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The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream

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Are we living the good life—and what defines 'good', anyway? Americans today are constructing a completely different framework for success than their parents' generation, using new metrics that TEDWomen speaker and columnist Courtney Martin has termed collectively the "New Better Off". The New Better Off puts a name to the American phenomenon of rejecting the traditional dream of a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family structure—illuminating the alternate ways Americans are seeking happiness and success.

Including commentary on recent changes in how we view work, customs and community, marriage, rituals, money, living arrangements, and spirituality, The New Better Off uses personal stories and social analysis to explore the trends shaping our country today. Martin covers growing topics such as freelancing, collaborative consumption, communal living, and the breaking down of gender roles.

The New Better Off is about the creative choices individuals are making in their vocational and personal lives, but it’s also about the movements, formal and informal, that are coalescing around the New Better Off idea—people who are reinventing the social safety net and figuring out how to truly better their own communities.

"We all know that money can't buy peace, kindness or honesty—in the Age of Trump, what could be more clear? Courtney Martin is a practical and lyrical explorer in showing us how money as the only measure of "better off" has failed us, and what is needed to create a new American Dream for us and the next generation. Never has there been a more timely and livable book."
—Gloria Steinem

"This book encapsulates a huge idea: That our dreams of individual success are in urgent need of an upgrade. Courtney Martin makes the case with extraordinary eloquence anchored in beautiful personal stories. If you're depressed about the current state of America, she offers a powerful antidote."
—Chris Anderson, CEO of TED

304 pages, Hardcover

First published September 13, 2016

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About the author

Courtney E. Martin

9 books181 followers
Courtney is a weekly columnist for On Being, a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation, podcast, and Webby Award-winning website. Her newest book, The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream explores how people are redefining the "good life" in the wake of the Great Recession.

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, and Mother Jones, among other publications. Courtney has given two TED talks, one on the reinvention of feminism and the other (forthcoming in September) on the reinvention of the American Dream. She has also appeared on Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN, and MSNBC, among other major media outlets. She is a widely sought after speaker, who gives several dozen lectures and speeches annually.

Courtney’s first book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women was awarded a Books for a Better Life nomination and was called "smart and spirited" by The New York Times. She is also the author of Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists , Project Rebirth: Survival and the Strength of the Human Spirit from 9/11 Survivors , released in conjunction with a documentary film, called Rebirth, by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jim Whitaker, CLICK: When We Knew We Were Feminists , co-edited with J. Courtney Sullivan, and The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive , the life story of AIDS activist Marvelyn Brown.

Courtney has surprised herself by co-founding a series of status quo bucking enterprises: the Solutions Journalism Network, popularizing the practice of rigorous, compelling reporting about responses to social problems, FRESH Speakers Bureau, and Valenti Martin Media. Courtney also does ongoing strategy work with TED and the Aspen Institute. She is on the Council of Advisors of the Wellesley Centers for Women, Family Story, and Feministing.com.

Courtney is a recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and has held residencies at the Roc

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews
Profile Image for Shirley Showalter.
Author 1 book49 followers
November 29, 2016
Why would a grandmother read a book that clearly is targeted to the millennial generation? First, I have children and grandchildren and want to understand the world they live in. Second, I'm a teacher at heart and a life-long learner, so I love a good idea when I see one. Third, the two new stages in 21st century human development link the young and the old together as potential partners. The Emerging Adulthood stage (22-35ish) and Encore stage (60-75ish) have a lot in common. We are composing our lives without scripts handed to us from previous generations.

In addition to understanding young people and their creative challenges better, another reason older people should read this book is that the author is an "old soul" herself and asks all the oldest and best questions about the meaning of life and how to find it. The answers she finds are provisional and communitarian (co-working and co-housing) instead of rigid and individualistic. I find myself guilty of many of the problems she diagnoses in our culture: too little sustained attention and too invasive technology, too much dependence on money and things which leads to the feeling of "never enough." The American Dream was always more accessible to some than to others, and too few people stopped to ask if it was a good dream to begin with. The new dream in this book moves beyond old symbols such as the white picket fence without advocating for uniform new ones. Instead the dream could be called community, a collection of people gathered around purpose, constructing shared goals and helping each other reach them. The term "radical hospitality" is one that this book gave me and has challenged me to be even more welcoming of the stranger than I have tried to be in the past. I'm thinking about rituals in new ways. Here's one of Courtney Martin's lovely sentences: "We . . . are looking to create moments that are both grand enough to make us feel sewn into the fabric of human history and specific enough to make us feel our unique strand within that fabric is witnessed and celebrated."

