Big Media Day for Christine!

On January 20th, 2011

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.

My review of Stephanie Coontz’s terrific new book — A Strange Stirring — on Betty Friedan and The Feminist Mystique, is up on Huffington Post and as an Essential Read on Psychology Today.

Wondering about thrift and young-adults? Read my latest musings on (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 to learn about the book, which (to make today a really, REALLY big day) is already shipping off of, even though it’s not officially out for another few weeks.

Good stuff all around.

Good News & Bad News on Education & Marriage

On October 15th, 2010

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.

Moms: Act Your Age, Not Her Jean Size

On October 5th, 2010 1 Comment

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.

You're Grounded ForeverThat 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.

MSNBC on the best self-help — and worst!

On September 15th, 2010

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.

How We Choose Love Partners

On September 12th, 2010

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.

Teaching Virtue to a Skeptical Generation

On September 12th, 2010

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!

Recent Media Mentions

On September 12th, 2010

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.

• Author of 168 Hours Laura Vanderkam quoted me on her blog. The discussion about women young, single women out-earning their male peers (go SWANS!) got picked up by AOL News, too. Thanks, Laura!

My review of Gallup’s book, Wellbeing, was picked up by a new website — WholeLifeWellbeing– devoted to living out the advice in the Wellbeing book.

• 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.


On September 12th, 2010

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.

“Guys more likely to cheat on high-earning women” says MSNBC

On August 17th, 2010

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.

Good News for Smart Women Seeking Love

On August 14th, 2010

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!)

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