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Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life Paperback – November 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156013606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156013604
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What? A how-to-make-your-life-better-book with more than the ubiquitous seven ways of doing so? In Rules for Aging: Resist Normal Impulses, Live Longer, Attain Perfection, acclaimed essayist and NewsHour with Jim Lehrer regular contributor Roger Rosenblatt boldly offers up a whopping 56 rules for wisely navigating life into your golden years.

Rosenblatt describes the short book (only 140 pages), which began with a column he wrote for Modern Maturity, as a "little guide intended for people who wish to age successfully, or at all." He adds that "growing older is as much an art as it is a science, and it requires fewer things to do than not to do."

Ranging from the fatalistic (rule 1: "It doesn't matter") to the highly practical (rule 26: "Never go to a cocktail party and, in any case, do not stay more than 20 minutes"), rule 2 best illustrates the tone for much of what follows ("Nobody is thinking about you"):

Yes, I know, you are certain that your friends are becoming your enemies; that your grocer, garbage man, clergyman, sister-in-law, and your dog are all of the opinion that you have put on weight, that you have lost your touch, that you have lost your mind; furthermore, you are convinced that everyone spends two-thirds of every day commenting on your disintegration, denigrating your work, plotting your assassination. I promise you: Nobody is thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves--just like you.

Other notables include "Let bad enough alone" (rule 3), "Stay clear of anyone--other than a clergyman--who refers to God more than once in an hour" (rule 8), "Do not attempt to improve anyone, especially when you know it will help" (rule 29), "The unexamined life lasts longer" (rule 40), "Change no more than one-eighth of your life at a time" (rule 48), and "The game is played away from the ball" (rule 55). Nowhere will you find talk of antioxidants or exercise or anything resembling a detox program. Rosenblatt is no health nut, and there is already plenty of material available on that. What you will encounter instead is a gifted writer clearly enjoying his craft, making this slim volume a welcome poke at and departure from the more predictable antiaging fare. --Patrick Jennings --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A multiple-award-winning essayist/ journalist who is currently editor-at-large at Time, Rosenblatt offers sage bits of advice in this nice, neat package. Our favorite: Whatever you think matters, doesn't.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

ROGER ROSENBLATT is the winner of a Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, a Peabody Award, an Emmy, and two George Polk awards. He writes essays for Time magazine and for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He lives in Manhattan and Quogue, Long Island.

Customer Reviews

It's an easy book to read.
Dorothy Weiss
I skimmed through the book and knew immediately that this was a book ALL my friends need to read, because it's for and about them.
Richard A. Swanson
This book is very funny and full of wisdom about aging.
Becky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By J. Charles Hansen on December 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book jumped out at me because 1) It sounded funny, 2) I believe I had read something by Roger Rosenblatt before and liked it, 3) It's short, and 4) There's a comical recommendation by Jim Lehrer of all people on the back.
I was very satisfied. It probably didn't take me more than a couple of hours in total to read, but I literally laughed out loud a number of times, and grinned throughout. His introduction is "This little guide is intended for people who wish to age successfully, or at all....... What follows then, is mainly a list of "don't"s and "not"s, not unlike the Ten Commandments, but without the moral base."
He has 58 short 1-3 page chapters with titles like "If something is boring you, it is probably you," "The unexamined life lasts longer," "Just because the person who criticizes you is an idiot doesn't make him wrong," and "Live in the past, but don't remember too much."
After you're done this is a good book to have around to read to friends, or to pick up when you realize you are taking things too seriously and want to laugh at life.
Excerpt: "A long happy life last five minutes. One would think that this rule would go without stating, but many people actually believe that a long life of uninterrupted happiness is a real possibility. And they act on this belief! They change families, careers, the structure of their faces, countries, everything, for no more substantial reason than they recall five minutes of uninterrupted happiness in the past, and now they wish to re-create the moment in perpetuity. They even convince themselves that the five-minute period they recall was really five years and giddily substitute the exception (bliss) for the rule (confusion, doubt, misery, fear, confusion, and confusion). Happiness is wonderful, but if you have had more than five consecutive minutes of it, it means you weren't thinking."
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It would be: Read this book!
My favorite was #2--"Nobody is thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves--just like you." That rule alone saves years of stress.
Or, perhaps, #15--"Pursue virtue, but don't sweat it." As he explains: "The pursuit alone is sufficient to establish your qualities, and if you fail once in a while, your guilt will remind you of the path you didn't take." Comfort for all good intentioned fallible people--which most of us are.
Or #31--Do not attempt to improve people, especially when you know it will help." He points back to Rule #2 and adds: "Nobody is thinking of you--unless you tell them about their faults. Then you may be sure that they are thinking about you. They are thinking of killing you."
If I have any quibble, it would be with the title. A person of any age can profit from it. Perhaps a better title would have been; "Rules That Give You a Fighting Chance to Reach Old Age Without Succumbing to Stress or Having Someone Kill You."
Perhaps he had the better idea after all.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Me, me, me. With self-help books infusing society's shelves and more added daily, it gets difficult to cut the wheat from the chaff. What works for some, doesn't work for others and non-needed confusion may set in, defeating the entire purpose! Seemingly half the population is in therapy (be it with a certified shrink or Oprah), and there is nothing wrong with searching for personal improvement. However, a cold dose of reality can be truly refreshing.
Rosenblatt, TIME editor-at-large, supplies humorous cut-to-the-bone advice in, "Rules for Aging: Resist Normal Impulses, Live Longer, Attain Perfection." He's quick on the uptake and profoundly in your face--which works, if you allow yourself to take confessional responsibility. When I read a passage, "If something is boring you, it is probably you." , I gulppingly realized, hey, the guy is right.
Though bitingly cynical at times, his advice on everything from party etiquette to office politics ("Never work for anyone more insecure than yourself") is also delightfully smart and funny. A hilarious read of wisdom, even for those not in need of self-help.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy Weiss on November 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book. It is clever insightful, humorous. The author, Roger Rosenblatt describes his approach as "like the ten commandments, but without the moral base". He offers a list of 56 "don'ts". Take a look at rule 41 which is meant for people who are at least 50 years old, who work for people younger- much younger- than themselves. The rule says, " NO THEY DON'T- AND SO WHAT?" It means younger bosses do not remember how good you are at what you do; don't realize how very special you are, nor how gifted nor how distinguished. No, they don't-- and so what? Another crisp zinger is rule 2. NOBODY IS THINKING ABOUT YOU. Translation please? They are thinking about themselves, just like you. And here's one more. Rule 6. YES YOU DID. Translation? If you have the slightest question as to whether or not you are responsible for a wrongdoing, you are. As soon as you think, "I really didn't do it"-- you did. The author calls this book a survival manual of sorts. A final tip offered is , "Let bad enough alone", that is, remember the value of keeping your mouth shut. Don't try to explain yourself in the throes of a scandal. It's an easy book to read. When you finish it, glance at "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff for Teens" by Dr. Richard Carlson. It has something for everyone, not just for teens, who grow up to be those younger bosses with whom you over age 50 readers must contend. Two very likeable books for readers of all ages.
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