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A Long Bright Future: An Action Plan for a Lifetime of Happiness, Health, and Financial Security Hardcover – August 4, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
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“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.”
About the Author
LAURA L. CARSTENSEN, Ph.D., is one of the world's leading authorities on longevity and aging. A professor of psychology at Stanford University and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, she has won numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her research has been supported for more than twenty years by the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Carstensen lives in Los Altos Hills, California.
Top customer reviews
The previous reviews here for "A Long Bright Future"--while mostly 4- and 5-star--seemed somehow less than passionate, as was the audience to whom Carstensen presented in a 2012 TED YouTube video soon after "A Long Bright Future" was published. It's hard to be passionate about something none of us really understands nor appreciates yet ... that we are the first demographic cohort to really experience not just the government's plan for how Social Security, Medicare and 401(k)s will work together to sustain our after-work passage but also to learn how to make the most of additional years of longevity that we are all inheriting.
It's kind of a "be careful what you wish for" circumstance we find ourselves in. We are constantly guilted for not saving enough for retirement, but no one ever planned for us to live this long or to have access to medical innovations that are adding quality years if not decades to our lives. As a 65-year old who still enjoys working, I read much of the daily barrage of articles and books about preparing emotionally and financially for retirement and have posted several of my reviews on Amazon for books like "Falling Short" and "Unretirement." "A Long Bright Future" adds a broader perspective to the discussion by reassuring us that we're not stupid for not preparing. We just need to appreciate what's happening in a broader, more opportunistic way.
Several of the Amazon reviews here also raise the questions, "who is this book for?" and "who can best benefit from its message?" One reviewer was disappointed that Carstensen didn't describe what the future was actually going to be like. This reminded me of conversations I used to have with a colleague who also enjoyed science fiction movies that portray the future. He observed that most future visions were broken-down architectures from where we live in today, often bleak and dark, but with some cool new technology in the middle of the scenes. Think "Blade Runner." Carstensen points out that it's difficult for each of us to really envision a future that's not deeply impacted by what we know and do today. So, it seems to me that this book will benefit people of all age groups, but probably mostly 40- to 70-somethings will take the time to read it. But in doing so, we can all benefit in realizing that we can be productive and offer value to others for much longer than today's political debates and financial industry alarmists portray.
Because as difficult as it is to make good decisions, many of these debates and alarmists are correct that something must be done if we are to live into our 90's and beyond. Laura Carstensen helps to us to think and plan at a deeper level to take better advantage of the extra time we have to gain greater satisfaction in what we can do for others and for ourselves.