Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. It may be marked, have identifying markings on it, or show other signs of previous use.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times Hardcover – May 8, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$7.99 $0.01

"The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living"
The Daily Stoic offers a daily devotional of Stoic insights and exercises from some of history's greatest minds. Learn more | Kindle book
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Barbara Ehrenreich Reviews The Outsourced Self
Barbara Ehrenreich is the best-selling author of Nickel and Dimed.

It's a rare and brilliant book that helps us see ordinary life in a whole new way. Take the business of children's birthday parties. When my children were little, I'd put on their parties myself--making the cake, setting up the party games, presiding over the subsequent chaos, and cleaning up the mess. Forty years later, my daughter arranges for "professionals" to create and manage her children's parties. The nationwide chain called The Little Gym, for example, runs a 90 minute party for $225, including invitations, paper goods, and leadership by a "qualified birthday leader plus an assistant." Parents watch the whole thing from the sidelines.

As Arlie Russell Hochschild shows, birthday parties are only one way we've "outsourced" our personal lives. We might seek on-line match-making companies to find a mate, paid relationship advisors to navigate the dating process, wedding planners if the process is successful, perhaps a surrogate mother to bear the children, then child-raising experts to advise on parenting issues--not to mention special consultants to arrange care for the older generation. In other words, that vast and impersonal entity--the market--is penetrating our most intimate relationships and managing the great turning points in our lives. Those who can afford to pay them are increasingly dependent on outside "experts," "coaches," and of course "birthday leaders."

Is this the dystopian outcome dreaded by social scientists since the 19th century? Or is it a rational adjustment to a busy and complex world where no one has time to make their own party favors? Hochschild is definitely drawn to the old, self-reliant, ways represented by her own grandparents, but she is a sociologist, not a scold. The Outsourced Self goes on to explore the ways people manage to redraw the lines between public and private and maintain a modicum of autonomy. I won't say Hochschild will "make" you think: She's such a keen observer and delightful writer that she makes it fun to think. --Barbara Ehrenreich

From Booklist

In her best-selling books The Time Bind (1997) and The Second Shift (1989), Hochschild examined how working mothers and two-income families balanced their home lives with the demands of holding down a career. Here she takes a look at personal life in the Internet age, where the trend is to reach for market services to fulfill needs traditionally met by family, friends, and the community. From online dating services to RentAFriend.com, where members pay $24.95 a month to review prospective “friends,” our basic capacity to develop personal relationships is being commoditized and outsourced. Hochschild examines the effect of market forces on marriage, child rearing, counseling, caregiving, and even death, where large, national funeral homes are supplanting traditional, local funeral parlors with a more consumer-based approach. This is a thoughtful exercise in taking stock of the aspects of life that get devalued in a culture that promotes the belief that “the market can do no wrong.” --David Siegfried

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1 edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080508889X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805088892
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Example Ingredients

Example Directions

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a big fan of Arlie Hochschild, since I read The Managed Heart in grad school. She's done ground-breaking research in emotion management, then went on to talk about families and managing time.

This time I was eager to get her book. The writing and organization are superb. My biggest disappointment is that the book turned out to be a very fine piece of journalistic writing. The jacket of the preview copy referred to original research, but I saw only references to occasional articles. Most references were to the popular journals.

I'd have liked to see a more rigorous discussion of the origins of this phenomenon as well as a more precise delineation of the concept. Does outsourcing these "intimate" services resemble paying for organ donation, a controversial area? Or is it just an extension of outsourcing services like restaurant dining and house cleaning? I'd also like to see some research on outsourcing's impact on society and on the "self." The title is catchy but what's outsourced isn't the self but a series of activities, often leaving more time for self-expression and self-discovery.

Hochschild begins by contrasting her own childhood on a farm with her other life as a pampered daughter of a State Department employee overseas; at home on the farm, the family pitched in to do everything. At the embassy everything was outsourced to drivers and house staff.

Throughout the book, Hochschild presents this theme: the old way - when people did things for themselves or turned to their families - versus the contemporary way of paying to get things done. Hochschild investigates several diverse areas of outsourcing, including dating, funerals, surrogate parenting, surrogate parenting, friendship, wedding planning and children's party organizing.
Read more ›
5 Comments 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The author, who used to live on a farm in Turner, Maine, in about the 1930's, then after her dad was transferred to a US embassy in Israel, everything was done for the family, recalled of a time when, for families the pride was in the labor, everybody helping everybody, where little money changed hands, but many gifts were given. Also, more people moved from farms to the cities, with the rise of the working woman and divorce undermining the ability of families to care for themselves, while more services were used by the middle class.

The book goes into how more and more these services were outsourced. Examples, etc covered in the book are....

1. Courtship moved from the community all the way to on-line services like match.com. Similar services were provided for finding college roommates and company work teams. Also, services for love coaches, wedding planners including elopement packages.

2. In vitro fertilizations and surrogate moms, and with college tuitions getting expensive, coeds becoming egg donors for money.

3. Nameologists, baby planners, specialists for safety proofing homes, teaching babies sign language, potty training, driving children around to activities, child birthday planners, etc.

4. Also the author describes "Family360" which provides a parents evaluation which is a starter service to be followed by other paid services depending on evaluation results.

5. Plenty of child-rearing books, etc.

6. The author also writes that the global south part of the planet has borne the brunt of these "neo-liberal" economic policies where free markets have caused these southern nations to lose jobs (workers headed to the US for higher pay service jobs, then send money back to the nations).
Read more ›
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author Arlie Hochschild begins the The Outsourced Self by recalling her childhood on a small farm in New England, when everyone in the extended family and the community pitched in during tough times. I immediately assumed that she would be looking at all this newfangled outsourcing as a bad thing. On the contrary, she treats the whole project as the professional sociologist that she is, and keeps an open mind. The reader, on the other hand, may find some of the examples over the top. I certainly did.

Professional dating coaches seemed extreme to me, but as I read about them, I could see the advantage in having someone who isn't a friend or relative to tell you what you're doing wrong. Sometimes your best friend really won't tell you.

The whole surrogate mother phenomenon is already Twilight Zone territory in my mind, but I had no idea that some people actually hire women in India to carry their offspring to term. This chapter was the most dramatic and memorable in the book.

Of course, some of the jobs have been around for a long time and people have been wrestling with whether it's "cheating." The section on children's birthday party planners made me remember the Dick Van Dyke Show episode in which the parents were almost peer-pressured into renting an amusement park for their eight-year-old's birthday party. They decided to buck the trend and it was a disaster, and then a memorable, if exhausting party for both the children and adults. In real life, as Hochschild tells it, the results are also disastrous, but remembered fondly by the children.

The narrative running through the book is a personal one, in which Hochschild tries to do the right thing for her aunt in New England who can't live alone anymore, but who has no other relatives to turn to.
Read more ›
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews