Ambition: how we manage success and failure throughout our lives

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BasicBooks, 1992 - Psychology - 205 pages
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From birth to death, all humans strive for growth and mastery, and all of us experience - and must learn to handle - success and failure. How do we do it? Indeed, how do we evaluate our successes and failures when others often withhold information from us? How do we explain to ourselves and to others the reasons for our triumphs and disasters? Most important, how do we learn to manage our ambitions and develop strategies for dealing with failure and what for some people is even more difficult: success? Does the pattern change as we age? These are important questions that all of us confront every day. Drawing on the latest psychological and social research and illustrating his argument with arresting real-life examples from every conceivable social setting - school, courtship and marriage, the workplace, sports and games, gambling, and more - the author shows how we deal with winning and losing in ways that keep us at a level of "just manageable difficulty," lowering our ambitions when we lose but raising them when we win. In revealing our strategies for handling success and failure, the book demonstrates that our capacity to change across our entire lives is much greater than we used to believe was true. In addition, Brim dispels the myth of the mid-life crisis, calling it more "a useful fiction" than a reality. This wise and profound book by a leading social scientist is an important addition to the literature on life span development as well as a fascinating look at how we change.

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Contents

Our Drive for Growth and Mastery
9
Looking for Just Manageable Difficulties
29
Planning the Next Actions
65
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Brim is Director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development.

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