Non-Fiction Books to Embrace Aging

Embrace aging with these memoirs, manifestos, and guidance books.

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism Book Cover
Applewhite, Ashton

Author, activist, and TED speaker Ashton Applewhite has written a rousing manifesto calling for an end to discrimination and prejudice on the basis of age. In our youth obsessed culture, we're bombarded by media images and messages about the despairs and declines of our later years. Beauty and pharmaceutical companies work overtime to convince people to purchase products that will retain their youthful appearance and vitality. Wrinkles are embarrassing. Gray hair should be colored and bald heads covered with implants. Older minds and bodies are too frail to keep up with the pace of the modern working world and olders should just step aside for the new generation. Ashton Applewhite once held these beliefs too until she realized where this prejudice comes from and the damage it does.

Not Dead Yet: Rebooting Your Life After 50 Book Cover
Ballinger, Barbara

Not Dead Yet is the mantra of the current boomer population of 73 million who still think of themselves as young. This cohort is facing challenges as they age but are not content to throw in the towel on a full and rewarding life. The authors help readers face what's comes their way as they age with humor, optimism, energy, and honesty.

Age Later: Healthspan, Lifespan, and the New Science of Longevity Book Cover
Barzilai, Nir

How do some people avoid the slowing down, deteriorating, and weakening that plagues many of their peers decades earlier? Are they just lucky? Or do they know something the rest of us don't? Is it possible to grow older without getting sicker? What if you could look and feel fifty through your eighties and nineties? Founder of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and one of the leading pioneers of longevity research, Dr. Nir Barzilai's life's work is tackling the challenges of aging to delay and prevent the onset of all age-related diseases including "the big four": diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. One of Dr. Barzilai's most fascinating studies features volunteers that include 750 SuperAgers-individuals who maintain active lives well into their nineties and even beyond-and, more importantly, who reached that ripe old age never having experienced cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or cognitive decline. 

From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life Book Cover
Brooks, Arthur C.

The roadmap for finding purpose, meaning, and success as we age, from bestselling author, Harvard professor, and the Atlantic's happiness columnist Arthur Brooks. Many of us assume that the more successful we are, the less susceptible we become to the sense of professional and social irrelevance that often accompanies aging. But the truth is, the greater our achievements and our attachment to them, the more we notice our decline, and the more painful it is when it occurs. What can we do, starting now, to make our older years a time of happiness, purpose, and yes, success? At the height of his career at the age of 50, Arthur Brooks embarked on a seven-year journey to discover how to transform his future from one of disappointment over waning abilities into an opportunity for progress. From Strength to Strength is the result, a practical roadmap for the rest of your life. Drawing on social science, philosophy, biography, theology, and eastern wisdom, as well as dozens of interviews with everyday men and women, Brooks shows us that true life success is well within our reach. By refocusing on certain priorities and habits that anyone can learn, such as deep wisdom, detachment from empty rewards, connection and service to others, and spiritual progress, we can set ourselves up for increased happiness.

The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest Book Cover
Buettner, Dan

Reveals the secrets of longevity of communities of long-lived people in: Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Ikaria, Greece.

What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life's Third Age Book Cover
Dychtwald, Ken

The world's population of retirees is increasing dramatically, and the Baby Boom generation is changing everything about this stage of life. Today older Americans hold the largest concentration of personal wealth and spending power, yet marketers tend to have only superficial understanding of their hopes, fears, needs, preferences and dreams. Organizations would be wise to divert some of their focus away from the long-sought-after youth market and turn attention to the already large, rapidly growing, and radically changing customer segment that is today's retirees. This book is the definitive guide to understanding the experiences and ambitions of today and tomorrow's retirees and the products and services that will best meet their needs. The book is for business, non-profits, and other leaders who wish to understand retirees and pre-retirees as customers, clients, workers, and volunteers in order to better engage and serve them.

I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections Book Cover
Ephron, Nora

A humorous collection of personal essays discusses the author's career in journalism, divorce, a long-anticipated inheritance with unanticipated results, and the evolution of her relationship with her e-mail in-box.

Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It Book Cover
Gendron, Tracey

What if everything you thought you knew about aging was wrong? This bold historical account helps explain how ageism has seeped into our lives, slowly and silently shaping our own misconceptions about aging--and about ourselves. Ageism Unmasked takes a journey through time to reveal how politics, technology, religion, media, and medicine have shaped a modern aging narrative that bears little resemblance to reality. Aging is a process, and it doesn't just happen to old people. We are all aging every moment of our lives. Ageism is reflexively forming opinions about people, and how we interact with them, based on their age. And we all do it, without thinking about it. Ageism is so deeply infused in our thinking, language and actions that it is practically invisible. Even attempts to be anti-ageist fall into perilous traps that perpetuate, rather than discourage, ageism. Ageism Unmasked will help readers --let go of our desperate need to stay young, --appreciate how we all age, --and reset our expectations for getting old.

I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 Book Cover
Gurwitch, Annabelle

A collection of humorous essays about aging by actress and comedian Annabelle Gurwitch.

Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age Book Cover
Jenkins, Jo Ann

"At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself." - Maya Angelou

We've all seen the ads on TV and in magazines-"50 is the new 30!" or "60 is the new 40!" A nice sentiment to be sure, but Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP and author of Disrupt Aging, disagrees. 50 is 50 and she, for one, likes the look of it. People 50-plus today face distinct challenges and have different goals than people in their 30s and 40s. They're at a different place in their lives and are motivated by different things. They see the world through a lens that is shaped by the ups and downs of life, by the wisdom gained from those experiences, and by the comfort that comes from having a better understanding of who they are as individuals and what they want from life. We are living decades longer than our grandparents-how will we spend those years? Disrupt Aging sets out to change the current conversation about what it means to get older. 

