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A Long Bright Future [Kindle Edition]

Laura Carstensen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The twentieth century bequeathed us a fabulous gift: thirty more years of life on average. Supersized life spans are going to radically alter society, and present an unprecedented opportunity to change our approach not only to old age but to all of life’s stages. The ramifications are just beginning to dawn on us.... yet in the meantime, we keep thinking about, and planning for, life as it used to be lived.

In A Long Bright Future, longevity and aging expert Laura Carstensen guides us into the new possibilities offered by a longer life. She debunks the myths and misconceptions about aging that stop us from adequately preparing for the future both as individuals and as a society: that growing older is associated with loneliness and unhappiness, and that only the genetically blessed live well and long. She then focuses on other important components of a long life, including finances, health, social relationships, Medicare and Social Security, challenging our preconceived notions of “old age” every step of the way.

Editorial Reviews


Huffington Post
“Many great minds are committed to redefining aging and retirement models that embrace this new reality. One of them is Laura Carstensen. Carstensen has been on the forefront of research on aging for nearly 30 years.”


Huffington Post
“Many great minds are committed to redefining aging and retirement models that embrace this new reality. One of them is Laura Carstensen. Carstensen has been on the forefront of research on aging for nearly 30 years.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 553 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1610390571
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, and incredibly enjoyable to read! December 8, 2009
I just finished Dr. Carstensen's book, and I got so much out of it. What I liked most was that it was not *all* academic - real everyday people like me could clearly get the message. Although I feel that the book is more helpful to people much younger than me (I'm in my 80's), it also confirms professionally that I did much that was right to be enjoying the life I have now. Hopefully, this book will pass along some of those same lessons to young and middle-aged adults. I told a fe of my friends about the book and now they want to read it, so I will be passing it along!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By mlc1955
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the first time I have been compelled to submit a review of a book on Amazon. I just finished reading Dr. Carstensen's book and I am so excited to share it with others. Fortunately, I will be able to do so as I will be teaching a class entitled "Growing with Intention: Having the Life you Want after Age 40" through my local college's continuing education program starting in February 2011. Dr. Carstensen's book challenges baby boomers to change the way aging is viewed in our culture. I am so encouraged by her message. And, I am so thankful that I discovered this book just in time to share it with my students!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 40th Birthday Present March 15, 2010
A good friend gave me this book for my 40th. What a perfect road map for the rest of our lives! I've always been a late bloomer, so the fact that I haven't yet hit my stride professionally depressed me -- I feel like I'm just getting started, but the traditional view of 40 is "it's all downhill from here." However, Carstensen's vision for the new, longer span gives me hope that I'm actually right on track. My job explorations and travels in my 20s + graduate school/starting a family in my 30s are just the kind of "ramping up" she argues fits "Acts 1 & 2" of our new longevity. Her vision also validates my choice to dial back on work in order to be more available when my kids are young, while allaying fears that I've made myself obsolete by going part-time. Instead of dread, I can look forward to "Act 3" when it makes sense to engage more fully professionally as kids grow independent.
This book also helps me better appreciate the re-invention I see my parents undergoing in their late 60s and to listen to what they can teach me about "Acts 4 & 5." Rather than looking at aging as nothing but loss, Carstensen paints a picture of advancing age as gain, an integration of life's experiences and a deepening of relationships that makes me (dare I say it?) -- look forward to getting older!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing View of Aging November 25, 2009
Laura Carstensen's new book A Long Bright Future, is a wonderful blend of science, humor and personal stories that will appeal to readers of all ages. In a youth-centric culture where too many believe aging is synonymous with decline, Cartstensen persuasively argues that life as an elder can be filled with unbounded freedom and emotional rewards. It is a book of breathtaking intelligence and compassion from one of the top social scientists of our time. I highly recommend it. - Doug Shadel, PhD, State Director, AARP Washington.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent book February 27, 2010
Few books stay with me long after I've read them, but "A Long Bright Future" is one of them. Every part of the book is meaningful and, quite honestly, Dr. Carstensen's words have given me a much more optimistic view of the future. I make frequent reference to her ideas with those in my life, and encourage them to read this incredible book. A bonus feature is that it's easy to read and entertaining. Seth Ersner-Hershfield, Ph.D., Newton, NJ
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Long Bright Future February 8, 2010
Don't think that Laura Carstensen's engaging new book, A LONG BRIGHT FUTURE, is just for senior citizens or the elderly. It's not. It's a book for everyone. We're all living longer and the question that Carstensen poses is how will we face those facts along with the implications of greater longevity? Carsetensen's written a penetrating look at the changes we have to consider here in the U.S. and around the world as we face longer lives. I read this book as I was preparing to do a podcast with Carstensen and I was fascinated not only with the questions that this book poses for the planet but also the issues we should be thinking about as individuals. If you want to hear more about Carstensen's wise thoughts on this, [...]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Achievement--And A Great Read... December 11, 2009
A Long Bright Future is the most important book written about the longevity revolution sweeping over the United States and most of the developed world. Carstensen's insights challenge a raft of anachronistic assumptions about what longer lives will mean for us as individuals, and for societies. Building on these breathtaking insights she goes on to chart how we can make the most of this phenomenon, transforming the inevitable into a new source of individual and social renewal. And she manages to do so in a style that is graceful and compelling. This book should be read by anyone who wants to live long and well, and by every policy maker searching for innovations to match the new demographic landscape.

Marc Freedman, Founder/CEO, Civic Ventures
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By MBA7981
I don't think the title of the book adequately conveys what the book contains. I was completely blown away with Dr. Carstensen's ideas -- what she proposes as a new way of looking at our lives and the lives of generations to come. As a member of the baby boomer generation, I found her ideas not only made so much sense, they have changed my outlook on how I see the rest of my life - and, more importantly, the amazing potential for humankind. Since reading the book, I have recommended it to my friends and family, and we will be discussing it at my next book club meeting, as well. My only hope is that her ideas get out there, to the leaders, educators, parents, and especially the younger generation!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One long liberal rant
I kept hoping there might be some wisdom in this book but never came upon it. It was a bizarre recommendation of an endless childhood and part-time work. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Deni
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing
The underlying message about the aging of our population and some of the consequences was straigtforward (although not necessarily "new news"), but the latter chapters I... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Cornelius L. Hopper
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cheerful Gift
Gave as a gift. Assume everything was okay. No complaints. Wish I had the option of limiting future recommendations just to items I buy and ship to myself.
Published 5 months ago by Edna St. Vincent Malaise
4.0 out of 5 stars Cultural Change?
A well written book on getting older, full of studies, theories, ideas to put to good use. However, as an aged person myself I found some of the suggestions impractical for those... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Carol J. Netzel
4.0 out of 5 stars Age Well
This book has good content, is clearly written. The author provides a fresh way of viewing the elderly population's value to society.
Published 9 months ago by marsha gallagher
3.0 out of 5 stars An important perspective on aging and the implications for...
Laura Castensen offers interesting perspectives on the issue of aging and its impact on society. Some of her proposals, especially for middle aged people, seem a bit confusing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Dr Helen Mendes Love, MSW
4.0 out of 5 stars Rethinking Life
As a member of the recently retired Boomer generation, I found Laura Carstensen's analysis and outline for redefining life stages to be most interesting. Read more
Published on May 5, 2012 by RebelRouser
5.0 out of 5 stars Laura Carstensen never dissapoints
An excellent book. I have added it to the list of required readings for my Aging Services college students. I am a huge fan!!!!
Published on March 11, 2010 by DoJo.Johnson
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