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Based on the popular New York Times series, life-changing wisdom from an unexpected source: America's oldest old
In 2015, the award-winning New York Times journalist John Leland set out to meet some of the city's oldest inhabitants for a series on America's fastest-growing age group: those over 85. Leland was at a crossroads in his own life. His marriage had fallen apart, and, at 55, he was alone for the first time. He was also caring for his elderly mother, whose main desire was to die. He understood aging, like many of us do, as nothing more than the relentless deterioration of body, mind, and quality of life. He wondered: Is there a threshold at which life is no longer worth living?
But the six elders Leland interviewed took him in a different direction. Beyond illuminating what it's like to be old, physically and materially, they provided a life-changing education in resilience and joy. They had lived long enough to master the art of living, and they shared their wisdom generously. Leland did not anticipate all that he would learn, nor did he anticipate the popularity of the series: Its following grew to nearly half a million online views for the finale, plus print readers.
Happiness Is a Choice You Make, based on the series, is a rare, intimate glimpse into the end of life and the insight that can enhance the years preceding. What he finds is deeply heartening: Even as our faculties decline, we still wield extraordinary influence over the quality of our lives. Happiness is a choice we make.
Learn how to live from those who have mastered the art
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lili on 02-19-18
Substantive and inspiring
A journalist spends a year with six elders, and from that gains new perspectives on his aging mom, his own life, and his own future. And he shares all of it in this book.
The six elders vary quite a bit in their circumstances. But from strongest to most fragile elder there is no sugar coating here of the hardships and the realities. At the same time each elder had a fairly positive perspective on their long lives, their current circumstances and even their future years.
Aging is not for the faint of heart and we would all do well do make plans as best we can...foster loving relationships, work on your health, acquire a safe environment, improve your finances, find joy everywhere you can. And then accept that most of what will happen as you age will be beyond your control.
That’s one thing this book makes clear...don’t fixate on all you may no longer be able to do...find joy no matter your circumstances or limitations, all the elders in this book do.
At the end of the book four of the elders give super brief remarks. Which is quite lovely as by that point you feel like they are all neighbors and friends.
The narration was well done.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By tim ma on 02-23-18
Don't judge this book by its cover! So much more.
I would not have picked up this book, if I had only seen the title. But, I heard about it in an article that referred to its life lessons and insight from people who had lived a long and FULL life. There is so much wisdom and perspective in this book! I love autobiographies because men and women summarize their wins, failures, and insight from an entire life lived on this earth. There are common threads that connect the wisdom of the ages, from Ben Franklin to Buddhists to Rosa Parks to George Washington to Seinfeld to your wise grandma. I have enjoyed seeking out those lessons. In this book, you will find many of those insights. ... and the very end of the audio book allows you to hear the actual voices of the elderly subjects of the book. What a treat, from beginning to end.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful