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Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives

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320 pages5 hours

Summary

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.

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