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Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family Hardcover – September 29, 2015
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“An eye-opening call to action from someone who rethought the whole notion of ‘having it all,’ Unfinished Business could change how many of us approach our most important business: living.”—People
“Another clarion call from [Anne-Marie] Slaughter . . . Her case for revaluing and better compensating caregiving is compelling. . . . Slaughter skillfully exposes half-truths in the workplace [and] makes it a point in her book to speak beyond the elite.”—Jill Abramson, The Washington Post
“Slaughter argues that the current punishing route to professional success—or simply to survival—is stalling gender progress. . . . [Her] important contribution is to use her considerable platform to call for cultural change, itself profoundly necessary. The book’s audience, then, shouldn’t just be worried womankind. It should go right into the hands of (still mostly male) decision-makers.”—Los Angeles Times
“Slaughter should be applauded for devising a ‘new vocabulary’ to identify a broad, misclassified social phenomenon. And she is razor-sharp on outlining the cultural shifts necessary to give caregiving its due. . . . By putting these issues on the agenda, Slaughter has already taken an essential first step.”—The Economist
“A meaningful correction to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In . . . For Slaughter, it is organizations—not women—that need to change.”—Slate
“The mother of a manifesto for working women . . . Anecdotes from [Slaughter’s] own life and others are deftly interwoven with research, making Unfinished Business a compelling and lively read.”—Financial Times
“Anne-Marie Slaughter insists that we ask ourselves hard questions. After reading Unfinished Business, I’m confident that you will be left with Anne-Marie’s hope and optimism that we can change our points of view and policies so that both men and women can fully participate in their families and use their full talents on the job.”—Hillary Rodham Clinton
“Anne-Marie Slaughter’s gift for illuminating large issues through everyday human stories is what makes this book so necessary for anyone who wants to be both a leader at work and a fully engaged parent at home.”—Arianna Huffington
“With breathtaking honesty Anne-Marie Slaughter tackles the challenges of often conflicted working mothers and working fathers and shows how we can craft the lives we want for our families. Her book will spark a national conversation about what we need to do to live saner, more satisfying lives.”—Katie Couric
“Unfinished Business is an important read for women and men alike. Slaughter shows us that when people share equally the responsibility of caring for others, they are healthier, economies prosper, and both women and men are freer to lead the lives they want.”—Melinda Gates
“Important. Revolutionary. Unfinished Business insists we recognize a simple truth: Human life requires space for caring for others—during childhood, illness, infirmity, and everything in between. And societies that consider caring as simply a ‘women’s issue’ are fundamentally broken and unhappy. Anne-Marie Slaughter has written the instruction manual for our next cultural transformation.”—Atul Gawande
“Anne-Marie Slaughter has given us a blueprint for the future in which women truly have freedom to choose. They can be leaders at the workplace, and they can be leaders at home, at any point in their lives. Unfinished Business paves the way for women and men to be equal partners in America’s cultural and economic success by accessing 100 percent of our brainpower and creativity.”—Kay Bailey Hutchison
“Unfinished Business sets out a powerful vision not only for gender equality, but for the future of work. Anne-Marie Slaughter presents an important approach to tapping into the talent pool of gifted, educated women who have taken time out for their kids—and we need to pay attention.”—Eric Schmidt
About the Author
Anne-Marie Slaughter is president and CEO of New America. She is the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and the former dean of its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 2009 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Slaughter director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department, the first woman to hold that job. A foreign policy analyst, legal and international relations scholar, and public commentator, Slaughter was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Harvard Law School and is a former president of the American Society of International Law.
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Top Customer Reviews
Slaughter looks at how caring for others is undervalued in our society and how everyone would benefit (career women, working women, stay-at-home mothers, men, and children) if this was corrected. She looks at many ways in which this can be achieved. She looks at other cultures which do place a higher value on care. She looks at how business, government, and individuals can help place more value on care.
By care, Slaughter is referring to more than child care. She also looks at elder care and the many types of charitable giving. She looks at how increasing the value of care is part of expanding the benefits of the feminist movement. There is more to feminism than women doing what men have traditionally done.
She looks at the benefits of not only changing our expectations of women, but our expectations of men. Including what men do in the home. She looks at how men typically parent differently, and why women should accept this as a valid parenting method.
