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How Are Contemporary Notions of Success Impacting the American Family?

Beginning in early childhood, Americans are imbued with the idea that to be successful is to be busy—very, very busy. And it’s no secret that, on an individual level, our national culture of competitive overwork has many of us increasingly overwhelmed.

But how is our American tendency to fetishize productivity and achievement affecting our communities, our family lives, and our roles as caregivers? What messages are we communicating to our children about what it is to live a meaningful life? How is today’s work culture impacting the lives of lower-income families, as well as the more privileged, professional classes?

New America NYC hosted an examination of the ways that contemporary definitions of success are affecting our families and communities.


Anne Marie Slaughter
President & CEO, New America

Andrew Solomon
Author, Far From the Tree

Lisa Yvette Waller, Ph.D.
High School Director, The Dalton School

Melvin White
Lead Counsel, Litigation & Risk Management, Clearspire

Liza Mundy
Director, Breadwinning and Caregiving Program, New America Author, The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners is Transforming Sex, Love and Family