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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (August 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580055230
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580055239
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Alcorn's moving account is pertinent for American women and men who are trying to chase their own version of the American dream, and she offers helpful suggestions and techniques to combat the inevitable stress encountered along the way. An eye-opening, expressive narrative on an often hidden but common problem in American society.”
Kirkus Reviews

“. . . the book is a brave admission that we are not all successfully managing our overbooked lives, and should not feel alone. On the whole, the book provides a powerful reminder that even well-to-do mothers do not thrive in our current system, that having a positive attitude, leaning in, or opting out aren’t viable choices for many women, and that other countries (such as Denmark and Sweden) serve working mothers more effectively.”
Publishers Weekly

“Alcorn tells a gripping story of how the demands of work and parenting sent her over the edge. She brilliantly connects her experience with key changes we must make to end the insanity and make work fit our lives.”
Joan Blades, author of The Motherhood Manifesto and co-founder of MomsRising.org

“This is a deeply important story told by a highly gifted writer. So many working mothers are living in 'emotional debt' these days that this book is bound to strike a chord.”
Arlie Hochschild, author of The Second Shift

“Katrina Alcorn wrote the book that desperately needed to be written. In Maxed Out, Alcorn goes where most memoirs don't, recounting the terror-inducing triple play of work, marriage and motherhood which give rise to extreme depression and anxiety. From her darkest days to her recovery, Alcorn tells an awfully compelling story, giving us insight into a world where most fear to tread, and inspiring us to rethink how we spend one of our most precious resources: our time.”
Robert Wilder, author of Daddy Needs a Drink

“This is important, even essential, food for thought. We have to stop and take stock of our lives. We have to make sure that if it all ended tomorrow, we would feel right about the way we spent our time. That’s the conversation this book wants to start.”
Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place and Lift

"Every once in a while you pick up a book that just grabs you by the scruff of your neck and commands your undivided attention. [Maxed Out] was just that kind of book for me.”
Sarah Welch, BabyCenter.com

“. . . once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. Maxed Out is elegantly written and beautifully structured, with a logical, almost inevitable narrative . . .”
Katherine Lewis, About.com Working Moms

“. . . I could not stop reading even though it had become the deep, dark of night . . . [Alcorn's] story is riveting, and it is one that will resonate with any mother, or woman thinking of becoming a mother, whether she works outside the home or not.”
Maureen Langloss, Project Eve

About the Author

Katrina Alcorn is a writer and an experience design consultant. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and documentary filmmaking from UC Berkeley, and is a regular blogger at WorkingMomsBreak.com and for The Huffington Post.

Since 1999, Alcorn’s day job has been leading design projects with corporations in a variety of industries to help them put technology in the service of people. This work has given her an insider’s glimpse into dozens of companies—from Fortune 500s to small startups—and she has spoken at more than a dozen design conferences internationally. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and three children.

More About the Author

Katrina Alcorn is a writer and an experience design consultant. She holds a master's degree in journalism and documentary filmmaking from UC Berkeley, and is a regular blogger at WorkingMomsBreak.com and for The Huffington Post.

Since 1999, Alcorn's day job has been leading design projects with corporations in a variety of industries to help them put technology in the service of people. This work has given her an insider's glimpse into dozens of companies--from Fortune 500s to small startups--and she has spoken at more than a dozen design conferences internationally.

She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and three children.

Related Media


Customer Reviews

Sure I could work harder and make more money, but is it worth the stress to my family.
Ashley
Katrina Alcorn is a great writer and not only conveys her own experiences with wit, compassion and honesty but does so in a way that is easy to relate to.
Neoma
Alcorn's Book "Maxed Out - American Moms on the Brink is raw, real, and a necessary read for all working women (especially working moms).
JMT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By daviskho on August 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I was waiting for MAXED OUT to arrive, I read LEAN IN by Sheryl Sandberg so I could compare the two - I'd seen Sandberg at the BlogHer '13 conference in Chicago and my curiosity was piqued about her story.

