A pragmatic, structured approach to carefully planning for retirement.

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IN YOUR RETIREMENT, CREATE THE LIFE YOU WANT

A management consultant turns his attention to “managing” retirement.

In this well-researched, intelligently written book, Wilson (Innovative Reward Systems for the Changing Workplace, 2002, etc.) suggests to retirees, “This is the only time left where you may be able to make choices about where, how, who and why you want to live your life.” The author first calls upon other credible sources to present his interpretation of “the ten stages that define a lifetime,” a perceptive if not entirely original take on the cradle-to-grave life cycle. This opening establishes a platform for the remainder of the book, which concentrates chapter by chapter on big later-in-life issues, including time, money, relationships, and health. Wilson cites studies and draws on personal interviews he conducted to address each subject with authority in a nonjudgmental way. A key point is that “living a purposeful life, one where you are engaged and feel a sense of importance for how you spend your time, leads to remarkable value for you.” In chapters that are instructive and engaging, Wilson walks readers through content that, for some, could provoke much self-examination. For example, in the chapter “Who Are You Going to Be?” 10 different lifestyle models are defined and described; whether describing a “Traveler, Explorer, Adventurer,” or a “Volunteer/Social Activist/One Who Gives Back,” these models should serve to help people nearing retirement critically evaluate their own skills, passions, and desires. One of the book’s strengths is its core message that people should develop their own “master plan” to enjoy a fruitful retirement. Having neatly woven together the previous chapters, Wilson uses the end of the book to guide the reader through a cleverly designed, step-by-step interactive process that culminates in a personalized master plan. The process requires considerable time and thought, answering questions and completing various forms, but those who make a serious effort are sure to be rewarded. Wilson is keenly aware that retirement can create anxiety and uncertainty; his writing exudes sensitivity and understanding, and he is realistic yet encouraging in his wise counsel.

A pragmatic, structured approach to carefully planning for retirement.

Pub Date: July 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982229-34-4

Page Count: 226

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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