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Drop the Ball Achieving More by Doing Less by activist Tiffany Dufu had me very enthused and motivated at the beginning as it seemed to be well on its way to delivering on the promise of its book description But one by one misgivings started to crop up grow and multiply so that by the end of the book I was unsettled by Dufu's most basic assumptions and motivationsTo begin with while this book appears to hold up Dufu's marriage as a bastion of ideal communication and harmony I began getting flummoxed and finally became fairly exasperated at how bad she really was at communicating at least to begin with She held in her frustrations and annoyances with her husband Kojo to the point of physical stress even occasionally flinging out passive aggressive barbs if not outright verbal attacks She did eventually find a way to talk to Kojo but only after she had hemmed hawed and obsessed about developing just the right phrasing and presentation with which to express herself emphasizing the correct way of wording what she wants to say rather than improving her genuine assertiveness That's because she did not see communication as a valuable end unto itself but rather the means to a goal – expressing her feelings was actually pitching a well rehearsed argument meant to manipulate her husband into taking the actions she had already decided in advance that she wanted him to take She had already unilaterally formulated the solution; his only role was to come to her conclusion while thinking it was his own idea To her credit on the occasions when her husband surprised her by veering from her preset agenda she did listen and seemed genuinely open to what he was saying but the fact that she went in to every marital discussion as if it were a tactical military operation just really rubbed me the wrong way And while I get that because it helps me achieve my goals might work from a reverse psychology point of view it doesn't help advance the germane point – that a husband doing his fair share in the physical labor of a marriage is simply fair and if he doesn't he's kind of a jerk Similarly Dufu sure makes it sound like you should drop the ball on anything that you don't feel is the highest and best use of your time and simply expect your husband to do it Well I doubt he really feels like scrubbing the toilet is the highest and best use of his time either but if you can't afford a housekeeper then someone's got to do those kinds of jobs eventually Dufu gives women a pass to just declare we're not doing the chores we deem beneath us and expect and reuire our husband to pick them up without advocating any negotiation and compromise for sharing of the crappy work She seems to operate in this strange middle ground between clinging to a very antiuated patriarchal model of he's the boss marriage and wanting something better for her own relationship But rather than assuming her husband would also want a fairer and euitable division of roles she appears to repeatedly underestimate his motivations – for example she assumes that fathers only contribute to childcare to make their wives happy Really? Not because they feel any investment in their children's upbringing and want to be involved for the sheer joy of it?Dufu's entire motivation for dropping the ball and straight into her husband's lap is so that she has time to devote to her career which because she works in the non profit field of education and empowerment of women and girls she seems to place a much higher value on than most of her household and family related activities But she never talks about dropping the ball at work; for instance what do you do when a manager or coworker is taking unfair advantage weaseling you into doing work well outside your job description? What if like most jobs it comes with boring or administrative busywork that keeps the cogs of the valuable work you do greased? Apparently craptastic tasks still have to get done at work where there is nobody to guilt or cajole into taking them off your plate And finally while Tiffany does seem a lovely person and was willing to do some self examination of her record of home life failures she has not been uite so forthright here with her work life where clearly balls that nobody ever picked up have sometimes gotten dropped The White House Project that she was rightfully proud of got shuttered Levo her next project started up under some sketchy and controversial circumstances If Drop The Ball was really about achieving by doing less and not just achieving at work by doing less at home where were the counter examples about how to juggle the work life balance from the work side of the euation? What was sacrificed in the context of her career and what lessons were learned? Unfortunately those uestions were never even addressed let alone answered I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book at no cost courtesy of its publisher Flatiron Books via Goodreads Giveaways My review of this or any other book has not been influenced by its mode of acuisition I really wanted this book to be a life changer much like The Japanese Art of Tidying Up was to me Alas this book was 90% straight up disconnect and 10% tantalizing and thought provoking In some ways I adopted many of the tactics the author recommends from the very start when I had my first child because I had no desire to be the perfect mother I just wanted to retain some semblance of myself while being a mother This meant dropping a lot of expectations that I didn't fully believe in to start The disconnect showed up in various ways I was astounded that the author who meticulously plans meal preparation for a week didn't plan on how to take pumping breaks at work Five minutes of Googling will provide copious amounts of information on how to do this Even incredulous though was that she actually let the mail pile up for four months and let bills go to collections because she delegated with joy to her husband and was not going to undermine her own decision Of all of the hills to die on this one affects your credit rating I'm still dumbfounded by it The tantalizing portions were few and far between but usually consisted of holding up a mirror to our society and reflecting back how it portrays mothers and fathers and neatly sorts them into gender roles Things I wish she had added practical tips on how to delegate I would pay real money for someone to explain to me how to delegate with joy the full on management of the household not just individual chores so that reminders and prompts are no longer reuired I know she had MEL the spreadsheet extraordinaire but what happens when in the division of labor the husband takes the male gendered tasks anyway? How do you navigate the division of labor when one spouse significantly out earns the other? These would have been a lot helpful than hearing about her work in the glittery non profit world of New York and all of the famous people she gets to meet This was an eye opener about some of my own habits in my marriage and I'm glad I read this At heart it's a book about how women wanting it all put unnecessary stress on themselves and others to do so because that's what they've been shown needs to be done Men on the other hand have been shown that they don't need to pick up the pieces or the slack Social conditioning So when a woman finally says that some of the things that don't take her to her highest and best self remembering to pick up the dry cleaning and tightening screws in the closet she can delegate those tasks and accept the fact that her partner will do them they want he knows how to best do them That doesn't mean they make best use of his highest and best self but it does in the sense it gives him ownership of household maintenance too The takeaway for me on this one was accepting that the way my husband does things I ask of him is okay I don't need to micromanage since it's not done the way I would do it It got done; that's good enough By praising the work getting done that positive reinforcement ensures happens in the future By not micromanaging I'm not nagging and I'm also accepting the fact that my husband might be teaching me something about a task or himself The breaking down of gender stuff was interesting; I'd be really fascinated to see this looked at from a same sex couple perspective too I suspect tactics and suggestions are the same but the science and research behind it would be interesting I'll let the dishes sit in the sink now and instead read another book I picked up this book because a colleague of mine said most career books for women didn't have useful information for her as a person of color So I went actively looking for a book by an author of color that had high ratings and sadly it took some doing to find one However I'm not sure that this book will meet my colleague's need as it ended up primarily about giving up on being a perfectionist homemakermother and learning to focus on what's most important with your limited time for career marriage motherhood and home With that said I do think you can take some of the principles of the book and apply them to work Especially as stereotypically women can be assignedvolunteer for so many projects that are not seen as career advancing but that benefit the company See As someone who does juggle two teenage boyshome with a full time career and long commute this book made me even grateful for my husband and also made me recognize so many traps that I had fallen into in the past For example thinking that you're the only one who can be the key contact for all things to do with the kids We've now happily divided up our areas when it comes to the boys And my husband is also currently the owner of our social calendar for our family and we've 'trained' our friends to contact him with dinner and trip invites In previous years and a different role that my was in my areaSome of the things I ended up talking about with my husband The differences in how men and women think Men are described as having brains that are full of boxes For example one box for the car one box for work one box for kids The male brain's unofficial rule is that none of the boxes ever touch Women have brains full of connected wires The topics intertwine so it's really hard for a woman to switch off from all the things that need to be done and often a conversation will veer uickly from one topic to another While I'm not at all convinced at this being very scientific it was funny how true both of us found this Expressing gratitude What Dufu thought was meaningful was very different from what her husband liked Finally Dufu has established four practices that allow her to flourish1 Going to exercise builds your stamina2 Going to lunch can also be coffee breakfast etc; builds your network with sponsors sage mentors peer mentors promoters and mentees3 Going to events building your visibility this also includes volunteering to make presentations and serve on panels4 Going to sleep she did an eight hoursnight for eight weeks experiment and was astounded at the differenceIt's a chatty share my experience kind of book but also a uick read I laughed out loud at some of Dufu's misguided attempts to get her husband to do and her astonishment to learn about all the other tasks he did and she took for granted Worth reading if you feel like you are taking on too much at home and want to figure out how to change things up A bold and inspiring memoir and manifesto from a renowned voice in the women's leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive the ability to let go Once the poster girl for doing it all after she had her first child Tiffany Dufu struggled to accomplish everything she thought she needed to in order to succeed Like so many driven and talented women who have been brought up to believe that to have it all they must do it all Dufu began to feel that achieving her career and personal goals was an impossibility Eventually she discovered the solution letting go In Drop the Ball Dufu recounts how she learned to reevaluate expectations shrink her to do list and meaningfully engage the assistance of others freeing the space she needed to flourish at work and to develop deeper meaningful relationships at homeEven though women are half the workforce they still represent only eighteen per cent of the highest level leaders The reasons are obvious just as women reach middle management they are also starting families Mounting responsibilities at work and home leave them with no bandwidth to do what will most lead to their success Offering new perspective on why the women's leadership movement has stalled and packed with actionable advice Tiffany Dufu's Drop the Ball urges women to embrace imperfection to expect less of themselves and from others only then can they focus on what they truly care about devote the necessary energy to achieving their real goals and create the type of rich rewarding life we all desire I received this ARC through a Goodreads giveawayI think this is a book that will help a lot of people I realize that there is nothing wrong with asking for help or delegating I never really entertained the idea that allowing or asking other to do things for me will help me succeed Yes I know that sounds so obvious but just like the author in the past I am always afraid that if I other people won't do it right or I feel guilty for not doing something myselfThere is so much potential in have a true domestic partnership I would recommended this to anyone who wants to learn how they can have it all without doing it all Drop the Ball is a how to guide on 'having it all' based on Tiffany Dufu's experience with her husband I found myself as a modernyoungish woman nodding along with so many of her perspectives and experiences She explores how despite how far we have come as a gender many of the household responsibilities still fall to women Even if men help out their contribution statistically is not 50% and this is not always their fault; sometimes women take on than they need to andor don't ask for help The applications of this book are really just towards working women in a committed relationship with a man she acknowledges that the dynamics are different in same sex couples where both partners work outside the home One of the biggest issues facing the couple is the ingrained sexism we inherit from watching our parents' generation and media which harms both men and womenShe suggests that not everything must be done perfectly as this is sometimes why women would rather do the tasks themselves that we should trust our partners to do housework and do it well and that we can drop the ball by giving up some of these responsibilities to our partners or sometimes to noone if it doesn't help with your andor your partner's missions in life She uses many anecdotes from her own life and those of people she knows to explain these situations and show how they might be aided by a different approachI am not usually a lover of self help books but this was really incredible It flows so beautifully and with such clarityrelatableness that I felt like it could have come from my own life experiences Although this book may not resonate with everyone's situations I found it to be really poignant and highly applicable to my own life I see a lot of myself in the situations Dufu describes and I have been trying to get better about this especially regarding standards of perfection at home it really made me feel less alone with my own struggles and offers up some great strategies for how to allow yourself to let things go as well as how to approach your partner for help if this is an issue For me I found the passages about letting perfection go most critical Dufu tells us to ask for our massive to do lists and see what actually needs to be done what can be done in an easier way and what can be done by someone else If we prioritize based on our and our family's goals there are many things we think we need to do that we really do not I am not saying this as well as she does but it's a really fantastic book and I would highly suggest this for women who are struggling to 'have it all' and who have a male partner as this is where most of the advice would be applicable; less so for single parents or same sex couples There are a few examples of these other situations but by and large this book is for a fairly specific demographic but for people in this situation I think it would be incredibly usefulPlease note that I