MAKING GOOD: Conversations with Successful Men by Jane Adams

MAKING GOOD: Conversations with Successful Men

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The mate to Adams' study of successful women (Women on Top, 1979), and noteworthy for a single finding only: that despite the social upheavals of the Sixties and Seventies, successful men (unlike successful women) still pursue professional goals relentlessly, even at the total sacrifice of personal life. Nor do the men see it as a sacrifice: a ""trade-off,"" they matter-of-factly term it. Two patterns are typical, depending on the sort of women the men marry. If she is the traditional corporate wife who quietly raises the children alone, she is seen as his greatest support in his quest for success. If there is tension and friction, divorce occurs after a dozen or more years; and it is only when the man reaches a career pinnacle that he feels free to start another family or to begin establishing bonds with nearly-grown children. Adams' conclusions are based on 50 interviews, mostly in New York and Seattle; and she quotes--rather ineffectually--from 16. We are not quite persuaded by her assurance that ABC-TV president Jim Duffy was in pain when he spoke coldly about family problems; or that Michael Korda was too intensely private to offer more than soapbox platitudes about success in America. Some time is also spent peering down various byways--the difference between corporate managers and entrepreneurs (a desire--surprise--for independence), the greater incidence of marital infidelity at the top (more time and opportunity), the diverse motives for success (men with impoverished childhoods crave money, etc.). Shallow as a social study, but the thesis does give some pause.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow