Conversation: Thwarted Dreams

A new book explores how society derails women's ambitions

"Ambition has a bad name," says Manhattan psychiatrist Anna Fels, author of Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives (Pantheon). The drive to excel and achieve is universal, says Fels, 55, but women often become conflicted about it. Her extensive research documents the reasons. TIME spoke with her:

How would you define ambition?

It really has two components. One is mastery, which is the pleasure everybody takes in learning skills, whether it's cooking or their jobs or golf. The other part is about being recognized or appreciated for those skills within some kind of a community. The recognition part is particularly...

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