received this book through a goodreads giveaway All opinions are my own Thank you Call Your Girlfriend for getting this book into my life A lot of this book centers around helping working moms find balance between home and work and I wish this book had existed for me to read before coming back from maternity leave I was already recommending this book to people before I'd even finished itI related to a lot of the challenges she describes and I liked that her answers went deeper than just hire a housekeeper providing exercises to identify what's really meaningful to you and how to align your day to day activities with your values I found some of those exercises very enlightening and would have even before having a kid I also appreciated hearing the perspective of a high achieving woman of color on work life balance and the personal stories the author shared of the extra pressures that come into play for people from underrepresented backgrounds I also appreciated that she talked about her attempts to achieve balance throughout her career including when she was building her career and didn't have as many financial resources Too many books on achieving balance assume a reader of privilege and this book made fewer assumptions along those lines with the exception of one big one having a partner although she does make some recommendations on how to achieve the same support system through shared living arrangements etc I guess I either didn't read the reviews well or took the title at face value what I didn't want was a woman telling me her story and her thoughtsfeelingsdiscovery about the concept of having it all that women fall down the rabbit hole over I didn't get far enough into it before I started skimming and therefore did not actually finish this book whose voice not literally I didn't listen to an audio drove me insane and I was already rolling my eyes after several pages It is a concept to be aware of the very nature that women must be all and do all and when they're not doing it they're still thinking about it But I couldn't connect and found it irritating If there were practical applications aside from her personal manifesto akin to steps actions and organization I would have been happier I wanted science and recommendations not a memoir 35 starsOne of the things that's hardest about the twin problems for women of worklife balance and domestic division of labor is actually figuring out how to fix it We know the problems but finding workable solutions can feel like just another thing that overwhelms you when you're already overwhelmed DROP THE BALL's greatest strength is that it understands this and lays out a roadmap with actionable steps and specific examples Dufu is smart funny and personable Reading the book makes you want to be her friend Highly recommended particularly for women with young children or women who are planning to have kids soonNow time for the nitpicking Because I have some nits to pick I always do with this kind of self help book This book should really say up front that it is for a limited audience specifically 1 women 2 who work 3 are happily married to a man who also works 4 and have career goals in leadership or even the C Suite It also assumes that you are reasonably well off and able bodied If you are most of these things you should find a lot of useful information here But if you're a single woman like me there's a lot less There's one other very significant caveat the happily in happily married I added just above is for a reason This book assumes that you have a husband who really does view you as an eual partner and who really does support your career and who really does want to help out This is a pretty significant assumption There are a lot of women who have straight up asked for the things Dufu spends the first portion of the book not asking for and not received them The assumption that you can drop a ball and your husband will pick it up is one that will leave a lot of women with a permanently dropped ball There is a lot of good advice here I like what Dufu has to say about delegating with joy and avoiding the problem of uninvolved fathers especially with infants But I admit I felt irked a lot because so much of the work here still falls on women To be fair this is a book FOR women who want this specific advice It really isn't the book's fault I just wonder where are all the books for men making it clear to them that they aren't pulling their weight and giving them action itemsThe final limitation I noticed was in a note I made on one page where Dufu talked about her support system or village to assist with tasks I wrote This is an extrovert's village And it is Dufu knows a lot of people she has a strong support system and she's clearly a people person If you are in a new place if you work from home if you are an introvert it's going to be hard to replicate the many categories of contacts Dufu recommendsI was partnered in my early parentingworking years and I did give a lot of things up in my career and I did have massive issues in my marriage about division of labor so a lot of what Dufu says rang very true to me I don't know that her solutions would have worked but I think they could have been helpful for me if I'd read this earlier in life And if I ever consider partnering with someone and considering division of household labor again I will definitely be picking up this book once again And giving it to my partner too Drop the Ball

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