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Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All Hardcover – February 24, 2009

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Getting to 50/50 is the first book I’ve read that gets it 100% right. As a frantically juggling father and spouse, I learned something valuable and new from every page. The advice is brilliant, the examples cogent and compelling, and the tone wise and humorous. For anyone who wants to enjoy a full career, be a complete parent, and remain a supportive spouse, this is the book that will help you chart the way.”—Roderick Kramer, William R. Kimball Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford University Graduate School of Business

" Once in a rare while, a book comes along and changes the entire nature of the discussion. If Getting to 50/50 doesn't spark a revolution in work/life balance, I don't know what will."—Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of Between Here and April and Hell is Other Parents

Getting to 50/50 solves one of the most important pieces of the work/life puzzle: the relationship between husbands and wives.” —Sylvia Ann Hewlett, President of the Center for Work-Life Policy and author of Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success

“A creative take on how to balance the demands of work and home.  (Fathers may be surprised to find out how much they can benefit from these new arrangements.) Parents with children from 1 to 21 should  rush right out and buy this book.”—Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip A. Cowan, authors of When Parents Become Partners: The Big Life Change for Couples

“As an organizer for social and economic justice, a true believer in equality, a working mom, and a woman leader in a male-dominated sector–the labor movement–I found Getting to 50/50 right on. It is full of great advice about how to negotiate for women and their families.”—Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

“Anyone who wants to combine children and careers should read this book.” —Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook          

Getting to 50/50 builds on what the latest research tells us:  that children can thrive with two working parents and that fathers and mothers play equally important roles.  I wish this book had existed when I was raising young daughters.” —Kathleen McCartney, Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"Yesterday's books were about the war between the sexes. Getting to 50/50 is a peace-treaty—a solution where both sexes win."—Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist

“A tremendously refreshing and insightful read for parents who want to meet their career aspirations and raise balanced, happy children.”—Alexandria Albers, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

“Too many women think they have to give up the career they love to have a happy family.  Getting to 50/50 shows them how to negotiate with bosses and husbands so that everybody wins–including the kids. Highly recommended.”—Linda Babcock, coauthor of Women Don’t Ask and Ask for It

About the Author

Sharon Meers is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs. Joanna Strober is managing director of a private equity firm in Silicon Valley. They live with their families in the Bay Area and speak frequently on work-life balance at universities and professional organizations nationwide.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553806556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553806557
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By on May 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The subtitle of "Getting To 50/50" by Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober is How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All, so just in case you didn't catch it in the title, you know exactly where this book is going. As a working parent I'm also inspired by the stories of how others make it work, and the pedigree of the authors peaked my curiosity -- Meers is a former MD at Goldman Sachs and Strober is an MD at a Silicon Valley private equity firm.

The book is not a how-to for those struggling to make the dual-career + kids formula work , but rather it's an argument for why it's better if you go this route. The comments from working fathers were comforting. The statistics throughout the book were interesting -- I especially was surprised that the percentage of women who work in v. out of the home stays roughly constant across income demographics (I had assumed it would be higher as household income increases). I was hoping for more examples of how people make the juggle work and not just reasons why you should. The book, while comprehensive, seems more appropriate as a baby shower gift to couples struggling with the question of 2 careers v 1 or perhaps for the reading list of a college course. For working parents who have already made the decision to go for it, there is the we-are-not-alone benefit but little by the way of practical tips. I would have loved to see a few day-in-the-life examples of Meers and Strober's juggle.

That said, I was glad that I read it for its comprehensive dive into what can be a very polarizing issue. If you're part of a working couple that is on the fence about staying 2 incomes v 1, I highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Leah A. Dickerman on March 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a really well written book that pulls together a lot of sociological research from trusted sources. Its thesis is an exciting : kids whose mothers work do just as well in school and life as those who stay at home, and kids whose fathers are integrally involved in their lives do much better than those who aren't. Finally, an antidote to working mother guilt. In addition, there's lots of good strategies for negotiating balance between parents and at work. I recommend it to anyone who wants both a productive work life and nuturing home life.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Learning New Ways on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well done book. I am a 40-something female graduate of one of the top-ranked law schools and former partner in a large law firm. Having grown up in a patriarchal family that did not respect women and that did not communicate well with children, and being the first woman in my family to pursue paid employment and take responsibility for myself financially, I have not married or had children in part because of internal conflict and fear about how to do it in a way that did not leave me (a) not working and thus dependent and probably forced into deference or passivity and thus unable to mother effectively and suffering the other costs of being 100% financially bound to a marriage, including impoverished old age, tolerating affairs, watching children being ignored or hurt by fathers and having no way to redress it, etc., or (b) working and in conflict with a man's "ego" and worried over whether children were getting what they needed. Had this book been around or had these issues even been discussed more openly during my young adulthood, I could possibly have had a much more fulfilling life and had a family. I am envious of women coming up now, many of whom will have the role models and confidence themselves to pursue careers and many of whom may be able to find men who are more accustomed to equal status with women and who have good skills for parenting children, including the emotional availability so necessary to empathize with a baby.

The book is very thorough and deals well with many of the psychological, sociological and economic issues presented in designing and living a marriage and parenthood and makes an excellent case for the two-career marriage being workable and preferable. It also provides a number of helpful suggestions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Schwartz on March 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Getting to 50/50" is a remarkably insightful and readable book about the challenges faced by modern American marriages and families. The authors have made a real contribution to the lives of millions of us who've tried to figure out ways to balance work and career in this era of gender equality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chocoholic on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the title of the book I made 2 assumptions. First, the authors realize that many marriages are not 50/50. Second, that this book will help you figure out how to get there.

I was wrong. This book would be great for an already (or almost) 50/50 marriage but gives little details or instruction on how to actually get there if you are not.

Example: breastfeeding. We all realize that is a task only women can perform. The authors tell a story of a situation where the man washed the bottles as his contribution to the task. HOWEVER, I think we all need more suggestions on how to deal with the much more common situation of asking your 'partner' to complete a task, and they either disengage or commit to doing it but in the end do not. Alas, in this area the content is sadly lacking.

Potentially helpful for deciding if you will return to work. Potentially helpful to navigate your first year back on the job. Not helpful as a resource to get to 50/50 within your own marriage.
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