When it rains, it pours…
I’m quoted in today’s New York Times as a self-help expert in a creative spin on Goldman Sachs and their soul-searching new business mission statement. The report, Jesse Eisinger, wanted to title the piece “Eat, Pray, Trade” a la Elizabeth Gilbert, but I guess the Times copydesk thought that was too edgy for the business section.
Wondering about thrift and young-adults? Read my latest musings on BigQuestionsOnline.com. (Teaser: I argue that young-adults are pretty good about money, we just haven’t given them the necessary tools to succeed.)
And last, but certainly not least, the website for my forthcoming book, Generation WTF: From What the #$%&! to a Wise, Tenacious, and Fearless You is up and running as of this afternoon. Check out http://www.generationwtf.com to learn about the book, which (to make today a really, REALLY big day) is already shipping off of Amazon.com, even though it’s not officially out for another few weeks.
Good stuff all around.
There’s a widening gap between the haves and have-nots in America–and this time the fault-line is marriage. Educated young-adults are marrying and thriving in their unions, while those with less education are more likely to cohabit, less likely to ever marry and more likely to divorce if they do wed. The latest data to support this argument comes from the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends project analysis of sixty years of Census data released last week, which finds that college-educated young adults are slightly more likely to marry by age 30 and significantly more likely to marry by age 40.
Read my take on all this good news in a featured Psychology Today blog post here.
But then there’s the bad news: The Pew report notes that those without a college degree are more likely to experience divorce and multiple marriages than those with a college degree, findings which are in keeping with previous research. And this divergence threatens our future. Read my take on the bad news in a second Psychology Today blog post here.
Mothers and daughters of all ages are in increasingly complex relationships, warns gender studies author Susan Shapiro Barash–and we use shopping as a misguided panacea.
That warning nagged in my mind this past weekend as my Mom and I went shopping and had lunch in the restaurant of a big department store, joining scores of mother-daughter pairs enacting the same ritual. It’s the quintessential bonding experience, but just past the shared dressing rooms and Cobb salads are often fraught relationships that will keep therapists in business for decades to come.
In her new book, You’re Grounded Forever… But First, Let’s Go Shopping, Barash offers a new twist on the age-old topic of mothering, arguing that expectations for mother-daughter connections are greater than ever before–and we’re falling short. All too often mothers make excuses for their daughters, fail to set limits and in turn hold their daughters back even if they have the best of intentions. Daughters, meanwhile, learn early to manipulate the situation and sneak in that extra pair of shoes at the end of the shopping trip (or a whole lot worse.)
Barash’s book is full of both approachable research and clear advice for mothers and daughters of every age. If you are a mother of a young daughter, consider it preventative medicine.
Read my full Psychology Today review here. The editors voted my blog review of the book “essential reading” and featured the piece under the parenting section. A similar review will go up later today on Huffington Post, too.
If you missed the piece in SELF Magazine earlier this month, check out my quotes on MSNBC, posted yesterday. Spread the word to one and all: Learn the difference between good and bad self-help. Seek advice from those who present options, not dictates, for achieving the good life. And don’t lose yourself as you seek to improve.
Yesterday I did a fun interview with Dr. Karyl McBride on the Good Enough Rocks Radio show. We chatted about how mothers are terrific role models for this generation of smart, successful men and women–but also put some unnecessary pressure on their daughters to hurry up and marry. Dr. McBride’s focus on mothers and daughters allowed me to tell one of my favorite stories about how my mother took out an ad in her graduate school newspaper asking prospective suitors: “Are you afraid of a PhD in a miniskirt?” For the full story, get your hands on a copy of Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women. Until then, here’s the ad, in case you think I’m making it all up!
Listen to the whole show–cue it up to minute 17–you can download the MP3 here.
Many young adults are struggling with the ethical challenges of the real world not because they aren’t good people, but because they need a refresher course on how to live an honest, successful, and productive life. The motto of my high school was “not for school, but for life we learn.” That’s why I see my Sociology of Everyday Life class as “Life 101.”
Check out my piece on teaching virtue to a skeptical generation on Psychology Today and Big Questions Online. A quote from the piece made the best-quotes ticker on the Psychology Today website Saturday Sept. 11, which was fun. And the piece was picked up by Bowdoin Daily Sun. So far my students seem pretty interested in the course!
I’ve been swamped with the start of the new school year and way too slow in my usual shameless self-promotion, but here are some links of my recent media mentions:
• BizMe, an online magazine geared toward Millennial business women, quoted me in a fun piece on being successful and sexy.
• On August 29, I was a guest on Intersections Match, a monthly show on BlogTalkRadio, to discuss dating myths and realities for high-achieving women. Listen here if you want to tune into the chat.
It’s been nearly a year since three people died and dozens more were injured during a self-help retreat led by the now-infamous James Arthur Ray. At the time, I wrote a piece in The Washington Post and was outspoken about the fact that, although we’d like to write them off as New Age wackos, the folks who stayed in a steamy sweat lodge well past when it was physically safe were just like you and me: Seekers who were smart, educated and interested in pushing themselves to achieve greater things.
This month’s SELF magazine has a terrific piece about the lessons we can all learn from last year’s deaths. Roxanne and I logged in several hours of talk time over the last few months as she crafted the piece, “When Self-Help Harms,” and she did an excellent job. (Yes, I’m quoted extensively, but I don’t rave about all the pieces that quote me, lemme tell ya!)
Check it out here—and, because it’s always more fun to read glossy magazines than words on a screen, buy the September issue in hard copy.
Self-help doesn’t have to be harmful, but too often gurus lead enthusiastic people astray. I hope this piece helps us all remember that if we think something is powerful enough to help us, we’ve got to acknowledge the fact that it also has the power to harm us. There’s some terrific self-help out there—advice that is based in virtuous living and backed by psychological research. My fervent hope is that this article helps all of us make smarter choices about what advice we seek in our journeys of self-improvement.
Once more, the story that gets the most attention in the waning days of summertime focuses on bad news for smart, successful women. Brian Alexander’s piece on income disparities and infidelity has gotten a lot of attention (including a shout-out on CNN, which I caught as I was eating lunch today).
Brian was good enough to quote me as the voice of academic caution. Just to be clear, all you high-earning ladies out there need not panic. Two quick points…
1) The study focused on 18- to 28-year-olds who were married or living together and who had been in the same relationship for at least a year, he reports. The under 30 set isn’t known to be the most stable in terms of their relationships. And, without knowing the exact breakdown of the data, I’d imagine that at least half (if not more) of these couples weren’t married. As a general rule, couples who live together don’t have the same commitment that married couples do — it’s a trial run, a high-octane version of dating — so you’d expect relationships to be more fluid and cheating to be more common.
2) When couples fight or split up, money isn’t usually the cause of the dispute. It’s something deeper. Perhaps they are drifting apart, perhaps they have different values. Let’s not fall into the trap that men are intimidated by a woman’s salary. Indeed, research shows that men are increasingly valuing a woman’s ability to be a good earner when picking a mate.
The academic findings of this research are probably impeccable. But the vast majority of high-earning, hard-working women need not get their panties in a twist about money and infidelity. Tell your husband you love him and value him. Spend time together as a family. Be open and communicate. And trust him: Even in this study of young’uns who may or may not be married, fewer than 7% of the men cheated.
In the nearly four years since Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women hit the shelves, I — and a handful of other social scientists — have continued to battle bad-news media stories that suggest men are intimidated by smart, successful women. One of the great writers and social commentators leading the pack has been Prof. Carly Rivers, co-author of Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs, which I use in my Sociology of Gender and Sociology of Family classes.
Yesterday, she wrote a terrific piece encouraging smart women to take heart–reminding us, again, that the facts are in our favor. She quotes my research extensively, and that of many of our like-minded colleagues. For all you SWANS® out there, check out Prof. Rivers’s piece (and ignore the unnecessary fear-mongering!)
- Mission: Adulthood ... a new book worth checking out 01/03/2013Looking for a good book to give your parents, boss or mentor to get them to understand that your generation isn't a bunch of slackers, but has some real strengths? Check out Mission: Adulthood, a new book by Hannah Seligson. Here's my blog about it here for more: http://acculturated.com/2013/01/02/through-the-eyes-of-a-twenty-something/ […]
- Reader Q&A 09/05/2012Today a great question came in off the Ask Christine link on this website: “How can you say that your book is not like other self-help books when you keep referring to the work of other writers?” Here’s the quick answer: The exercises in Generation WTF -- as they appear... […]
- Stephen Covey's Legacy for Generation WTF 07/17/2012Yesterday, self-help author and business leader Stephen Covey died at 79. Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and many other bestsellers), Covey will be remembered as an inspirational teacher and leader. Tonight I appeared on WSJ.com LIVE to discuss his legacy. Stephen Covey, a business management... […]
- Why Most Self-Help Sucks (and WTF is different about me) 07/11/2012This morning I received a comment via this website asking for the links to the bonus chapter that I promised in Generation WTF -- about why most self-help books suck, and why this research is different. Our contact software is developed to protect your privacy. I don't require an email... […]
- Generation WTF on a Mission 05/25/2012The Class of 2012 graduated with an unprecedented amount of student debt (more than $20,000 per graduate, $1 trillion nationally) into an economy with the highest level of unemployed/underemployed recent college graduates in over 11 years (53%). From whatever angle you approach it, this is not an easy time to... […]
- Worst Majors for Getting a Job? 04/30/2012On Friday, I attended our Sociology graduation reception at the University of Pittsburgh. I celebrated with some of my favorite students and head about the exciting things they were hoping to do. One was headed to Israel to teach English. Another was headed to law school. Several had ideas about... […]
- How to Schedule Like a Pro 04/26/2012On Tuesday I got back from a wedding and mini vacation with my family. It was wonderful. Then we returned to the chaos of “coming home” and “real life.” Yesterday was a day of laundry and unpacking and feeling stressed about why I wasn’t getting more work done. Today, though... […]
- Who Do You Call? 04/25/2012Ever wonder why your Mom calls so often? According to a fascinating new study, men tend to call the women in their life – throughout their lives – while women, as they age, tend to shift their phone calls away from men and toward their adult daughters. The Los Angeles... […]
- Use Technology. Don't Let It Use You 04/18/2012Generation WTFers say they spend too much time using the Internet (59%), their cell phones or smartphones (58%), and social media sites such as Facebook (48%), according to a new Gallup poll that I blogged about Monday. And those with a college degree or more spend the most time online... […]
- Turn Your Phone Off! 04/18/2012I love my iPhone as much as the next gal. I have it with me all day. It’s the first thing I check in the morning and last thing I check before I go to sleep. But I am a firm believer in putting my phone on silent and tucking... […]