How We Live Now

Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century

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About The Book

A close-up examination and exploration, How We Live Now challenges our old concepts of what it means to be a family and have a home, opening the door to the many diverse and thriving experiments of living in twenty-first century America.

Across America and around the world, in cities and suburbs and small towns, people from all walks of life are redefining our “lifespaces”—the way we live and who we live with. The traditional nuclear family in their single-family home on a suburban lot has lost its place of prominence in contemporary life. Today, Americans have more choices than ever before in creating new ways to live and meet their personal needs and desires.

Social scientist, researcher, and writer Bella DePaulo has traveled across America to interview people experimenting with the paradigm of how we live. In How We Live Now, she explores everything from multi-generational homes to cohousing communities where one’s “family” is made up of friends and neighbors to couples “living apart together” to single-living, and ultimately uncovers a pioneering landscape for living that throws the old blueprint out the window.

Through personal interviews and stories, media accounts, and in-depth research, How We Live Now explores thriving lifespaces, and offers the reader choices that are freer, more diverse, and more attuned to our modern needs for the twenty-first century and beyond.

About The Author

Photograph by Bob Blackwell

Bella DePaulo, PhD, is a psychologist and the author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. Her research and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other outlets, and she blogs at Psychology Today, Psych Central, and Huffington Post. DePaulo is currently a visiting professor of psychology at UC Santa Barbara in California.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books/Beyond Words (August 2015)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781582704791

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Raves and Reviews

"A nonfiction must-read!"

– The Sacramento Bee

"An eye-opening survey of the different living arrangements Americans have come to embrace....An informative and inspirational guide to the myriad ways of making a home."

– Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"DePaulo's cross-country survey of living arrangements shatters the illusion that the average American belongs to a nuclear family living in a single-family home in the suburbs....DePaulo's descriptions of these living arrangements are punctuated with quotes from her extensive interviews with 'the people who let me into their homes and their lives,' providing the book with a wide range of voices."

– Publishers Weekly

“The so-called demise of the nuclear family is revolutionizing how we live. With characteristic curiosity and warmth, Bella DePaulo synthesizes surprising historical facts, contemporary statistics, and original reporting to animate the breathtaking array of ingenuity on offer, from the national Village movement to niche innovations such as single mothers banding together under one roof. Both a documentary of a changing America, and a guidebook, How We Live Now is indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand—or take part in—the myriad ways in which people are reinventing domestic spaces to suit individual needs and desires.”

– Kate Bolick, author of Spinster

"The nuclear family never worked for everyone, and today it doesn't have to, because we've embarked on an unprecedented social experiment in how to live. In this inspiring book, Bella DePaulo reports on the innovative ways people are settling down, creating communities, and remaking the home and family in the 21st century."

– Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo

“These days married people are living separately, unrelated people are living together in every imaginable configuration, and many folks are living happily alone. Bella DePaulo’s new book, How We Live Now, not only tells us who’s living under which roofs, but what’s going on behind closed doors. How are these living situations affecting everyday experience and changing the very definition of family? Fascinating!”

– Rebecca Zwick, Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Barbara

“From single moms living together to raise their children, to couples who are LATs (Living Apart Together), to mature adults thriving in co-housing communities, Bella DePaulo takes us on a fascinating journey of real people sharing dwellings and sharing their lives in new and creative ways. How We Live Now is informative, compelling, impeccably researched, and may ignite the spark to create your own best lifespace.”

– Jan Cullinane, author of The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement

How We Live Now is full of engaging personal interviews and valuable social science research. It debunks many commonly held myths and paints an attractive picture of the diverse living arrangements possible. We are clearly moving away from the nuclear family as an ideal.”

– Annamarie Pluhar, author of Sharing Housing

“In this timely and illuminating book, Bella DePaulo documents a quiet but profound revolution in the way people define family, home, and community. With warmth and insight, DePaulo shares stories of men and women of all ages who are letting go of familiar scripts and finding new ways of creating a caring and comfortable place to call home. How We Live Now is essential reading for anyone who wants to create the life they desire by making mindful choices about the way they live.”

– Nancy Collins, Professor of Psycholigical and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara

"How We Live Now explores the intersection of relationships and lifespaces, primarily focusing on the needs to balance cravings. It addresses cravings for solitude, for connectedness, for intimacy, for support, for freedom, and for fulfillment... Bella DePaulo is masterful at grouping truly idiosyncratic lifespace choices in a manner that reveals their motivations and apparently unstoppable momentum."

– Susan Hurt, JD, PhD, clinical and forensic psychologist

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