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The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life Paperback – January 23, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (January 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380800713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380800711
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #811,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As the baby-boom generation swells the ranks of the American middle-aged, life expectancy has increased 50% since 1900, older people are becoming more physically and mentally active than ever before and diseases are more easily preventable, detectable and treatable. A doctor specializing in gerontology for 30 years, Cohen focuses on creativity, which he stresses is "not just for geniuses" but holds potential for everyone at every age. With a wink toward Einstein, Cohen uses the formula "C=me2" (creativity equals a mass of knowledge plus the interaction of inner and outer experience) to describe his theory of lifelong creativity, which may be manifested both privately ("creativity with a little c") and publicly ("big C"). Cohen identifies four developmental phases in mid- and later life--reevaluation, liberation, summing-up and encore--that provide opportunities for creativity to blossom. He cites the latest scientific research, which disproves dated views of inevitably deteriorating brain function, points out the advantages of experience and the willingness to experiment that come with age, and notes that the adversity and loss that often crop up later in life actually encourage creativity by forcing change. With sidebars noting the accomplishments of many people well past midlife, excellent exercises for igniting creativity and thorough appendices, Cohen provides a wealth of information and a fresh, timely perspective on aging.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A lot of books out now help baby boomers deal with how to slow the physical aging process or how to have a financially secure retirement. Cohen, however, chooses a unique direction: he shows how to be a creative individual well into old age. Replete with anecdotes of famous and not-so-famous people doing incredibly creative things (e.g., architect I.M. Pei designing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum at 79), whether for the good of humanity or simply for their own families, this book is an inspiration. Cohen, director of the Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities at George Washington University, outlines different ways in which people can be creative and stimulating in the face of adversity, in the context of relationships, or with changing opportunities as one ages. This is essential reading for those with elderly parents as well as for those entering their twilight years. Highly recommended.
-Marija Sanderling, Rochester P.L., NH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was perplexed by a negative review of this book, so I wanted to find out, firsthand what the author really said and I am so glad I did. Nowhere does the author chastises older people who try to take care of their health. Just the opposite.

Not only does the author have fifty year old plus folks on the cover, kayaking, swimming, painting etc but on page 188 he writes of 'More on the Effects of Creativity on Health' . Heck the whole book is about embracing the second half of life and taking personal responsibility for making needed changes so that you live to one hundred and do so eating healthy, interacting with others, becoming involved in ones community etc etc etc.

On page 10-11 , the author notes that studies of aging people and in my work with them, four aspects of creativity stand out:

1) Creativity strengthens our morale in later life 2) Creativity contributes to physical health as we age 3) Creativity enriches relationships 4) Creativity is our greatest legacy. That 'Increasing numbers of preliminary findings from psychoneuroimmunological studies-research that examines the interaction of our emotions, our brain function, and our immune system-suggest that a positive out look and a sense of well being have a beneficial effect on the functioning of our immune system and our overall health' These findings are particularly strong among older persons.'

The many examples of famous and everyday folk who have been or become creative after age fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty are empowering. In Chapter 9 titled Creativity us Everyday Life: Letting It Start with You,' the author gives some excellent examples of how as the quote he gives from Lao Tsu notes 'The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step'.
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Prof. J.R.Staude on April 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I have read on the subject of Creativity in Later Life. I recommend it heartily. Dr. Cohen, M.D. & Ph.D. has become the acknowledged leader in this field with his brilliant synthesis of his 25 years of experience working with older adults as a geriatric physician and creativity researcher. "We need a new frame of reference in which to picture ourselves growing and recognize how the influence of inner resources and life circumstances can present us with opportunities to revive our lives in meaningful and satisfying ways," Cohen maintains. His experience with his patients and his studies of aging and creativity in the arts led him to revise Erik Erikson's model of adult development in the later years. He divided Erikson's final stages of generativity & integrity into four developmental phases which he claims shape the way our creative energy grows and the way we express it. Each phase, he says, is shaped by our chronological age, our history, and our circumstances. And each phase is characterized by changes in how we view and experience life in a combined psychological, emotional and intellectual sense. The four phases are: 1. Midlife Reevaluation/Quest Phase 2. Liberation Phase (Formerly called Retirement) 3. Late-life Summing-Up Phase 4. The Encore Phase If we look beyond age markers for the Retirement of Liberation phase and search, instead, for the underlying developmental phase here, we find that it is defined by a kind of personal liberation combined with life experience that lifts inhibitions and gives us the courage to ignore social conventions that restrict our creative expression.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William M. Lybarger on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
This "easy-read" book offers both professional and lay people alike a very refreshing and encouraging perspective on maturity. When coupled with a gentle sense of spirituality and wisdom which comes from life experience, it should help the reader to establish and reinforce a sense of purpose and resilience that engenders hope and creativity unimagined by most youth. This book is to become a part of my professional counseling practice for senior patients to read and discuss as they search for a deeper meaning and ultimate purpose in their lives. In a sense, I anticipate it will help to set the stage for welcoming passions of an existential nature, heretofore unknown in many individual's lives.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Toni Tarango on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If ever there was any question about our ability to make meaningful contributions at midlife, this book will dispell all doubt! I found the continual notes (on the outer edges of the pages) encouraging, as they documented the multiple contributions made by individuals of "advanced" years. This is absolutely exciting, and gives me hope for the future!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ruth A. Drayer on June 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this book in 2001 and have never forgotten it. I still recommend it to classes I teach on Dissolving the Blocks to Creativity. As I recall, Dr. Cohen was not big on vitamins and I don't agree with that at all, but otherwise...its an inspiration and a contribution to us 'older' folks...Small "c" or large "C" the older we get, the more we need to open ourselves to the fact that we are creative beings.
Ruth A Drayer, author of "Numerology, the Power in Numbers"
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