55 Select Books on Longevity and Productive Aging

In my recent guest post for the Wisdom Well blog of the entrepreneur/author Chip Conley, I wrote that he “has intuited that today we need a jolt of awareness that goes beyond knowledge workers (who may be an endangered species due to Artificial Intelligence/AI and other technological advances) to “wisdom workers.”

On the same day, in my blog post about author/journalist Kerry Hannon’s new book In Control at 50+: How to Succeed in the New World of Work, I wrote that “what separates her from many other writers in what is sometimes referred to as “the aging space” is that she is an experienced reporter who knows how to dig for the essence of the story and to present it clearly and concisely.”

That book, and Chip Conley’s latest, Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder How to Reinvent the Second Half of Your Career, are included in my list of 55 select books below on longevity and productive aging, the latest in my ongoing series of list-based blog posts.

Earlier this year, Chip did webinars with several of the authors on this list: Arthur C. Brooks, Richard J. Leider, Becca Levy, and Richard Rohr. (There may have been others; if so, please let me know.)

In my role as managing editor of Leader to Leader, I’ve edited articles by Chip and others from the list: the late Bob Buford, Jo Ann Jenkins, Karen Sands, and Morton Shaevitz. Kerry Hannon and Bruce Frankel were my colleagues at USA TODAY.

As with all my lists, they are not meant to be exhaustive or definitive. But they should give you a good starting point for the long and growing literature about these topics. I’ve kept to one book per author; in some cases it is their most recent book, but I’m not aiming at a survey of new works on these topics.

If there are particular titles you think I should add for a potential future post about books about this subject matter, please let me know. And if there are titles below that have been particularly valuable in your own life (and work), I would love to know about it!

Ida O. Abbott Retirement by Design: A Guided Workbook for Creating a Happy and Purposeful Future

Marc Agronin The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life

Henry Alford How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth)

Ashton Applewhite This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

Louise Aronson Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life

Mary Catherine Bateson Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom

Ken Blanchard and Morton Shaevitz Refire! Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life

William Bridges and Susan Bridges Transitions (40th Anniversary Edition): Making Sense of Life’s Changes

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

Bob Buford Finishing Well: The Adventure of Life Beyond Halftime

Robert N. Butler The Longevity Prescription: The 8 Proven Keys to a Long, Healthy Life

Julia Cameron It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond (Artist’s Way)

Joan Chittester The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

Michael Clinton Roar: into the second half of your life (before it’s too late)

Nancy Collamer Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement

Chip Conley Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder How to Reinvent the Second Half of Your Career

Joseph Coughlin The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market

Sara Davidson Leap! What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives?

Ken Dychtwald and Robert Morison What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life’s Third Age

Neenah Ellis If I Live to Be 100: Lessons from the Centenarians

Tamara Erickson Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation

Tamara Erickson Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation

Bruce Feiler Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age

Bruce Frankel What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life?: True Stories of Finding Success, Passion, and New Meaning in the Second Half of Life

Marc Freedman How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations

Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity

Michael Gurian The Wonder of Aging: A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty

Kerry Hannon In Control at 50+: How to Succeed in the New World of Work

Matthias Hollwich with Bruce Mau Design New Aging: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever

Paul H. Irving The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy, and Purpose

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

Anne Karpf How to Age

Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50

Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old?: The Path of Purposeful Aging

John Leland Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons From a Year Among the Oldest Old

Daniel J. Levitin Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives

Becca Levy Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and Well You Live

Florida Scott Maxwell The Measure of My Days

Wendy L. Miller and Gene D. Cohen Sky Above Clouds: Finding Our Way Through Creativity, Aging, and Illness

Nancy Morrow-Howell, James Hinterlong, and Michael Sherraden, editors; Productive Aging: Concepts and Challenges

John E. Nelson and Richard N. Bolles What Color Is Your Parachute? For Retirement, Second Edition: Planning a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy Future

Sherwin B. Nuland The Art of Aging: A Doctor’s Prescription for Well-Being

Parker J. Palmer On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, & Getting Old

Ron Pevny Conscious Living, Conscious Aging: Embrace & Savor Your Next Chapter

Richard Rohr Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Karen Sands The Ageless Way: Illuminating The New Story Of Our Age (Revised Edition 2018)

Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Revolutionary Approach to Growing Older

Nancy K. Schlossberg Revitalizing Retirement: Reshaping Your Identity, Relationships, and Purpose

Kieran Setiya Midlife: a Philosophical Guide

Gail Sheehy Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life

David A. Sinclair Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don’t Have To

Andrew Steele Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old

Bill Thomas Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life

George Vaillant Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Study of Adult Development

Elizabeth White 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life

Connie Zweig The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul

Note: since this post was originally published, readers sent in the following suggestions:

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

Ellyn A. Lem: Gray Matters: Finding Meaning in the Stories of Later Life

Plus this website:

Old School Anti-Ageism Clearinghouse

And I am still open to suggestions!

Editor’s Note: This article is republished with permission of the author with first publication on his site, https://brucerosenstein.com/

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