I can even adapt much of this book to my own generation. The chapter describing rites of passage, for example, spoke to me because the transition from full-time paid employment to what we call retirement is so seldom marked by ritual, except perhaps a party or the equivalent of a gold watch.

Above all, what I feel called to after reading this book is to wake up, look around me for opportunities to work, love, laugh, celebrate, and just BE with people in my local community and people who want to do the same in theirs. Young people who heed this call to a Dream beyond material success will need older people as their champions, confidantes, and challengers. Read the book and discuss it with a millennial in your life. Who knows, we could help save the earth, reduce violence, and develop a new kind of patriotism in the process. Never in American history has such an alternative been more needed!
Profile Image for David Sasaki.
244 reviews347 followers
December 28, 2016
Disclosure: I know Courtney, I admire Courtney, and I think you should buy her book. Hopefully, this is still honest critique that doesn’t shy away from criticism.

Living in America, at this unequal, messy moment, can break your heart—but it doesn’t have to break your spirit. Living in America is so interesting, so fertile, so up-for-grabs. It’s also disintegrating and reconstituting and recalibrating. It’s up to us to make lives that we can be proud of — and to make communities and systems and policies to cradle those lives. It’s up to us to reject tired narratives about success, instead authoring new ones that are less about exceptional heroes and more about creative communities.

I’m a sucker for applied existentialism — developing the daily craft of living with meaning and authenticity within the imperfect institutions and communities within which we're embedded. Which is why I’m more drawn to the bookshelves of biography and self-improvement these days than philosophy: it’s far more challenging to live than to theorize.

In many ways, Courtney Martin’s The New Better Off is the antidote to the gospel of jet-setting self-centeredness advocated by another San Francisco-based self-improvement writer, Timothy Ferris, in his bestseller The Four Hour Workweek . Like Ferris, Martin too is a fan of the flexibility of freelance work, but she has a radically different vision of what we should do with our free time. Whereas Ferris advises his readers to focus entirely on self-optimization by not becoming distracted by the neediness of others, Martin asks her readers to come out from their isolated caves of Netflix, multiple screens and Uber Eats to find meaning through communal (and yes, offline) experiences. She even goes so far as to claim that social connections help us direct our attention — our most precious resource — more judiciously. That’s probably true for some folks helplessly addicted to playing Angry Birds while hunched over the blue shine of their iPhones. But for others, like me, constantly reacting to the demands of socializing can quickly become a drain on my attention and creativity.

As I read through the book I found myself alternating between two very different sensations. First, it made me want to be a better person. A better husband, neighbor, colleague, citizen. With clarity and concrete examples, it points out the many ways I could be a more decent human being. But then, a second sensation would creep up, a feeling of inadequacy. Courtney does an excellent job painting an alternative portrait of success to the outdated expectations of a high salary, climbing the corporate ladder and jet-setting to exotic locations. But in doing so, mostly by describing her own alluring life, she set's a very high bar. Halfway through the book I wanted to throw my arms up and say, "Courtney, I give up. I will never be as good of a parent, or neighbor, or enlightened consumer, or Zumba dancer. My friends will never be as multicultural and civically engaged. They can't cite their own TED talks or published books." But I'm happy with my life and my friends and the way I've defined success for myself.

