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Imperfect Control: Our Lifelong Struggles With Power And Surrender Hardcover – Import, 5 January 1998
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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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- Publisher : Simon & Schuster (5 January 1998)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0684801396
- ISBN-13 : 978-0684801391
- Item Weight : 703 g
- Dimensions : 16.51 x 3.18 x 24.77 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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The dance between control and surrender is very difficult for most people and comes up in couples, the workplace and other areas of life. This is the main topic of the book and describes why this is so and how to work with it toward achieving peace of mind. Much of this work has to do with reframing the human condition and daily struggles we all face in a more realistic fashion. It's about finding the balance point between control and surrender moment-to-moment.
Some of the areas of particular interest to me were the chapters on taking possession of ourselves, who controls the couple, the power of sex, permanent parenthood and in control of death. This is all practical and serious stuff and often areas where people confront considerable pain. While this book or any book doesn't provide all of the answers on these difficult life questions in terms of surrender and control, it will give you powerful insights and more flexibility for dealing with them.
There are many valuable sections, but the one on being a parent of adult children especially resonated with me. (I am horrified to hear the words -- unasked for -- of advice that seem to escape my mouth.) She approaches this section with her usual wry humor, and stories of her own stuggles with letting go of attempts to control her adult sons.
Whether a parent or not, there is much in this book to assist a reader in making peace with their lives, and hopefully making some better decisions about what we CAN control, while letting go of what we can't.
The chapter on death is worth the price of the book; I expect I will be re-reading it now and then. (It propelled me to update my Power of Attorney for medical decisions, since some laws have changed since last done.)
I'd love to read an update of this book that addresses how social media has impacted our efforts at control.