Can today’s nuclear family survive the demands of a two-career household? Journalist Hirshberg knows firsthand and explains how it’s done.
A columnist for entrepreneur-friendly Inc. magazine, the author consulted with more than 200 business professionals and their family members, investigating how the condition of their work-life situation affected domestic stability and what they’ve done to successfully achieve a satisfactory balance. Spliced throughout these stories is the engaging chronicle of her own 25-year “entrepreneurial marriage,” which began with laborious farm work and financial instability in the mid-1980s on her husband Gary’s then-struggling New Hampshire company, Stonyfield Yogurt (now a $370 million-dollar success). Hirshberg ably negotiates sticky subjects like borrowing business seed money from friends and family, angst-prone couples working together at the same company and how to run a home-based business with young children underfoot. She includes a colorful cast of driven entrepreneurs boasting effective reparative techniques, some as simple as turning off the BlackBerry during family time. The author incorporates effective, applicable chapter summaries and fairly balances the many sugarcoated successes with the pitfalls of divorce, destructive egotism, jealousy and unfortunate illness. Hirshberg reiterates that the process is participative as both partners have an equal stake in the future happiness of both their businesses and their family lives, and that compromise and communication are key. This is especially evident in Gary’s introspective concluding essay reflecting on a marriage delicately weighted with equal parts corporate accountability, domestic maintenance and familial bliss-keeping. Easiest to overlook yet perhaps most important is the frequency of vacation breaks—a necessity, he suggests, that should be indulged regardless of cost: “Find economies elsewhere. Take those trips.” An immensely beneficial, contemporary analysis of what makes modern-day working families really work.