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Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife Hardcover – March 15, 2016
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“Life Reimagined paints a portrait of middle age that is far from grim and decelerating. Midlife begins to seem like the second big phase of decision-making. Your identity has been formed; you know who you are; you’ve built up your resources; and now you have the chance to take the big risks precisely because your foundation is already secure.”—David Brooks, The New York Times
“Life Reimagined gave me hope that midlife, even with its struggles, can be a time of growth and deeper joy in relationships old and new.”—BookPage
“Bradley Hagerty crafts a book that is part insightful analysis, part memoir, and all-around engaging and relatable... [her] own journey is by turns instructive, poignant, and funny as she puts the information she’s discovering into practice... [she] makes a compelling case that our choices—to seek novel experiences, to stay active, to invest in enriching relationships—can transform the middle years into vibrant ones, and also help us move forward into old age with a greater sense of possibility and purpose.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“Bradley uses the perfect mixture of anecdote and facts and knows how to tell a story. Inspiring and reassuring, this book is guaranteed to shake up anyone who is coasting through middle age, reminding them that it’s up to them to find their essence and shape their last years with purpose.”—Booklist
“Insightful…This work is a joyous reminder that the middle years can be satisfying, resilient, and significant.”—Library Journal
“An upbeat look at the joys of middle age… For midlifers eager to ‘create a new habit of mind,’ Hagerty is a rousing cheerleader.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Barbara Bradley Hagerty is a wise and engaging guide through the possibilities (and occasional pitfalls) of middle age. With her deft storytelling skills and exhaustive research, she reveals a truth that should hearten millions of people: Done right, midlife can be a time of remarkable engagement, purpose, and love.”—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive
“Please don’t have a midlife crisis. But if you do (and you will), drop everything and read this book. It’s like having coffee with a good friend who has been there—and also happens to be well versed in neuroscience, psychology and much more. Barbara Bradley Hagerty has written a sharp-eyed, big-hearted book destined for widespread dog-earing and underlining. Whether it’s navigating the worlds of marriage or friendship or work, Life Reimagined offers boatloads of earned epiphanies. This generous, wise and often funny book will leave you revitalized—and actually looking forward to life’s second act.” —Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss and The Geography of Genius
“This book is destined to become the bible for boomers seeking to make the most of the bonus decades opening up in midlife and beyond, as well as for those younger generations on their heels.”—Marc Freedman, author, The Big Shift, and CEO, Encore.org
“Combining her great reportorial skills with personal stories and fascinating data, Barbara Bradley Hagerty provides here a blueprint on aging. She debunks the idea of midlife crises while recognizing midlife changes and then, through interviews with experts and individuals, points the way to move forward into life’s next phases. This book is so engagingly told, I’ve been telling my friends to get this book as soon as they can.” —Cokie Roberts, journalist and author of We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters
“Life Reimagined is a powerful and inspiring book. Hagerty writes with wit, warmth, and scientific rigor. She shares her own experiences of the journey into midlife with honesty and humor and teaches us what science says about our brains, our resilience, and our relationships. Life Reimagined motivates us to delve into midlife with enthusiasm and reminds us that a life well lived requires thought and commitment—no matter what one's age.”—Karen Reivich, Ph.D., author of The Resilience Factor
“Grab this book, find a comfortable chair, and get ready to change the way you think about your life. Barbara Bradley Hagerty blends the latest science with rich personal reflections to create a work that informs, uplifts, and ultimately offers a wise guide to what keeps people happy and healthy. Beautifully crafted by a journalist at the top of her game, this is an exciting book that you’ll find yourself talking about and sharing with the important people in your world.”—Robert J. Waldinger, M.D., director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development
“Life Reimagined is arguably the best book on middle life ever written. Not only is it in beautiful prose, but it’s also thoroughly researched. In order to feel understood and to anticipate the future, everybody from 30 to 70 should read this book. It is a joy.”—George E. Vaillant, M.D., former director of Harvard Study of Adult Development and author of Triumphs of Experience
About the Author
Barbara Bradley Hagerty is the author of the New York Times-bestselling Fingerprints of God is also an award-winning journalist who spent nearly 20 years as a correspondent for NPR. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, and The Christian Science Monitor. She has received the Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship in Science and Religion, and a Knight Fellowship at Yale Law School. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Meaning of Work chapter especially made me want to throw the book across the room. (But I didn't because it's a library book, sorry Amazon). The book ends with a discussion of the 'bravery' of people making mid life career changes and has the particularly egregious example of a Philip Morris lawyer who spent her career working in Hong Kong and Switzerland defending tobacco and then after literally getting injured WHEN HER HAMMOCK BREAKS, bravely decides to change careers. So in a feat of great emotional daring, "L and her husband sold their home and bought a new one WITH ENOUGH ROOM TO BUILD A POOL HOUSE." And then started a business doing POOL THERAPY FOR DOGS.
How more tone deaf can this book get?
Nevertheless, I give it 2 stars because it helps me remember that all I can control is my attitude. (I just laughed again at the absurdity of the dog pool example! Enraging and hysterical at the same time.) I am living my life with purpose, and within the small window of choice I have over my circumstances choosing to be grateful for what I have. Just don't read this book if you are feeling at all vulnerable, exhausted, overworked, financially insecure, overwhelmed or trapped in the middle of middle age. It will only make you feel worse.
Why I liked the book:-
* Well written story that seamlessly combines personal experience, interviews and review of research and other writing.
* The material spoke to me personally - I'm 58 - and the advice and ideas came across as reasonable and thoughtful
What concerned me about this book:-
I had the same concerns with this book as I did with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg; Lean In and Life Reimagined are books written by highly educated middle class (at least) white people; and I ask myself how relevant the ideas and solutions presented are for the battlers of society. That's a question Hagerty asks when she refers to the audience of National Public Radio in the US as "highly intelligent and mostly white" , but then goes straight on to mostly talk to that audience.
Hagerty does acknowledge the impact of economic circumstances on life (those who work at Lowe's for $10 per hour, or who have lost their homes through foreclosure), but the bulk of the book is implicitly focused on those who have the intellect, educational background and time available to reflect that a minimum financial base allows. That worries me. To some extent, this is a book aimed at those of us who have the first 4 levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs sorted out and can spend time on "self actualization".
One part that Hagerty could have left out is the section on her brother. Her brother Dave is the owner of The Atlantic. "Dave's life looks enviable: He is wealthy, with a beautiful wife and 3 exceptional boys educated at Yale or Princeton" . Dave is used as an example of a "new sort of generative phrase, one that accords with the definition I am advocating for people in midlife: targeting a problem using one's unique talents and resources". Dave generative phase is admirable; helping to release middle east hostages. I would have preferred an example more relevant for the "common" man or woman.
Fortunately for myself, I am well educated and moderately well off, so the message of this book works for me (with an occasional question mark)