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According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is “that place in which we realize our humanity.” If that’s true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we're doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”?
Schulte first asked this question in a 2010 feature for The Washington Post Magazine: “How did researchers compile this statistic that said we were rolling in leisure - over four hours a day? Did any of us feel that we actually had downtime? Was there anything useful in their research - anything we could do?”
Overwhelmed is a map of the stresses that have ripped our leisure to shreds, and a look at how to put the pieces back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists, and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers, and inspiration. She investigates progressive offices trying to invent a new kind of workplace; she travels across Europe to get a sense of how other countries accommodate working parents; she finds younger couples who claim to have figured out an ideal division of chores, childcare, and meaningful paid work. Overwhelmed is the story of what she found out.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Debora Aoki on 04-19-15
Depressing, Dreary Listening Experience
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I wish this wasn't so heavily focused in the beginning on complaining about how hard it is to be a working mother. Yes, I know that it's hard to juggle work and family, but as a single working person, it made me feel like, "oh you have it EASY compared to ME." It was a lot of complaining from a upper middle class person that frankly started to annoy me. I didn't get the answers and advice I was hoping to find -- just someone saying "Sh*t's hard. Am I right, gals?" Tell me something I don't know and can learn from... not just more of what I already know.
What do you think your next listen will be?
I listened to the Richard Branson book, "The Virgin Way" and the Gary Vaynerchuck book "Crush It" because it was just so much more useful, entertaining and inspiring.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
I think it was more the content than the narration, but ugh. the whining. the whining...
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Steve on 09-28-15
Does this book get any better?
Any additional comments?
So far I have only been able to listen to 2 hours of this book, and I can't believe it hasn't gotten to the point yet. I thought I was buying a book that would help overwhelmed people work on their problems. All she does is complain then entire time about how busy people are and how inequitably it falls to females vs males. It stresses me out more to listen to her than when I started the book. I keep trying to listen longer because at some point she must have something good to say, right? The thought of listening to her complain more in an unconstructive fashion on my commute each morning leaves me looking for anything else to listen to instead.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful