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Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives


Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this groundbreaking book about how women perceive, are prepared for, and cope with ambition and achievement, psychiatrist Anna Fels examines ambition at the deepest psychological level. Cutting to the core of what ambition can provide—the essential elements of a fulfilling life—Fels describes why, for women but not for men, ambition still remains fraught with often painful conflict. Fels draws on case studies, research, interviews, and autobiographies of accomplished and celebrated women past and present—writers, artists, architects, politicians, actors—to explore the ways in which women are brought up to avoid recognition and visibility in favor of traditional feminine values and why they often choose to nurture and defer to rather than compete with men. She poses invaluable questions: What is the nature of ambition and how important is it in a woman’s life? What are the forces that promote or impede its development? To what extent does ambition go against a woman’s very nature? And she challenges currently held theories about the state of mind and the needs of men.

Incisive and highly readable, Necessary Dreams is a unique exploration of the options and obstacles women face in the pursuit of their goals. It is a book that every woman will want—and need—to read.

About the Author

Anna Fels is a practicing psychiatrist who has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, Self, and, most recently, the Science Times section of the New York Times. A member of the faculty of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Fels lives with her husband and two children in New York City.

Product Details

Fels, Anna
Random House
New York
Sex role
Working mothers
Women in the professions
Women's Studies - General
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
April 2004
9.64x6.46x1.18 in. 1.38 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Womens Psychology
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies

Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives Used Hardcover
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