Can't Even

Can't Even : How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

3.96 (6,393 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

An incendiary personal and cultural investigation of burnout

"Meticulously researched... astutely observed... extremely enlightening" Guardian

"Urgent and insightful book... Read this and get a much-needed perspective" Stylist

Are you tired, stressed and trying your best but somehow still not doing enough? Has the bottom half of your To Do list been locked in place for months? Is everything becoming work as your job seeps into your evenings, you monetise your hobbies and perform your leisure time on social media?

This is burnout - what increasingly like the defining feature of our lives. We are exhausted. But burnout is not a personal failing. It is a creeping part of modern culture, shaped by deep-rooted political, historical and economic forces, and it is affecting how we work, parent, socialise and inhabit the world.

Anne Helen Petersen identifies burnout with moving clarity - what it feels like and how it manifests across communities. Through her own experience, original interviews and detailed analysis, she traces the institutional and generational causes of burnout. And, in doing so, she helps us to let go of our guilt and imagine a possible future.

Reassuring, insightful and galvanising, Can't Even is essential reading for all of us.

"A readable, well-researched guide to a generation" The Times

"Genuinely enlightening... Can't Even is a reminder to the burned out generation that things can be different" Observer
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 29mm | 422g
  • Chatto & Windus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1784743348
  • 9781784743345
  • 194,976

Review Text

We think of capitalism as a way of organizing an economy. But given enough time, it goes beyond that: It organizes our lives, our hopes, our relationships. Anne Helen Petersen has written an analytically precise, deeply empathic book about the psychic toll modern capitalism has taken on those shaped by it. Can't Even is essential to understanding our age, and ourselves
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Review quote

Meticulously researched... astutely observed... extremely enlightening * Guardian * Urgent and insightful book... Read this and get a much-needed perspective * Stylist * An intelligent and well-researched analysis... To those born into the same generation, its truth is searing * Sunday Times * A readable, well-researched guide to a generation * The Times, *Book of the Week* * Relevant to everyone living under capitalism * New Statesman * The author is astute in unpicking the many factors that led to a whole generation feeling constantly exhausted... Can't Even is comforting in its insistence that it's not your fault you feel this tired... genuinely enlightening... Can't Even is a reminder to the burned out generation that things can be different -- Holly Williams * Observer * Whether you're looking for solutions or just looking to feel seen, Can't Even is a can't-miss * Harper's Bazaar, "27 Best Books of 2020" * Reading this incredible book, I had the overwhelming feeling of someone arranging the chaotic fragments of my life into a cohesive whole. Can't Even felt like a field guide, a mirror, and an absolution. Compassionate, wise, and incisive, it is a defining work about a generation defined by work -- Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes [A] razor sharp book of cultural criticism...With blistering prose and all-too vivid reporting, Petersen lays bare the burnout and despair of millennials, while also charting a path to a world where members of her generation can feel as if the boot has been removed from their necks * Esquire * We think of capitalism as a way of organizing an economy. But given enough time, it goes beyond that: It organizes our lives, our hopes, our relationships. Anne Helen Petersen has written an analytically precise, deeply empathic book about the psychic toll modern capitalism has taken on those shaped by it. Can't Even is essential to understanding our age, and ourselves -- Ezra Klein, Vox co-founder and author of Why We're Polarized Petersen's third book, a highlight-every-sentence-in-recognition survey of the anxiety and exhaustion baked into the lives of myriad young people, dispels many of the myths and misconceptions-the laziness! the entitlement!-surrounding the generation that came of age amid the internet and economic collapse. Yet rather than pit millennials against boomers, Petersen makes meaningful and constructive connections between the toils and troubles of the two groups * O Magazine * A cogent and sober analysis of the economic lives that decades of precarity has wrought, told in Petersen's smart, measured style -- Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of the National Book Award finalist Thick Can't Even is a compelling exploration of the phenomenon of burnout and how an entire generation has been set up to fail. As a Millennial, reading this book was a deeply cathartic experience. Anne Helen Petersen articulates the struggles and motivation of a generation so impeccably. Reading this book made me feel like finally, someone understands me. I wish I could give this book to everyone I know -- Taylor Lorenz, culture reporter, New York Times Peterson explores how low-paying jobs, overstimulation, and unattainable expectations have contributed to millennial malaise in this trenchant and well-researched account... By turns exasperated, indignant, and empathetic, she supports her claims with strong evidence and calls on millennials to be a force for widespread social change. The result is an incisive portrait of a generation primed for revolt * Publisher's Weekly * Can't Even seeks to unearth the root of our generation's angst... Peterson's personal interjections and deft contextualisation of current issues with American history and politics...[and] the toll of the pandemic on our mental health makes her research feel all the more timely -- Eleanor Halls * Daily Telegraph *
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About Anne Helen Petersen

A former senior culture writer for BuzzFeed News, Anne Helen Petersen now writes her newsletter, Culture Study, as a full-time venture on Substack. Petersen received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on the history of celebrity gossip. Her previous books, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud and Scandals of Classic Hollywood, were featured in NPR, Elle, and the Atlantic. She lives in Missoula, Montana.
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Rating details

6,393 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 30% (1,912)
4 43% (2,746)
3 21% (1,372)
2 4% (286)
1 1% (77)
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