Praise for Selling Ourselves Short: Why We Struggle to Earn a Living and Have a Life

Grand Rapids MI: Brazos Press, 2003. Written with the support of a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

"In this beautifully written book, Catherine Wallace embraces a vision of profound human respect as the heart of caretaking. Oddly and sadly, she observes, many of our contemporary cultural practices and institutions militate against the animating ethos of respect. The bone-tiring demands of work, the speeded up nature of time itself, cast a dark shadow over the many blessings and goodnesses of the everyday world in which care is given and received. This is a courageous and moving work."

            —Jean Bethke Elshtain, The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, The University of Chicago, author of Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy

"Anyone who has tried to combine earning a living with having a life knows that the two are incompatible. The wonder is that so few publicly acknowledge the incompatibility. Most of us try, in quiet—or not so quiet—desperation, to juggle as best we can. Pundits on different sides lecture us about our obligation to choose one or the other, but most people cannot. Yes, most people are mainly women, who still are most likely to live the pull between work and the needs of children. And too often we fail to recognize that the tensions driving us reflect the ethos of a world in which competition has replaced compassion. Catherine Wallace combines personal reflection, pieces of autobiography, and shrewd analysis in this wonderfully thoughtful attempt to help women understand what confronts them—and to live it with faith and grace. Countless women, and many men, will find in this book an illuminating reflection of—and reflection upon—their own lives and the encouragement to live lives of compassion and humanity in a world that does little to encourage either."

            —Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life: How Today's Feminist Elite Has Lost Touch With the Real Concerns of Women

"'Life is not a management problem,' says Catherine Wallace. Her message flies in the face of a culture that tells us we need closet organizers and personalized shoppers and, for those of us with fewer financial resources, at least the latest magazine in the grocery checkout aisle that promises to help us get ourselves and our families trim, healthy, and above all, 'in control' of our calendars. In a wide-ranging critique of historical and cultural forces that shape our values and choices, Wallace argues eloquently that competition has replaced compassion as the controlling norm in American life, and all of us are suffering. Wallace's review of a wide range of literature, seasoned with frank and often funny stories of her own journey, encourages parents and all who care about future generations to seek a less-traveled way, one controlled by the virtues of faith, hope, and, above all, love.

            —Diana Garland, Baylor University

"In a society like the contemporary American world, we need all the wisdom we can get. So thank God for Catherine Wallace. Selling Ourselves Short continues her remarkable reflections begun in her previous books, For Fidelity and Motherhood in the Balance. Selling Ourselves Short is the climax of her exploration of the craziness of our lives and how amid the craziness life is possible. Thank God for this resourceful woman’s refusal to let the world “get her down.”

            —Stanley Hauerwas, author of Sanctify Them in the Truth

"In her passionate and provocative Selling Ourselves Short, Catherine Wallace wrestles with what so many American families feel: Something is wrong! Her engaging narrative takes on the tyranny of the capitalist marketplace and the assumptions of the misplaced 'family values' debates—ranging through social science research, history, neurobiology, theology, traditional spiritual practice, moral theory, and life experience—to urge us to recall what is essential in our lives. Her lively insights ring true and will stimulate her readers to think afresh, take a step back, and maybe even 'have a life.'

            —Wendy M. Wright, Creighton University

Copyright © 2024, Catherine Wallace. All Rights Reserved.