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Kavan is a social media entrepreneur committed to growing the use of social networking towards promoting the equality, sustainability, health and well being of people of all ages. Combining careers as a national journalist and public relations expert, Kavan focuses on the power of user-generated content to communicate ideas and build movements.

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  1. What’s Your Best Books on Aging Reading List?

    […] Digging around ChangingAging’s end-of-year website analytics I was not surprised to find that the most popular blog post for the second year running is my January 2013 post What Are the Best Books on Aging. […]

  2. Dv
    Dv at | | Reply

    About your book list… Just cuz I’m 75 and pretty gimpy doesn’t mean I didn’t adore the book “What Makes Olga Run.” By the way (and since the book came out) Olga died, but was active until the last week! I wish elders would stop avoiding “assistive devices”… I walk with canes or forearm crutches and after 5 or 10 minutes I improve a lot, but I couldn’t get going without my sticks. They’re a symbol of my strength, not my weakness.

  3. Graham
    Graham at | | Reply

    I completely concur with your position. Based on what books are popular, people appear to be more concerned with how many wrinkles they have instead of how long they live (and in what physical/mental condition).

    The only book I would add to that list is a more recent one by James Lee (who previously appeared to focus more on brain health) called The Methuselah Project. This one focuses on all the biological theories of aging (such as AGEs, sirtuins, oxidative stress etc) along with anything else that may reduce your chances of reaching old age (like risky behavior etc). It was one of the few books where the author took a balanced view and didn’t appear to be pushing any agenda.

    Also a fan of the Blue Zones book (and the research backing it up). My only problem is identifying exactly which of the factors is responsible for longevity in each zone. One of the only factors that is beyond reproach is the importance of socializing and maintaining deep bonds with others.

  4. Judith
    Judith at | | Reply

    Yes, you did exactly the right thing to protect the focus, integrity, and purpose of this site. I appreciate the list of books and the suggestions from people who commented, too.

  5. Generation Above Me (@TheGenAboveMe)

    I recently read Friedan’s book. It convinced me that I too often take a doom-and-gloom view of aging (but not always). I have also read Dass, Plotkin and Thomas. But now I have 41 more titles to read and add to my list: http://thegenerationaboveme.blogspot.com/2012/06/books-on-aging.html

  6. helene strawbridge
    helene strawbridge at | | Reply

    I agree with your decision also. It seems to me that ageing well is about finding meaning and purpose as we transition from working full-time and being busy, to living a life of more fulfilment and joy. This transition to new beginnings may mean accommodating health, relationship and financial issues that accompany growing older of course. I would commend the fine work of Dr George Vaillant of Harvard University and his longitudinal studies, reflected in his books ‘Ageing Well'(2002, Little Brown) and ‘Triumphs of Experience’ (2012, Belnap Harvard) .For more investigative reading I recommend the life stages work of Daniel Levinson in ‘The Seasons of a Man’s Life’ and ‘The Seasons of a Woman’s Life’.

  7. John Robinson
    John Robinson at | | Reply

    I agree with your decision. To me, aging is a profound journey moved along by losses of all shapes and sizes by which we surrender the old self of the busy middle years and await a new kind of self experience. Energy, senses, health, goals, understandings all change and we often lose friends, family, roles and identities in this process. It’s not easy and the goal isn’t necessarily life extension, which often seems to me like a denial of age. Age is meant to change us, deepen us, and awaken us. It is an initiation into a completely kind of life, a transformation of body and self, and the revelation of a new and really sacred world all around us. Our new and unprecedented longevity represents a truly new stage of human life filled with age-appropriate psychological and spiritual tasks that can contribute to humankind’s evolution of consciousness and morality. It’s not about me anymore – that’s Boomer narcissism, it’s about something so much larger. This stage may even be the flowering of a new kind of human. So let us not be so afraid of change and loss, and through the our grief, know much more than we did before about what life’s meaning and purpose. I would ask you to consider adding one of more of my works on aging (The Three Secrets of Aging, Bedtime Stories for Elders, and What Aging Men Want) to your list of recommended books. As a psychologist, interfaith minister, and aging man, I am following a thread of profound personal growth and awakening in these years that are certainly a gift of grace. Many thanks, John

  8. Stacy
    Stacy at | | Reply

    I totally agree with your choice to reject her selections! Hurray for you! I have often thought that if we who are working with elders to change the culture and create better services for elders could get 5 cents of every dollar spent on anti-aging creams and products we would never have to worry about how to fund programs again!

