Review from Ihor Shpak

It is tremendously insightful and useful, even though it is understandably written from the female angle and perspective. I rather perceive it gender neutral as it may be helpful for everybody trying to maximize their career\family synergy.

The book is properly structured, filled with down-to-earth and hand-on examples and experiences survived through. Aplenty of thoughts are very appealing and remain embedded in the memory.

A few of those which resonated with me most:

 1. I will nudge my oldest up to read The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now.

2. Each time you push your boundaries – face your fear and do it anyway – you learn something more about yourself and it gets easier. Great insight.

3. Staying connected to peers over time builds a strong network. This is a wisdom which I neglected and capitalized on only marginally. The lesson which I will try to convey to my kids.

4. Bringing yourself into the equation enables you to remember that you are important, too. ….Rather than viewing this as selfish, see it taking responsibility for yourself and your career. This so vital understanding landed on me only in my 40s.

5. The Toothbrush Syndrome – exhilarating. And my Gosh, an example with the guests talking while a host is doing dishes is, accidentally or not, so revealing. (No longer since I have read the book I will do that. Yesterday, when my mother-in-law was paying us a visit, I remained chained to the table while before I was up on my feet doing things which seemed more important). Indeed, most of them are not that important in that particular moment.

6. “Good enough” principle is also earthly important (and resonates with Sheryl Sanberg’s “Done is Better Than Perfect” (I read her Lean In as well)

7. In times of distress, “you may want to focus on pruning out people who don’t move you forward”. At first glance, a cruel and heartless recommendation. At the second though, it makes sense. I would not articulate this in loud, but somewhere beneath my consciousness gears have moved, and the telephone list alongside. As you and your colleagues (to whom my heartfelt thanks) say, “make those hard choices”

 8. “She kept extremely focused during the day to maximize productivity” and “she has prioritized how she will expend her energy” – these are notes on the margin of the book but still pretty useful.

9. Another element to bringing yourself into the equation is self care. It’s putting the oxygen mask on first when the plane is going down so you can be fit to help others, too. This is precisely a point of our internal discord in our family when I try to persuade my spouse that her attention to herself which she often forgoes is so important for our family and kids.

10. One of the greatest motivational signals in the book which is keeping me ashamed (for how long I wonder?) these days – “the kids don’t want to see you back as you scurry around the house cleaning up. They want to engage with you about their day and share stories”. We have cut TV at the dinner table a while ago, and it is time to proceed along this path.

11. At home, anything that doesn’t result in direct, engaged interaction with family members or rejuvenates your energy could be considered for outsourcing or at least, shared with others”. Well said but very difficult to implement. Still, should serve as a beacon.

12. You may feel that since you are not generating an income, suddenly your time is not valued and that you can pick up all of the menial tasks. Though it related to sabbatical professionals, it is even more applicable to home stay spouses which my wife is (though she detests to be soccer\helicopter mom and she is not such). I had in my guts and now this message helpfully reinforces my feelings reminding me to monetize (at least in my mind) all her time she pours over family.

 12. Or you might freeze, content to stagnate in your current job because you are worried that challenging the status quo will cost you what you have built to date. Actually, what is happening to me know. As NYT yesterday quoted Joe Biden, If you’re not on your way up, you’re on your way down.

13. A mental health day – on the way to institutionalizing it.

 Overall, those days when I was devouring the book made me stop and start thinking where my family and I are running, whether all of those things are so important and that kids are growing up so quickly that we lose precious time to enjoy as they are now.

-Ihor Shpak