I think that Courtney would respond that my conclusion is precisely what she hopes her readers to take away from her book — that we each must define and judge our own metrics of success and contentment. She puts forth some suggestions that, for her, define the good life — the "new better off." And while I agree with some, I disagree with others. But that's beside the point. The point is that we take the time to examine our lives and then act intentionally to put our ideals into practice.
Profile Image for Pamela.
58 reviews
December 29, 2017
As someone whose own thoughts and opinions align with the author’s assertions, I expected to like this book more than I did. I found the author’s tone and writing style somewhat flippant and glib, which rubbed me the wrong way. At times, she made very broad swipes and assertions that struck me as condescending to those who may not subscribe to her worldview. I also wasn’t completely satisfied with the way she addressed socioeconomic disparities and cultural privilege (some sections handled this more deftly than others). I didn’t find her arguments to be very academically persuasive; the book relied heavily on anecdotal evidence and was light on quantitative evidence or substantial qualitative evidence. In the absence of that, she seemed to be relying on emotion to make a compelling case. This failed for me too. I’ve found myself more deeply engaged on these topics by blogs, articles, and podcasts that are a fraction of the length. Finally, there just wasn’t a lot here that felt new. There were one or two moments where I thought “oh, I hadn’t considered that before.” For an article, that’s sufficient. For an entire book, that’s not nearly enough.
Profile Image for Jacquelyn Casazza.
155 reviews1 follower
July 21, 2017
I wanted to like this book so much but...meh. I feel if you have Courtney's life (free lancer, live in California, live amongst a community of similarly minded people) then great. But as someone who has a "regular job" and a home, I felt like after reading this book I was somehow contributing to the downfall of society. Some of it's interesting, but not all examples are practical or feasible. Who has time (or energy) to talk about "the big questions" every 3 weeks? Who can just relocate to a cohousing community? Who can just quit their job and make ends meet for their family? I would have liked some additional examples.
Profile Image for Abbi Dion.
384 reviews10 followers
July 19, 2017
One of the most fascinating works of cultural criticism I've read in a long time. In our age of distraction, quick and loud and shiny, this is more meditative approach to living in the modern world -- and a beautifully optimistic one, which is why I bought the book. I was perusing the shelves for some recent-ish commentary on The American Dream and I discovered Courtney E. Martin's book. I read it slowly, intentionally, thoughtfully, sometimes skeptically and sometimes enchantedly... there were so many unapologetic deep moments, and I was/am grateful for that aspect. I've recommended this book to other teachers in the English department at my high school and feel like ANY TEACHER COULD AND SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. I'm looking forward to reading future critical (or otherwise) writing from this author.
Profile Image for Joseph.
3 reviews
December 11, 2018
My interest in the book faded in and out. Some of her examples and concepts were thought provoking but generally based on anecdotal information not necessarily research. The last couple of chapters dragged for me especially. Overall it was worth reading and for the most part easy to read but not particularly provocative. It's a lot of cultural commentary most people are already aware of with some examples.

It was ok. Very nice cover art though!
Profile Image for Amy.
Author 1 book33 followers
March 14, 2017
This book is about redefining success to be about connection and community. I really enjoyed it. The book didn't strike the right balance for me between memoir and research, but I'd nonetheless recommend it.
7 reviews38 followers
December 20, 2022
I listened to this as an audio book and did not read any reviews prior. As a late-thirties, childless, single white female identifying person, I liked it's insights and it did prompt me to think more about ways I can expand myself and my ways of learning, redefine my career and how I want to live, as well as build relationships.

It would be interesting to see this book updated for post-pandemic times, and to have some other case studies or cited examples or short interviews with people who don't live in co-housing, but are creating community, working for themselves, but are great at collaborating - and also single- how do you make living alone or with roomates work in an era of insanity with housing costs and shortages with viewpoints not just focused on co-housing, as amazing as it may be. Also would be interesting to hear from people in some "non-traditional" fields like natural resources/environmental folks, where a sub-set of people have hybrid work situations or are consultants, or independent contractors.

Sections that stood out involved describing how the work setting has changed, or is changing (chapter "Wisdom of Enough". I found it helpful to learn about why living in and creating a more intentional community can enhance all ages, and help fill gaps. If the author were to write another book so heavily related to co-housing, it'd be neat to hear from other kinds of co-housing models. Eg: There is a victorian co-house in the Berkshires, that is much smaller than the author's community. The house is owned by someone who doesn't want to sell it. They have communal dinners, host workshops in the community/town they live in, but cycle through housemates occasionally, and the folks are generally in the "young professionals" age range.

The section about living in co-housing and having help tutor a child, help watch the kid so mom can take a shower, etc. was an interesting example of community supporting each and the importance of inter-generational relationships, and having help if you do not live near your nuclear family. It made me think of living situations where I used to babysit for a housemate in exchange for a small discount on my rent, or where we hosted hikers and they sometimes would do a work-for-stay to help us take care of the yard, and in exchange we also learned from each other's life experiences.

Later on I really enjoyed learning about rites of passage and rituals. I think rites of passage could have been expanded upon to talk about rites of passage missing in teenagers lives these days, and connected back to the above section.

I generally liked the takeaways I got from this book and her conclusion summary. However, I disagreed with this in the conclusion where the author stated, "Money is not an end. It is a beginning, a tool, a resource among many. Once you have a critical amount of money that makes your heart sing, and this is a really such a a personal thing, you are better off using your time to do things other than make money."

