Reviews for Overwhelmed : Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

Booklist Reviews 2014 March #1
Journalist Schulte manages to take a fairly pedestrian topic, the value of leisure in modern American society, and turn it into a compelling narrative on work, play, and personal achievement. Liberally peppered with her own experiences as a wife, mother, and Washington Post reporter, this artful blend of memoir and cultural exploration asks hard questions about how to create a well-lived life. Is leisure a waste of time, or the only time to "live fully present"? Are we more concerned about a purpose-driven experience, or bogged down in "banal busyness"? Schulte, juggling the demands of children and work while facing conflicts with her spouse over familial responsibilities, realizes that she is mired in busyness. Her discussions with a wide range of experts clarify her concerns and open her mind to the manufactured madness of a competitive culture and the false promise of the ruthlessly dedicated "ideal worker." Schulte follows every lead to uncover why Americans are so determined to exhaust themselves for work and what has been lost in the process. For Lean In (2013) fans, and everyone who feels overwhelmed. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Choice Reviews 2014 September
Journalist Schulte's assessment of contemporary work and family life is both entertaining and wide-ranging, moving from the negative effects of chronic stress on brain function to changing norms for the ideal worker, to public policy for child care and family leave. Her recommendations for creating healthier ways to have it all (work, love, and leisure) are similar, spanning visionary efforts to reshape corporate culture to encourage greater autonomy and flexibility; personal efforts of couples to "un-stall" the gender revolution; reframing motherhood to be less driven by perfectionism and fear; celebrating involved fatherhood and unstructured time for children; giving one's self permission to not try to do it all; and public policies that support healthier rhythms of work and family life. Schulte synthesized an enormous amount of scholarship in these pages, although for academic audiences it may move too quickly and be insufficiently attentive to divergent experiences across race and social class (many examples relate to the frantic lives of privileged professionals). Nevertheless, the book is a delightfully readable and timely challenge to workers, lovers, and those who would like to play a little more. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General, public, and professional collections. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Professionals/Practitioners. S. K. Gallagher Oregon State University Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Kirkus Reviews 2014 February #1
An examination of how to change how you use your time. "You can't manage time. Time never changes," writes Washington Post journalist Schulte. "There will always and ever be 168 hours in a week." So the question remains: How do we manage time so the sense of being overworked, of dealing with never-ending responsibilities and the endless need to check the flood of information constantly available doesn't swamp us? Through careful, extensive research, the author explores the multiple levels where humans waste time and offers concrete advice on how to reclaim those lost moments. Today's workplace is still built around the outdated notion of the "ideal worker"—usually a man who can devote concentrated hours to the task at hand—and doesn't take into account the millions of women now juggling a full-time career with family life. Schulte advocates for a new system that provides flexibility in hours, paid maternal and paternal leave, and consideration of the desire for more freedom and leisure time. Women constantly multitask, coping with the multiple demands of housework, cooking and child care, which often leaves them feeling fragmented, exhausted, and with little or no time for themselves. This arena must become more balanced, writes the author, with both parents assuming equal responsibilities in all departments. Regarding leisure, Schulte looks to the Danes, who have one of the best ratios of work-to-vacation time in the world; they average a 37-hour workweek and six weeks of paid vacation, and long hours at the office are actually frowned upon. Backed by numerous examples, Schulte's effective time-management ideas will be helpful in stamping out ambivalence and will empower readers to reclaim wasted moments, so life becomes a joyful experience rather than a mad dash from one task to the next. An eye-opening analysis of today's hectic lifestyles coupled with valuable practical advice on how to make better use of each day. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2014 January #1

On her quest to turn her "time confetti" into "time serenity," journalist Schulte finds that, while it's worse for women and hits working mothers the hardest, what she calls the "Overwhelm" cuts across gender, income, and nationality to contaminate time, shrink brains, impair productivity, and reduce happiness. Investigating the "great speed-up" of modern life, Schulte surveys the "time cages" of the American workplace, the "stalled gender revolution" in the home, and the documented necessity for play, and discovers that the "aimless whirl" of American life runs on a conspiracy of "invisible forces": outdated notions of the Ideal Worker; the cult of motherhood; antiquated national family policies; and the "high status of busyness." The result is our communal "time sickness." Schulte takes a purely practical and secular approach to a question that philosophers and spiritual teachers have debated for centuries--how to find meaningful work, connection, and joy--but her research is thorough and her conclusions fascinating, her personal narrative is charmingly honest, and the stakes are high: the "good life" pays off in "sustainable living, healthy populations, happy families, good business, sound economies." While the final insights stretch thin, Schulte unearths the attitudes and "powerful cultural expectations" responsible for our hectic lives, documents European alternatives to the work/family balance, and handily summarizes her solutions in an appendix. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Mar.)

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