The Upside of Aging


An insightful antidote to the usual stereotypes about aging, this rewarding book focuses on the many positives in longer lives and a longer-lived society.

THINK Review

Can you believe Mick Jagger is 73 and Bruce Springsteen 67 years old?

And, yes, Brad Pitt is 52 (!). Joan Collins famously said “Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.” More and more, she is right. An aging revolution is changing the world, a massive shift that will alter every aspect of human existence. The Upside of Aging moves beyond the stereotypes of dependency and decline to look at aging in a new way.

Paul Irving, president of the Milken Institute – a nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving public health and aging across America – edits an insightful collection of essays by a team of big-picture thinkers, discussing how we need to change our approach to aging from the language of limits and decline to positive discussion of upside and potential.

The authors, all prominent thought leaders, reveal the astonishing upside for health, work and entrepreneurship, volunteerism, education and innovation.

“Younger people may learn faster than older people, but older people know more. Aging comes with emotional balance, improved perspective and better mental health – a combination of characteristics that, to many, comprises the very definition of wisdom. It is critical that we do not overlook the real talent available in a resource never before available in human societies – aging minds.” – Laura L. Carstensen, Director, Stanford Center on Longevity

The common thread of the book: We need creative solutions to deal with the avalanche of demographic changes we are about to encounter. This book offers many solutions, from age-friendly housing alternatives and transportation systems to lifelong learning and socially-focused encore career opportunities.

“We must re-think the value of longevity, understanding that it’s not just about the time we’re given, but the quality and the purpose of that time,” writes Irving. “Older people are embracing more entrepreneurial roles, serving as catalysts in innovation, job creation and economic growth.”

The Upside of Aging: How Long Life is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose describes a future that is vastly different from the traditional promise of retirement. This is a future that has promise and power and will continue to change the generation that has changed every stage of life. We should look at the future of aging with a can-do attitude.

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” writes Irving. “Aging can be really hard. But things are changing, and quickly. Millions of aging individuals across the globe are seeking new ways to remain active, engaged, and contributing members of their societies.”

Do you have ideas to contribute? Join the THINK Prize 16 Financial Longevity Challenge. We’re using OpenIDEO’s online collaborative innovation platform to share ideas around the question, “How might we create financial services that support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?” Bring your ideas or share your expertise as we explore new opportunities in this growing and dynamic market. Join Now

Buy the book at Amazon.com

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