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Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move On Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rufus (Party of One) investigates why in a time when no population anywhere has ever been so free... somehow we all feel stuck, sorting various feelings of paralysis into six major categories: we are stuck in the past, stuck in the present, creatures of habit, addicted to trauma, co-dependent and unwilling to find job fulfillment. Almost immediately, the author becomes hopelessly tangled in an entire nation's neuroses that won't conform to neat classifications that are meant to accommodate afflictions as diverse as shellshock, obesity, procrastination, infidelity and being constantly late. Rufus undermines her own points often, because she provides scant evidence to buttress her frequent lament that things just aren't the way they used to be. It's as if a generation has lost faith in going out to seek their fortunes, she contends, but provides no data to prove that more adult children are living with their parents than in previous generations. The book combines an uneasy mixture of pop psychology and glib analysis. While Rufus's premise is provocative, it remains mired in poor presentation and groundless assertions. (Dec.)
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About the Author

Anneli Rufus is the critically acclaimed author of Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto. A prizewinning journalist and poet, she has written for dozens of publications.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (December 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585426679
  • ASIN: B002ECEW0G
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,957,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Sidra on December 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a 24 year old currently unemployed college graduate (just writing that makes me ashamed), the title 'Stuck' jumped out at me. I'm sure many people will be able to identify with the feeling of being 'stuck', whether it's in a career, relationship or habit. That, along with the interesting visual on the cover, led me to pick up this book yesterday from B&N. I found it filled with many interesting insights, culled from the works of prominent psychologists and social commentators. The author speaks about various aspects of American culture, such as the glorification of victimhood, pathologizing habits, consumer marketing strategies, etc which promote a certain personality, which in turn, causes our 'stuckness'.

The author seems particularly fascinated by herself and anorexia, and many of her anecdotes include one or the other. She says she is stuck in a child's mind, because she lives in the present. I think the author should have offered a more honest example of being stuck. I feel this example is a little facetious and trivializes the other serious examples of 'stuck' given in the book, such as people with drug addictions. I can understand how a person can retain some childlike wonder or playfulness, but saying you are trapped in a child's mind completely seriously is dishonest. After all, childlike thought is marked by the complete absence of abstractions, and obviously this book employs a lot of them. Even though that part annoyed me, I kept on reading because the author has a really engaging writing style and I found myself agreeing with many of her other observations. However, after 300+ pages, I was getting a little impatient and at the end, the author never really did offer any clear solution on how to get 'unstuck' from our stagnant lives.
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Anthony A. Sheffy on January 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Stuck is a book of personal opinions. People who are opinionated are either interesting or a bore. Anneli Rufus's opinions (and I say opinions as actual factual data in this book is scarce) just barely hang on the side of interesting. Most of the time, however, I felt like I was trapped in the corner at a cocktail party by someone who was shooting unfounded, but intelligent sounding, opinions from the hip and would not pause long enough to let me move politely to the onion dip. An example of this cocktail party banter is no more obvious then where Rufus, in a rant against what she perceives as a 1960's Zen haze that has lastingly stuck our generation selfishly in the "present moment", entangles Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk nominated by Martin Luther King for a Nobel Peace Prize. She flippantly calls Mr. Hanh a "mindfulness broker." With apparently little to no understanding of the core of his message, Rufus goes onto state that monks and babies can afford to live stuck in the present moment as they are specially taken care of . She apparently concludes that the teaching of mindfulness has no basis in a real world where adults must remain unstuck and prepare and plan for long term goals. Please breath so that I can move out of the corner and refill my drink.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Julia on December 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sanctimonious is a good word to describe most of the book- but it did have its moments.

I starting out enjoying the book but she went a little overboard with her opinions on "stuckness in the present moment" It made no sense to me whatsoever. She equates being in the present moment with instant gratification and pleasure-seeking. I think she misses the whole point. No matter what you are doing, being it studying for master's degree, planting a garden, practicing the piano, training for a race, performing surgery- all noble pursuits- are we NOT in the present moment? I certainly hope so! What about those of us that enjoy our work? Maybe I would RATHER study than hang out in a bar- I'm STILL in the present moment- I hope- perhaps more so than some of the folks in the bar hoping to get laid in the near future...

She blurts out opinions without thinking things through- without any regard for other perspectives. She needs a serious dose of perspective- it becomes very unbalanced at certain points.

She knows so little about Eastern culture it's embarrassing that she even brings it up. You can be at your most zen - practicing your life's work- perfecting it- exquisitely enjoying it for the present moment... nothing more or less, see it with fresh eyes every day.. while also knowing that you are going to reap even more benefits in the future. She could have opened an entire discussion on how to be in the present moment while working/practicing/achieving mastery.. but she was so out of the present moment that she missed the opportunity entirely.

She also confuses self-esteem with self-entitlement. Funny, I thought that it was those who had low-self worth that were more likely to indulge in the bad habits she spoke of.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dalto34 on August 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I completely agree with the other reviews including PW. When I heard this author on a Baltimore Radio Station (I believe the program was titled 'Prime Time Radio') the topic truly grabbed me. I shared a few of her opinions, so I wanted to learn more. I wanted to see something that would back up what she was saying that, at the time, sounded right. I downloaded the book. Now, I am very sorry that I wasted my hard earned cash on it. (Yes, Ms. Rufus--I did spend actual cash not credit.)

Imagine that someone very well read, and very smart, is very angry at you personally. That is what it is like reading this book. The person screaming at you might be right, you might need to hear it, but you can't. The screamer is not offering a well reasoned argument for change. The screamer just screams.

The author would probably scold me for being "stuck in the present" and having given into "the culture of immediacy" by downloading her book. I would be accused of being lazy for not waiting to read the reviews here on Amazon that would have warned me off of the book. For her, I would have been mired in a technological wasteland. Taking time to write this bad review makes me stuck in the present, unable to shake the sense of injury that I feel from having read her scolding. She may be right about that, but I spent my own cash from a debit card on it, cash that I earned from working too hard for too little pay.

From the first few pages, I could see that this was a bit of a "rant." For me a rant is when someone pretty intelligent is ticked off about something, and offers witty observations linked with serious arguments in the course of blowing off steam. I enjoy creating my own rants every now and then.
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