Marriage_vs._Single__Cover_for_Kindle, 2-28-15I haven’t posted an update in a while, so making up for all that elapsed time, here is more than you ever wanted to know about what I’m up to now and what I’m planning to do next.

There are 7 sections:

  1. The latest on How We Live Now
  2. New Collection – Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong – and a Stand-Alone Chapter from It
  3. Kindle Countdown Deals on Amazon
  4. More Translations of More of My Books
  5. Coming Soon: Courses on Udemy
  6. My Next Collection: Family in the Lives of Single People
  7. The Next Book of Original Research and Writing

1. The latest on How We Live Now

As many of you already know, I have been working for years on a book that will not be published until August 25, 2015. For How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century. For that book, I traveled around the country interviewing people in their homes about their innovative lifespaces and how they found their place, their space, and their people. It was a huge undertaking, and my editors and I are still going through the process of copy-editing, proofreading, and soon, getting early copies out to people in the media and other interested parties. A few days ago, we got our first international offer. Random House will be publishing it as part of their Korean list. (The English language version of How We Live Now is published by Beyond Words/Atria, a partner imprint of Simon & Schuster.)

One of the downsides of traditional publishing is that I had to sign a contract promising not to publishing any new (previously unpublished) work until 6 months after How We Live Now is published, so not until the end of February 2016. That’s an entire year from now!

What I can do, though, is to put together collections of articles and chapters I wrote previously. Because I have been writing chapters for scholarly books as well as articles for other popular publications in addition to my blogging (mostly at my Living Single blog at Psychology Today and my Single at Heart blog at Psych Central), there is actually quite a lot of material I can work with.

2. New Collection – Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong – and a Stand-Alone Chapter from It

When I write chapters for scholarly books, I can’t include them in my own collections for a year or so (depending on the contract) and in the meantime, it is difficult for anyone to access those chapters because academic volumes tend to be very expensive. Happily, two of those chapters have just become available to me to include in my own collections, and one of them is in a book I just published. On the publishing platform I used, Amazon sets a minimal price for both the e-book and paperback editions, but within those constraints, I’ve made the book very affordable.

The new collection is called Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong. It begins with one of those two chapters I just mentioned. “Living single: Lightening up those dark, dopey myths” originally appeared in the volume The Dark Side of Personal Relationships II, edited by Cupach and Spitzberg. My chapter begins like this:

When I was invited to write this chapter on living single for this new Dark Side volume, I was both honored and offended. Honored, because the Dark Side series is terrific. What self-respecting relationships scholar does not have a few volumes adorning a bookshelf? Offended, because how dare anyone suggest that the topic of living single belongs with other writings on ominous relationship topics such as rejection, narcissism, in-laws, aggression, and interpersonal violence?

I went back and forth with the editors, and they assured me that they did not mean to disparage singles. When they also quickly agreed to allow me to craft my own snarky subtitle, “Lightening up those dark, dopey myths,” I agreed, too.

I consider the second chapter in Marriage vs. Single Life to be a very substantial contribution to our knowledge and thinking about whether getting married really does transform people, making them happier, healthier, more connected with other people, and more likely to live longer (among other claims) than when they were single. Every time a new claim like that is catapulted all over the media, I look at the original research report, and invariably find that the claims are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong.

I have been doing this for more than a decade. But over the past few years, some very important articles have been published that are consistent with what I’ve been saying all along. For example, there is a longitudinal study that assessed many kinds of outcomes (such as happiness, health, social ties, and self-esteem) and included the appropriate statistical analyses – a true rarity. Another is a statistical review of 18 studies of the implications of getting married for happiness and life satisfaction.

With these new contributions to the science of marriage and single life, I was able to write what I believe to be the strongest, most powerful challenge to the claims that getting married causes people to become happier and healthier and have more ties to other people and live longer and all the rest. I wrote a thorough, thoughtful, no-holds-barred article on the topic. That is the second chapter in Marriage vs. Single Life. The collection also includes 39 other shorter chapters, mostly blog posts from “Living Single” and “Single at Heart.” They are articles in which I debunked individual studies in more detail and discussed what the relevant research really does show and what it all means.

Because I think the second chapter of Marriage vs. Single Life is so important, I also published it separately in a very brief book, The Science of Marriage: What We Know That Just Isn’t So. That book includes just that article, “No study has ever shown that getting married makes people happier or healthier – and no study ever will,” and a brief introduction describing its history. (Short version: I originally submitted it to an academic journal. That did not go well. The editor and reviewers wanted me to delete some of my strongest arguments, water down most of the rest, and add some stuff about how wonderful marriage can be. They also wanted me to tone down my writing, to be careful not to hurt the feelings of researchers who have made many of the bogus claims about how marriage makes people happier and healthier. There was no expression of concern for the millions of single people inappropriately denigrated by false claims. So I declined, and decided to publish this paper on my own, so I could say exactly what I wanted to say, in the way I wanted to say it.)