Not Too Old for That: How Women Are Changing the Story of Aging Book Cover
Larson, Vicki

The narratives around women at midlife and older are more than just sexist and ageist; they're damaging to women's physical, emotional, financial, romantic, and sexual health. This book will help women break through those tired and hurtful stereotypes to better reflect who they are, how they live, and what they want as they age.

Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old?: The Path of Purposeful Aging Book Cover
Leider, Richard

Our later years need not be a time of loss. This book helps readers embrace the positive possibilities of aging and provides guidance on doing so purposefully, with courage, compassion, and curiosity.

Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old Book Cover
Leland, John

A look at what it means to grow old and a guide to well-being, this book weaves together the stories and wisdom of six New Yorkers who number among the 'oldest old'--those eighty-five and up.

Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Well & How Long You Live Book Cover
Levy, Becca

The often-surprising results of Levy's science offer stunning revelations about the mind-body connection. She demonstrates that many health problems formerly considered to be entirely due to the aging process, such as memory loss, hearing decline, and cardiovascular events, are instead influenced by the negative age beliefs that dominate in the US and other ageist countries. It’s time for all of us to rethink aging and Breaking the Age Code shows us how to do just that. Based on her innovative research, stories that range from pop culture to the corporate boardroom, and her own life, Levy shows how age beliefs shape all aspects of our lives. She also presents a variety of fascinating people who have benefited from positive age beliefs as well as an entire town that has flourished with these beliefs. Breaking the Age Code is a landmark work, presenting not only easy-to-follow techniques for improving age beliefs so they can contribute to successful aging, but also a blueprint to reduce structural ageism for lasting change and an age-just society.

Why Did I Come Into This Room?: A Candid Conversation About Aging Book Cover
Lunden, Joan

In her most candid and revealing book yet, acclaimed broadcast journalist and Baby Boomer Joan Lunden delves into the various phases of aging that leave many feeling uncomfortable, confused, and on edge. In her hilarious book, Lunden takes the dull and depressing out of aging, replacing it with wit and humor. After all, laughing is better than crying--unless it makes you pee! Whether you're in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or more, this book is full of helpful information to embrace--or at least prepare for--the inevitable.

The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention Book Cover
Maran, Meredith

A lusty, kickass post-divorce memoir, one woman's story of starting over at 60 in youth-obsessed, beauty-obsessed Hollywood. After the death of her best friend, the loss of her life's savings, and the collapse of her once-happy marriage, Meredith Maran whom Anne Lamott calls insightful, funny, and human leaves her San Francisco freelance writer's life for a 9-to-5 job in Los Angeles. Determined to rebuild not only her savings but herself while relishing the joys of life in La-La land, Maran writes a poignant story, a funny story, a moving story, and above all an American story of what it means to be a woman of a certain age in our time.

Women Rowing North: Navigating the Challenges to Our Selves as We Age Book Cover
Pipher, Mary Bray

Women growing older contend with ageism, misogyny, and loss. Yet as Mary Pipher shows, most older women are deeply happy and filled with gratitude for the gifts of life. Their struggles help them grow into the authentic, empathetic, and wise people they have always wanted to be. In Women Rowing North, Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. "If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully," Pipher writes, "we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent."

Front-Wave Boomers: Growing (Very) Old, Staying Connected, and Reimagining Aging Book Cover
Ranson, Gillian

Boomers will be heading into (very) old age following a pandemic, a time of overt ageism and deficient eldercare. The front wave, now heading into their seventies, are on the brink of life changes that will challenge everyone--family, friends, and the health care system too. Recognizing the dire need to meet these challenges, Gillian Ranson investigates what front-wavers are doing to prepare for old age. Regardless of their situation--rich, poor, married, divorced, or entirely alone--front-wave boomers share one thing: the need for intimate, caring social ties. Many of them are making these connections with creativity and resilience. Their stories hold lessons for us all.

The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 Book Cover
Rauch, Jonathan

Draws on cutting-edge scientific studies to discuss the U-shaped trajectory of happiness, which declines from the optimism of youth before surging upward again after age fifty, and offers ways to endure the slump during midlife.

The Third Act: Reinventing Your Next Chapter Book Cover
Sapan, Joshua

There's an entirely new way to think about what you do later in life. The third act profiles sixty people who are doing it differently. From names you'll know to those you'll discover for the first time, these life stories and beautiful photographic portraits encourage you to bring your passion and capabilities to redefine and reframe the conventional idea of retirement. Read how well-known celebrities like Alan Alda, Rita Moreno, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, James E. Clyburn, Robert Redford, and Norman Lear took on new challenges at an age when some people choose to slow down. Be inspired by the stories of lesser-known figures like Donzella Washington, who became the oldest graduate of Alabama A&M University at eighty; Andrea Peterson, who fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter at fifty; Paul Dillon, who started an incubator for marine veterans after his business career; Hope Harley, who founded the Bronx Children's Museum after a career at telecommunications company; and many more.

The Super Age: Decoding Our Demographic Destiny Book Cover
Schurman, Bradley

A demographic futurist explains the coming Super Age-when there will be more people older than sixty-five than those younger than eighteen-and explores what it could mean for our collective future.

Getting Good at Getting Older Book Cover
Siegel, Richard

rom the creator of the best-selling The Jewish Catalog comes Getting Good at Getting Older, a tour for all of us "of a certain age" through the resources and skills we need to navigate the years between maturity and old age. It brings humor, warmth, and 4,000 years of Jewish experience to the question of how to shape this new stage of life.

A Divine Language: Learning Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus at the Edge of Old Age Book Cover
Wilkinson, Alec

 spirited, metaphysical exploration into math's deepest mysteries and conundrums at the crux of middle age.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.