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The New Better Off
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Are we living the good life,and what defines'good,' anyway? Americans today are constructing a completely different framework for success than their parents' generation, using new metrics that TED speaker and On Being columnist Courtney Martin has termed collectively the "New Better Off." The New Better Off puts a name to the American phenomenon of rejecting the traditional dream of a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family structure,illuminating the alternate ways Americans are seeking happiness and success. Including commentary on recent changes in how we view work, customs and community, marriage, rituals, money, living arrangements, and spirituality, The New Better Off uses personal stories and social analysis to explore the trends shaping our country today. Martin covers growing topics such as freelancing, collabourative consumption, communal living, and the breaking down of gender roles. The New Better Off is about the creative choices individuals are making in their vocational and personal lives, but it's also about the movements, formal and informal, that are coalescing around the New Better Off idea,people who are reinventing the social safety net and figuring out how to truly better their own communities.
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Table of Contents

Introduction How Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?: Thinking Differently About Vocation Working Alone, Together: Flexibility and Friendship in a Freelance Era Norma Raes for a New Century: How Labor, Power, and Care are Being Remade The Wisdom of Enough: Making Sound Financial Decisions in a Culture that Overvalues Money Fighting to be Whole: How Men are Falling in Love with Fathering Harnessing the Wind: Directing Attention Where It Matters Most in an Age of Distraction The End of "Mine": How Our Relationship to Ownership is Changing Tearing the White Picket Fence Down: The End of Our Romanticization with Ownership and the Reclamation of Community Re-growing Our Roots: The Power and Complexity of Investing in Your Local Community Ritual Remixed: How We Make Meaning and Mark Moments Amidst the Chaos of Modern Life The Thread of Revelation: How to Create Communities that Make Us Ask the Hard Questions Conclusion

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About the Author

Courtney E. Martin is an author, entrepreneur, and weekly columnist for On Being. She has authored five books, including Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, and Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women, and her work appears frequently in national publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Martin speaks widely at colleges and conferences, including TED, and has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O'Reilly Factor. She is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network and The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy and a recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics. She lives with her family in Temescal Commons, a co-housing community in Oakland. Read more about her work at courtneyemartin.com.

Reviews

"I've been waiting for someone to articulate what the brilliant Courtney Martin has done in The New Better Off. The book poses a question that I believe is critical to our families, our culture, our nation: What does it mean and who gets to determine what a good life, a safe life, a happy life and generous life looks like? And how did we get to this place where to be well-off means to be constantly busy and tired and distracted, disconnected from our families and communities? I hope everyone reads this book and examines what matters most in their lives, and in the life of our society. " --Elizabeth Lesser, author Marrow and Broken Open, and cofounder of Omega Institute "The New Better Off is essential to understanding how to have a better life and a new and better you. Too many of us are sick and tired of the 9-5 grind, of having to fall in line, of seeing success as a purely individual pursuit; Martin shows that there is another way." --Richard Florida, author, Rise of the Creative Class "In times of great disruption we are forced to question everything. Courtney Martin has taken this to heart and challenges us to reassess, rethink and reinvent the very notion of what a 'good life' might be. The New Better Off is an invaluable source of insight and inspiration for those wishing to embark on one of post-consumer society's most important projects." --Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of Change By Design "When a moment and a voice align perfectly, you get a book like The New Better Off. Courtney Martin reimagines success and purpose in ways counterintuitive and wise. This is our future speaking the language of our ancestors. Listen closely." --Eric Liu, founder and CEO, Citizen University "We all know that money can't buy peace, kindness or honesty--in the Age of Trump, what could be more clear? Courtney Martin is a practical and lyrical explorer in showing us how money as the only measure of "better off" has failed us, and what is needed to create a new American Dream for us and the next generation. Never has there been a more timely and livable book." --Gloria Steinem "This book encapsulates a huge idea: That our dreams of individual success are in urgent need of an upgrade. Courtney Martin makes the case with extraordinary eloquence anchored in beautiful personal stories. If you're depressed about the current state of America, she offers a powerful antidote." --Chris Anderson, CEO of TED "Courtney Martin, who's less than half my age, has been a mentor to me for nearly a decade. In 2008, when her second book came out, I called her "one of our most insightful culture critics and finest young writers." With The New Better Off, I'm doubling down on that praise. Telling compelling real-life stories backed by carefully researched facts--all of it couched in her beautifully readable prose--Martin reframes what it means to live a good life in ways that offer her generation and mine much-needed inspiration and practical guidance. " --Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak, A Hidden Wholeness, and Healing the Heart of Democracy "Unabashed, provocative, and deeply soulful, Courtney Martin is the prophet you didn't know you were seeking. In The New Better Off, she offers a blueprint for living that's radically different from the one you grew up with. Whether or not you agree with all its details, its spirit will inspire you to examine your life--and if you don't like what you find there, give you the courage to rebuild." --Susan Cain, co-founder of Quiet Revolution and New York Times bestselling author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking "Courtney and I are on parallel tracks! The New Better Off beautifully articulates a powerful vision of reinvention. My message to low-status American communities has always been: You don't have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one. Measuring success by how far we get from our communities leaves a subtle form of destruction in its wake. With this book, Martin presents the profound, impactful alternatives with spirit and verve. A focus on success, filtered through the metrics of The New Better Off, makes it a little easier for the next generation to see their success in you." -- Majora Carter, Urban Revitalization Strategy Consultant

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