both one's family and one's career. Slaughter makes a commendable effort to write an expansive, inclusive piece that will speak to all genders and to workers up and down the career ladder. Perhaps the most crucial theme is her focus on the importance of the role of caregivers in our society and how we should address this need going forward. The author reads the introduction and coda, enlivening her point of view. Unfortunately, Karen White's performance of the main text somehow lacks the same emotional resonance. VERDICT In spite of some excellent anecdotes, the subject matter is occasionally a bit dry, making it hard not to wish that Slaughter had given voice to the entire audiobook. ["The joint themes of working smarter not harder and giving caregiving its due respect will [appeal to] a wide audience": LJ 9/1/15 review of the Random hc.]-Heather Malcolm, Bow, WA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Less Can Be More   During the 2014 Super Bowl, Cadillac ran an ad that was meant to be a celebration of American workaholism. It showed a clean- cut fifty-something white man with blazing blue eyes walking and talking his way through his mansion while extolling the virtues of the American work ethic. "Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the café, they take August off. Off . Why aren't you  like that?  Why  aren't  we like that?  Because we're crazy, driven, hardworking believers," says the guy, who looks like a car- toon version of a one-percenter, to the camera. The moral of the ad: If you just work hard enough, avoiding vacation and "creating your own luck," anything, including the ownership of a $75,000 car, is possible.   The  ad drove me crazy. The  man was so smug and so com- pletely out of touch with what I consider to be the real values that Americans have traditionally  proclaimed and tried to pass down to their children. Yes, Europeans and others often criticize Amer- ican culture for being materialistic, but when Thomas  Jefferson described humankind's "unalienable rights" in the Declaration  of Independence, he took English Enlightenment philosopher  John Locke's "life, liberty, and estate" and substituted "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." And as the behavioral psychologists tell us, happiness is more likely to be found in the pleasures of human connection  and experience--a good meal, a play or movie or sporting event, a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of champagne-- than it is in an endless catalogue of possessions. I wasn't alone in my reaction. One reporter wrote, "You know what really needs attention?  What working like crazy and taking no time off really gets us[?]" It gets Americans to the grave earlier, it's made us more anxious than people in other developed coun- tries, and it's created  a group  of people more  disengaged from their jobs than in countries with more leisure time. In the end, it was New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin who made the most damning argument  against the commercial. As we were talking about it, he pointed out that Cadillac was disparaging the vacation-loving Europeans  in an effort to sell luxury cars to a wealthy U.S. audience who prefer German BMWs and Mercedes. Last  I  checked,  German   workers  get  a  mandated   minimum twenty days of vacation every year.  It's that simple. German  workers work at least two weeks a year less than American workers do and yet produce better  cars. Perhaps  that is because German  managers still subscribe to the empirical findings that led Henry Ford to establish an eight-hour workday in 1914. When Ford looked at in-house research, he realized that manual laborers were finished after eight hours of work a day. After he cut hours, errors went down, and productiv- ity, employee satisfaction, and company profits went up. We actually have a growing body of data in support  of the proposition that working less means working better. According to much  more  recent  research,  people  who work principally  with their brains rather than their hands have an even shorter amount of real daily productivity than manual laborers. Microsoft em- ployees, for instance, reported  that they put in only twenty-eight productive hours in a forty-five-hour workweek--a little less than six hours  a day. Futurist  Sara Robinson  found the same thing: knowledge  workers have fewer than  eight hours  a day of hard mental labor in them before they start making mistakes. This relationship between working better and working less holds particularly true in any job requiring creativity, the well- spring of innovation. Experts on creativity emphasize the value of nonlinear  thinking  and cultivated randomness,  from long walks to looking at your environment in ways you never have before. Making time for play, as well as designated  downtime,  has also been found to boost creativity. Experts suggest we should change the rhythm  of our workdays to include periods in which we are simply letting our minds run wherever they want to go. Without play, we might never be able to make the unexpected connections that are the essence of insight. Excerpted from Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.