This almost seems counter to what was written about in the book about building community and disconnecting from technology, etc. Especially for the pandemic era, or someone re-inventing their career, or trying to first make it as a freelancer or independent contractor, perhaps part of doing that is to have time to do things other than make money, VS working to save a critical amount of money (I try to do both to the best of my ability, but still fall short on the making money part, but am looking into time-banking, starting a generosity circle, work-trade, network and ask for help, etc.).

Overall I enjoyed hearing and considering many of the perspectives in this book, and it helped me re-frame some of my thinking about what is enough, what is possible and what has and is changing in the work-world (hopefully for the better).
Profile Image for K.
267 reviews7 followers
September 26, 2018
I don't know why we all think it's just millennials who are redefining how to live, and searching for what it means to be alive. We're in an age now that ALL of us are waking up to the fact that there's more than one path in life, and we all need to take responsibility for living it. Even though reviews of this book keep giving millennials the credit, I'm glad that the author doesn't beat this old tune. In THE NEW BETTER OFF, she challenges each of us to re-examine ourselves, forge a new path that feels right, and engage with others.
Profile Image for Melody Warnick.
Author 7 books158 followers
March 14, 2019
I don't agree with everything in this wonky, well-written book, but generally I'm a fan of rethinking our definitions of success and happiness.
Profile Image for Sue Kliewer.
95 reviews
March 17, 2018
Excellent book that examines what 'better off' really means. It describes the way millennials are redefining what it means to be family and what it is to have meaningful work.
Profile Image for Richard B.
449 reviews
September 16, 2016
This was a very interesting read. It takes as its premise that unfortunately most people today in the US (and other Western countries) won't be "better off" by the traditional standards; home ownership, available leisure time, security etc. than previous generations. The book examines how people are choosing new ways to define better off, using measures of social responsibility, experience over possessions, flexible working and thriving in the "gig" job market etc. The book is engagingly written and well researched. The author's writing style is a mixture of memoir, academic research and journalism. It is certainly a thought provoking read and one I'd recommend.
Profile Image for Daniel R..
219 reviews12 followers
November 13, 2016
I got this book expecting something in the same vein as Bowling Alone or Alone Together. Instead this book is about her personal journey to understand what the American Dream means. Accompanied by numerous anecdotes that reenforce her view, I never got the sense of how universal her angst is. If her perspective and questions resonate with you the book will be illuminating but if they don't it isn't a well researched viewpoint.
Profile Image for Phoebe Schenker.
16 reviews
October 24, 2016
This book is so incredible. It was like reading the voice in my head. I now have a zillion other things I want to read or look into. What an honest amazing glimpse into what it means to live a full life.
Profile Image for Paul Bindel.
50 reviews12 followers
March 12, 2017
I wanted to like this more than I did. Good for referencing many different initiatives, businesses, and projects that are innovative and driven by values. But a bit slow and overly focused on the author's own life.
84 reviews5 followers
December 1, 2016
Some good ideas sprinkled with lots of veiled political commentary. The side comments ended the book for me at about 60% of the way in. Did not finish.
Profile Image for Erin Williams.
122 reviews9 followers
September 14, 2022
A very good read. I feel like I want all of the people around me to read it, if for nothing more than to start the conversation.
Profile Image for Brittany Wilmes.
359 reviews9 followers
March 12, 2017
This is a book for Americans in their 20s and 30s and 40s who are seeking more than seems available to them. Great thoughts on work and community and vocation and tribe.
Profile Image for Lizzie.
36 reviews
June 16, 2020
"Independent contractors are increasing in number as well, growing by 2.1 million workers from 2010 to 2014, and accounting for 28.8 percent of all jobs added during the recovery. It is estimated that by 2020, freelancers will constitute more than 40 percent of the workforce." (p. 53)

"We're in the midst of a huge transition. Though many of the core ideas of what makes work meaningful and life bearable remain constant, we've come to realize that our old frameworks no longer serve us. The questions before us now aren't just technical, as in: How do we ensure that a profoundly transient workforce has access to fundamental human rights like healthcare, sick days, and family leave? Should we institute a basic income? They're philosophical as well, as in: How do we think about flexibility and fairness in a freelance world? Who is responsible for our fundamental well-being? Whom are we accountable to?" (pg. 55)

