The Outsourced Self

book cover

With the rise of the service sector, more middle class Americans are living their personal lives on a “market frontier.” More people hire—and take up jobs as—nannies, childcare center workers, eldercare workers, eldercare managers, pet care workers, on-line dating services, life coaches, wedding planners, party animators, funeral service providers and even “rent-a-friends.” Through an on-line service called TaskRabbit, one woman hired a person to cheer for her at a marathon. What constellation of trends underlie this shift, the book asks, and what consequences unfold? Through what unexplored means are we keeping personal life “personal”? The book alerts us to a trend at the center of many lives, and raises questions—both structural and personal—about it.