I turn down many requests to review upcoming books on aging because they’re usually limited in range from common sense health tips (eat well and exercise!) to outright anti-aging quackery (eat next to nothing and you’ll extend your life by decades!). But when I received an advance copy of Michael Gurian’s new book “The Wonder of Aging: A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty“, published June 18, I could tell this was a changing aging book.
You may know Gurian as a marriage and family counselor, founder of the Gurian Institute and as The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-six books. He is known for his thoughtful and inter-disciplinary approach in blending science and psychology to give people deeper insights into their every day lives.
Gurian has been long been called “the people’s philosopher” but after writing “The Wonder of Aging” I think he has graduated into being a fell-fledged Aging Guru. Gurian was inspired to write the book after suffering from a nerve injury in his neck that required surgery and resulted in significant loss of motion and strength in his right arm and severe chronic pain. Rather than despair at a future of diminished physical ability, Gurian began exploring the social and spiritual dimensions of life after 50. He came to the conclusion that the second half of life is an enormously fruitful, exciting, and fulfilling time — not “despite” the realities of physical aging, but because of the rich potential for developmental growth that aging provides.
Drawing on scientific research and anecdotes from his direct practice, Gurian transcends the physical-centered view of aging and offers a new paradigm for embracing the opportunities for growth that come with life after fifty. His book focuses on the physical, mental, relational, and spiritual aspects of aging, and covers topics ranging from sex, how men and women age differently, aging and the brain, living with a sense of legacy and purpose, becoming an elder, and how to peacefully navigate the end of life.
I have no doubt this book belongs near the top of ChangingAging’s list of Best Books on Aging. If any of our own aging gurus have a chance to read it please let us know what you think.