Part of the book, which may be pointless to those of us who are dedicated career women, looks at how “the majority of Americans are mired in a 1950s mindset when it comes to assumptions about when and how we work, what an ideal worker looks like, and when to expect that ideal worker to peak in his career. Men who came up through the old system and succeeded in it simply find it very hard to believe that their businesses could flourish any other way.” Here, she is largely referring to the business career ladder and how motherhood (or other care-giving) tends to derail a career tract rather than just delay it. She looks at how the focus on walking the walk is often more important than actual productivity. Useful insights for those interested in this, but not for everyone. This seems to have turned many people off from the book, but this is only part of what the book is about.
Overall, Slaughter offers well rounded coverage of the topic of how care giving and income earning intersect. It is a deep and insightful look and offers practical information as well as food for thought.
Because Amazon isn’t offering a look inside this book (at least at the time of this review), here’s the contents:
Part 1: Moving Beyond Our Mantras
1 – Half-Truths Women Hold Dear
2 – Half-Truths About Men
3 – Half-Truths in the Workplace
Part 2: Changing Lenses
4 – Cash and Care
5 – Is Managing Money Really Harder then Managing Kids?
6 – The Next Phase of the Women’s Movement
7 – Let It Go
Part 3: Getting to Equal
8 – Change the Way You Talk
9 – Planning Your Career (Even Though It Rarely Works Out as Planned)
10 – The Perfect Workplace
11 – Citizens Who Care
I especially recommend this book to young adults, who have their careers and their care-giving ahead of them.
Amazingly, Unfinished Business adds something new to the discussion. Slaughter's ideas are refreshing and insightful, and I also happen to think she is spot on. Slaughter's strongest point is that there is powerful and ubiquitous discrimination against caregiving in the United States. Fifty years ago, women wanted out of the home. They wanted to have freedom to pursue their own goals, while also having the opportunity to support themselves. And over the past half-century, they've more or less accomplished this goal. Obviously there is still progress to be made, but there is no denying that women are better off than they were several years ago. They are better educated, more independent, and largely more self-supporting. But, as Slaughter says, "In the long quest for gender equality, women first had to gain power and independence by emulating men." They may have proven that they can do "men's work," but, unfortunately, what was once considered "women's work," (i.e., caring for children and the home) is still not valued in our society.
Traditionally, we talk about kids and work/life balance as if these are "woman problems." But Slaughter argues that having the time and flexibility to provide care--whether to our kids, parents, or friends--is a freedom that everyone, man or woman, should have. Moreover, people should be respected and rewarded for engaging with and taking care of their families--for, say, taking paternity leave or adjusting their schedules in order to attend a child's play.
In fact, I love how Slaughter sees the next phase of the women's movement being a men's movement, where men fight for and ultimately achieve the same range of choices that women have when it comes to care-giving vs. breadwinning. Imagine if men could be accepted, truly accepted, as the lead parents at home, without judgment or condescension. How freeing that would be for both women and men alike!
Slaughter ends the book with several in-depth and creative ideas for creating workplace environments that are legitimately family-friendly. There is little here that is concrete or immediately implementable, but I thought she gave some good jumping off points.
Overall, I loved Unfinished Business. I'm so happy to see more high-powered women writing books like this, books that honestly examine the barriers people face when they try to do their jobs well AND still be present with their families. Talking about these issues is the first step to genuinely addressing the problems.
BUT- what I did not expect to get from this book has been something nearly revolutionary to my marriage--- as I was raving about the connection which I felt to the topic- my husband decided to read it. I'm not certain that he read it cover to cover- but whatever he did read appears to have had an incredible impact on him. I have found him to be a more helpful, contributing and involved parent to our 4 children. He has even taken to calling himself the "co-lead parent" (which is a bit of stretch) in planning activities and in arranging his own demanding work schedule to acknowledge the needs of my career. I have now determined that EVERY MAN NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. I know that I will be putting it in the Christmas packages which I send to my brothers this year (and their wives will thank me for it) I had read the Atlantic article which prompted the national discussion which lead to this book- which I believe was directed primarily toward a female audience. The book is definitely for the men!