  9. Brent Green
    Brent Green at | | Reply

    Kavan,

    I’m honored to see my name and book included with this list. For clarification, I have written two books with titles led by “Generation.” My most recent business book, “Generation Reinvention,” discusses how Boomers are changing business, marketing, aging and the future. Last year I quietly published “Generation Liberation” as a Kindle book. This book includes twelve short stories within three sections covering Boomer youth, mid-life and old age. The fiction book addresses aging in many ways, both uplifting and with consternation. I’m wondering if perhaps you intended to include “Generation Reinvention” in this list since the book explores business, culture, sociology, and media portrayals of aging. Thanks,

    Brent Green

  10. Chuck Nyren
    Chuck Nyren at | | Reply

    I enjoyed Barbara Strauch’s The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain
    The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind

  11. gaeayudron
    gaeayudron at | | Reply

    I find James Hillman’s book The Force of Character a very important and repeated read.

    1. Jeri Reilly
      Jeri Reilly at | | Reply

      Agree! James Hillman’s book was the first book I read on aging, years ago, and the book I return to regularly.

  12. Rebecca C.
    Rebecca C. at | | Reply

    Susan Weed – New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way. Beautiful book on embracing a natural transition in life.

  13. Dan Hutson (@dhutson)
    Dan Hutson (@dhutson) at | | Reply

    Maybe I missed it, but I would include Successful Aging by John Wallis Rowe and Robert L. Kahn. This was the report of findings from the MacArthur Foundation Study of Aging in America, and is the foundation for so much work being done to improve the senior living experience. I always suggest it to anyone who wants a good overview of the key elements of a successful aging process.

    1. Madeleine Kolb
      Madeleine Kolb at | | Reply

      This absolutely should go on the list. It explodes some of the most damaging myths of aging and inspired me to start my blog.

  14. Sandy Dole
    Sandy Dole at | | Reply

    I am old! Don’t care much for the wrinkles but that is part of the aging process. I don’t have a problem with aging as much as I have with the comments, jokes, disrespect, patronizing, and stupid stereotypes that I am/we are subjected to each day. All I ask is that I be allowed to continue being who I am and respected as an individual who has lived a long time. I respect people for who they are, not for the number of years they have or have not lived.

  15. Richard Baldwin Cook
    Richard Baldwin Cook at | | Reply

    You rejected a comment but then commented on it yourself? Talk about patronizing an older person . . . you have defined that attitude.

  16. Ronni Bennett
    Ronni Bennett at | | Reply

    Journal of a Solitude By May Sarton (I think this is the best of Sarton’s several on age)

    The Longevity Revolution by Dr. Robert N. Butler (precedes the Longevity Prescription book

    The Summer of a Dormouse by British playwright, novelist and barrister, John Mortimer, who is also the author of the Rumpole of the Bailey series of stories. The first sentence is: “The time will come in your life, it will almost certainly come, when the voice of God will thunder at you from the cloud, ‘From this day forth thou shalt not be able to put on thine own socks.'”

    Travels with Epicurus, A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life by Daniel Klein (brand new and wonderful)

    My Twice-Lived Life by Donald M. Murray (fabulous essays from his great weekly newspaper column on getting old)

    The Art of Aging, A Doctor’s Prescription for Well-Being by Sherwin B. Nuland

    Somewhere Toward the End, A Memoir by Diana Athill

    Old Age by Simone de Beauvoir

    The Long History of Old Age, edited by Pat Thane

    Old Age, Journey Into Simplicity by Helen M. Luke

    1. Judith
      Judith at | | Reply

      What a great list, Ronni. Thank you!

  17. ycunnington
    ycunnington at | | Reply

    I loved Susan Jacoby’s acerbic Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age. British author Diana Athill’s wonderful memior Somewhere Near the End explores what it is like to be old from the point of view of 90. In her book, You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready, Canadian Lyndsay Green interviews numerous elders to glean their wisdom about living in old age.

    1. Judith
      Judith at | | Reply

      Thanks for the good suggestions, Ms. Cunnington. I forgot that I have “Never Say Die,” but haven’t read it yet.

  18. SDTarrant
    SDTarrant at | | Reply

    “Aging with Grace” by David Snowden, PhD

  19. engaginginlife
    engaginginlife at | | Reply

    Thank you for giving me reason to make use of my Amazon account. LOL I have read many of these books and enjoyed them. As for the rejection of the article- I think you were in the right. I have been asked to promote anti-aging lotions and potions, but refuse to do so. I am all for assisting people to “take care” of their bodies while embracing who they are and where they are in their journey. It is about living, expressing life as authentically YOU. When my books are published I hope they will make your “the best Pro-Aging books” list.

    I look forward to reading more about the exploration of life after adulthood.

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