The Outsourced Self by Arlie Russell Hochschild

64%

13 Critic Reviews

Hochschild has a gentle, nonjudgmental style, but some of her interviews read like long, sad sighs.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the famed author of the bestselling The Second Shift and The Time Bind, a pathbreaking look at the transformation of private life in our for-profit world

The family has long been a haven in a heartless world, the one place immune to market forces and economic calculations, where the personal, the private, and the emotional hold sway. Yet as Arlie Russell Hochschild shows in The Outsourced Self, that is no longer the case: everything that was once part of private life—love, friendship, child rearing—is being transformed into packaged expertise to be sold back to confused, harried Americans.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews and original research, Hochschild follows the incursions of the market into every stage of intimate life. From dating services that train you to be the CEO of your love life to wedding planners who create a couple's "personal narrative"; from nameologists (who help you name your child) to wantologists (who help you name your goals); from commercial surrogate farms in India to hired mourners who will scatter your loved one's ashes in the ocean of your choice—Hochschild reveals a world in which the most intuitive and emotional of human acts have become work for hire.

Sharp and clear-eyed, Hochschild is full of sympathy for overstressed, outsourcing Americans, even as she warns of the market's threat to the personal realm they are striving so hard to preserve.

 

About Arlie Russell Hochschild

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Arlie Russell Hochschild is the author of The Time Bind, The Second Shift, and The Managed Heart. She is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, Her articles have appeared in Harper's, Mother Jones, and Psychology Today, among others. She lives in San Francisco.
 
Published May 8, 2012 by Metropolitan Books. 316 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Business & Economics, Children's Books, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Outsourced Self
All: 13 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Below average
Mar 15 2012

Anecdote-rich, analysis-poor—more a series of snapshots than sociological study.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Judith Shulevitz on May 25 2012

Hochschild has a gentle, nonjudgmental style, but some of her interviews read like long, sad sighs.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Mar 12 2012

The combination of confident writing and a determined and ethical protagonist add up to a winner.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Feb 27 2012

Incisive, provocative, and often downright entertaining...

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Rhetta Akamatsu on Jul 01 2013

...Hochschild gives us plenty of food for thought, in a well-written and researched book that will certainly engage and sometimes surprise the reader.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Charlotte Allen on May 08 2012

All of this has the makings of an amusing, quasi-satirical commentary, in the fashion of Evelyn Waugh and Tom Wolfe, on a society bloated with prosperity and unmoored from traditional religion and traditional cultural expectations that used to require people, for example, to name their children after relatives or historical and literary figures.

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by Charlotte Allen on May 08 2012

All of this has the makings of an amusing, quasi-satirical commentary, in the fashion of Evelyn Waugh and Tom Wolfe

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Cleveland.com

Below average
Reviewed by Nancy Connors on May 12 2012

...it doesn't provide a measurable sense of how pervasive personal outsourcing is or who among us does it.

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Book Forum

Below average
Reviewed by Siva Vaidhyanathan on Jun 01 2012

And unfortunately, Hochschild offers little of the gravitas that has made The Theory of the Leisure Class essential reading for more than a century.

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Winnipeg Free Press

Excellent
Reviewed by Bev Greenberg on Jul 14 2012

Definitely a chilling thought, and one that warrants further consideration, thanks to Hochschild's keen, unblinking eye.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Below average
Reviewed by Andi Schecter on Jun 01 2012

It felt like watching some mediocre cop show from the 70s where one cop is always the bad cop.

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Frogen Yozurt

Good
May 26 2012

Sharp and clear-eyed, Hochschild is full of sympathy for overstressed, outsourcing Americans, even as she warns of the market’s threat to the personal realm they are striving so hard to preserve.

Read Full Review of The Outsourced Self

Shiny Book Review

Good
Reviewed by Barb on May 12 2012

Best of all, this is a book that reads well and almost too easily, so the ideas Hochschild deals with creep up slowly, then explode with great power.

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Reader Rating for The Outsourced Self
72%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 45 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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