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What's Happening to Home?: Balancing Work, Life, and Refuge in the Information Age Hardcover – February 1, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jackson, an Associated Press workplace columnist, asserts that Americans have rephrased the maxim "home is where the heart is." According to her, home has been transformed from a haven offering solitude from the world to something akin to a railroad station. She has spent years observing Americans' work habits and lifestyles, noting the career trends that have transformed the country. She creates a map charting the evolution of the changing workplace, positing that only as paid work moved outside the home did family life become more intimate and homes grow private. By the Industrial Age, the home was idealized as a sanctuary. But now we live in an era in which people who have their own communications technology constantly scramble to build new barriers and adjust the degree of access others have to them. Jackson also addresses those who work from home, who, she writes, are stressed because they can't escape work and because home offices create forced intimacy as clients venture into what was once a very private domain. According to Jackson, the result of all of this hustling from home has been a market in which some of the topselling home furniture is designed to bring work into all parts of the house. That's a plus for furniture manufacturers; however, all of this obsessing over work has left many children stranded. Jackson has crafted an insightful book, more a cultural study than a guidebook, that will make readers reexamine how, where and why they work.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Not a book exhorting families to return to another time, this is instead a provocative look at work and family that challenges us to examine our lives and find our own solutions. In the first part, Jackson, a workplace columnist for the Associated Press, shows how work is creeping into the home and asks whether we need a home and what it provides us. From there, she examines what we can do to create a haven. Although Jackson acknowledges that home and work activities will continue to mesh as technology becomes more and more pervasive, she stresses the need for privacy in time and space. She also recognizes that we are unlikely to return to a day when women are the primary housekeepers; instead, she believes that everyone (woman, man, or child) can contribute to the creation of a home. Homes, Jackson says, can coexist with mobility and technology if we "make [them] places of experience, rootedness, learning, and sharing." Highly recommended. Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Sorin Books; First Edition edition (February 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893732401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893732407
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,976,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What's Happening To Home? Balancing Work, Life, And Refuge In The Information Age by veteran journalist Maggie Jackson is an effective, "reader friendly" guide for the twenty-first century, focusing as it does on the invasion of telecommunication, e-mail, and the onward march of information technology to deliver more work to one's home doorstep - as well as the increasing American trend to take just about everything short of the actual office home after the official workday has ended. What's Happening To Home? addresses very real contemporary concerns, concentrating on practical and effective guidelines to balance work and home life for a happier and healthier future. What's Happening To Home? is a fascinating, informative, highly recommended account that speaks to everyone caught up in the manifold pressures of the digital age.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
There's less here than meets the eye. Award-winning work-life journalist Maggie Jackson interviews numerous people about tensions between work and home, but we learn only that people are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and that the trend is likely to continue. It's an entertaining read, but what's missing? Social context, for one: the ideal of a private home life valorized by Jackson is essentially the possession of the post-1850 suburban middle class. Rural and working-class families successfully combine home and work with fewer stumbles over the molehills that her painfully self-aware cell phone-toting interview subjects turn into mountains. What else is missing? Social context again: Jackson's nostalgia for housework (she doesn't so her own, she admits) ignores the history of housework as a means of limiting women's aspirations (well documented in numerous books), as well as research that indicates homemaking is a full-time job that few husbands fully share. The spiritually cherishing "home" for which Jackson's overstressed subjects yearn is most probably a social construct that matched the lived experience of few, if any, Americans. Teasing out the shape of the unattainable domestic ideal may be the most entertaining part of reading the book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I really loved this book! It spoke to me at a deep level but had an ease about it that made it pure pleasure to read.
There is no book like it - it considers a totally fresh subject. The author shines very thoughtful light on the `essence' of home, considering the nuances of what has changed about it and what is vital to keep. She takes us on a journey - her own -- and we discover with her how important it is that we preserve the home - although a redefined version of it -- `as a place of anchor and refuge from the public and from work'. There is a clarity that comes from reading this book and a reassurance from the understanding it offers.
I found myself changing my own behavior in the midst of reading it and feeling a sense of relief somehow. I suspect that my life will remain enriched by what I took away from it.
The book will have wide appeal both by its style and its substance. It is a great book for individuals who are deliberate about the quality of their own lives, for social observers and for people just plain curious about the invisible forces that carry us along.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on October 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Maggie Jackson has written an original and thought-provoking book brimming with insightful observations. In her extensive research she has both hunted down the extremes of combining work and home and acknowledged her own personal, more typical, odyssey. This is a book to pick up when your spouse is complaining about your Blackberry usage at 11 pm on Saturday night, and when your kids make those heart-rending comments about missing you when you're traveling. It helps put our crazy lives into perspective and provides ideas on what we can do to prevent work creep. Jackson seems a natural for this topic, having studied and written about this subject for many years. With a dearth of good books addressing work/family issues, this book is a winner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Mandel on October 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
With the blurring of boundaries between home and the workplace, our lives have become increasingly stressful and disconnected. In an intelligent, refreshing change of pace from the simplistic how-to, Maggie Jackson guides us to re-evaluate the concept of home and come up with our own personal appreciation. In What's Happening to Home? The reader is given an historical overview, witty pop-culture observations along with easy-to-implement suggestions for moving forward as liberated women who enjoy creating a warm, nurturing environment. Instead of getting back to basics, move forward to the basics - with Maggie!
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