"Though 'mutual aid networks' is a wonky term, it means something pretty simple: groups of people who figure out ways to create more stability by pooling their resources (time and money, primarily) rather than being out for only themselves." (pg. 58)

"Numerous studies have shown that it's very difficult to break habits--and making money, in its own weird way, is a habit. What's more, a higher wage might protect you from plunging into medical debt, but stress and overwork are disastrous for your health in the first place. So many of us pursue more earnings as if on autopilot, either because we're convinced a bigger bank account will bring blanket security, or because we've conflated success with the figure on our paychecks." (pg. 72)

"Without cooperation, without community, our potential is defined in strictly individual terms. And for much of contemporary America, that is still the case. It's why we obsessively talk about work/life balance as if it were a problem best solved by 82.5 million different ways—that is, one solution for each mother in the U.S. It's why the vast majority of us commute alone in our own cars, an average of twenty-five minutes each way—it's too tricky to fit in errands with carpooling, ridesharing, or public transportation. It's why almost half of us eat fast food at least once a week... the faster we can eat those packaged calorie-bombs, the faster we can get on with our busy days. But when our lives become rooted in communities—whether because we've intentionally sought them out, bucking against the conditioning of our privileged class, or because it's what we've always known out of economic necessity—our potential expands beyond our individual limitations. We focus less on our own failures and more on structure failures, such as more family-friendly work policies, more public transportation options, more healthy, whole foods available in a wider variety of neighborhoods. We put less energy into figuring out how to hack it solo and more into all the creative ways a group of people could make life easier, healthier, more fun. We become individually less important and collectively more powerful." (pg. 174)

"We are—it seems—in a constant state of application. We apply to get into schools. We apply to get jobs. We apply to get state or federal assistance, scholarships, insurance, mortgages." (pg. 184)
Profile Image for Peter.
Author 5 books3 followers
August 22, 2017
This book is written in a way that could have a profound impact on anyone of any age who is thinking about how they are going to experience their life moving forward. I do not use the word profound lightly. Courtney E. Martin has presented a view of our world that outlines how many of us are, and many more of us might, view our relationship with the most fundamental elements of our life – love, money, work, home, faith etc.

For example, she provides many statistics and references regarding how the view of home ownership is changing and why. During that discussion, she makes a compelling case for the importance of community in one’s life, and gives many examples of how that is being done successfully in ways that do not require the purchase of a house. She shares research regarding the fact that those aged twenty-five through thirty-four have seen the biggest increase in unrelated adults living together and provides examples of how that is being done. She also gives evidence of how, “The growing population of aging Boomers is also inspiring a range of radical new living arrangements.”

As a professional in her mid-thirties, she discusses how to change one’s relationship with their digital devices, particularly their cell phone, which for many lessens the ability to be part of a community that could allow one to move forward in the healthiest manner.

She asks powerful questions throughout the book that force one to think deeply about what is and what should be important in one’s life. Two questions that I found particularly compelling are, “What can I let go of because it’s somebody else’s idea of what would make me secure/happy/accomplished?” The second is, “Who are my people and how can I build a life where I am with them more of the time in a less distracted way?” She closes the book with a list of twenty other questions that help readers identify meaningful next steps.

Finally, she writes in a very conversational tone that draws one into her story about a new way of looking at one’s life. She used the same writing style in a previous book titled, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists which is a valuable resource for those with a social conscience or a desire to help our world be a better place. I highly recommend both books.
Profile Image for Amelia.
Author 9 books83 followers
September 15, 2019
I can't remember why I requested this book from the library. The title -- and maybe whatever comment led me to it -- suggested a fairly bold new vision of how to live well. I was disappointed. Rather than confronting the dominant American late-capitalist paradigm, the book seemed to be a collection of anecdotes about how individuals, families, and small groups of people have found ways to humanize their lives just a little. It seems to be about a piecemeal adoption bits and pieces of core human values without a unifying vision, and without any real effort to grapple with the crippling economic/material insecurity that affects most Americans (yes, the lack of retirement funding, but also the threats of homelessness and medical bankruptcy). True, we can't tackle that very well as individuals, but that's still why I felt this book fell short of its promise. Its vision of community doesn't extend far enough. (Also, I mislike the way the author uses the word "tribe" to mean a welcoming group of like-minded people.)

