The Bookshelf – Elsewhere, U.S.A. by Dalton Conley

Have you ever wondered what the elite coaches read each month?

My friend, Dr. Paul Schempp, at the Sport Instruction Research Laboratory at the University of Georgia, recently polled the top expert coaches in their sport and asked them to send in the most influential reads in their lives. This list is amazing and with each blog I will personally share with you a book from the shelf of the great coaches and teachers of all time.

Elsewhere, U.S.A.:  How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety
by Dalton Conley.

Copyright 2008, published by Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, New York, NY. Review
Book Description
Over the past three decades, our daily lives have changed slowly but dramatically. Boundaries between leisure and work, public space and private space, and home and office have blurred and become permeable. How many of us now work from home, our wireless economy allowing and encouraging us to work 24/7? How many of us talk to our children while scrolling through e-mails on our BlackBerrys? How many of us feel overextended, as we are challenged to play multiple roles–worker, boss, parent, spouse, friend, and client–all in the same instant?

Dalton Conley, social scientist and writer provides us with an X-ray view of our new social reality. In Elsewhere, U.S.A., Conley connects our daily experience with occasionally overlooked sociological changes: women’s increasing participation in the labor force; rising economic inequality generating anxiety among successful professionals; the individualism of the modern era–the belief in self-actualization and expression–being replaced by the need to play different roles in the various realms of one’s existence. In this groundbreaking book, Conley offers an essential understanding of how the technological, social, and economic changes that have reshaped our world are also reshaping our individual lives.

Amazon Exclusive Essay: Dalton Conley Writes in from His BlackBerry (Typos Intact)
I am writing this on my BlackBerry as I sit on the sidelines of my daughter’s soccer game. My wife, her mother, is off in Indiana on business. And this pretty much captures life in Elsewhere USA, where professional couples with children feel the pressures of work 24/7 and solve their multiple commitment conflicts by doing all at once with partial attention. We are afraid to stop working (ir perhaps can’t) since, though in objectivew terms we may be doing better, rising ineqiality makes us feel as if we are falling behind…

it struck me that as of 2007, when I set out om this project, noone had yet written a book that captured tye subtle but unmistakablw ways that everyday life has changed fir this class of americans–or, for that matter, the socioeconomic roots of such changes, above and betond the obvious technological advances that have besieiged us over the last two decades…

(Coach scolds me for coaching my daughter from the sidelines…)

There had once been an esteemed tradition among sociologists to try to crystallize a historical moment, in order 2 reflect it back 2 those living it in the hope that one has put words to somethibg that was felt by many but unarticulated. The 1950s were filled wuth such classics like, THE ORGANIZATION MAN; WHITE COLLAR; THE LONELY CROWD; and THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY, to name a dfew.

So I decided to try to swing for the fences, so to speak, and put into words what I–as a sociologist and victim of the elsewhere ethic–saw happening around me. The economic red shift (anxiety caused by rising inequality at the top), the price culture (the spread of markets into every nook and cranny of daily life), convestment (investment + consumption), weisure (work + leisure), the portable workshop (what I am writing this on), intravidualism (an ethic of fragmented selves replacing the modern ethic of individualism), and, of course, the Elsewhere Society (the interpenetration of spheres of life that were once bounded fropm each other). All these terms were attempts 2 describe the gradual–yet fundamental–ways that life has changed beneath our feet since those days of those 1950s classics. The organization man is gone, replaced by the elsewhere dad, the blackberry mom and various other figures in our new social landscape. Or so I claim… It’s up to u 2 tell me if I’ve struck out or connected…

(Goal for the Ravens!!!! Go E!)

(Photo credit Lisa Ackerman)