The_Science_of_Marri_Cover_for_Kindle, 2-28-15I want the word to get out, so I made The Science of Marriage: What We Know That Just Isn’t So very affordable, within the constraints of what Amazon would allow. But if there is anyone who would like to read it and who does not want to pay anything at all to do so, just let me know and I’ll send you a pdf for free.

I think that debunking the myth that getting married makes people happier and healthier and better off in all sorts of ways is a tremendously important task. Those myths are taken as facts in our culture. They are perpetrated by celebrity scholars and authors, such as Dan Gilbert and Dan Buettner. The claims are referenced as facts in influential court decisions. Programs and organizations and books and campaigns have been built around the assumption that getting married truly is psychologically and interpersonally transformative. Perhaps even more significantly, these presumptions have contributed to the stigmatizing and shaming of millions of single people. Singles are told that their lives are second rate, and those claims come wrapped in the sheen of science. Some take those claims to heart. I know because I have been hearing from them, personally, for more than a decade. The social scientists making these claims and the reporters transcribing them need to be challenged. I am going to do so as forcefully as I know how.

3. Kindle Countdown Deals on Amazon

For books I’ve published using the Amazon platforms, Amazon offers the option of putting the e-book editions on sale for 7 days once every three months. All of my relevant books will be on sale for 7 days starting on March 1, 2015. (The sale does not include the two newest books I just described because they have to be available for a month before Amazon makes them eligible. So those two will be discounted later.)

The e-books of mine that are currently eligible for the discount starting on March 1, 2015 are:

  1. The Best of Single Life
  2. Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It
  3. Single with Attitude: Not Your Typical Take on Health and Happiness, Love and Money, Marriage and Friendship
  4. Behind the Door of Deceit: Understanding the Biggest Liars in Our Lives
  5. The Hows and Whys of Lies
  6. When the Truth Hurts: Lying to Be Kind
  7. The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers
  8. Is Anyone Really Good at Detecting Lies? Professional Papers
  9. Friendsight: What Friends Know that Others Don’t

In another three months (the soonest Amazon allows), I’ll put them on sale again.

4. More Translations of More of My Books

Previously, I told you about Babelcube and other publishers and platforms currently making my books available in other languages. Now, there are even more books getting translated into even more languages. For example, The Best of Single Life is now available in Portuguese and in Spanish. Singled Out is getting translated into Spanish. Behind the Door of Deceit, already translated into Portuguese and Spanish, is now being translated into Italian. Separately from the Babelcube platform, another translator is working on a Japanese translation of Singled Out and the Douban publisher is in the process of producing a Chinese version of The Hows and Whys of Lies (already available in Portuguese and soon to be available in Spanish.)

I’ll keep updating all of the available translations of all of my books here. I’ve also included that link on the homepage of this website (in the box under the one about The Best of Single Life).

5. Coming Soon: Courses on Udemy

I have been working on courses about single life and about my other area of expertise (the psychology of lying and detecting lies) for Udemy. I need to master the technology of doing this (always a challenge for me) but with a little luck, I should have the first course posted sometime this month (March 2015). I’ll start a blog post about my Udemy courses and update it the same way I update the post about the translations of my books. Also, I will have a link on my homepage to the post about my Udemy courses (in the same box where I mention the translations).

The course that is closest to being ready is tentatively called “Why We Lie.” I may also put together a companion book that is a collection of some of my previous writings on deceiving and detecting deceit.

6. My Next Collection: Family in the Lives of Single People

I mentioned earlier that there is a second chapter that just became available to me for inclusion in my own collections. That one is, “Single, No Children: Who is Your Family?” It was published in the very expensive volume edited by Vangelisti, Routledge Handbook of Family Communication, 2nd ed. The original version had a long summary section which was eventually edited out. I published that summary in a series of blog posts that were very popular over at “Living Single.” My plan is to republish that chapter in a much more affordable collection. Half of the book will be on that topic – family (and friends) in the lives of single people who have no children. The other half will be about single parents and their children.

7. The Next Book of Original Research and Writing

I’m eager to start working on a new book of original research and writing, even though I can’t publish any completely new writing (previously unpublished) for a year. I have long wanted to write a book called Single at Heart, so maybe I’ll do that next. When I was quoted in the New York Times most recently, an editor who has her own imprint asked if I was interested in writing a book about singles, so who knows, maybe this really will happen.

Be Sociable, Share!