Oh well.
Profile Image for Jackie.
141 reviews3 followers
July 30, 2017
"It was okay." I don't give a lot of two star ratings, but I think this is exactly how I felt about the book. It was okay, interesting, and I don't think I wouldn't have read it if my book club hadn't picked it (big part of why I'm in book clubs - to read books I wouldn't on my own!)

I think the topic of what is the American Dream now made for a good conversation topic, but my main issues were I didn't buy the author's arguments about themes and trends in our society applicable beyond a privileged, urban environment, and I generally found her mix between personal perspective and facts as imbalanced - probably contributing to the first issue I had. The author is a journalist, and this long-form felt choppy, somehow needing to be more tied together.
Profile Image for S.
631 reviews9 followers
January 7, 2017
I mainly skimmed through this book as I realized that it was not relevant to me at all.

Are you an American millennial who is shunning the standard 9 to 5 job and has become an entrepreneur or freelancer? Then, this book is for you. It reaffirms the lifestyle you are living.

However, I felt many of the things the author claims are of the new generation redefining what is better off is actually a natural progression of society. Like fathers becoming more active in child rearing or stay at home dads. This is happening in countries in Asia as well which are still following the models of consumerism/ have a house, job and family which the author believes the newer gen is eschewing.

The author makes it sound as if this redefining is being done by the majority but actually it is still a minority and who knows it may die out like the hippies. Also, many are not doing it out of choice but out of necessity.

Besides, once our basic needs of life like money are met, it is but natural that we start looking for deeper meaning in our lives.
5 reviews
June 17, 2022
I wanted to love it, but it was slow going and... kind of boring in places??
it was published in 2016 and yet reading this in 2022 made me think the author could see both directly into my brain and into the future. It's timely and filled with a lot of inspiring advice on who you are vs who you want to be without being too preachy.
That said, the book is told through a series of essays, each with a central focus. The structure was so plain that it made the whole thing a little drab. I finished it, but I had to bust out my annotating skills to make myself process what I was reading, otherwise my eyes would glaze over.
Profile Image for yana.
105 reviews4 followers
November 23, 2022
Plenty of nuggets of good & worthy topics I'd love to see more discussion of... (and to discuss more with others). And I'm all for getting big topics across through personal stories, but the execution of the content felt TOO anecdotal, meandering, and often tangential to the topic at hand. It occasionally felt like it veered from social/cultural commentary to self help & motivational cheerleading. I wavered between 2 and 3 stars. I'm curious how many people read it and felt like they had "aha" moments, vs it mostly preaching to the choir. I suspect more of the latter. Nonetheless, it could be a decent discussion starter.
Profile Image for Zac Ogle .
1 review1 follower
May 9, 2019
I was fascinated by the myriad subjects this book covered, but my main criticism of Martin's work is that its an inch deep and a mile wide. Each chapter could be expanded into its own standalone piece, and I suspect she might delve into subject matter more fully in successive works, but as it stands I think the most useful section for exploring the far-ranging topics covered within is the greatly expanded bibliography and references section at the end. Overall, I view this as a lodestar by which I'll be using to chart for deeper waters.
Profile Image for Meepspeeps.
643 reviews
October 24, 2019
There are several ideas in this book that made me pause and say “hm, I may want to try that.” The author acknowledges that most of what she describes is only available to peeps of privilege. She quotes researchers about the “diabolical illusion” (Daniel Levitin) of multitasking, and the beauty of talking regularly with small groups of friends about life’s big questions. There’s both a challenge and simplicity to the “American Dream” she suggests peeps re-invent. I recommend it to anyone who wants to seriously examine what’s important in their lives and live into those examined priorities.
Profile Image for Andrew Westphal.
66 reviews2 followers
November 24, 2019
Disclosure: I did not finish the book.
I appreciate the subject matter and believe that there is a lot worth saying about this topic, but this structure was not for me. It was very difficult to follow the author’s train of thought as she jumped between citing recent news, research, individual case studies, and personal anecdotes. The text reads more like a bulleted list of examples than a single, coherent volume.
Additionally, I did not like the author’s conversational writing style: reading printed curse words in a nonfiction book doesn’t fit my taste.
Profile Image for Alex.
293 reviews3 followers
July 24, 2017
At the outset, I got a vibe that this was really just a rah rah Millenials! book - and I was sort of right, but not totally. It's definitely worth a read because it makes you think... both about the stories we are told about the American Dream and the possibilities to create a real dream that comports with your values and causes you to lead the most satisfying life... both for yourself and for the benefit of others.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews

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