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Imperfect Control: Our Lifelong Struggles With Power And Surrender


Publisher:Simon & Schuster



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About the book:

Whose life is not impacted, if not defined, by issues of control? Judith Viorst, author of bestselling Necessary Loses and the recipient of various awards for her journalism and psychological writings, cobbles an answer from a variety of sources--the works of biological and social scientists, psychoanalysts, philosophers, personal stories, and her own inimitably fresh point of view. Control--our lack of it, our desire to exercise it, our dread of it--is an omnipresent detail of humanity. Still, we cling to the belief in our freedom to get where we're going: our personal control. And what, in this age of it's in the genes, does control mean, exactly?

Citing adoption studies and twin research, Viorst asks--given all the factors that predispose individuals to certain behaviors--what can we reasonably expect to control? She scrutinizes control as it pertains to sex, marriage, parenthood, and workplace dynamics. In the engaging chapter "The Power of Sex," for example, she argues how control is drastically different for women than for men, debunking some powerful myths about male sexuality. The inquiry builds to that experience over which we possess the least amount of control: death. Viorst entreats us to regard our finitude consciously, particularly in relation to lives "heroically" prolonged in the final throes of terminal illness. She also addresses the issue of physician-assisted suicide, offering moving examples that bear witness to "the comfort of that control." Fascinating, funny, and insightful, Imperfect Control invites readers to seek the balance between power and surrender.

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