Having now read both, I found Alcorn's book far more relatable and realistic to me. Alcorn sounds like 95% of the women I know: smart, hard working, determined not to let anyone down, neither family NOR employer NOR spouse, at the cost of their collective sanity. Unlike Sandberg, most of us can't afford unlimited daycare and housecleaning help. We're leaning in so hard, we're almost face down. Alcorn weaves in hard data about the lack of support for working families in America with her own work-related descent into despair and the slow climb out, so it reads like great memoir and important nonfiction in the same book.

"Maxed Out" seeks to further the discussion that "Lean In" started but takes it beyond what women themselves need to do better and points at the institutions and practices that could provide systemic solutions to benefit national productivity. Alcorn's story, so calm, measured, yet urgent, is an important perspective in the debate.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By K. Bubb on August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved reading this book. I would guess that most working mothers will want to jump up and give Katrina a big hug after they read this brutally honest account of the realities of "Leaning In". Not only is the book highly readable (almost like good fiction) the format of the book is very compelling. Each chapter starts with an autobiographical anecdote, allowing the reader to get an intimate feel for her very personal struggles, and ends with some not-so-fun facts and statistics that reveal broader truths relating to the general topic of the chapter. She does give a nice "To Do" list at the end of the book, but don't expect to find the secret formula for simultaneously reaching the highest echelons of your chosen fields while performing a reasonable amount of parenting and keeping your sanity (man or woman). I suspect that would have to be a work of fiction...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Welch on September 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Every once in awhile you pick up a book that just grabs you by the scruff of your neck and commands your undivided attention.

Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink was just that kind of book for me.

It arrived on our doorstep at about 5pm on Monday evening. I tossed it on the mail table and immediately got lost in the swirl of the evening's cooking/homework/music practice/eat/cleanup/bath time routines. But around 8:30pm, with the kids safely dreaming of sugarplums, I made a beeline for it (I'm a sucker for a new book). I had every intention of just reading one chapter and then dutifully getting back to my normal work or my "third shift" as I call it. But two paragraphs in - and I was a goner.

I inhaled it in one sitting. It was impossible to put down.

As I lingered over the last few pages, I felt as though I had just swallowed the pink little pill from the movie The Matrix. Katrina's story and thoughtful research effectively lifted the veil for me on what is our fabricated reality -- a reality in which a woman's inability to meet the demands of a career and family are presented as her fault - attributed to her own inadequacies. Reading the book plunges you into the "real world," and, once the shock wears off, you feel compelled to do anything and everything you can to raise awareness of (and try to fix) a broken work culture and the economic policies and social institutions that make being a working mom in this country so darn difficult.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jane Ferriera on August 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
Motherhood is difficult enough, but when work and parenting compete for the mere 24 hours that make a day, maxing out is too often the result. Katrina Alcorn has poignantly described her own journey while speaking universally to all working parents, employers, and policy makers.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. McQueen on September 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A powerful, poignant account of one woman's journey over the cliff of overwork, stress, and exhaustion--and back again. Katrina Alcorn's book is an essential counterpoint to the prevailing cultural norm that urges women to 'do more, be more, have more.' It is beautifully written, often painfully personal, and consistently passionate. She conveys both depths of despair and high hope with keen insight into how her own experience mirrors that of so many other mothers across the country. Five stars. I hope that this book also helps to expand the conversation beyond working parents. Too much continues to be sacrificed in the name of work--relationships, children, community connections, other interests. When we say, "The workplace should change to accommodate mothers," let's add to that and say, "Too many of us are spending too much time/focus/energy at work, to the detriment of so much of the rest of our lives."

It's not just mothers who are maxed out. More than two dozen countries 'paid vacation' enshrined in law--America does not, which means that about 25% of all American workers have no access to paid time off. Even those who have it 'can't take it,' because of (often well-founded) fears of repercussions at work. Americans are avid adherents to the 'cult of busy,' which seems to require us to be over-scheduling both ourselves and our kids, propping up the notion that a life well-lived means a life spent rushing around at top speed, and feeling like nothing we ever do is enough. Unfortunately, structural changes that would be necessary in the United States to change this dynamic--living wage, affordable healthcare that is not linked to employment, substantial paid time off--are far off in the distance.
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