THE LONGEVITY FACTOR by Lydia Brontë

THE LONGEVITY FACTOR

The New Reality of Long Careers and How It Can Lead to Richer Lives
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An optimistic view of the graying of America, created by focusing on the success stories of a select group of working elderly. According to Brontâ, director of the Long Careers Study--a research project in which she interviewed 150 working men and women from age 65 to 101 (most were in their 70s and 80s)-- increased longevity doesn't mean a longer old age but, rather, a longer middle age. She says that our negative stereotypes about aging are misleading--indeed, her biographical sketches of dozens of active, healthy working senior citizens provide a more positive view. Using terminology that gives the text a market- research flavor, Brontâ divides her subjects into ``Homesteaders,'' who stayed in the same career their entire working lives; ``Transformers,'' who changed careers once; and ``Explorers,'' who changed careers frequently. Among those profiled are Jessica Tandy, Isaac Asimov, Nobel-winning physicist Rosalyn Yarow, Senators Margaret Chase Smith and William Fulbright, Henny Youngman, Julia Child, Norman Cousins, Studs Terkel, Jonas Salk, and Linus Pauling. Less prominent folks are included, too, but by and large the company is illustrious. If there's one message to be gleaned from these diverse biographical vignettes, it's the importance of finding engaging, satisfying work. Good luck and good health also help. Although Brontâ emphasizes that there's nothing wrong with retiring, she says that the option to continue to work should be available to everyone. Acknowledging the conflict this creates with the idea that the old must make way for the young, she calls for more flexible retirement policies and greater recognition of the productive, creative capacities of older people. The take-home message: Cheer up folks, it's not later than you think. Inspirational--though Brontâ's largely anecdotal evidence may not convince everyone of the joys of aging.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-016755-6
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993




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