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Necessary Dreams by Anna Fels
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Necessary Dreams

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Necessary Dreams by Anna Fels
Paperback $16.95
Feb 08, 2005 | ISBN 9780679758884

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  • Feb 08, 2005 | ISBN 9780679758884

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"Deeply engaging and terrifically readable. . . . Fels . . . digs into an impressive mound of data, from scientific research to movies, identifying prejudice and unconscious bias as she goes." —O, The Oprah Magazine

"Why is that women who can talk about anything find it so hard to talk about ambition? In this insightful study, Fels, a psychiatrist, argues that women fear–correctly–that seeking recognition will expose them to attacks on everything from their sexuality to their sanity" —The New Yorker

"For impassioned research and analysis, Anna Fels’s book ranks with the great feminist classics of the 1970s." –Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickled and Dimed

"Bracing. . . . Fels’s analysis of women’s tortured relationship with ambition is nothing less than a reclamation" —Elle

“A brilliant, clear-eyed, and wonderfully readable discussion of the role of ambition in women’s lives–chock-full of valuable information and insights–a book that is not to be missed.” –Maggie Scarf, author of Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage

“For men, reveling in praise is as natural as breathing, and the confidence that approval produces becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to further triumphs. Women, however, too often stuff their badges away in a drawer and, in doing so, sabotage the support that would spur them to achieve more success. Thus they cheat themselves in yet one more economy: the marketplace of accolades. Fels deserves credit for illuminating this dance of denial.” –BusinessWeek

“Remarkable . . . reframes the struggle for equality in a powerful way.” –Salon

“Fresh and original and has the qualities of a novel. As I read it, I recognized myself and many other women in its pages. This book is not only important but true.” –Jamaica Kincaid, author of My Brother

Necessary Dreams
makes a provocative case for female ambition. It works as a feminist treatise, a study of human motivation and a how-to manual for revamping the too-often demoralizing American workplace.” –Austin American-Statesman

“Certain to trigger debate. . . . Timely, well-researched . . . practical and useful.” –Tucson Citizen

“This thoughtful and thought-provoking book will help talented women everywhere cross the last frontier–the mental barrier that prevents them from admitting their full ambition and embracing their success openly. Perhaps then it will be possible to build the right support systems for work and family, instead of expecting women to shoulder the burdens alone.” –Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School and author of Men and Women of the Corporation

“What distinguishes Fels’s book from other feminist laments is the case it makes for ambition as a basic human impulse. . . . Fels has done her research.” –Washington Post Book World

“How wonderful to discover a book that is so important, so original, and so beautifully composed. . . . Fels’s judgment is measured, but the cumulative effect is devastating. Necessary Dreams is a moving meditation on contemporary women and the obstacles they face.” –Peter D. Kramer, author of Listening to Prozac

“Career women–or anyone raising smart daughters to do big things–will find a lot within [this book’s] pages to think about and discuss.” –Publishers Weekly

“Fels shows that women, like men, have a drive to excel, and that for women, as for men, happiness is connected to achieving recognition for real accomplishments. Her suggestions are therapeutic gold, at once creative and realistic. Accessible, clear, conversational, this could just be the book that lets working women stop feeling guilty.” –Katha Pollitt, author of Antarctic Traveller

“There is more good sense about women’s lives in Anna Fels’s book than in anything I’ve ever read.” –Phyllis Rose, author of Parallel Lives

Table Of Contents


PART ONE: Women and Ambition

1 What Is Ambition?
2 Distorted Ambitions

PART TWO: Recognition and Ambition in Women’s Lives

3 Avoiding Attention
4 Femininity
5 Why Is Recognition So Important for Ambition?
6 Unequal Rewards
7 Pseudo-Recognition: Historical and Contemporary
8 Parents, Mentors, Institutions, and Peers

PART THREE: Women and Mastery

9 Developing Skills
10 Combining Femininity and Mastery

PART FOUR Careers, Marriage, and Family

11 The Current Dilemma
12 Careers
13 Marriage
14 Children and Careers



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