by Rose Hackman ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 28, 2023
A thought-provoking and incisive book.
A Detroit-based British journalist examines the gender bias and misogyny underlying what she calls “extractive emotional capitalism.”
Early on, Hackman defines emotional labor as “the primordial training that, before anything else, women and girls should edit the expression of their emotions to accommodate and elevate the emotions of others.” Through research and interviews conducted over seven years, the author explores how such "editing" and "elevation" constitute an invisible yet heavily exploitative form of work. She observes that such labor is tied to the enforcement of traditional gender norms intended to keep women (and men) tied to specific roles. This “enforces a system where supposedly altruistic women serve supposedly emotionally helpless men.” Hackman vividly demonstrates that this system encompasses both the domestic and professional spheres, affecting the lives of women across lines of race and socio-economic class. One area in which it most visibly operates is the service industry, in which a largely female workforce is at the mercy of business owners and executives who often fail to pay servers enough to create an agreeable experience for patrons, who may (or may not) offer the remuneration one restaurant employee called “the difference between economic survival and destitution.” Hackman argues that part of the way the system justifies itself is not only by devaluing women’s work, but—and almost paradoxically—suggesting that emotional labor “is so valuable that it is incalculable, making it sacrilegious for it to be paid.” As she critiques the neoliberalism that has given rise to an economic system built on invisible exploitation, Hackman issues a clarion call to rethink the true relationship between empathy and power. “It’s time to bring emotional labor into the light and to plant the seeds for reckoning and transformation, for a new kind of understanding of what it means to live together, in society,” she writes. “Our joint humanity depends on it.”A thought-provoking and incisive book.
Pub Date: March 28, 2023
Page Count: 272
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023
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by Robert Greene ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 1998
If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.
The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.
Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998
Page Count: 430
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998
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More About This Book
BOOK TO SCREEN
by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...
A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.
The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
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