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Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them [Paperback]

by Bryan E. Robinson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)


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Book Description

February 1, 2001 081477556X 978-0814775561 1

As Seen on ABC's 20/20

Americans love a hard worker. The man or woman who works 18 hour days and eats his or her meals on the run between appointments is usually viewed with a combination of respect and awe. But for many, this lifestyle leads to family problems, a decline in work productivity, and ultimately to physical and mental collapse.

In Chained to the Desk, best-selling author and widely-respected family therapist Dr. Bryan Robinson has written a groundbreaking book--the first comprehensive portrait of the workaholic. Intended for anyone touched by what Robinson calls "the best-dressed problem of the twentieth century," this innovative volume profiles the myths behind this greatly-misunderstood disorder and the inner psychological battle that work addicts wage against themselves. The book also serves as an inside look into the impact on those who live and work with them--partners, spouses, children, and colleagues--as well as the appropriate techniques for clinicians who treat them.

Portraying the many different kinds of workaholism, Robinson draws on hundreds of case reports from his own original research and years of clinical practice. From California to the Carolinas, men and women tell of their agonizing bouts with workaholism and the devastations left in its wake. Adult children of workaholics describe their childhood pain and the life-long legacies they still carry. The spouses or partners of workaholics reveal the isolation and loneliness of their vacant relationships and the terror of questioning their own sanity. Employers and business colleagues discuss the cost to the company when workaholism dominates the workplace.

Chained to the Desk both counsels and consoles. It provides a step-by-step guide to help readers spot workaholism, understand it, and recover. Robinson presents strategies for workaholics and their loved ones on how to cope, and for people in the workplace on how to distinguish between work efficiency and workaholism.


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Being a workaholic doesn't just mean being a hard worker, says Robinson, a psychotherapist and professor at the University of North Carolina who has been studying people's work habits for years. It means you've got a progressively worsening addiction like any other, in which work becomes the substance you use in an attempt to meet your unconscious psychological needs. Robinson calls workaholism the "best-dressed addiction," because it's often rewarded--at least in the short term--and is seen as a positive attribute by people who don't understand the destruction it can cause. Chained to the Desk provides worksheets to help you recognize whether you or someone close to you is a work addict, case studies that demonstrate workaholic ways of thinking, and treatment methods that involve the entire family. It sheds considerable light on a topic that mental-health professionals often don't recognize--in part because, as Robinson points out, many of them are workaholics themselves. --Ben Kallen, Personal Growth editor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

sychology professor and psychotherapist Bryan E. Robinson (Don't Let Your Mind Stunt Your Growth) trains his practiced eyes on the workplace in Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them. He addresses major issues such as what spouses can do to help a workaholic partner or themselves; technology's enabling role (via Dictaphones, the Internet, cell phones) in work addiction; and the contention that "working dads face as much work-family stress as moms do." In chapters like "Treating Work Addiction as a Family Disease" and "The Childhoods of Workaholics," Robinson begins with a case study and then explores the various beliefs, motivations and fears that propel people to overwork. This useful, well-turned guide will serve therapists and the many people affected by the disease equally well.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081477556X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814775561
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,094,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is a frightening look at workaholism (the addiction to adrenaline) and the different forms in which it manifests itself. Dr. Robinson's words will hit home if you are or know a workaholic. The book includes information on how to recognize the symptoms, the disease's affect on partners, children and co-workers as well as descriptions of workaholic company cultures, and why this disease is encouraged instead of treated. The book gives some help on steps towards managing the disease from the Workaholics Anonymous 12 step program and other programs. Like all other addictions, Dr. Robinson points out that there's no easy fix, especially since the workaholic still has to work. But the disease is as life threatening as any other chemical addiction. There are lists of resources offered including programs, books and tapes. Keep this one nearby when you need the facts.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that can change your life! August 7, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Begrudgingly I began to read this book at my wife's request, not expecting much - what a surprise I was in for. Chapter after chapter led to new revelations about my own work addition and how it impacts others. What the author presents is a way to overcome a sick work ethic and replace it with a new attitude that allows you to make your life rich and rewarding. Whether you are work-motivated by money or personal interests, this book is highly recommended for anyone who can't leave work in the office or believes that work is the most important part of their life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chained to the Desk Review March 28, 2007
Format:Paperback
The moment I got this book I could not put it down. It offered helpful information for a wife of a workaholic. It connected words with the feelings that have been felt, the frustrations and disappoints. It is a must read for anyone who is a workaholic, and who lives with one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Depending on the clinician to whom one talks, between 50 and 85% of Western populations are workaholic, so "Chained to the Desk" should appeal to virtually every English-speaking Westerner. Few of us will, however, read it. This is a great tragedy because, if you suffer from an addiction to work, not only do you probably suffer from many other less "socially admirable" addictions that will undoubtedly be shortening your life and making it less enjoyable than necessary, you are probably also unwittingly spreading this very debilitating and serious disease and, moreover, will unwittingly be creating varying degrees of "hell" for your intimates. I know. I lost my family before I woke up to the family-and-life-threatening concomitants of this disease.

"Chained to the Desk" is extremely comprehensive, well-referenced, well organized, cogently argued, and replete with practical suggestions. Yet it suffers from a major flaw: it describes workaholics as "them" and leaves those of us who do not like to be described as "them" just as much "in the unknowing cold" as before. Nevertheless, if you can identify with Dr. Robinson's "them" without "turning off or away", studying this book will help you either escape or heal from workaholism. As for Dr. Robinson, well, since he was once himself severely addicted to work, he has another book to write for us in which I recommend his publisher insists that he substitute the words "we" and "us" for "they" and "them". Maybe then the Anglosphere will wake up to our gross, grievous, and ongoing failures to use technologies and techniques for the true and lasting benefit of both ourselves and our planet.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opener about Workaholism September 22, 2007
Format:Paperback
"Chained to the Desk" is an excellent book for both the layperson and the clinician on workaholism. It provides an informative and clearly articulated discussion of the symptoms of workaholism, the possible causes, and how to fight it. The book's discussion of the addiction's impact on spouses and partners, children, friends, and work colleagues is particularly instructive. The author also provides a simple test for determining to what degree, if any, the reader suffers from workaholism. I highly recommend this book for the individual who is prone to taking her blackberry on vacation or is otherwise "chained to her desk" and for the those close to her who must suffer the consequences.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Touching October 14, 2008
Format:Paperback
If you only read one book on workaholism, this should be it! It is informative, well-researched, and authentic (with narratives from real people) and includes a list of helpful resources such as Workaholics Anonymous. I found the chapter on the childhoods of workaholics especially touching.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Guidebook December 13, 2011
Format:Hardcover
CHAINED TO THE DESK has has been my inspirational guidebook for years in both my personal life and mental and public health practice. It has helped me remember the importance of balance in our work lives and the impact when that is lost. We throw ourselves into activity and work in the quest to be productive, and in the process however unwittingly put ourselves at risk of losing not only our sense of selves but also those who we love.

The book as such provides a unique contribution to the field of human addictions. Workaholism is under-recognized and appreciated and often misunderstood, adding to personal and interpersonal problems in functioning when not addressed. A must read for those struggling with work balance, their families and friends. Mental health professionals might not only gain special insight into their clients and ways to motivate them and help them heal, but also identify personal issues that interfere with living mindfully and being the most effective provider possible.

The author makes masterful use of case histories of those struggling, their families and children. They provide detailed descriptions of what it means to grow up in a workaholic family with the intergenerational wounds that remain to be healed in order to prevent repetition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If your a workaholic or someone one you love is read this book!
I purchased this book years ago, I've read it and re-read; purchasing additional copies for family and friends so many times I lost count. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Zac Sweeney
5.0 out of 5 stars Living with a Workaholic
I live with a workaholic and this book is so right on that it can be scary. After 13 years of living with someone who is a work addict I can say everything said has been true. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Debbie Browne
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is awesome
This person has definitely encountered a workaholic before and knows how to deal with them accordingly! The conversations used were exactly like the ones I have heard! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Loretta Knoelk
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Informative Book on Workaholism.
Written in a very friendly manner that even the layman could understand, I thought the book was extremely thorough in its exploration of the topic, and even appears to be cited in... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Karen Gray
3.0 out of 5 stars Aimed at practitioners
Be warned: this book seems aimed more at convincing practitioners that "workaholism is a real problem" and is not a book that has steps laid out like "do this and that to break you... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Roger Deloy Pack
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed Insight!
As the wife of a workaholic, this book provided much needed insight into his struggles.
Published on September 27, 2010 by Hartman20
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book if you are seeking to understand work addiction
bought this slightly used but in fabulous condition; you cannot beat amazon's used books which makes for a beautiful deal! Read more
Published on February 14, 2010 by Marie H. Byrd
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book
This is an awesome book that describes the seriousness of the addiction. The biggest obstacle will be getting the workaholic to actually read it.
Published on January 24, 2007 by Pamela J. Karr
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