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The Ambition Decisions

What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life
Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"These are the 'know your value' conversations that we need to have. These women - their challenges, choices, and successes - are all of us." - Mika Brzezinski 

Over the last 60 years, women's lives have transformed radically from generation to generation. Without a template to follow - a way to peek into the future to catch a glimpse of what leaving this job or marrying that person might mean to us decades from now - women make important decisions blindly, groping for a way forward, winging it, and hoping it all works out.

As they faced unexpectedly fraught decisions about their own lives, journalists Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace found themselves wondering about the women they'd graduated alongside. What happened to these women who seemed set to reap the rewards of second-wave feminism, on the brink of taking over the world? Where did their ambition lead them?

So they tracked down their classmates and, over several hundred hours of interviews, gathered and mapped data about real women's lives that has been missing from our conversations about women and the workplace. Whether you're deciding if you should pass up a promotion in favor of more flex time, planning when to get pregnant, or wondering what the ramifications are of being the only person in your house who ever unloads the dishwasher, The Ambition Decisions is a guide to the changes that may seem arbitrary but are life defining, by women who've been there.

Organized by theme, each chapter draws on real women's stories of facing down crisis, transition, and decision-making to illustrate broader trends Schank and Wallace observed. Each chapter wraps up with a useful list of questions to consider and tips to integrate that will guide women of all ages along the way to finding purpose and passion in work and life.

©2018 Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“The goal of The Ambition Decisions is to ‘fill in [the] missing knowledge’ for women trying to navigate work and life options, in part because the choices for women ‘often look radically different from the way those very same decisions played out only a generation earlier.’...If anyone is feeling adrift in midlife, this may be the most useful advice.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Those looking for some solidarity reading or ideas about how other professional women mesh work, family and the decisions related to them can find it here.” (Washington Post)

“There's not much historical precedent for the continual societal change around women and work. So journalists Schank and Wallace interviewed their former classmates to find out how a generation of women are grappling with questions of ambition, work, and balance.” (Elle)

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Great content, terrible voiceover

Loved everything about the anecdotes and research presented in this book and found it to be amazing catharsis. I think I would have enjoyed the print edition better because the Audible version is ruined by the narrator’s insistence at giving many of the women quoted extremely exaggerated vocal qualities, whether with regional accents, soft or loud speaking, etc. I found it incredibly distracting, often taking away my ability to relate to the comments or listen to the book for as long as I normally do out of sheer frustration.