Overwhelmed How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 3/3/2015
  • Publisher: Picador

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"[Schulte's] a detective in a murder mystery: Who killed America's leisure time, and how do we get it back?"—Lev Grossman, Time

When award-winning journalist Brigid Schulte, a harried mother of two, realized she was living a life of all work and no play, she decided to find out why she felt so overwhelmed. This book is the story of what she discovered—and of how her search for answers became a journey toward a life of less stress and more leisure.
Schulte's findings are illuminating, puzzling, and, at times, maddening: Being overwhelmed is even affecting the size of our brains. But she also encounters signs of real progress—evidence that what the ancient Greeks called "the good life" is attainable after all. Schulte talks to companies who are inventing a new kind of workplace; travels to countries where policies support office cultures that don't equate shorter hours with laziness (and where people actually get more done); meets couples who have figured out how to share responsibilities. Enlivened by personal anecdotes, humor, and hope, Overwhelmed is a book about modern life—a revelation of the misguided beliefs and real stresses that have made leisure feel like a thing of the past, and of how we can find time for it in the present.

Author Biography

Brigid Schulte is an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post and The Washington Post Magazine, and was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize. She is also a fellow at the New America Foundation. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and their two children.

Table of Contents


Preface to the 2015 Edition  xi

Part One: Time Confetti
1. The Test of Time  3
2. Leisure Is for Nuns  21
3. Too Busy to Live  41
4. The Incredible Shrinking Brain  56

Part Two: Work
5. The Ideal Worker Is Not Your Mother  71
6. A Tale of Two Pats  97
Bright Spot: Starting Small  117
7. When Work Works  123
Bright Spot: If the Pentagon Can Do It, Why Cant You?  145

Part Three: Love
8. The Stalled Gender Revolution  153
9. The Cult of Intensive Motherhood  172
Bright Spot: Mother Nature  190
10. Dads Want to Have It All, Too  197
Bright Spot: Gritty, Happy Kids  205

Part Four: Play
11. Hygge in Denmark  213
12. Let Us Play  232
Bright Spot: Really Plan a Vacation  249

Part Five: Toward Time Serenity
13. Finding Time  255
Bright Spot: Time Horizons  272
14. Toward Time Serenity  274

Appendix: Do One Thing  279
Notes  287
Acknowledgments  335
Index  341

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