Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives

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Anchor Books, 2005 - Social Science - 297 pages
Despite the huge advances women have made in recent decades, their ambitions are still undermined in subtle ways. Parents, teachers, bosses, and institutions all give less encouragement to women than men, and women still grow up believing that they must defer to men in order be seen as feminine. If their ambition does survive into adulthood, too often those ambitions must be downsized or abandoned to accommodate “wifely” duties of household chores and child care. As a result, women--unlike men–continually have to re-shape their goals and expectations.
Yet expressing ambition, pursuing it, and getting recognition for one's accomplishments is critical to identity and happiness. In this groundbreaking work, Anna Fels draws on extensive research and years of her psychiatriac practice to offer an original and deeply useful examination of ambition in women's lives. In the process, she illuminates just what is necessary for women to articulate--and fulfill--their dreams.

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Necessary dreams: ambition in women's changing lives

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

No "moms-too-can-work" screed, this book by psychiatrist Fels instead considers just how ambitious women really are. Read full review

Review: Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives

User Review  - Kristin Maschka - Goodreads

Necessary Dreams is like lying on the couch with a good therapist, which Fels is. The book is so readable yet touched at the core of the issues women have with ambition and why. Her definition of ... Read full review


What Is Ambition?
Distorted Ambitions
PART Two Recognition and Ambition in Womens Lives
Why Is Recognition So Important for Ambition?
Unequal Rewards
Historical and Contemporary
Parents Mentors Institutions and Peers
Developing Skills
Combining Femininity and Mastery

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About the author (2005)

Anna Fels is a practicing psychiatrist who has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement, The Harvard Business Review, The Nation, Self, and, most recently, the Science Times section of the New York Times. A member of the faculty of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Fels lives with her husband and two children in New York City.

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