Elsewhere, U.S.A.

  • by Dalton Conley
  • Narrated by Christopher Lane
  • 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Over the past three decades, our daily lives have changed slowly but dramatically. Boundaries between leisure and work, public space and private space, and home and office have blurred and become permeable. How many of us now work from home, our wireless economy allowing and encouraging us to work 24/7? How many of us talk to our children while scrolling through e-mails on our BlackBerrys? How many of us feel overextended, as we are challenged to play multiple roles - worker, boss, parent, spouse, friend, and client - all in the same instant?Dalton Conley, social scientist and writer, provides us with an X-ray view of our new social reality. In Elsewhere, U.S.A., Conley connects our daily experience with occasionally overlooked sociological changes: women's increasing participation in the labor force; rising economic inequality generating anxiety among successful professionals; the individualism of the modern era - the belief in self-actualization and expression - being replaced by the need to play different roles in the various realms of one's existence. In this groundbreaking book, Conley offers an essential understanding of how the technological, social, and economic changes that have reshaped our world are also reshaping our individual lives.

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What the Critics Say

"This brilliant new work makes sense of how changes in the ways people work are affecting the ways families work. Conley writes with the grace of a novelist and the insight of a rigorous scholar." (Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Almost Perfect

This book may have well been special ordered to help my family understand our lives and struggles. Conley and I seem to share more then a few things, born in 1969, degrees in sociology, 2 school age children, and married to high achieving professional women. We also seem to share a love for our work and a wonder about how the line between work and family has blurred (as I sit here Sunday evening with my laptop pecking out book reviews while my girls dance around me). The premise of Elsewhere USA is that highly educated professionals (particularly those of us raising kids or taking care of dependents) are defined by gifts and obligations inherent in the tension between nurturing careers and nurturing our families.

We love our work, but since we deal in concepts, knowledge and persuasion it is not always clear if produce anything solid. Therefore, we are spurned to work more, in order to justify to others our value and to accrue the knowledge and social capital necessary to insure mobility in the knowledge economy. Nights and weekends are spent one eye on the laptop, one-eye on the kids, never quite being totally focussed on either but keeping both going.

Separating work and family is increasingly unrealistic, as both spheres demand time and energy in bursts or at unpredictable times, and neither can be "put aside" to focus on any single demand. Conley's recommendation is to give up worrying about role conflict, and embrace the duality and dynamism of a hybrid work/family life. Once the laptop has been opened it cannot be shut (and really - who would want to as it brings such interesting information and networks). Besides, this is the world our kids will live in as well....and it is through watching how we handle the juggle that they will learn to be flexible and hopefully find work that is their passion (as they will do so much of it in their lives).
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- Joshua Kim "mostly nonfiction listener"

Interesting premise, but unorganized discussion

This book is a very interesting analysis of the current working generation, and how it compares to previous generations, but it feels like a 6+ hour rant as opposed to a well-organized discussion. The discussion washes over you and you certainly get a feel for what the author is talking about, but not much useful information and certainly nothing to incorporate into the real Elsewhere society.
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- Brian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-13-2009
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio