Drop the Ball Book Summary - Drop the Ball Book explained in key points
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Drop the Ball summary

Tiffany Dufu

Achieving More by Doing Less

3.7 (59 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

"Drop the Ball" by Tiffany Dufu is a memoir and self-help book that empowers women to redefine and prioritize their roles at home and work, allowing for greater success and fulfillment.

Table of Contents

    Drop the Ball
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    The modern idea of doing it all is an unrealistic goal.

    Let’s say you’re an aspiring manager with a rigorous and rewarding job at a fast-paced company. What does your work day look like? Meetings in the mornings, writing reports in the afternoon, and some email exchanges throughout the day. Great! Time to clock out and relax.

    Not so fast. Turns out, you’re also a mother. Once you leave the office, you have a whole other job to do. It’s time to pick up the kids from daycare, whip up a healthy dinner, and do a week’s worth of laundry. By bedtime, you’re exhausted.

    Can you do it all again tomorrow? Maybe. But, maybe that lifestyle is actually unsustainable. Unfortunately, in the modern world, many women are pressured to perform perfectly at work and at home.

    The key message here is: The modern idea of doing it all is an unrealistic goal.

    Over the last few generations, women have successfully staked out a bigger role in public life. For many women, this has included pursuing professional careers. While this change is definitely positive, complete gender equality remains out of reach. Consider that women are half the workforce, but they only claim 18 percent of leadership positions.

    One major reason for this disparity is that women, even working ones, are often still responsible for the majority of domestic labor. The tasks of raising a family, keeping a house, and other traditionally “feminine” responsibilities have not disappeared, and they're still mostly done by women. In fact, according to the American Time Use Survey, 50 percent of women handle daily housework compared to a paltry 20 percent of men.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that all men are lazy or that every husband purposefully foists extra responsibilities on his wife. However, unconscious gender roles still structure how work is allocated which puts women at a unique disadvantage. Consider this: Only 19 percent of millennial men felt that having children was holding them back professionally. In contrast, 58 percent of women felt motherhood hurt their careers.

    Even when a household has enough money to hire outside help to handle the chores, these pressures don’t always abate. While wealthier women welcome the extra help, many report feelings of failure for not handling the household.

    It seems that in the contemporary world, many women are either stretched too thinly trying to handle a huge workload, or they’re left feeling guilty for abandoning traditional responsibilities. In the next blink, we’ll look at some ways this dynamic gets reinforced.

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    What is Drop the Ball about?

    Drop the Ball (2017) is a guide to living that makes the simple argument that you don’t have to do it all to have it all. Part memoir and part manifesto, the title provides a new approach to life for modern women.

    Best quote from Drop the Ball

    Leveraging our highest and best use means employing what were good at and focusing on the tasks only we ourselves can do in order to realize our greatest goals and priorities.

    —Tiffany Dufu
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    Who should read Drop the Ball?

    • Young women breaking into the working world
    • Mothers still striving for professional success
    • Anyone interested in advocating gender equality

    About the Author

    Tiffany Dufu is a consultant, public speaker, and leadership expert who helped launch the Lean In and Levo professional networks. She was named one of Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women in 2012 and has presented everywhere from TEDWomen to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.

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