Drop the Ball
Achieving More by Doing Less
A bold and inspiring memoir and manifesto from a renowned voice in the women's leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go.
Once the poster girl for doing it all, after she had her first child, Tiffany Dufu struggled to accomplish everything she thought she needed to in order to succeed. Like so many driven and talented women who have been brought up to believe that to have it all, they must do it all, Dufu began to feel that achieving her career and personal goals was an impossibility. Eventually, she discovered the solution: letting go. In Drop the Ball, Dufu recounts how she learned to reevaluate expectations, shrink her to-do list, and meaningfully engage the assistance of others—freeing the space she needed to flourish at work and to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships at home.
Even though women are half the workforce, they still represent only eighteen per cent of the highest level leaders. The reasons are obvious: just as women reach middle management they are also starting families. Mounting responsibilities at work and home leave them with no bandwidth to do what will most lead to their success. Offering new perspective on why the women’s leadership movement has stalled, and packed with actionable advice, Tiffany Dufu’s Drop the Ball urges women to embrace imperfection, to expect less of themselves and more from others—only then can they focus on what they truly care about, devote the necessary energy to achieving their real goals, and create the type of rich, rewarding life we all desire.
Praise For Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less…
"There are two ways that a system of power stays in power. The first is obvious--unequal laws, unequal opportunity, very unequal money, and violence or the threat of violence--the second is more internal and difficult to uproot. Tiffany Dufu's Drop the Ball is crucial because it takes on that deeper system. She is the right author for this important moment in time. She offers actionable wisdom to pass from one woman to another, from her family to yours. She not only shows that we all gain when women become part of, contribute our talents to, and are ourselves changed by the world outside the home, but also how we will gain when men become part of, contribute their talents to, and are themselves changed by the world inside the home. We need women and men who lead by example, as Tiffany Dufu does for readers on these pages."
-From the Foreword by Gloria Steinem
"We won't reach equality in the workplace without equality in the home. Drop the Ball shows how everyone benefits when men work towards equality -- and how our relationships and our lives are richer when we lean in together."
--Sheryl Sandberg, New York Times bestselling author of Lean In
"If you could follow a path to a stronger marriage, a happier family, and greater economic and emotional security, would you be interested? I thought so. Tiffany Dufu’s DROP THE BALL is that path. And she’s awfully good company along the way."
--Susan Cain, co-founder of Quiet Revolution and New York Times bestselling author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
"Drop the Ball is what so many women need to do but simply cannot bring themselves to. Tiffany Dufu writes with verve and wit, turning her life story into life lessons for all of us. A marvelous and instructive read!"
--Anne Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business
"Drop the Ball is a must read for all women and girls. Tiffany Dufu reminds us that we must focus on what truly matters and let go of rest. She gives us specific tools and techniques to help us achieve our goals and live authentic lives free of guilt and regret."
--Reshma Saujani, Founder & CEO, Girls Who Code
"In sharing her moving personal story, Tiffany Dufu offers many practical suggestions for women to achieve their goals. But what influenced me the most about this book was the wisdom she imparts to men about how to be better partners in supporting the leadership journeys of the women in their lives. Drop the Ball is a refreshingly honest, remarkably inspiring read.”
--Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
"Drop the Ball is thought-provoking, authentic storytelling. Through her sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious journey, Tiffany teaches all of us how to create meaningful lives. For women struggling with the demands of doing it all, and the men who love them, this book is refreshing and long overdue."
-Mara Brock Akil, Wife, Mother, and Creator/Showrunner of Girlfriends, The Game,and Being Mary Jane
"Finally, a book on work/life balance that actually answers women's questions about what the hell happens behind closed doors that works, rather than just lamenting that none of it is possible. Drop the Ball is accessible, vulnerable and optimistic."
-Courtney Martin, Entrepreneur, Speaker & Author of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream
"Tiffany Dufu's wise personal story offers real solutions for women who are struggling to be all things to everyone -- both at home and at work. I would have loved to have had Tiffany's warm, funny, brilliant voice in my ear when I was getting started in my career and juggling the demands of a growing family. DROP THE BALL is full of useful advice and it is an empowering manifesto for all women looking to lead balanced, happy, successful lives."
--Soledad O'Brien, CEO Starfish Media and host of Matter Of Fact TV
Flatiron Books, 9781250071736, 304pp.
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
About the Author
Gloria Steinem is best known for her outspoken advocacy on behalf of women. She is the author of many bestselling books, including My Life on the Road, Revolution from Within, and Moving Beyond Words. She was a founding editor of and political commentator for New York Magazine and a founding editor of Ms., which she continues to write for today.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Tiffany Dufu describes the feelings of guilt that plague so many working mothers. Why do you think we feel guilty when we aren’t able to prioritize our families? Does the statistic that only 10% of working mothers give themselves high rankings for parenting feel true to you? What is guilt and when do you feel most and least guilty?
2. Tiffany describes an exercise in which women are asked to write down everything they want to accomplish in a twenty-four hour period. Try it—and don’t forget to include sleeping on the list! Is is humanly possible to do everything you put on that list? Using the “law of comparative advantage” (see page 94), what could you delegate and what must you keep on your list?
3. Tiffany describes the four Go-Tos (page 225) that are necessary for building a successful, rewarding, healthy life. Which of these Go-Tos would you like to focus on incorporating into your routine more deliberately? Why? How will you do it?