Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

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About the Author:

Anne-Marie Slaughter is President and CEO of the New America Foundation. A foreign policy analyst, academic and public commentator, she served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department for two years under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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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.

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Book Description Oneworld Publications, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. INDIA EXPORT EDITION. Language: English. Brand new Book. Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2016Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2015When Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic article, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All" first appeared, it immediately went viral, sparking a firestorm of debate across countries and continents. Within four days, it had become the most-read article in the history of the magazine. In the following months, Slaughter became a leading voice in the discussion on work-life balance and on women's changing role in the workplace.Now, Slaughter is here with her eagerly anticipated take on the problems we still face, and how we can finally get past them. In her pragmatic, down-to-earth style, Slaughter bursts the bubble on all the "half-truths" we tell young women about "having it all", and explains what is really necessary to get true gender equality, both in the workplace and at home. Deeply researched, and filled with all the warm, wise and funny anecdotes that first made her the most trusted and admired voice on the issue, Anne-Marie Slaughter's book is sure to change minds, ignite debate and be the topic of conversation. Seller Inventory # AAW9781780745084

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Book Description Oneworld Publications, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. INDIA EXPORT EDITION. Language: English. Brand new Book. Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2016Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2015When Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic article, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All" first appeared, it immediately went viral, sparking a firestorm of debate across countries and continents. Within four days, it had become the most-read article in the history of the magazine. In the following months, Slaughter became a leading voice in the discussion on work-life balance and on women's changing role in the workplace.Now, Slaughter is here with her eagerly anticipated take on the problems we still face, and how we can finally get past them. In her pragmatic, down-to-earth style, Slaughter bursts the bubble on all the "half-truths" we tell young women about "having it all", and explains what is really necessary to get true gender equality, both in the workplace and at home. Deeply researched, and filled with all the warm, wise and funny anecdotes that first made her the most trusted and admired voice on the issue, Anne-Marie Slaughter's book is sure to change minds, ignite debate and be the topic of conversation. Seller Inventory # AAW9781780745084

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